About IIF

As part of the Instructional Design, Engagement and Support (IDEAS) group’s mission to support innovation in teaching, as well as the effective use of teaching technologies, the Instructional Innovation Fellowship (IIF) supports UMass instructors across disciplines who are currently engaging in creative teaching practices to share their ideas with and learn from other UMass instructors.  

Modeled on the internationally renowned Teach Meet approach, IIF Fellows convene monthly in a community of practice and rotate presenting their innovative teaching methods and approaches related to topics such as creating dynamic lectures, assessing students, and developing engaging activities. 

Applications for the 2024-2025 fellowship have now closed. Thanks for your interest!  

What is expected of Instructional Innovation Fellows?   

  • Attend 8 (1.5-2 hr.) in-person meetings over the course of a year  
  • Present twice to your group of fellows, showcasing two different innovative approaches and ways in which you used teaching technologies to address a classroom challenge
  • Collaborate with the IDEAS team to prepare your presentations 
  • Share resources and presentation slides in Canvas/Google Drive with other members of the fellowship  
  • Allow the IDEAS team to share your teaching strategies and practice with a wider audience  

Some examples of innovative practices   

  • Integrating CUREs (Course-based Undergraduate Research Experiences) to provide opportunities for students to gain real-world research experience and practice scientific thinking-skills 
  • Developing professional-looking recordings of micro-lectures to embed in online courses and/or in-person courses to increase engagement with course content 
  • Increasing engagement and participation among all students by using tools such as Mentimeter, Padlet, or Twine
  • Utilizing the Human Library Project to connect students, using a variety of digital tools, with 'human books' and subject-matter experts all around the world 
  • Collaboratively creating Open Education Resources (OER) with students  
  • Using ArcGIS StoryMaps (a digital mapping tool) to have students create a tour that incorporates sites, places, or neighborhoods that explore a course’s major themes or document students' individual research   
 
To find out more about our IIF fellows' innovative teaching practices and get some great ideas for your own teaching, you can click the button below: 
 

2023-24 Fellows

Department of Resource Economics

Dhiroj Koirala Headshot
Dhiroj Koirala is a fifth-year PhD student in the Department of Resource Economics. He focuses on energy transitions in developing countries. Currently, he teaches ResEcon 102, an introductory microeconomics course for freshmen. Passionate about leveraging technology to enhance the classroom experience, Dhiroj is exploring methods to monitor students' use of generative AI apps for essay writing. He firmly believes students should hone their original writing skills before harnessing the capabilities of AI to elevate their work.
Dhiroj Koirala Headshot

Department of Environmental Conservation

Kelly Klingler headshot
Kelly Klingler is a faculty member in the Department of Environmental Conservation at UMass Amherst. As a conservation biologist, Kelly’s research interests focus on the population genetics of imperiled species as well as non-invasive wildlife monitoring, ecology, and management. Kelly teaches several courses within the Natural Resources Conservation (NRC) major where she emphasizes: i) experiential fieldwork and service learning, ii) data science skills, and iii) contemplative pedagogy. Using an active-learning and often team-based approach, Kelly strives to cultivate a sense of belonging for all students in the life sciences through development and participation in Course Undergraduate Research Experiences (CUREs). As an IIF Fellow, Kelly will present on some of the strategies she’s used to facilitate student engagement including “Think Pair Share” exercises, Slido polling software, data science practice using specific CURE modules, as well as opportunities for personal reflection through 5-minute free writes during class.
Kelly Klingler headshot

Department of Journalism

Greeley Kyle Headshot
After 15 years as an award-winning TV News Journalist in Knoxville and Memphis, TN, Greeley taught broadcast journalism for 20 years at the Missouri School of Journalism, where he also served as the Executive News Editor of KOMU-TV (The university-owned NBC affiliate in Columbia, MO). He was named a Missouri Icon and picked up a number of teaching awards there as well. Greeley retired as an Associate Professional Practice Professor Emeritus at Mizzou, and is now the lead broadcast lecturer in the UMass Department of Journalism as well as the Director of its Sports Journalism Concentration. Greeley teaches a plethora of classes including Video Content Creation, Short Form Documentary, Live Digital Sports Production, Sports Talk Live!! and Broadcast Performance.
Greeley Kyle Headshot

Music Education Department

Lisa Lehmberg headshot
Lisa Lehmberg is Professor of Music Education at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Her research on older adult music participation and quality of life is published in the books Music, Senior Centers, and Quality of Life (2023, Cambridge University Press), Meanings of Music Participation: Scenarios from the United States (2022, Routledge), and Music for Life: Music Participation and Quality of Life of Senior Citizens (2016, Oxford University Press; 2021 in Chinese translation, Shanghai Educational Publishing House). At the undergraduate level, Lisa teaches elementary general music methods and co-facilitates a student teacher seminar. At the graduate level she teaches courses in music education research, music and lifelong learning, and global perspectives in music education. As an Instructional Innovation Fellow, Lisa looks forward to the opportunity to teach and learn with the other IIFs and also share strategies she uses in her teaching, such as a human library course design and a means of music composition via body movement through the use of wristband sensors, a midi controller, and a digital audio workstation.
Lisa Lehmberg headshot

