About Us

The CTFE 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.

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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 Development

Kimberly EbyKim is a community psychologist with broad interests in domestic violence; violence and gender; and collaboration and community building in a variety of contexts, especially in interdisciplinary teaching and learning. A faculty member at Mason since 1996, she taught primarily in New Century College, an undergraduate integrated and interdisciplinary studies program. In addition to New Century College, she is a Women’s Studies faculty member and affiliate of the Department of Psychology. In 2002, she was awarded the George Mason University Teaching Excellence Award.

She has co-edited an interdisciplinary reader on violence and gender and written about faculty roles in interdisciplinary collaborative work; collaborative learning; pedagogical strategies in teaching about controversial and sensitive issues; and responding to the needs of domestic violence survivors. She was a consultant for the National Learning Communities Project and continues to present at national and regional meetings, as well as individual institutions on topics such as leading institutional curricular change, developing interdisciplinary curricula, faculty collaboration, working with student and faculty diversity, and other pedagogical issues.


Ashleen Gaydaagayda1@gmu.edu
Program Coordinator

Ashleen has been at George Mason University 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. She also holds a Master of Arts in Arts Management and a graduate certificate in Special Events in Arts Management for Mason. Prior to joining the Center for Teaching and Faculty Excellence in July 2008, she held positions of both mentor and student administrative supervisor at the Student Technology Assistance Resource Center while pursuing her undergraduate studies.


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 U.S. 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

ESRphoto16Shelley 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.


Chyna Statencstaten@gmu.edu
Research Assistant, OSCAR
Student Worker, Center for Teaching and Faculty Excellence


Chyna is an undergraduate student pursuing her Bachelor’s degree in communication, with a focus in public relations. In addition to her B.A. in Communication, she is also pursuing a minor in Multimedia studies. She has a special interest in participating in work that will help others through new media and corporate social responsibility. She values work that is motivating, meaningful, and fulfilling. Through her extracurricular activities in leadership, coursework, and internships, she has developed skills in social media, public relations, media relations, corporate social responsibility, and writing for PR.

She hopes that working with CTFE will help in building a portfolio as well as creating impactful experiences. She looks forward to a career that will allow her to intertwine all of her interests to produce work for the greater good, whether that be for a company or her local community. Chyna is expected to graduate May 2017.


Bethany M. Usher, PhD busher@gmu.edu
Associate Director, Center for Teaching and Faculty Excellence
Director, Students as Scholars Initiative

Bethany UsherBethany spends as much time as possible in graveyards – she is a biological anthropologist who studies cemeteries from both osteological and archaeological perspectives to understand the social structure and health of past communities. Bethany directs the Students as Scholars initiative through the Office of Student Scholarship, Creative Activities, and Research (OSCAR), and serves as an Associate Director of the CTFE. She is also a Councilor for Undergraduate Research Program Division of the Council on Undergraduate Research. Prior to joining the CTFE in January 2010, she was faculty at the State University of New York at Potsdam, where she established the Center for Undergraduate Research and served as its Director. At SUNY Potsdam, she was an Associate Professor of Biological Anthropology and past chair of the Anthropology Department. She has a long history of collaborating with undergraduate researchers.

Faculty Fellows
Rebecca Ericson, PhDrericso1@gmu.edu
Term Instructor, Physics & Astronomy
CTFE Faculty Fellow

Rebecca EricsonBecky has been the lab coordinator for general education astronomy labs since 2005,  designing materials and facilitating instruction for approximately 1000 students and 10 – 15 instructors each year.  She has taught astronomy labs, as well as lectures of all sizes, in both face-to-face and distance formats, and is currently teaching a large enrollment studio style lab/lecture class of 72 in Mason’s new active learning classroom. In 2012 she completed the Doctor of Arts in Community College Education with a concentration in astronomy at George Mason University.

She won a Teaching Excellence award at George Mason in 2015 for her work in general education.


Jaime Lester, PhDjlester2@gmu.edu
Associate Professor, Higher Education Program
CTFE Faculty Fellow

LesterJamieJaime maintains an active research agenda that examines gender equity in higher education, retention and transfer of community college students, non-positional leadership, and organizational change. Prior to joining Mason, she was an assistant professor and co-director of the Research Center for Community College Inquiry in the Department of Leadership and Counseling at Old Dominion University. She received a Teaching Excellence Award in 2013.



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
Director, Center for Teaching and Faculty Excellence
Associate Provost for Faculty 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 Undergraduate Education

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 Director, Center for Teaching and Faculty Excellence
Director, Students as Scholars Initiative

Newsletter Archives
Campus Partners
Campus PartnerDescription
Division of Instructional Technology (DoIT)DoIT 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.
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.
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 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 Assessment (OIA)OIA seeks to support 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; and promoting best practices in assessment and the use of assessment information for improved decision-making.
Office of Institutional Research and Reporting (IRR)IRR functions as the official source of institutional information. The mission of IRR is to define, collect, analyze, maintain, and disseminate official institutional data, and to provide official institutional information to both internal and external constituents for the purposes of describing, documenting, and publishing institutional information and measures of effectiveness.
Online EducationMason Online 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.
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 General EducationThe General Education website offers a variety of resources for faculty who are interested in submitting a course for consideration by the General Education 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.
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.
University 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.
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.