The Faculty Teaching Excellence Program (FTEP) strategically supports the CU Boulder faculty and postdoctoral scholars in implementing the most effective, evidence-based classroom practices to promote student learning. FTEP is founded on the principles that there is no one right way to teach, that teaching and learning are reciprocal processes, and that good teaching is a learned skill.

FTEP offers symposia, short courses, and one-on-one consultation services throughout the year, available to all CU Boulder faculty and postdoctoral scholars.

On this page:

I. Overview

Dr. Mary Ann Shea, founding director of both the Faculty Teaching Excellence Program (serving the CU Boulder campus) and the President’s Teaching Scholars Program (a CU system initiative) uses her skills in leadership, academic development of faculty, and current teaching to meet the ever-changing needs of faculty and post-doctoral professionals throughout the arc of their careers of disciplinary scholarship. Dr. Shea supports faculty reflection on and inquiry into the bridging of teaching and research on pedagogy and learning. With a minimal staff of one program assistant and two student assistants, Dr. Shea builds relationships and campus partnerships to support multiple dimensions of faculty development. (For more information see the FTEP Program Review and Report for Internal and External Readers: Sections VI and VII.)

The New Assistant Professor Program (NAPP) is one example of the many programs that Dr. Shea has initiated that addresses both career trajectories and contemporary challenges of faculty. NAPP was developed in 2013 with the assistance and collaboration of deans across three different colleges to support new faculty as they transition to their tenure-track positions at CU Boulder. Similarly, the Assessment Institute reflects the recent shift in higher education away from pedagogy alone to embrace engaged student learning, and encourages faculty to assess student learning in order to re-design and facilitate course transformation. (See FTEP Report: Section V for a complete list of FTEP’s program offerings and menu of services.)

Since 1986 FTEP has employed methodologically rigorous, evidence-based research to improve teaching and learning on the Boulder campus. FTEP has and continues to base all operations and development on seminal research in learning and teaching, both drawing from and contributing to the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (See FTEP Report: Section IX.) FTEP’s program offerings, including Memos to Faculty and the Summer Institute for Increasing Student Engagement and Improving Learning with Technology, reflect FTEP’s commitment to increasing inquiry, dialogue, and institutional change in support of the scholarship of teaching and learning. Dr. Shea extends this dialogue to the CU system through her oversight of the President’s Teaching and Learning Collaborative (the University of Colorado’s scholarship of teaching and learning), a program that was endorsed by the former Carnegie Advancement for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning.

Interdisciplinary by its very nature, the work of FTEP complements that of several other programs at CU Boulder. FTEP is unique, however, by offering institutes, workshops, and public presentations on teaching and learning that vary in audience by rank and expertise. For example, the Early Career Program targets faculty in years 1 through 6, the Symposia on Teaching and Learning is continually exposing faculty to cutting-edge advances in learning such as MOOCs, and the Individual Services to Faculty not only caters to their unique needs but also provides an opportunity for faculty to engage in dialogue confidentially and privately. (See FTEP Report: Section V.4 for our complete list of individual services.)  FTEP programs recruit the best and most capable CU faculty to serve as peer mentors for their fellow instructors—a model so successful that it has been exported nationally.

Back to Top


II. Faculty Teaching Excellence Program Mission

The Faculty Teaching Excellence Program engages traditional and evolving scholarship of teaching and learning in order to strategically support the University of Colorado Boulder faculty and post-doctoral academic development in creating and redesigning the most effective classroom practices to facilitate student learning. The development of disciplinary scholarship* is cultivated by FTEP through evidence-based teaching practices proven by research to be most effective at advancing student success. It is our mission to help faculty address “the unique context, logistics, and expectation of teaching” at CU Boulder, and to support faculty reflection on and inquiry into the bridging of teaching and research on pedagogy and learning. This includes faculty’s own research and scholarly inquiry into learning issues that arise in their courses, further contributing to the scholarship of teaching and learning. We support faculty and post-doctoral professionals in acquiring adaptive expertise, that is, a deep conceptual understanding of teaching and learning (rather than knowledge of facts and procedures only), the capability of improvising and using judgment in the classroom (rather than dependence on scripts or instructions), and flexible applications of knowledge and skills (rather than routinized applications). 

*We take scholarship to encompass the wide range of intellectual activities a scholar engages in addition to research.

Back to Top

III. History and Philosophy

Research to establish a teaching excellence program at CU Boulder began in 1984 under the auspices of the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs. The August 1989 Campus Strategic Plan, iterated in 1996, stressed the importance of providing “an exceptional undergraduate educational experience if the Boulder campus is to realize its aim of becoming one of the top ten AAU public institutions in the nation”. The value of engaged student learning continues to be a priority for the Boulder campus. The most recent vision for the campus, the Flagship 2030 Strategic Plan, sees CU Boulder as having “a unique opportunity to serve Colorado and enhance the well-being of humankind through excellence in teaching, research, creative work, and service”. With specific regard to Boulder’s Flagship 2030 Strategic Plan, FTEP’s efforts in assisting faculty and instructors in all ranks strengthen faculty student learning environments, innovate course curriculum, and thereby help retain our faculty and undergraduate and graduate students.