Department of Education Policy, Research and Administration

Bjorn Nordtveit headshot
Bjorn H. Nordtveit is the former editor of the Comparative Education Review (2013-2023). He is chair of the Department of Education Policy, Research and Administration (EPRA) at the University of Massachusetts Amherst since 2022, after serving for ten years as Associate Professor at UMass and five years as Research Assistant Professor at the University of Hong Kong. He has also served as visiting faculty at Zhejiang Normal University. Prior to joining academia, he worked for twelve years (1994-2005) with UNESCO in the Lao PRD and with the World Bank (mostly in West African countries) on non-formal youth and adult education. He has also worked with UNESCO in Iraq as an educational observer. His research, teaching and writing focus on three areas: (i) aid effectiveness in education and development, including public-private partnerships and integrated service provision; (ii) child protection in contexts of adversity; and (iii) critical and alternative epistemologies, including critical auto-ethnography, decolonial methods and critical discourse analysis. His most recent book is Schools as Protection? Reinventing Education in Contexts of Adversity (Springer 2016), and he is currently under contract with Springer for a book on the use of smartphones in educational research.
Bjorn Nordtveit headshot

Teacher Education and Curriculum Studies

Ali Söken headshot
Ali Söken is a Ph.D. student in Teacher Education and Curriculum Studies at UMass Amherst. As a first-gen college student, parent, and international student from Turkey, my research focuses on critical media literacy in teacher education. My dissertation examines how future teachers learn and effectively teach critical media literacy. I also instruct a course on Education and Film, exploring themes of race, gender, and social class. Previously, I worked on projects related to computational thinking, scientific literacy, and technology integration. I have taught courses including Theories of Learning and Introduction to Special Education. Before my Ph.D. program, I served as an instructional designer for an e-learning company and a project manager for a non-governmental organization.
Ali Söken headshot

Philosophy Department

Matt Whitlock headshot
Matt Whitlock is a Philosophy doctoral student at UMass Amherst. Matt’s research interests include Philosophy of Mind and Cognitive Science, Data Ethics, and Existentialism. In his courses, Matt often assigns texts by underrepresented and lesser-known voices as a way to practice engaged learning alongside students. As an IIF fellow, Matt will present on his experimental results from trying new ideas and approaches in his courses.
Matt Whitlock headshot

College of Education

Allie Wolf headshot
Allie Wolf is a special education doctoral student at UMass Amherst’s College of Education. Allie’s research interests include special education in the juvenile justice system, mental health and trauma, and writing instruction. Allie currently teaches a first-year seminar course entitled Exploring Trauma in Education and works as a teaching assistant for the Introduction to Special Education class. In the summer, she teaches a writing workshop at a Massachusetts secure juvenile justice facility. In her practice, Allie strives to cultivate a classroom environment where all students are set up for success no matter their ability or context. Before her work in higher education, Allie taught students English Language Arts at the middle and high school level. As an IIF Fellow, Allie will present on various strategies and approaches that she has implemented in the classroom such as trauma-informed writing pedagogy and self-regulated strategy development.
Allie Wolf headshot

Department of Chemical Engineering

Dandan Xu headshot
Dandan Xu is a Lecturer in the Department of Chemical Engineering at the College of Engineering. She teaches several courses from introductory courses for first-year engineering students to capstone courses for seniors majoring in Chemical Engineering. In her teaching, she strives to foster self-driven learning and promote peer-to-peer interaction within the classroom. As an IIF fellow, she will present on some of her innovative strategies that stimulate active learning inside and outside the classroom. This includes her experiences with different interactive tools and game-based setups that are designed to boost student participation and enhance learning outcomes.
Dandan Xu headshot

Public Health and Health Sciences

Sofija Zagarins headshot
Sofija Zagarins is a Lecturer in Epidemiology and Director of the Public Health Sciences Program in the School of Public Health and Health Sciences. Sofija teaches both campus-based and online courses, and incorporates a range of instructional technologies into both these modalities to support student engagement and to fulfill the guidelines promoted by the universal design for learning framework. As an IIF fellow, Sofija will present ideas for incorporating online teaching strategies into campus-bases classes, and for using universal design principles to promote classroom equity and inclusion.
Sofija Zagarins headshot

2023-2024 marks the second year of the Instructional Innovation Fellowship. To see a list of the 2022-2023 fellows, check out last year's article

Questions?

If you have questions about the fellowship or application process, please contact Sharon Kearney (@email) and Tamarin Butcher (@email).