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News and Announcements

Summer Reading Groups on Teaching, Learning and Emotion Forming Now

Considering the emotional impact of your teaching style and course design on your students can help you to create more effective learning experiences. “In friendly, readable prose, Sarah Rose Cavanagh argues that if you as an educator want to capture your students' attention, harness their working memory, bolster their long-term retention, and enhance their motivation, you should consider the emotional impact of your teaching style and course design. To make this argument, she brings to bear a wide range of evidence from the study of education, psychology, and neuroscience, and she provides practical examples of successful classroom activities from a variety of disciplines in secondary and higher education.” Join one of the Schreyer Institute’s sponsored reading groups to discuss the book The Spark of Learning: Energizing the College Classroom with the Science of Emotion (2016) by Sarah Rose Cavanagh. Cavanaugh is a psychologist, professor, and Senior Associate Director for Teaching and Learning at Simmons University. Group members will discuss how they can incorporate ideas and practices from the book into their own teaching. Participants will be eligible to receive a copy of the book while supplies last.

To register for a reading group, or to form your own, visit

Congratulating 2024's PSU Faculty and Staff Award Winners

Each spring, Penn State recognizes outstanding faculty and staff with annual awards in teaching and excellence. These awards highlight many of the University's faculty and staff who go above and beyond in their work at Penn State.?

The Schreyer Institute offers resources and information specifically for the George W. Atherton Award for Excellence in Teaching, Eisenhower Award for Distinguished Teaching, and the Teaching Fellow: Penn State Alumni Association Award for Excellence in Teaching.

The winners for those awards respectively are as follows:

George W. Atherton Award for Excellence in Teaching

  • Sommar A. Chilton, associate teaching professor in the College of Health and Human Development
  • Linda Instanbulli, Caroline D. Eckhardt Early Career Professor of Comparative Literature and assistant professor of comparative literature and Arabic in the College of the Liberal Arts
  • Siu Ling “Pansy” Leung, associate teaching professor in the College of Engineering
  • Kuei-Nuan Lin, associate professor of mathematics at Penn State Greater Allegheny
  • Sarah E. Nilson, assistant professor of biology at Penn State Beaver
  • Kara Stone, assistant teaching professor of English at Penn State Scranton

Eisenhower Award for Distinguished Teaching

  • Lolita Paff, associate professor of business and economics at Penn State Berks
  • Scott Showalter, professor of chemistry and of biochemistry and molecular biology in the Eberly College of Science

Teaching Fellow: Penn State Alumni Association Award for Excellence in Teaching

  • Juan Gil, professor of mathematics at Penn State Altoona
  • Sonia Molloy, associate professor of human development and family studies at Penn State York
  • Jacqueline O’Connor, professor of mechanical engineering in the College of Engineering

To see the complete list of awards and their respective winners, visit PSU’s Penn State announces 2024 University-wide faculty and staff awards news article. To learn more about the faculty awards provided through the Schreyer Institute, visit our Teaching Awards page.

Nominate an Excellent Teacher

Nominations for the Milton S. Eisenhower Award for Distinguished Teaching and the George W. Atherton Award for Excellence in Teaching awards are accepted all year round. Students and educators from any Penn State campus can nominate Penn State faculty for a University Undergraduate Teaching Award.

Find the nomination form and award criteria on our Penn State Undergraduate Teaching Awards page. Submissions before June 30, 2024, will be considered for the 2025 awards.

PSU Shenango’s Roxanne Atterholt Research Article Featured in Latest Issue & Webinar Discussion

Penn State Shenango faculty member Roxanne Atterholt recently published a research article (Shock Waves: Academic Witnessing as Resiliency Practice) focused on the work of their SITE-supported Teaching Community. The article was featured in the most recent issue of the Journal of Faculty Development.

The authors will be discussing the article in a free webinar on February 12th from 1-2pm.

The Journal of Faculty Development publishes research and scholarships on innovation in faculty development that is relevant for administrators, faculty members, and faculty development professionals. The focus of this independent, peer-reviewed scholarly journal is on faculty development in post-secondary educational institutions. It provides support for educators and administrators seeking research studies (utilizing both qualitative and quantitative methodologies) that further explore theory and philosophies related to faculty development.

Learn more: Journal of Faculty Development

New CIRTL-Modeled Certification Program for Graduate Students at Penn State

The Graduate school at Penn State and the Schreyer Institute have partnered to provide graduate students and post docs with a teaching certificate opportunity that builds on the Grad school’s previous teaching certificate program. The new program incorporates framework developed by the Center for Integration of Research, Teaching, and Learning (CIRTL), a network of 45 universities around the United States and Canada dedicated to advancing effective teaching practices for diverse learners through professional development for future faculty.

Penn State's CIRTL Program is uniquely designed to allow graduate students to meet certificate objectives in the way that best suits their teaching goals. Certification can be achieved by participating in activities offered by the CIRTL Network, a Penn State department or college, the Schreyer Institute for Teaching Excellence, or programs from other Penn State units focused on teaching.

This certificate program replaces the previous Graduate School teaching certificate. Graduate students that have already started the previous certificate program will be allowed to complete it.

For more information on the CIRTL Certificate Program, visit PSU’s Graduate School website or email

Additionally, the CIRTL network continuously offers professional development events for grad students and postdocs. You can find details about upcoming events at:

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