Since 1986, the Faculty Teaching Excellence Program has reported the Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs: for twelve years FTEP reported to the Associate Vice Chancellor for Undergraduate Education and then to the Vice Provost and Associate Vice Chancellor for Faculty Affairs. The Program’s constituents include 3300 tenure-line and non-tenure-line faculty. FTEP continues to foster a culture of teaching by helping those faculty who voluntarily, and frequently confidentially, seek assistance in teaching well.


FTEP is founded on the principles that there is no one right way to teach, that teaching and learning are reciprocal processes, and that these processes vary with the epistemologies of the disciplines and with the faculty members’ own styles of interacting with students. The program promotes the view that good teaching is rarely innate but is rather a learned skill. To reach its goal, FTEP uses a corps tenured faculty who are willing to help faculty colleagues reflect on teaching. Drawing on the assumption that faculty learn best from one another, the program invites faculty from the Boulder campus whose teaching excellence has been recognized by peers and students, and who are respected in scholarship, research, and creative work to become Faculty Associates of the Program as well as presenters in the various public activities. FTEP faculty associates represent a diverse and interdisciplinary cross-section of CU Boulder. Institutionally, FTEP’s corps of faculty presenters are part of a growing campus culture that reaffirms the centrality of the University’s educational mission.

Back to Top

IV. Faculty Served and Faculty Partners

FTEP was founded in 1986 on the principle that faculty learn best from one another. To that end we not only recognize the diversity of faculty that we serve, but also the faculty that participate through leading our symposia and workshops, provide mentorships, and advise the program. Participation in our symposia and short course offerings span 73 different programs and departments. For a list of participating faculty numbers, see Appendix C.

FTEP Faculty Associates

  • Penina Axelrad, Professor of Aerospace Engineering Sciences
  • Angela Bielefeldt, Professor of Environmental Engineering
  • David Brain, Assistant Professor of Atmospheric and Space Physics 
  • Scot Douglass, Director of the Engineering Honors Program
  • Jennifer Fitzgerald, Associate Professor of Political Science
  • Jean Hertzberg, Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering
  • Leslie Irvine, Associate Professor of Sociology
  • Stefanie Mollborn, Associate Professor of Sociology
  • Laurialan Reitzammer, Associate Professor of Classics
  • Charles Rogers, Professor of Physics

FTEP Early Career Faculty Directors

Natural Sciences
Professor Nichole Barger
Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

Arts and Humanities
Associate Professor Kirk Ambrose
Art and Art History

Social Sciences
Associate Professor Carew Boulding
Political Science

Associate Professor Ramiro Montealegre
Leeds School of Business

Advisory Board

  • Kirk Ambrose, Professor of Art and Art History
  • Penina Axelrad, Professor of Aerospace Engineering Sciences
  • Thora Brylowe, Assistant Professor of English
  • Sona Dimidjian, Associate Professor of Psychology
  • Elizabeth Fenn, Professor of History
  • Laura Kornish, Professor of Marketing
  • Clayton Lewis, President’s Teaching Scholar, Professor of Computer Science
  • William Lewis, Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
  • Laurialan Blake Reitzammer, Associate Professor of Classics 
  • Vanessa Roberts, PhD Candidate, Sociology

FTEP Ambassador

  • Ben Shapiro, Assistant Professor, Laboratory for Playful Computation

Back to Top


V. Campus Community Partners and Teaching With Technology Tools

Campus Community Partners

FTEP embraces the view that the scholarship of teaching and learning is informed by a diverse group of community partners across the CU Boulder’s campus. We strive to cultivate and highly value the relationships we have with other departments and institutions at CU Boulder. These include:

Anderson Language and Technology Center (ALTEC):
Arts & Sciences Support of Education Through Technology (ASSETT):
Center for STEM Learning (CSL):
Division of Continuing Education and Professional Studies:
Graduate Teacher Program (GTP):
Leadership Education for Advancement and Promotion Program (LEAP):
Office of Information Technology (OIT):
Physics Education Research Group (PER):

Teaching With Technology Tools

Teaching & Learning Tools Navigator:
Mediasite classroom capture:
Desire2Learn online learning:
Stand-Alone and D2L Integrated Services:
    VoiceThread video voice & text commenting:
    Kaltura rich media streaming:
iClickers (CU Clickers): 
Qualtrics surveys:
Google Apps:
iTunesU educational multimedia content:

Back to Top


VI. CU Boulder’s Scholarship on Teaching and Learning (SoTL)

FTEP prides itself on continually engaging with and contributing to the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL). SoTL is known for its methodologically rigorous, educationally relevant, and evidence-based research about student learning in higher education. FTEP encourages faculty to facilitate interdisciplinary conversation and engagement centered on teaching and learning as well to conduct their own research on issues of learning. FTEP fosters both the integration of SoTL across disciplines as well as the publication and dissemination of faculty research in peer reviewed journals on discipline specific pedagogy thereby improving both pedagogical expertise and disciplinary expertise.

