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Research Team

Jennifer Meta RobinsonJennifer Meta Robinson
Communication and Culture
Faculty mentor, Principal Investigator

Jennifer Meta Robinson teaches courses on performance and ethnography in America, centering on cultural approaches to interpersonal communication and environmental communication as a senior lecturer in the Department of Communication and Culture at Indiana University.  She studies small-scale agricultural movements and co-authored The Farmers’ Market Book:  Growing Food, Cultivating Community, with J. A. Hartenfeld (2007), an ethnographic study of the essential ways in which contemporary US farmers’ markets contribute to a sense of place and community. She also publishes and speaks widely on the scholarship of teaching and learning, especially about learning communities and institutional change.  She directed the Indiana University scholarship of teaching and learning initiative for 8 years and is a past president of the International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning. She co-edits the Indiana University Press book series Scholarship of Teaching and Learning and is co-editor of Teaching Environmental Literacy across the Curriculum (with Reynolds and Brondizio, 2010) and A Cultural Approach to Interpersonal Communication (with Monaghan and Goodman, forthcoming 2012).

Mimi ZolanMimi Zolan
Faculty mentor, Co-Investigator

Miriam Zolan is Professor of Biology at Indiana University. She is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and in 2000 won the Indiana University Teaching Excellence Recognition Award and in 2001 and 2008 the Trustees' Teaching Award. Her laboratory focuses on genes whose products are necessary for two fundamental activities of eukaryotes, the detection and repair of DNA damage, and the production of gametes by meiosis.  An additional interest of hers is in helping Biology graduate students prepare for their roles as future faculty, by giving them hands-on practice in designing lessons, and working with them in the study of current topics in teaching and learning. 

April SievertApril Sievert
Faculty mentor, Co-Investigator

April K. Sievert is an archaeologist who teaches graduate pedagogy and helped to develop undergraduate teaching internships in the Department of Anthropology, where she also serves as Director of Undergraduate Studies. She has collaborated with graduate students on research about active learning, individualized majors, archaeological outreach, and graduate student preparation for teaching. Her current field research at Spring Mill State Park in Indiana focuses on rural industrial archaeology, public archaeology, and tourism. She co-produced Traces Left Behind: An Introduction to Archaeology (2008) with IU filmmakers, Tim Miller and Ralph Zuzolo, and co-edited Personal Encounters: A Reader in Cultural Anthropology (2003) with L. S. Walbridge

Katie KearnsKatie Kearns
Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning
Faculty mentor, Co-Investigator

Katie Kearns is a senior instructional consultant with the Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning. She has taught biology courses and been a mentor to graduate student instructors since 1996, first as a graduate student at the University of Georgia and then as an instructor at Boston University. In her current position, Katie helps faculty and associate instructors with course design, implementation, and assessment. Katie is particularly interested in helping graduate students reflect on and document their teaching and in assisting faculty with the development and assessment of graduate pedagogy courses.

Melissa GresalfiMelissa Gresalfi
Learning Sciences
Faculty mentor, Co-Investigator

Melissa Gresalfi’s research considers cognition and social context by examining student learning as a function of participation in activity settings. I conceptualize learning as a trajectory of a student’s participation in a community—a path with a past and present, shaping possibilities for future participation. Following a situative perspective on learning, SHe has investigated how opportunities to learn get constructed in mathematics classrooms, and how, when, and why different students take up those opportunities. This focus has enabled her to explore the extent to which classroom practices are equitable and to examine categories such as race, gender, and previous mathematical experience as they arise in interaction. Current projects continue to examine students’ mathematics learning in novel classroom contexts, including gaming environments such as Quest Atlantis, and project-based curricula such as New Tech High.

Tyler ChristensenTyler Christensen
Learning Sciences
Graduate Assistant

Tyler Christensen is a doctoral candidate in Learning Sciences and a graduate assistant at the Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning.  He has taught courses in educational psychology at Indiana University Bloomington and as an adjunct faculty member at Indiana University-Purdue University Columbus.  His research explores the use of collaborative reflection activities in improving teacher preparation programs (for more details, see