Center for Faculty Excellence

The Center for Faculty Excellence (CFE) provides structures and opportunities to empower faculty excellence and help Simmons faculty thrive in their professional lives.

A Library and Information Science faculty member working with a student

The Center for Faculty Excellence (CFE) develops and offers a wide array of professional development programs and services related to all areas of faculty work, with a particular emphasis on excellence in teaching and learning, research and service, instructional design, and support for career development. CFE also collaborates with faculty and administrative leadership University-wide on the ongoing development of policies, processes, and resources in support of faculty work, including providing leadership, research, training, and/or professional guidance as needed.

CFE uses the following guiding principles in our work to help Simmons faculty thrive in their professional lives:

  • We partner with faculty and incorporate opportunities for faculty leadership in CFE.
  • CFE serves all faculty: our programs and services are relevant and open to a variety of types of faculty roles.
  • Diversity, equity, and inclusion, particularly equitable teaching principles, are the foundation for our work.
  • Our work is evidence-based and grounded in recent research in the field.
  • We are intentional about offering programs and services that build cross-disciplinary community and provide opportunities for collaboration.
  • CFE offers both shorter and longer-term professional development opportunities, recognizing that both in-depth work and effective use of time are valued by our community.
  • CFE works to maximize access to programs and services through offering online attendance and asynchronous materials when possible.
  • We evaluate our work with intentionality, modeling best practices in program-embedded assessment.

CFE programs, services, and resources are designed by considering strategic priorities for Simmons, requests and needs of the faculty, and best practices in educational and faculty development. Please reach out to [email protected] or individual team members with program requests or ideas for how we can support faculty at Simmons.

Programs and Services

The CFE provides a wide array of programs and services to support Simmons University’s long-standing dedication to effective, inclusive, and transformative teaching across modalities. Our support of excellence in teaching includes pedagogy and learning science, course and instructional design, assessing student learning, teaching for inclusive excellence, online education, instructional design, and improving teaching with technology. We also support curriculum development and program-level assessment. CFE staff design programs and services to build a teaching community across disciplines, facilitate the sharing of ideas and resources, encourage collaboration, and provide a space for innovation and experimentation.

A Simmons classroom with student desks in a circle

Equity-Minded Teaching and Learning

Diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice are foundational principles in all of our work, but we also regularly offer DEIJ-specific programming.

Students in a Simmons School of Social Work class with faculty member Noelle Dimitri

Instructional Design

We are instructors, lifelong learners, and professionals who specialize in quality course design. We stay on top of current and emerging trends in the field of instructional design to ensure that courses that we support follow best practices.

A faculty member works with a Simmons student in a research lab

Scholarship & Research

CFE’s professional development programs focus on a wide array of topics that support faculty in meeting their scholarship goals, such as building an interdisciplinary research community, celebrating scholarship, writing productivity, and writing successful grant proposals.

Simmons Nursing students in the simulation lab practicing a code procedure while Nursing faculty observe

Career Development

The CFE supports career development and faculty mentoring across all position types and career stages in order to empower faculty excellence and help Simmons faculty grow and thrive in their professional lives.

The group of Simmons faculty who received tenure or promotions in 2024

Faculty Recognition Events

Each year promotion, tenure, and emerita/us status decisions are made at the February meeting of the Simmons Board of Trustees. The Simmons University Library has created a LibGuide featuring profiles of honorees and works they have selected to highlight in honor of their achievements.

CFE Staff

Jennifer Herman headshot

Jennifer Herman

Executive Director, Center for Faculty Excellence

Sarah Rose Cavanagh

Sarah Cavanagh

Senior Associate Director for Teaching and Learning

Lenko Tankov

Lenko Tankov

Senior Associate Director of Research and Sponsored Programs

Martina Zhelezarova

Martina Zhelezarova

Research Administrator/IRB Analyst

Karene Alexander Thorne

Karene Alexander Thorne

Operations and Program Manager

Jen Awwad

Jen Awwad

Instructional Designer

Tim Darby

Tim Darby

Instructional Designer

CFE In the News

Sarah Cavanagh

Senior Associate Director for Teaching and Learning tackles Monsters

Sarah Cavanagh is the Senior Associate Director for Teaching and Learning at Simmons University's Center for Faculty Excellence. She is also the author of The Spark of Learning: Energizing the College Classroom with the Science of Emotion and Hivemind: Thinking...

College of photos including instructors, a note board, and interactive exercises

Simmons Summer Teaching Institute Inspires Excellent Pedagogy

This summer marked the eighth year of the Simmons/HMS Summer Teaching Institute, where Simmons faculty and Harvard Medical School Postdoctoral Fellows came together for a bootcamp experience of pedagogical theory and practice. The Summer Teaching Institute began in 2015 through...

The Center for Faculty Excellence

The Center for Faculty Excellence (CFE) provides structures and opportunities to empower faculty excellence and help Simmons faculty thrive in their professional lives.