Excel – Extending Teaching Professional Development to the Classroom

Excel is a new initiative designed to help faculty and instructors implement evidence-based and learner-centered teaching practices in medium-sized courses. The initiative is intended for faculty and instructors who have engaged in substantial teaching professional development at UW-Madison.


  • Design new or redesign existing courses to infuse learner-centered and evidence-based teaching practices
  • Increase student engagement in the learning process
  • Enhance student learning experiences

The Excel initiative accomplishes these aims by:

  • Helping faculty overcome barriers to pedagogical change, specifically, a lack of implementation support (Blumburg, 2015).
  • Pairing faculty and instructors with an instructional consultant who will provide guidance and support throughout the course design, implementation, and evaluation phases.
  • Connecting faculty and instructors with other teaching and learning experts on campus.
  • Providing financial support for instructional material, technology needed to enhance instruction and learning, and other financial needs related to the course.
  • Providing individualized support while developing and applying a framework to guide the process carried out by Excel staff and faculty and instructor participants.

Grounded in Research on Teaching, Learning and Faculty Development

Excel’s approach is informed by the literature on:

  • Active learning (Freeman, et al., 2014) and deep learning (Zull, 2002)
  • The need for faculty to receive support when implementing new or changing existing teaching practices (Blumburg, 2015; Connolly & Millar, 2006; Paulsen & Feldman, 1995; Schein, 1992)
  • Barriers to pedagogical change (Brownell & Tanner, 2012; Chism, 2004)
  • How faculty develop as teachers (Kugel, 1993; Robertson, 1999)


For more information about the initiative, please contact Megan Schmid, director of Excel, at megan.schmid@wisc.edu.

The initiative is lead by The Collaborative for Advancing Learning and Teaching, and sponsored by the Educational Innovation (EI) Initiative.