Innovation Award Winners

2018 POD Innovation Award Recipient

The 2018 POD Innovation Award went to Adriana Signorini, Mariana Abuan, Jose Sandoval, Gautam Panakkal, Val Murillo from the University of California, Merced in the Center for Engaged Teaching and Learning. The title of their innovation project is Students Helping Students Provide Valuable Feedback on Course Evaluations. Student Evaluations of Teaching (SETs) become missed opportunities when students do not provide actionable feedback. This project aimed to improve the quality of student responses on SETs by creating a peer-led presentation on the importance of SETs for students captured in a brief video. 29 courses and 529 SET responses were analyzed by the 4 participating faculty who reported an increase in actionable feedback. Find out more about this project by visiting

2017 POD Innovation Award Recipient

The 2017 POD Innovation Award went to Elizabeth A. Barre, Justin E. Esarey, Josh Eyler, and Robin Paige from Rice University’s Center for Teaching Excellence for A New Tool for Course Design: The Course Workload Estimator. The Course Workload Estimator uses evidence-based estimates of reading and writing rates to calculate the time specific assignments will require. Research indicates that the amount of out-of-class work instructors assign can have significant implications for student learning. Yet we typically rely on intuition to determine how much work is reasonable. This free tool can be used by instructors and instructional developers at all institutions and in nearly every content area. Find out more about this tool by visiting

2016 POD Innovation Award Recipient

The 2016 POD Innovation Award went to Michael Palmer from the University of Virginia’s Center for Teaching Excellence for c3Design: A Highly Interactive, Online Course Design Learning Environment. The c3Design online learning environment builds on UVA’s Course Design Institute to capture the best of the institute’s face-to-face experiences and augments it with a number of powerful electronic tools. It allows individual instructors to walk through the process of backward-integrated design on their own, which increases accessibility. Several innovative features support this goal: a series of well-crafted knowledge checks, an auto-populated syllabus template, a novel integration map, our award-winning syllabus rubric, and a fully searchable learning-focused syllabus database. Additional details can be found on the project website:

2015 POD Innovation Award Recipient

The 2015 POD Innovation Award went to Linda Serro and Jackie Greene from Florida Gulf Coast University’s Center for Faculty Development for Boosting for Retention and Connected Learning. The concept of “Boosting” is supported by the understanding that real learning does not occur in one-time events but needs spacing repetitions to move content into long-term memory (Thalheimer, 2006). The Ebbinghuas curve applies to faculty members who participate in professional development as well students in our classes. To mitigate this problem the Center sends a boost within a few hours of a session with faculty. They summarize the topics covered, give additional information related to the topic, include links to helpful resources, suggest ways to apply the information and remind people of upcoming topics to be covered.

2013 POD Innovation Award Recipient

The 2013 POD Innovation Award went to Erping Zhu and Meg Bakewell from the University of Michigan for their idea “Template for an online workshop: 1) View/Read 2) Reflect 3) Plan to implement”. This modular approach translates faculty development programming from a face-to-face to a wholly online modality. After a period of exposure to initial content, participants complete a reflective activity, and then exchange ideas with peers about incorporating new techniques into their teaching. The approach may be used by all types of higher education institutions, for many types of content. The potential for re-use makes the return on investment quite high.

2012 POD Innovation Award Recipient

Bridget Arend and Kathy Keairns, University of Denver, are the recipients of the 2012 POD Innovation Award. Their winning submission, “Online New Faculty Workshop,” details a workshop that exposes new faculty to a variety of teaching strategies and educational technologies, and models best practice in course design and teaching.  Participants work through interactive modules and contribute to discussion forums, blogs, wikis, and quizzes to demonstrate completion, and optional online discussions, live online webinars, and face-to-face sessions follow in the fall. This online version of the workshop saw vastly increased attendance, and is now required for all new faculty at the university.

2010 POD Innovation Award Recipient

The 2010 POD Innovation Award went to Jim Therrell from Central Michigan University for the idea of offering a One-Hour Conference (and Web Conference) to busy faculty who may not have time for a traditional teaching and learning conference. The One-Hour Conference (and Web Conference) is a 3-times/semester special event over 3 days (3 hours total) where faculty receive lunch, a 5-minute keynote, their choice of 2-3 breakout sessions, and follow-up resources. Along with providing choices, the conference is billed as a convenient, timely way to learn research-based methods, teaching tips, and technology techniques for creating higher impact learning. The face-to-face portion is scheduled for 2 consecutive days in order to meet diverse faculty schedules, and followed up a few days later with a webinar of the same content, The Less than an Hour Web Conference.

2009 POD Innovation Award Recipient

The 2009 POD Innovation Award went to Deb DeZure, Cindi Young, and Allyn Shaw, all three at Michigan State University, for their idea of having an orientation for mid-career faculty who have just received tenure or been promoted to full professor. “From Associate Professor to Professor: Productive Decision-Making at Mid-Career” is a half-day university-wide orientation to the mid-career experience for newly tenured faculty. The program clarifies expectations, policies and procedures for promotion to professor and identifies challenges and opportunities of the mid-career experience. The content is based on a study of mid-career faculty experiences; expectations, relevant policies and procedures; and advice from senior administrators, deans, and chairs who participate in promotion decisions and newly promoted professors.

2008 POD Innovation Award Recipient

Michele DiPietro, and several of his colleagues at the Eberly Center for Teaching Excellence at Carnegie Mellon University received the 2008 POD Innovation award for the development of “An Online Tool for Teaching Consultations.”  This online tool addresses common instructor laments, educates them about the possible reasons at the root of those problems, and suggests strategies tailored to each reason. The tool takes users through 3 steps. After selecting a teaching problem, they get presented with a set of possible underlying reasons. Clicking on a reason gives a bit of background about the research in that area, and a list of solutions tailored to the reasons. The tool, available for free at, is useful to both instructors and educational developers.