Faculty Fellows Program

The Mission of the Faculty Fellows

RIT’s Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) promotes excellence in teaching and the creation of exceptional learning experiences by championing an effective and innovative teaching culture across the University.

The Center for Teaching and Learning Faculty Fellows Program at RIT is designed to provide full-time faculty with leadership opportunities in advancing RIT’s strategic goals in the area of teaching and learning. In offering this new program, we seek to align faculty expertise as teaching practitioners closely with the work of the new Center for Teaching and Learning. Faculty Fellows will work with RIT faculty to support their development of a range of pedagogies and teaching strategies.

Their Purpose

The CTL Fellows Program offers faculty opportunities to partner with the Center for Teaching and Learning in two new roles:

  1. “Discipline Fellows”: Advancing teaching excellence within the college-based disciplines (Humanities/Social Sciences, Science/Health Sciences, Engineering, Business, The Arts, Computing/Technology)
  2. “Fellows of Strategic Priorities”: Advancing key strategic priorities which span the university (specifically for this inaugural round, two priorities - Diversity Equity & Inclusion and Gateway Course Student Success)

Current Faculty Fellows & Initiatives

Following a competitive application process, the Center for Teaching and Learning Council, with the approval of the Vice Provost and Provost, are pleased to announce our inaugural Faculty Fellows for 2022-23.

Raj Murthy photo

Dr. Raj S. Murthy Ph.D. is the J. Warren McClure Research Professor in Marketing at the Saunders College of Business. He teaches several classes in the Business school and in RIT campuses around the world, particularly in Asia and Europe. Raj’s core belief is built around a learning-by-doing approach that exemplifies the very culture of RIT. Community engagement is a core component of the courses and students in Raj’s classes have helped over 120 local businesses in setting up and strengthening their online presence through student consulting projects. His students have helped win Google Grants for three local non profit organizations.

Raj’s teaching and course development efforts have been recognized through several honors. He has received two PLIG grants thus far to create the first-ever social media course (2013) at RIT in collaboration with COLA, and then to develop the first fully online course in search marketing and analytics (2017). Most recently, Raj joins a remarkable group of faculty at RIT as an inaugural RIT Faculty Fellow (2022) to extend the reach of, and to enhance the efforts of the Center for Teaching and Learning across the Institute.

Raj is the recipient of several teaching awards at RIT and beyond. In 2016, Raj was the recipient of the Eisenhart Award for Outstanding Teaching, which represents RIT's highest recognition of exemplary teaching. At the Saunders College of Business Raj has received both the Outstanding Student Impact Award (2017) and the Outstanding Teaching Excellence Award (2018). Raj was also the recipient of the Cengage Innovative Teaching Award in 2018 for Innovative pedagogy after being a finalist in 2017. In the years forward, he intends to continue developing new courses, experimenting with new modes of delivery, and to further pedagogy and student engagement across RIT.

Key areas of expertise:
active learning, critical thinking, student-business community involvement, consulting, no text teaching, student engagement, quantitative analyses, student feedback measurement, experiential learning, teaching with technology, course and curriculum development

Contact Raj Murthy to discuss your teaching.

Garret Arcoraci photo

Garret Arcoraci has been with RIT since 1998 as a student and instructor, so there is an apparent affinity for the university. But, more importantly, as much as he enjoys teaching, he also enjoys learning. His passion for learning and teaching drove him to apply and accept the CTL Faculty Fellow position. He brings several perspectives to the position, having worked in industry for 17 years, as an RIT graduate student for eight, and graduating with a Masters degree in Information Technology in 2009. And as an instructor for the past 12 years, starting as an adjunct in 2011.

Garret has been nominated twice for the Eisenhart Outstanding Teaching Award and received the college’s Outstanding Educator Award in 2020. Many of the courses he teaches focus on technology, and he works diligently to keep course materials current. In addition, he is constantly exploring new trends and techniques in system administration. In this new role, he hopes to share his enthusiasm with other instructors who are equally as passionate about teaching and learning as he is. And to help them use available technology for improvement and to move the university forward.

Key areas of expertise:
teaching with technology, course and curriculum development, student engagement, computer systems and security, networking, scripting, programming

Contact Garret Arcoraci to discuss your teaching.