FTEP encourages CU Boulder faculty to participate in the system-wide dialogue on SoTL known as the President's Teaching and Learning Collaborative (PTLC): Scholarship of Teaching & Learning. The best teaching scholars, who excel in effective and exemplary teaching, creative work, scholarship, and research, receive the honor of becoming President's Teaching Scholars.

President's Teaching and Learning Collaborative (PTLC):

PTLC was established in 2006. It offers faculty from all University of Colorado campuses an opportunity for academic development and the experience and intellectual practice of work in two scholarly endeavors: teaching and research. The PTLC seeks to promote the practice of inquiry in teaching and measuring student learning. The Collaborative assists University faculty in developing scholarly research projects on teaching and learning intended for refereed publication.

This program is modeled on and sponsored by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning and is now in the eighth year of its participation. The goals of the collaborative are to: include fostering inquiry and leadership for the improvement of student learning, develop and synthesize knowledge about learning and teaching, and promote institutional change in support of the scholarship of teaching and learning. The President’s Teaching and Learning Collaborative is an extension of work begun as an institutional participant in the Campus Program of the Carnegie Academy for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (CASTL), 2006-2013.

President’s Teaching Scholars Program (PTSP)

Established in 1989 as a presidential initiative, the President's Teaching Scholars Program endorses excellence in teaching by honoring faculty throughout the university who excel and embody teaching, scholarship, creative work and research with excellence in all. The President's Teaching Scholars are chosen from the four CU campuses, not only for their skill in their own classrooms, but also for their potential to improve education and enlarge its possibilities across the university. They currently represent 35 disciplines across the four campuses. Serving as ambassadors for the integration of teaching with research, the Teaching Scholars develop individual, departmental, campus and system-wide projects, including mentoring that cultivate exemplary teaching and engaged learning.

FTEP invites the President’s Teaching Scholars at CU Boulder to share their expertise with the CU Boulder faculty by becoming FTEP faculty associates, serving on the FTEP advisory board, and presenting their research to the CU Boulder community.

CU Boulder President’s Teaching Scholars

  • Brian Argrow, Professor of Aerospace Engineering Sciences
  • Daniel Barth, Professor of Psychology
  • Martin Bickman, Professor of English
  • Elizabeth Bradley, Professor of Computer Science
  • Lee Chambers, Professor of History
  • Diane Conlin, Professor of Classics
  • Alexander Cruz, Museum Associate Curator, Ecology & Evolutionary Biology
  • James Curry, Professor of Applied Mathematics
  • Scot Douglass, Director of Engineering Honors Program
  • Beth Dusinberre, Professor of Classics
  • Michael Eisenberg, Professor of Computer Science
  • John Falconer, Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering
  • Noah Finkelstein, Professor of Physics
  • David Grant, Professor of Mathematics
  • Matthew Hallowell, Professor of Engineering
  • David Klaus, Professor of Aerospace Engineering Sciences
  • Clayton Lewis, Professor of Computer Science
  • Andrew Martin, Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
  • Roseanna Neupauer, Professor of Engineering
  • Helen Norton, Professor of Law
  • Valerie Otero, Professor of Education
  • Steven Pollock, Professor of Physics
  • Harihar Rajaram, Professor of Civil, Environmental and Architectural Engineering
  • Ed Rivers, Professor of English
  • Harvey Segur, Professor of Applied Mathematics
  • J. Michael Shull, Professor of Astrophysical & Planetary Sciences
  • Diane Sieber, Professor in Herbst Program of Humanities in Engineering
  • Eric Stade, Professor of Mathematics
  • Linda Watkins, Professor of Psychology

Back to Top


VII. Future Direction of FTEP: A New Vision for Teaching and Learning

The Flagship 2030 report states, “by understanding how students learn best, and adjusting our teaching methods accordingly- we can move forward...” For nearly thirty years the Faculty Teaching Excellence Program has sought out evidence-based research on teaching and learning and provided the CU Boulder faculty with tools and resources to develop great learning opportunities for CU Boulder students. Over this time we have evolved and embraced new forms of technology, new campus  partnerships, and new visions for successful teaching and learning. Our goal is to continue to be a leader in evidence-based teaching and learning at CU Boulder. 

The Scholarship of Teaching and Learning continues to evolve as new research on learning investigates the demands and realities of the 21st century. FTEP has continued to critique, embrace, and improve on SoTL to develop multiple perspectives to help inform classroom learning. Our position has been and continues to be that there is no one right way to teach. We value diversity of both people and discipline in order to promote pluralism in the classroom. We are committed to ensuring that students receive the best learning experiences possible. FTEP believes faculty, students, and the university itself are best served when teachers engage in scholarly teaching. FTEP will continue to promote teaching and learning as scholarly activity to be valued at CU Boulder as well as foster significant, long-lasting learning. FTEP not only encourages, but also provides resources and tools for faculty to assess the evidence of their student learning. This allows FTEP to continually challenge faculty regarding how they assess changes in student learning in the face of changing course instruction.

FTEP will continue to support faculty’s engagement of learners in their courses while recognizing that successful faculty and student learning is networked and interwoven with multiple departments across campus. Drawing on the strength of our campus partnerships, we further enhance our national reputation as a University that values teaching and learning as well as promotes both faculty and student success.

Back to Top