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, Gateway Course Student Success, and Generative AI)

Current Faculty Fellows & Initiatives

Following a competitive application process, the Center for Teaching and Learning Advisory Council, with the approval of the Vice Provost and Provost, are pleased to announce our Faculty Fellows for 2023-24.

photo of mari jaye blanchard

mari jaye blanchard is an Associate Professor in the School of Film and Animation. Since joining RIT in 2015 she has taught course content ranging from first-year animation principles to final-year capstone and graduate thesis production. Her teaching approach emphasizes hands-on, experiential learning and transparency about her students’ own role in their education. In this spirit she co-designed a study abroad animation exploration in Peja, Kosovo (2017), received a PLIG grant (2019) to support SOFA Slow-Mo: Movement Research Through Active Learning, and co-created the University-wide Wellness course Ani-Motion. Her belief in lifelong learning drove her to secure FEAD funding (2018) for a segment of her virtual reality film, which she used to enlist her own students as instructors, guiding her in the art of 3D animation. She has received departmental grants to work with students on both community-based VR and animated ceramics projects, where they are brought on as experts in their subject.

An active film maker and freelance animator, she demonstrates within the classroom relevant and contemporary practices. Bridging theoretical knowledge with practical application, she equips students with a holistic understanding of animation techniques, storytelling, and technical intricacies.

mari jaye earned her BFA in painting from Massachusetts College of Art (MassArt) and her MFA, also in painting, from the Stuart Weiztman School of Design at the University of Pennsylvania. In her final year of graduate study, she discovered hand-drawn animation under the mentorship of independent film maker Paul Fierlinger, and has now been creating her own animated works for twenty years. She is a recipient of the 2023 Eisenhart Award for Outstanding Teaching.

Key areas of expertise:
student-centered classrooms, peer feedback, critique, creative pedagogy, active learning, accessibility, digital pedagogy, learning management system/myCourses utilization and engagement, cross-disciplinary practices.

Contact mari jaye blanchard discuss your teaching.

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.

photo of Nickesia Gordon

Nickesia S. Gordon, PhD is Associate Professor in the School of Communication, RIT. Her research focuses on the intersections of communication, gender, Black identities and nationality, with emphasis on the Caribbean region.

Additionally, her research agenda explores communication for social change examining how the Communication curriculum in higher education can engage experiential learning practices and encourage civic/community engagement among college students.

Her pedagogical experiences involve designing/redesigning course and program content toward a more critical and ethical focus, and to include community and civic engaged components. For example, she has designed and implemented courses in Communication and Gender, Race and Ethnicity as well as Communication for Social Change. Additionally, she designed her prior department’s first service-learning course, which partnered with local community organizations involved in social justice issues. Through this collaboration, students worked with organizations such as the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW), Women’s Breast and Heart Initiative, the founder of which was awarded the first CNN Hero’s award, as well as PACT, a multi denominational group that advocates on behalf of local communities on a variety of social justice issues.

In the past, she has worked extensively with Barry University’s Center for Community Service Initiatives (CCSI), a Carnegie Foundation recognized body that creates partnerships with local organizations and overseas community engaged scholarship across the campus. During that time, Nickesia served on the CCSI’s annual Community Engagement Symposium planning committee (four years), helping to create a forum that brought together students and faculty as well as diverse community groups engaged in advocacy. Her prior experience at this institution, which is a Hispanic Serving institution primarily serving under-represented students and first-time college students, prepared her to contribute to initiatives aimed at retaining and enhancing the academic success of traditionally marginalized students.

Currently, Nickesia is a Core Faculty Collaborator on the NEH-Teagle Foundation Grant, Cornerstone: Learning for Living, through which she has helped design and lead a workshop on exploring best pedagogical practices for teaching ethics in the classroom.

Key areas of expertise:
ethical teaching and learning practices, experiential learning, community engaged learning, transparent assignment design, learning outcomes, active learning, gender inclusivity, classroom communication and diversity

Contact Nickesia Gordon 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.

photo of shaun foster

Shaun Foster, Professor and Director of 3D Digital Design at the Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, NY, is a pioneer in the field of interactive 3D and educational technology. With a rich professional journey spanning over 20 years, Foster has been instrumental in shaping the landscape of 3D graphics and interactive educational design. His contributions to the industry are marked by leadership roles in multiple teams and his involvement in award-winning projects across national TV, advertising, and interactive education sectors.
Foster's academic and professional pursuits are deeply rooted at the crossroads of next-gen interactive 3D, education, and interdisciplinary collaboration. He possesses a profound expertise in advanced technology, tool utilization, and educational training methodologies. This expertise is a culmination of his extensive involvement in various grant-funded projects, including the NY State Augmented Reality tourism initiative, NSF BioFuel Education, HTC Vive VR grants, VR Cary, URMC VR Steroid Pathways Learning, EpicMegaGrants in Online Learning and Virtual Production, VR Eye Tracking in collaboration with NVidia & IBM-Notre Dame, and the Meta project.

As an Authorized Unreal Instructor and a recipient of prestigious recognitions such as the EPIC Games ICVFX Fellowship and the Provost Innovative Teaching with Technology Award, Foster has consistently demonstrated his commitment to advancing the frontiers of technology in educational contexts. His current focus areas include XR/VR Eye Tracking, AI, and Virtual Production, where he actively explores the integration of design thinking and creativity to unlock new potentialities in next-generation learning. This commitment is further exemplified through his educational content on his YouTube channel, which serves as a platform for disseminating knowledge and training in his areas of expertise.

Recently, Foster has been delving into the integration of 3D Digital Design with emerging technologies such as Generative AI and large language models, aiming to revolutionize and enhance higher education paradigms. His innovative approach to technology and education continues to break new ground, setting new benchmarks in the field.

Key areas of expertise:
interactive 3D and educational technology, advanced digital graphics, grant-funded research in augmented and virtual reality, generative AI and previsualization in education, innovative teaching with emerging technologies, interdisciplinary collaboration in digital design.

For insights and collaboration in the realms of Generative AI, previsualization, and advanced 3D Digital Design, connect with Shaun Foster.

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.

For questions about the Faculty Fellows program or for support of fellows in your teaching contact ctl@rit.edu.