Amanda Bao Photo

Amanda Bao is an Associate Professor and Program Director in Civil Engineering Technology at Rochester Institute of Technology. She got her Ph.D. degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 2006. Dr. Bao started teaching at Rochester Institute of Technology in 2010 and she regularly teaches civil/structural engineering courses. Prior to RIT, she worked as a bridge structural engineer at Jacobs Engineering Group, Inc. and Michael Baker International, Inc. in Denver, Colorado, and she is a licensed professional engineer in Colorado and New York. The industry experience benefits her teaching to connect the theories with the real-world applications. Dr. Bao has been actively involved in engineering education research since 2011, including digital learning, active learning and intensive collaboration with industry. Dr. Amanda Bao won the 2021 Eisenhart Award for Outstanding Teaching. She actively participates in the Center for Teaching and Learning events including giving a talk on post-pandemic digital learning in the Teachers on Teaching Series. She developed a teaching website and opened a YouTube Structural Design Teaching channel to post screencasts and videos to supplement traditional lecture-type classes, and she also created hands-on active learning modules to improve teaching and learning effectiveness in upper-level engineering courses. Dr. Bao’s teaching innovations have received increasing recognition through publications in engineering education journals, magazines and conference proceedings. The paper entitled “Enhancing Learning Effectiveness by Implementing Screencasts into Civil Engineering Classroom with Deaf Students” is published in the ASEE journal Advances in Engineering Education (2019). The article titled “Online Learning with a Bonus” is published in the ASEE award-winning magazine PRISM (2020). The paper titled “Active Learning in Dynamics: Hands-on Shake Table Testing” is published in the Proceedings of ASEE St. Lawrence Section Conference (2020), the paper “An Insight into Students’ Feedback on Synchronous Distance Learning during COVID-19 Lockdown” is published in the Proceedings of 2021 ASEE Annual Conference, and the paper “Implementing Digital Learning to Enhance Post-Pandemic Civil Engineering Teaching” is published in the Proceedings of 2022 ASEE Annual Conference. In addition to education research, she conducts research in the areas of bridge resiliency and sustainability, innovative construction materials and evaluation of aging infrastructure.

Key areas of expertise:
active learning, digital learning platforms and materials, student feedback collection and analysis, industry collaboration and experiential learning, student engagement

Contact Amanda Bao to discuss your teaching.

Keri Barone photo

Keri Barone is a Principal Lecturer in the School of Communication and the Undergraduate Program coordinator for Communication. Keri’s teaching career began at a local state campus where she was asked to revise several courses due to changing needs within the department. It was then when she began to appreciate the interplay between curriculum, and specific pedagogical choices and how those can be shaped to ultimately lead to student success. In her time at RIT she has taught dozens of courses, in varied modalities. Fully online or blended classes are a strength for Keri and she is passionate about how current technology and creative pedagogical practices can be optimized for continued student success.

Currently, she is a Core Faculty Collaborator on the NEH-Teagle Foundation Grant, Cornerstone: Learning for Living. She has taught several Teachers on Teaching sessions covering Online Teaching and Learning, lead workshops exploring best pedagogical practices in the online classroom, and for the College of Liberal Arts served as a CATs (College Advancement Team) representative assisting faculty in equity minded course design/redesign and working on various curriculum development projects. Most recently she is leading a pilot course restructuring, focusing on incorporating humanities into STEM fields. Keri is passionate about partnering for and contributing to an equitable, accessible and engaging culture of teaching and learning at RIT.

Key areas of expertise:
converting in-person syllabi to online course shells, converting in-person assignments to online, managing online asynchronous engagement, active learning, collaboration within and among disciplines/fields, interdisciplinarity, flipped and blended learning, cohesive group work and helping create assignments that hold students accountable while working in groups, faculty teaching evaluation through observations, student learning peer feedback

Contact Keri Barone to discuss your teaching.

Michelle Chabot photo

Michelle Chabot is a senior lecturer in the School of Physics and Astronomy and the course coordinator for University Physics 1. She has been teaching physics for over 20 years and has extensive experience with a large variety of classroom environments and curriculum development. At RIT, she has participated in two NSF-funded grants targeted at improving undergraduate education in STEM fields. She has been awarded the RIT College of Science Faculty Mentor of the Year Award and the RIT Science and Math Education Research Special Honors Award. As a College of Science liaison to the Course Advancement Team (CATs) that formed at the start of Covid, she assisted numerous faculty as they adapted their curriculum and pedagogy to varying modalities. She is passionate about education and about developing a strong sense of community among the faculty. Always striving to improve, you can find her trying something new in her own classroom every semester.

Michelle earned her Bachelor’s degree in math and physics from Rice University and her M.A. and Ph.D. in physics from the University of Texas at Austin. Upon graduating, she was awarded a National Research Council Postdoctoral Fellowship at the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Boulder, CO. Prior to RIT, Michelle was the Physics Undergraduate Coordinator at the University of South Florida and an Assistant Professor of Physics at the University of San Diego.

Key areas of expertise:
active learning, flipped learning, advancing student perseverance/growth mindset, Bloom’s Taxonomy, non-traditional assignments in STEM, workshop/studio classrooms, myCourses optimization, adaptive instruction, large lecture course engagement and control, lab development and assessment, creating engaging content, communicating complex concepts

Contact Michelle Chabot to discuss your teaching.

