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CTE Staff


Director of the Center for Teaching Excellence

Theresa Pettit
(607) 255-4696

Before being named the Director of the Center for Teaching Excellence, Dr. Theresa Pettit served as the Director of the International Teaching Assistant Program (ITAP) at Cornell from 2002-2008. Prior to coming to Cornell, she was an Assistant Professor of French and ESL Education at Cortland State University. She has also held teaching positions at Syracuse University, Oswego State University, and Madison Area Technical College in Madison, Wisconsin. She has over 25 years of teaching experience at the secondary and post-secondary levels. Theresa received her B.S. and M.A. in Education from the Ohio State University and her Doctor of Arts degree in Foreign Languages from Syracuse University. Her accomplishments in teaching were recognized by the Ohio State University College of Education with the Career Teacher Award in 1999. She has twice received funding through Cornell's Faculty Innovation in Teaching program to support her research interest in best practices for incorporating technology into the classroom. She has also received funding through the Hatfield grant and Faculty Fellows in Service Program to support her efforts to promote outreach and collaborations across programs.

Theresa is the Center liaison to the College of Arts and Sciences.

Kimberly Kenyon, Associate Director of the Center for Teaching Excellence, Director ITAP
(607) 255-6917

Kimberly Kenyon is both an associate director of the CTE and the Director of the International Teaching Assistant Program (ITAP). Prior to coming to Cornell, she taught Instructional Design at Ithaca College, the University at Albany (UAlbany) and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Kimberly has also worked as an ESL instructor at UAlbany as well as an EFL instructor overseas. Kimberly has experience working in the private sector for Fleet Corporate, Nynex, Supermarkets General Corporation, and Eileen Fisher. Kimberly continues to work in the public and private sector as a consultant through Fishing For Answers (

Kimberly holds two M.S. degrees from UAlbany in Curriculum Design and Instructional Technology, and Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages. She is at the ABD stage for her Ph.D. in Curriculum Design and Instructional Technology at UAlbany. Kimberly is the co-recipient of a Hatfield grant and a two-time co-recipient of the Faculty Fellows in Service grant and Faculty Innovation in Teaching award. Her most recent research and teaching interests have focused on developing resources for ITAs such as student-centered course management systems, ePortfolios, and the development and utilization of multimedia resources in second language acquisition.

Kimberly is the Center Liaison to the College of Human Ecology, the School of Industrial and Labor Relations (ILR), and the Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management.

David Way, Associate Director of the Center for Teaching Excellence
(607) 255-2663

In the 30 years Dr. David Way has been at Cornell University, he has helped initiate college-wide graduate teaching development programs in four colleges, developed training and educational materials used throughout the university, assisted several colleges to redesign their student evaluation of teaching systems, initiated and published the first university-wide newsletter on undergraduate education, consulted with over 30 departments and academic fields on instructional and faculty development, encompassing eight schools and colleges on the Ithaca campus, and has been instrumental in the design and development of an annual faculty retreat on teaching and learning.

David teaches ALS 6015 Teaching in Higher Education and is the author of the Cornell Teaching Evaluation Handbook. He has been involved in the University Self-Study Working Group on Assessment of Student Learning and on the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education's Core Assessment Committee. Other previous projects include: Enhancing teaching in research-intensive environments, an international collaboration through Oxford University, UK, and Exploring good leadership and management practice in higher education: issues of engagement, an international collaboration through Cambridge University, UK.

David is the Center Liaison to the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, the Cornell Law School and the College of Veterinary Medicine.

Teaching Support Staff

Andrea Beukema

Carolyn Aslan, Teaching Support Specialist

Dr. Carolyn Aslan supports the Active Learning Initiative in the College of Arts and Sciences. She helps faculty to incorporate active learning methods into their classes in order to increase student learning and engagement, especially in large, introductory level courses. She is a native of Ithaca and graduated from Cornell with a B.A. in Archaeology and Classics. While at Cornell, she started participating in summer archaeological excavations in Turkey, and became fascinated with the history and ancient cultures of this region. She received a Ph.D. in Classical and Near Eastern Archaeology from Bryn Mawr College. Her archaeological research has concentrated on the sites of Troy and Gordion (kingdom of King Midas), both located in Turkey, with special interests in ancient religion and migrations. She taught archaeology, history, and mythology for sixteen years as a professor at Koç University in Istanbul, and enjoyed developing learning methods in her classes to activate students’ curiosity about ancient societies. She is delighted to be back in Ithaca and to have the opportunity to work with Cornell faculty.

Andrea Beukema

Andrea Beukema, Teaching Support Specialist & Instructional Designer

Andrea Beukema works as an instructional designer specializing in online learning for the CTE. She earned a M.S. from the University at Albany in Curriculum Development and Instructional Technology as well as a Graduate Certificate in Online Learning and Teaching. Andrea is the author of a book for young equestrians Riding Right Young Riderís Workbook, associate producer of the award-winning DVD 40 Fundamentals of English Riding, and producer of over 150 video interviews. Andrea earned a B.A. in Theater from the University of Connecticut and worked as a professional stage manager as a member of Actorsí Equity Association. As an instructional designer with the CTE, Andrea enjoys collaborating with educators to create engaging learning experiences.

