About Us

The Stearns Center for Teaching and Learning offers a range of learning and support opportunities for instructors across Mason’s campuses, whether you are just getting started or have years of experience. We invite you to learn more about us by following the links below, and to explore our online resources and visit us at the Center to learn about available programs and support. If you don’t find what you are looking for, please contact us. We look forward to working with you.

Connect with Us!

Visit: The Stearns Center for Teaching and Learning is located in suite 412 of Innovation Hall, Fairfax Campus.

Email: stearns@gmu.edu

Phone: 703-993-6200

Mail: Stearns Center for Teaching and Learning, George Mason University, 4400 University Drive MS 4D6, Fairfax, VA 22030

Twitter: @StearnsCenter


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Our Mission

The mission of George Mason University’s Center for Teaching and Faculty Excellence (CTFE) is to provide leadership in promoting, supporting, and celebrating educational excellence. We pursue our mission through working with Mason faculty to enhance their skills as educators, as reflective practitioners in their disciplines, and as scholars in teaching, learning, and research. CTFE seeks to promote a climate of shared intellectual exploration and openness and to advocate for academic initiatives related to educational and faculty enhancement. CTFE collaborates with academic, academic support, administrative, and University Life offices to offer resources and support to faculty from across the Mason community at all stages of their academic careers, including graduate students, part-time faculty, and full-time faculty.

Core Values


~ as exemplified by our attention to the highest ethical standards in all domains


~ as exemplified by our commitment to fostering a diverse community that welcomes the ideas of faculty and graduate students of all backgrounds, across all disciplines and fields of inquiry


~ as exemplified by our focus on a personalized professional development approach for the members of our community and by fostering faculty and graduate student success

Collaborative Leadership

~ as exemplified by our commitment to working with our partners and key stakeholders to provide robust teaching and learning environments for our students through ongoing professional and curricular development


~ as exemplified by striving to model promising practices and our core values in all of our actions and challenging ourselves to consistently achieve our best


~ as exemplified by our attention to researching and sharing innovative practices for teaching and learning and encouraging the integration of scholarship with teaching and learning

Who We Are

Kimberly K. Eby, PhDkeby1@gmu.edu
Associate Provost for Faculty Affairs and Development

Kimberly EbyKimberly Eby joined the Mason faculty in 1996. An associate professor in the School of Integrative Studies, she is also affiliated with Women & Gender Studies and the department of psychology. In 2002, she was awarded the George Mason University Teaching Excellence Award. Her scholarly and professional interests include issues surrounding violence and gender, leadership, organizational development and change, and collaboration and community building across a variety of contexts. She was a consultant for the National Learning Communities Project and continues to present at national meetings and consult with individual institutions on topics such as leading institutional change; learning space design; interdisciplinary collaboration; working with student and faculty diversity; and other issues related to faculty, teaching, learning, and leadership.

Kim served for nine years as the Director of the Center for Teaching and Faculty Excellence (CTFE) and Associate Provost for Faculty Development, providing programming, consultations, and professional development support to Mason faculty and graduate students, with an emphasis on teaching and learning. She has collaborated with campus leaders on multiple institution-wide curricular, strategic, and leadership initiatives, including Mason’s award-winning Students as Scholars program, the Leadership Legacy Program, various diversity and inclusion efforts, and the Learning Environments Group (LEG).

Currently, she serves as Associate Provost for Faculty Affairs and Development. In this role, she is responsible for all matters pertaining to Mason faculty’s professional well-being and development, including assisting with faculty career development, recognizing faculty excellence, cultivating academic leadership, and implementing policies and practices that support faculty at Mason.

Kim earned her MA and PhD in Community Psychology from Michigan State University and her undergraduate degree from Indiana University at Bloomington.


Ashleen G. Gayda, MAagayda1@gmu.edu
Program Coordinator

Ashleen Gayda Ashleen has been a member of the Mason community for over a decade, first earning her Bachelor of Arts in Art and Visual Technology, concentrating in digital art and animation with a minor in English. Upon graduation, she joined the Center for Teaching and Faculty Excellence in 2008. She also holds a Master of Arts in Arts Management and a graduate certificate in Special Events Management from Mason. A versatile program manager, Ashleen specializes in event planning and management, non-profit administration, and marketing and communications.


Laura A. Lukes, PhDllukes@gmu.edu
Assistant Director, Center for Teaching and Faculty Excellence

Laura LukesLaura is both a geologist and a geoscience education researcher, currently serving as the Assistant Director of the CTFE. Her research focuses on how learning environments, teaching practices, and beliefs influence the strategies and tactics students use to manage their own learning in classroom settings (self-regulated models of learning). Laura is an award-winning educator who has experience teaching in a variety of settings (university, community college, K-12, informal, in the field, in person, online) and class sizes (6-95). She also has experience collaborating with faculty and providing training for graduate students in how to incorporate active learning methods into their classrooms.

Prior to joining the CTFE in June 2014, she served as an Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellow at the National Science Foundation (NSF) in the Office of Polar Programs. During this time, she served as Director of the Joint Science Education Project (JSEP), an internationally-collaborative field science research experience on the Greenland ice sheet for students and teachers from Greenland, Denmark, and the US. Laura continues to be an active leader in the national and international geoscience education communities. She served as President of the Geoscience Education Research Division (GER) of the National Association of Geoscience Teachers (NAGT) and currently serves as the chair of the Education Committee of the Geological Society of America (GSA).