Alex Lobos photo

Alex Lobos focuses on design, technology, neurodiversity and emotional attachment as means to elevate quality of life. He works at Rochester Institute of Technology as Professor and Graduate Director of Industrial Design, Extended Program Faculty at Golisano Institute for Sustainability, and Fellow in the Arts at the Center for Teaching and Learning. He is also a Research Fellow Emeritus at software company Autodesk.

At RIT, Alex leads a top-ranking graduate program focused on interdisciplinary collaboration, accessible technology and applied design research. Alex and his students have collaborated with Autodesk, AT&T, Colgate-Palmolive, General Electric, Makerbot, Staples, Stryker, Unilever and others, in projects covering topics such as learning futures, generative design, digital fabrication, sustainable behaviors, and everyday living. Alex is recipient of the Richard & Virginia Eisenhart Award for Excellence in Teaching and the Fusion 360 Education Award, as well as been named one of RIT’s Faculty to Watch. Alex grew up in Guatemala and moved to the U.S. as a Fulbright scholar. He holds a MFA from the University of Notre Dame and a BID from Universidad Rafael Landivar. He loves playing drums, running long-distance and spending time with his family.

Key areas of expertise:
industrial design, user-centered design, emotional design, sustainability, neurodiversity, team teaching, teamwork, critical making, critical thinking, interdisciplinary projects, CAD/CAM, digital fabrication, 3D printing, international teaching, active learning, project-based learning, industry-sponsored projects

Contact Alex Lobos to discuss your teaching.

Torrence Sparkman photo

Dr. Torrence E. Sparkman is an Associate Professor in the Saunders College of Business’ management department. He currently teaches human resources and business ethics courses. For fifteen years he has been committed to teaching topics leading to improved performance, change and learning in the workplace.

He holds a Ph.D. in Human Resource Education from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana and has included diversity, equity, and inclusion as a central focus of his teaching, service, and research. He is currently a member of the board of directors for the Academy of Human Resource Development and is founding and current member of its’ Anti-racism committee. He most recently participated as a diversity, equity and inclusion panelist for his academy sponsored podcast program. At RIT, Torrence has been an interim Faculty Associate, and a frequent panelist for the Future Faculty Career Exploration program in the Division of Diversity and Inclusion.

His research has explored the shifting conceptualizations of diversity and inclusion in his academy and the necessity of being aware of multiple identities and experiences as a way of teaching and learning how to value diversity. His most recent work earned him the Best Issue Award of 2021 for the Advances in Developing Human Resources journal. As the special editor, and one of its’ authors, the issue entitled Developing Black Male Leadership in Institutional & Corporate Contexts: Leveraging HRD focuses on the problem of Black male career advancement and leadership development.

Key areas of expertise:
flipped and blended learning, Bloom’s Taxonomy, active learning general & specific instructional objective development, adult learning, diversity equity and inclusion, diversity training, diversity management, leadership development, training and development, program evaluation

Contact Torrence Sparkman to discuss your teaching.

Phil Shaw photo

Phil Shaw is a Senior Lecturer in the University Writing Program and the Writing Center Coordinator. He joined RIT as a part-time writing consultant in 2010 when he and his wife Amanda moved to Rochester from Denver, CO. While an adjunct instructor, Phil taught first-year writing at RIT and MCC, and also worked as a writing consultant at UR. Teaching in diverse contexts and communities was formative for his student-centered approach to pedagogy and the belief that “first-year” is just as important as “writing” when designing thoughtful and responsive curriculum. After being hired as a lecturer in 2014, he focused his research interests in metacognition and partnered with College of Science on linked first-year writing and science courses.

Phil accepted the new position of Writing Center Coordinator in spring 2018 and took on the professional development, scheduling, and mentoring of undergraduate, graduate, and faculty writing consultants. This work has included outreach and workshops in a number of colleges and the Graduate School. He is currently in his fifth year of the Learning and Teaching in Social Contexts Ed.D. through University at Buffalo. The focus of his dissertation is the identification and integration of threshold concepts in curriculum, assignment design, and professional development.

Key areas of expertise:
threshold concepts, writing center support, assignment design, inquiry-based learning, writing across the curriculum, professional development, accessibility, instructional alignment, cognition, critical thinking, student-centered teaching, gateway course student success, design-based research

Contact Phil Shaw to discuss your teaching.

The Faculty Fellows are currently developing a range of new programs across multiple formats including workshops, panel speaker events, teachers on teaching series and teaching circles to supplement the Centers innovative training opportunities. These will initially focus on enhancing teaching tactics in the area of student engagement, using academic technology to its best advantage, and strategies for reflective teaching practice.

Further details of programs for AYE 2022-23 will be forthcoming. For questions about the Faculty Fellows program or for support of fellows in your teaching contact fellows@rit.edu.