Lumen Awards Certificates in Effective Teaching Practice to Fall 2020 Lumen Circles Faculty Fellows

Last June Lumen Learning purchased the higher education assets of Faculty Guild, an organization that facilitated virtual communities of practice to help faculty hone their expertise as effective teachers.

We took this step because it moves us further toward accomplishing our mission, “To enable unprecedented learning for all students.”

Expanding Lumen’s Focus on Teaching

Several years into a grand experiment around OER courseware, we recognize that achieving dramatically improved student learning requires more than giving students access to affordable and well-designed course materials. It also requires investing in teachers to help them get better at creating classroom environments that support learning and engage students effectively in the learning process.

In the great tradition of open education, we have adopted and adapted Faculty Guild’s original community of practice model. The result is Lumen Circles, a uniquely hands-on approach to faculty professional development that involves exploring and applying evidence-based teaching practices as part of a virtual learning community made up of fellow faculty members.

Supporting a Fellowship of Educators

To join a Lumen Circles virtual peer community, faculty members apply to participate in a Lumen Circles Fellowship. Every fellowship is grounded in a common set of evidence-based teaching practices derived from research about the types of instructional strategies that result in increased student success. These practices provide a common language all community members can use to talk about their teaching choices and what they are doing to impact student learning. This “Fellowship” structure should sound familiar to anyone who has prior experience with the Faculty Guild model.

One significant adaptation we introduced is to create “themed” circles – circles that align faculty members with peers who are growing in similar directions professionally. Circle themes invite faculty fellows to explore evidence-based teaching practices in the context of areas they are explicitly trying to innovate and expand their professional capabilities. In virtual communities of practice, they have opportunities to share ideas, offer feedback and build their capabilities as teachers through reflecting on their own experiences and by learning from each other.

For Fall 2020, Lumen Circles themes included:

  • Active Learning
  • Evidence-based Teaching
  • Online Teaching Foundation
  • Teaching with OER & Open Pedagogy

Recognizing Achievements of Lumen Circles Faculty Fellows

During fall 2020, we welcomed our first cohort of Lumen Circles Faculty Fellows. They participated in virtual communities of practice focused on each of the themes above. Despite the challenges and uncertainties of this pandemic-ridden term, nearly 200 faculty members opted to participate in Lumen Circles Fellowships.

We are honored to award the Lumen Circles Certificate in Effective Teaching Practice to the many of these fellows who persevered to complete the fellowship program. Certificate recipients completed at least 80% of the assigned fellowship activities, which typically take about two hours per week. These activities include exploring materials and best practices associated with their circle theme, applying evidence-based practices and reflecting on their impact, and sharing ideas and feedback with peers.

What’s truly inspiring about this achievement is how, despite the chaos swirling around them this term, these faculty members made time and space to think deeply about their teaching and its impact on students. By choosing a deliberate focus on how to support their students’ success, they undoubtedly made a huge difference for thousands of learners this term.

Fall 2021 recipients of the Lumen Circles Certificate in Effective Teaching Practice include:

