Denise Leonard, PhD, has been named Associate Director for Graduate-Student and Postdoc programs at The Teaching Center. Denise joined The Teaching Center in 2013 as a postdoctoral research scholar (a dual appointment with the Department of Biology) and was appointed Assistant Director in 2014.
As Associate Director, Denise will lead the development of our professional-development programs for graduate students and postdocs, including the WU-CIRTL Program for Future Faculty in STEM, The Teaching Citation, and the Preparation in Pedagogy Program. Denise will also take the lead in refining and improving our consulting programs. In these programs, she works with our Assistant Directors to provide mentorship in teaching and professional development for graduate students and postdocs.
In addition, Denise will work with Gina Frey (Executive Director) and Beth Fisher (Director) on faculty-development programs including our summer Faculty Institutes on Teaching, such as the upcoming IDEA FIT (Inclusion and Diversity to Engage All: Faculty Institute on Teaching).
Reflecting on her new role, Denise notes, “I am honored to serve our graduate students and postdoctoral fellows in this new role and very excited to grow and improve our professional-development programs. The Teaching Center has had a tremendous impact on our graduate students and postdocs, and I am often told how important and helpful our workshops and programs are to them. I look forward to working with our Teaching Center leadership as we put action behind the great feedback and new ideas we have been receiving.”
Beth adds, “Denise’s passion for engaged teaching and her knowledge of active- learning methods inspire and inform all of us at The Teaching Center, and the entire staff is excited to work with her in this new role. Under Denise’s leadership, Teaching Center programs will evolve to meet the changing needs of graduate students and postdocs who are committed to developing their expertise in evidence-based teaching.”
Denise enjoys dedicating her expertise to programs and teaching approaches that are designed to help retain diverse students in STEM fields. She is also interested in continuing to build interdisciplinary connections with others who are passionate about teaching. To this end, Denise will be the Teaching Center’s liaison to The Graduate School, the Division of Biology and Biomedical Sciences, and graduate programs across all programs and schools.
In her new role, Denise will continue to lead the development of our STEM Pedagogies Workshop Series and our WU-CIRTL Program. The latter is a formalized professional development program which has been developed in coordination with the 43-institution CIRTL network. The mission of CIRTL (the Center for Integrating Research, Teaching, and Learning) is to improve undergraduate STEM education by training future faculty in evidence-based teaching. A valued colleague and leader within the CIRTL Network, Denise serves on the CIRTL Cross-Network Operations Group (CNOG) Committee, and she often teaches CIRTL Cross-Network courses and workshops, such as Diversity in the College Classroom.