Center for Instructional
Innovation and Assessment


This year's Showcase features several instructors whose excellent teaching all centered on a theme of active learning as a means of engaging students.

This showcase features the teaching of Dr. Thor Hansen, then Chair of the Geology Department at Western Washington University. His unusual teaching style, coupled with his flair for instruction and requirement that his students be "noisy" and "engaged", are presented in this showcase.

This showcase features the curricular transformation of two Journalism courses, Journalism 190, Introduction to Mass Media, and Journalism 309, Editing. It chronicles the work done over several years by Dr. Tim Pilgrim, Associate Professor in Western Washington University's Journalism Department, and exhibits some examples of student learning.

The Introduction to Microeconomics course provides an overview of the modern market economy as a system for dealing with the problem of scarcity. Over the years, Dr. Matthew Roelofs has incorporated a number of innovations into his teaching, including allowing students to actively participate in economics experiments during the class. These experiments help the students gain a deeper understanding of complex economic principles.

Art History 220, Survey of Western Art, was created to provide students with an overview of the arts from pre-historic Europe to ancient Egypt, the Near East, Greece, Rome and the Middle Ages in Ireland, Great Britian, and Europe. When Professor Linda Smeins teaches this course, her students are introduced to questions about society and culture that teach skills in critical thinking, conceptualization and theorization.

"Authentic learning may be more important than ever in a rapidly changing world, where the half-life of information is short and individuals can expect to progress through multiple careers…expert thinking and complex communication will differentiate those with career-transcending skills from those who have little opportunity for advancement."

—Marilyn M. Lombardi, Authentic Learning
for the 21st Century: An Overview, 2007