Fellowship Program: Active Learning

Peter Carroll, Massachusetts Maritime Academy

Ariel Goodman, SUNY College at Plattsburgh

Odessa Jordan, Calhoun Community College

Amanda Miller, Mohawk Valley Community College

Orquidea Morales, SUNY College at Old Westbury

Rachael Mulvihill, SUNY College at Brockport

Steven Murphy, Binghamton University

Andrew Perron, Massachusetts Maritime Academy

Tony Podlaski, Hudson Valley Community College

Pat Rind, SUNY at Purchase College

Paul Szwed, Massachusetts Maritime Academy


Fellowship Program: Evidence-based Teaching

Robert Faivre, Adirondack Community College

Ron Keeney, SUNY College of Technology at Alfred

Andrew Wood, SUNY College of Technology at Canton

Trudi Jacobson, SUNY at Albany

Yibin Liu, University at Buffalo

Bhakti Sharma, SUNY Buffalo State


Fellowship Program: Online Teaching Foundation

Karen Arnold, Massachusetts Maritime Academy

Renee Arnold-O’Regan, SUNY Orange

Laura Bailey, Onondaga Community College

Mike Gutierrez, Massachusetts Maritime Academy

Stephanie Huffnagle, Erie Community College

Jung-Whan de Jong, Fashion Institute of Technology

Julianne Messia, Hudson Valley Community College

Becky Norton, Massachusetts Maritime Academy

Gail Stephens, Massachusetts Maritime Academy

Victoria Vieira-Potter, University of Missouri-Columbia


Fellowship Program: Teaching with OER & Open Pedagogy

Christopher Ankney, College of Southern Maryland

Emily Bailey, Towson University

Paul Bernhardt, Frostburg State University

Peggy Biser, Frostburg State University

Sam Bloom, Fashion Institute of Technology

Jacqueline Bollinger, Erie Community College

Tammy Bowers, Towson University

Sara Cano, College of Southern Maryland

David Caskey, Anne Arundel Community College

Ruth Childs, SUNY College at Brockport

Michelle Christian, College of Southern Maryland

LaPorchia Davis, Morgan State University

Gauri Desai, University at Buffalo

Brigitte Desport, SUNY Downstate Medical Center

Deborah Devlin, Frostburg State University

Thane Doubet, Tompkins Cortland Community College

Christine Dubowy, Hagerstown Community College

Debora Faccion Grodzki, Binghamton University

Katharine Fernstrom, Towson University

Lakisha Ferebee, College of Southern Maryland

Heather Gable, Frostburg State University

Pallavi Guha, Towson University

Mary Guzzy, Corning Community College

Jennifer Hawley, Chesapeake College

Christopher Hollister, University at Buffalo

Karen Huffman, Erie Community College

Steve Hymowech, Fulton-Montgomery Community College

Jennifer Jones, SUNY Westchester Community College

Lauren Liburd, Suffolk County Community College

John Lombardi, Frostburg State University

Katie Lynch, Rockland Community College

Eileen MacAvery-Kane, Rockland Community College

Theresa Mastrodonato, Frostburg State University

Lorena Mathien, SUNY Buffalo State

Patsy McKenzie, Allegany College of Maryland

John McMullen, Frostburg State University

Kenneth Nichols, SUNY College at Oswego

Jillian Nissen, SUNY College at Old Westbury

Kristin Osborne, Massachusetts Maritime Academy

Marjorie Paoletti, Anne Arundel Community College

Daphne Powell, College of Southern Maryland

Danna Prather Davis, Suffolk County Community College

Petita Rentz, College of Southern Maryland

Christine Robinson-Cooley, Hudson Valley Community College

Mary E. Robinson, EdD, Montgomery College – Germantown Campus

Julio Rodriguez, SUNY Westchester Community College

Nazik Roufaiel, SUNY Empire State College

Duncan RyanMann, SUNY Empire State College

Doris Santamaria-Makang, Frostburg State University

Roberta Schlehr, Erie Community College

Jennifer Scott, Towson University

Alyxandra Sherwood, SUNY College at Geneseo

Grace Sikorski, Anne Arundel Community College

Nicole Simon, Nassau Community College

Michelle Speach, Mohawk Valley Community College

Kathleen Speicher, Corning Community College

Patricia Szobonya, Rockland Community College

Trang Thai, SUNY College at Brockport

John Thompson, SUNY Buffalo State

Sonja Thomson, SUNY Empire State College

Lynwood Townsend, College of Southern Maryland

Mari-jo Ulbricht, University of Maryland Eastern Shore

Brandy Whitlock, Anne Arundel Community College

Sarah Young, Binghamton University



Please see the Lumen Circles Certificate in Effective Teaching site for more information about the requirements and specific accomplishments associated with this certificate program. We learned a tremendous amount this term about where our maiden-voyage fellowships hit the mark and how we can continue to iterate and continuously improve. We’re excited to see Lumen Circles Fellowship programs expanding and improving for spring 2021 and beyond.

Are you interested in learning more about Lumen courseware, professional development, or Lumen Circles Fellowship programs? Visit our website or send us a note: