Peter Felten is executive director of the Center for Engaged Learning, assistant provost for teaching and learning, and professor of history at Elon University. He works with colleagues on institution-wide teaching and learning initiatives, and on the scholarship of teaching and learning.
As a teacher and mentor, he regularly writes and presents with Elon undergraduates, and he works with Elon College and Honors Fellows on their research. As a scholar, he is particularly interested in learning and teaching, individual and institutional change, and student experiences and agency in higher education. His books include the co-authored volumes: The Undergraduate Experience: Focusing Institutions on What Matters Most (Jossey-Bass, 2016); Transforming Students: Fulfilling the Promise of Higher Education (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2014); Engaging Students as Partners in Learning and Teaching (Jossey-Bass, 2014); Transformative Conversations (Jossey-Bass, 2013); and the co-edited book Intersectionality in Action (Stylus, 2016).
He has served as president of the International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (2016-17) and also of the POD Network (2010-2011), the U.S. professional society for educational developers. He is co-editor of the International Journal for Academic Development and a fellow of the Gardner Institute.
Areas of Expertise (4)
Learning & Teaching
Student Experiences in Higher Education
Bob Pierleoni Spirit of POD Award
Peter Felten presented with the 2018 Bob Pierleoni Spirit of POD Award, the top honor for the Professional & Organizational Development Network in Higher Education, which is a professional society for people who work in faculty and educational development in the United States.
University of Texas at Austin: Ph.D.
Marquette University: B.A.
- International Journal for Academic Development
- Professional & Organizational Development Network in Higher Education
Media Appearances (5)
Peter Felten's keys to turning shortcomings into classroom research
Grupo Prensa online
“I want to lead them to think in a different way about the research in the classroom, that they see that there is not a single way to address the problem. The key is to have a good question that matters to you, ”said Peter Felten, executive director of the Center for Active Learning at Elon University, to the group of professors who attended his workshop on June 27, within the framework of the Third Latin American Teaching Meeting - Learning in Higher Education, organized during two days in the auditorium by the Center for Teaching Excellence of the University of the North (CEDU).
Peter Felten: Education is human work, and students need to be the actors in that work
Peter Felten has visited Bilbao to participate in EuroSoTL 2019, where he has given a lecture entitled “Relationships matter: Moving relationship-rich experiences from the periphery to the center of higher education learning and teaching”. The SoTL or Scholarship of Teaching and Learning concept is very widespread in English-speaking countries, but it is not a familiar one in Spain, Italy and France.
Brown Reflects on 50 Years of ‘Open’ Curriculum
Inside HigherEd online
In an era when discussion sections don't count as innovation, what does? Peter Felten and Sophia Abbot, both from Elon University, led a discussion on viewing students as "partners" in learning. Felten acknowledged that this is not simple. He recalled a discussion with a faculty member who said, "I have a Ph.D. in organic chemistry and my students do not." That comment "is fair," Felten said. But he argued that "the job" of teaching organic chemistry is "not for the faculty member to demonstrate her expertise." By listening to students about the learning process, and making adjustments, more learning will take place -- without sacrificing the substance of what is taught. Felten and Abbot -- along with Brown students -- discussed Brown programs (far more recent than the curricular reforms of 50 years ago) that have undergraduates assist professors with writing and other tasks in courses. These students are not teaching assistants in the model of many research universities. They don't grade or lead classes. They focus on helping students, one by one, and sharing information with faculty members on what is and isn't working in class. The Brown students said that the experience of doing so made them stronger students...
Mentors play critical role in quality of college experience, new poll suggests
This column penned by Felten and former Elon President Leo M. Lambert examines the results of a recent Elon University Poll exploring the role of mentors in the college experience.
Research on Engaging Learners
Teaching in Higher Ed online
"Shape what our students do and what they think in the most efficient ways possible." — Peter Felten
Event Appearances (6)
Next Generation, Higher Education: Challenges, Changes and Opportunities
HERDSA Conference 2019 Auckland, New Zealand
EuroSoTL 2019 Bilbao, Spain
2019 Institute on Quality Enhancement and Accreditation
SACS Hilton Anatole
The Undergraduate Experience: What Matters Most for Student Success?
Teaching for Learning Conference University of Tartu
Doing SoTL in Context
SoTL-Asia Conference National University of Singapore
Learning, Belonging, and the Power of Partnership
Danish Network for Educational Development in Higher Education Conference Vingsted, Denmark
Peter Felten, et al.
A growing body of literature on students as partners in learning and teaching offers evidence on which academic developers can draw when supporting, advocating for, or engaging in partnerships. We extend a previous systematic review of the partnership literature by presenting an analysis and discussion of the positive and negative outcomes of partnership, and the inhibitors to partnership.
Deandra Little, David A. Green, & Peter Felten
This chapter introduces intersectionality as a framework for understanding how educational developers’ personal identities inform both individual practice and the broader field.
As calls for student-staff partnership proliferate across higher education, academic development must re-examine and reimagine its relationship to students. Students generally occupy roles with limited agency in academic development. We argue that this needs to change. We propose re-articulating the purpose of academic development toward the creation of conditions that liberate everyone involved in teaching and learning in higher education. We offer four vignettes that illustrate what is possible when students have the opportunity to embrace their essential roles. We conclude by reflecting on the human implications of student agency in academic development and higher education more broadly.
Student engagement in U.S. higher education has focused primarily on the micro-level of teaching and learning. Many institutions employ high-impact practices and active learning pedagogies to engage students in the classroom and the curriculum, although inequities persist within the system. At the meso-level of quality assurance, U.S. students tend to be sources of data used by institutional decision-makers, but partnership approaches have begun to spread from the micro- to the meso-level to involve students in assessment processes. U.S. institutions rarely engage students seriously in macro-level strategic activities; this absence of student voices reinforces a broader student-as-customer ethos in American higher education. Within this environment, a partnership framework for student engagement offers the possibility of enhanced educational quality and equity for all undergraduates.
In this article, we focus on questions that come into view when we look at educational development through the lenses of signature pedagogies and the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL). We offer this as a thought experiment in which we consider if SoTL is a signature pedagogy of educational development, simultaneously enacting and revealing the practices, values, and assumptions that underpin the diverse work of our field. By envisioning SoTL in this way, we may more clearly see the purposes and practices that unite—and that ought to guide—educational developers and educational development.
Although interest in contemplative pedagogies has grown considerably in higher education, faculty have relatively few resources available to help them make evidence-based choices about the use of different contemplative pedagogies in particular disciplinary or course contexts. We propose adapting a framework from the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) to serve as a heuristic for assessment of the design and implementation of these practices. After outlining this framework, we provide concrete examples from undergraduate courses to explore how a SoTL-informed design, implementation, and assessment process could be applied to the utilization of contemplative pedagogies. The examples suggest that there are many ways in which practices can be incorporated in support of deepening student learning and creating transformative learning opportunities for our students. We conclude with reflections on the potential and the limitations of this approach.
Student engagement is a central theme in higher education around the world. Over the last several years, student-staff partnerships have increasingly been portrayed as a primary path towards engagement.