E. Shelley Reid, PhDereid1@gmu.edu
Director, Center for Teaching and Faculty Excellence

E Shelley ReidShelley has grown up in an extended family of teachers—including several college English professors as well as a middle school principal, a choir director, a medical school mentor, a gymnastics coach, a history teacher, a special education coordinator, and a high school counselor—so it’s not surprising that she frequently studies how both students and teachers learn. She is an associate professor in the Department of English, where she directed the composition program for ten years; taught undergraduate and graduate courses in writing, editing, and program administration; and helped create the doctoral program in Writing and Rhetoric.

She has recently published articles about how teaching assistants in composition programs learn to teach, how writing students engage in peer review activities, and how program leaders can assess student progress. She is interested more generally in questions of how learners transfer knowledge from one context to another, and how institutions shape the work of teachers and learners at all levels.


Faculty Fellows

Ali A. Weinstein, PhDaweinst2@gmu.edu
Associate Professor, Global & Community Health
2017-18 CTFE Faculty Fellow

Ali WeinsteinAli has extensive experience conducting human biobehavioral experiments in the laboratory and field, conducts survey research, as well as a small research portfolio of qualitative research. Her research focuses on important contributors to health and recovery from illness and trauma within the broad context of medical psychology: depression, stress, and physical activity/exercise. She pursues experiments to elucidate mechanisms of bi-directional relationships between physical and mental health. Fatigue is a special area of interest for Ali, since fatigue is reported to be one of the most distressing symptoms experienced by the general population, as well as individuals with chronic illness and disability. Her future plans include the development of a sensitive, specific, and robust measure of fatigue. She received a Teaching Excellence Award in 2016.


Coordinating Circle

The Coordinating Circle is comprised of representatives from units that lead cross-campus initiatives or that provide academic support services to students, faculty and staff across campus. Coordinating Circle meets regularly throughout the academic year to ensure open channels of communication and effective collaboration across campus-wide curricular initiatives and resources.

Jan Arminio
Director, Higher Education Program

Kimberly Eby
Associate Provost for Faculty Affairs and Development

Michelle LaFrance
Director, Writing Across the Curriculum

Susan Lawrence
Director, The Writing Center

Laura Lukes
Assistant Director, Center for Teaching and Faculty Excellence

Jessica Matthews
Associate Director, Composition

Janette Muir
Associate Provost for Academic Initiatives and Services

Thomas Polk
Assistant Director, Writing Across the Curriculum

E. Shelley Reid
Director, Center for Teaching and Faculty Excellence

Darlene Smucny
Assistant Director for Quality in Online Instruction, Distance Education

Diane Smith
Associate University Librarian, Research and Education Services

Joy Taylor
Director, Learning Support Services, Division of Instructional Technology

Bethany Usher
Associate Provost for Undergraduate Education

Campus Partners
Campus PartnerDescription
Graduate Student LifeGraduate Student Life is a single location where information relevant to graduate and professional students may be easily accessed; it is complementary to the websites of academic programs; and it offers graduate students a virtual method of connecting with one another.
Human Resources and PayrollHuman Resources and Payroll aims to provide exemplary customer service and promote a fair, equitable, ethical, and quality working and learning environment for all employees and members of the University community in support of the mission of George Mason University.
Information Technology ServicesITS fosters and supports the university community in the use of technology for research, teaching, and learning. It is organized into the following departments: Classroom and Lab Technologies, Educational Media Services, and Learning Support Services.
Mason CoreThe Mason Core website offers a variety of resources for faculty who are interested in submitting a course for consideration by the Mason Core Committee; provides a list of approved Gen Ed courses; and outlines the requirements that all undergraduates seeking a baccalaureate degree at George Mason University must complete.
MasonLeadsMasonLeads is a site offering a wide range of leadership programs and initiatives for members of our campus community. The goal is to engage Mason students, faculty, staff and alumni in creating a socially conscious, civically engaged, and global campus community through leadership at all levels of our institution.
Office of Digital LearningThe Office of Digital Learning provides students with the opportunity to take the same classes offered on campus in an online format. Many distance education courses may be completed at home, while stationed abroad, or while traveling.
Office of Disability Services (ODS)ODS implements and coordinates reasonable accommodations and disability-related services that afford equal access to university programs and activities.
Office of Institutional Research and Assessment (OIRA)OIRA functions as the official source of institutional information and supports institutional effectiveness and the university’s mission of providing a superior educational experience for all our students by: assessing student learning outcomes; providing support for and managing academic program review; conducting survey and focus group research; supporting regional accreditation and strategic planning; being an assessment resource to the university community; promoting best practices in assessment and the use of assessment information for improved decision-making; defining, collecting, analyzing, maintaining, and disseminating official institutional data; and providing official institutional information to both internal and external constituents for the purposes of describing, documenting, and publishing institutional information and measures of effectiveness.
Students as ScholarsStudents as Scholars aims to foster a culture of student scholarship through increased participation in and celebration of scholarly activities. The initiative helps students to see their education as a process of scholarly inquiry, where scholarship is valued as a core practice of the George Mason University student experience.
University LibrariesThe University Libraries website contains online catalogs, links to databases, and valuable reference sources.
University LifeUniversity Life enhances students’ in- and out-of-class experiences, in addition to facilitating interactions among faculty, staff, and other students. These resources help students achieve academically, stay healthy, get involved with campus life, find jobs, and identify resources to enrich their learning.
Writing Across the Curriculum (WAC)WAC focuses on writing as a pedagogical tool that enables students to develop critical, analytical, and imaginative thinking to address complex social issues, and on faculty development in support of excellence in teaching.
The Writing CenterThe Writing Center offers both in-person and online writing assistance for students, including online writing guides, reference guides, and style manuals. Additionally, the Writing Center provides assistance to faculty who are interested in holding in-class writing workshops, developing effective writing assignments, or evaluating students’ writing.