Kimberly Williams

Melina Draper, Teaching Support Specialist for Internationalizing the Curriculum
(607) 255-9797

As the CTEís Teaching Support Specialist for Internationalizing the Curriculum, Melina Draper partners with faculty to support global learning. She consults with individuals and groups, facilitates workshops, and serves as a liaison to resources and program support. Programming includes a learning community workshop cycle for deeper engagement, topic-focused workshops open to all, and other events to support internationally-engaged dialogue and education. She collaborates with the Office of the Vice Provost for International Affairs, Cornell Abroad, the Einaudi Center and area studies programs, the Language Resource Center, and others.

Before joining the Center, Melina worked as Cornellís Southeast Asia Programís outreach coordinator, creating programming to support curriculum internationalization for community college and Education faculty. Previously, she developed curriculum for the University of Alaskaís Geophysical Institute Outreach Office and taught writing as an Assistant Professor of English at Northern Essex Community College in Massachusetts. Her book, Later the House Stood Empty (poems, 2014), explores hybrid identity and how personal and collective history are embedded in landscape. She holds an M.F.A. in Poetry from the University of Alaska Fairbanks, an M.A. in English from University of New Hampshire, and a B.A. in in Russian/International Relations and Comparative Literature from Colorado College. Melina was raised bilingual and bicultural (Argentinean/American), lived in Mexico and Uruguay, and studied abroad in St. Petersburg, Russia. She has studied American Sign Language and Burmese and continues to study Russian.

Derina Samuel

Derina Samuel, Assistant Director ITAP & Coordinator of the GTAF Program
(607) 254-8242

Dr. Derina Samuel is Assistant Director of the International Teaching Assistant Program and is also the Coordinator of the Graduate Teaching Assistant Fellow Program (GTAF). She received dual B.S. degrees in Biology and Chemistry, a M.S. in Chemistry from the University of Zambia, and a Masters in Public Administration from Syracuse University's Maxwell School. In addition, she holds a Ph.D. in Molecular Biology/Biochemistry from Syracuse University. At SU, she was an ITA for several years and was awarded an Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award in 1991. She was also selected as a Graduate Teaching Fellow to mentor new TAs. Derina completed postdoctoral fellowship work in Endocrinology at SU.

Prior to joining the Center, Derina was the Associate Director of Professional Development Programs of the Graduate School at Syracuse University where she worked closely with graduate students in the ITA, TA, and Future Professorate Programs. She also collaborated with programs across SU's campus to develop a Future Professional Program for Women in Science and Engineering (WISE-FPP). Derina has been awarded grants to conduct a Postdoctoral Fellow Seminar series on Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) and a Fulbright Foreign Language TA Orientation.

Her most recent research and teaching interests have focused on future faculty programming and various professional development resources for graduate students and postdoctoral fellows, such as ePortfolio development, RCR training, and WISE programs.

Rob Vanderlan, Ph. D

Rob Vanderlan, Instructional Specialist
(607) 255-6125

Dr. Robert Vanderlan is an alumnus of Cornell University, graduating with a B.A. in Government.  He also holds a Master's in Political Science from the University of Michigan and a Ph.D. in History from the University of Rochester. Before joining the CTE, Rob was a Visiting Assistant Professor in the History Department at Cornell, teaching courses on United States political, cultural, and intellectual history. He has taught previously at Hamilton College, Ithaca College, Nazareth College, and SUNY-Cortland. In addition, Robert has experience as a learning designer, developing online course content for professional development programs. Rob has published articles on 20th century political and intellectual history, focusing on the place of ideas in a democratic society. His book, Intellectuals Incorporated: Politics, Art, and Ideas Inside Henry Luce's Media Empire, appeared in 2010. As an Instructional Specialist with the CTE, Rob enjoys working with faculty who share a commitment to enriching the educational experiences of Cornell students.

Kimberly Williams

Kimberly Williams, Teaching Support Specialist
(607) 255-1539

Dr. Kimberly Williams works with the Graduate Research in Teaching Fellows program in the CTE. She is on the graduate faculty at Plymouth State University where she teaches courses in cognition, philosophy and research. She is also an educational consultant working with students and faculty to improve teaching and learning and teaches fitness classes. Prior to coming to Cornell, she taught courses on research, education policy, philosophy and teaching at Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Geneva, NY. She has also served on the faculty at Dartmouth College, the State University of New York Colleges at Cortland and Morrisville, and Syracuse University. Kimberly received her Ph.D. in Cultural Foundations of Education and her Master's in Higher Education administration (M.S.) from Syracuse University and her B.S. in Psychology from St. Lawrence University. She has published several books and articles in the field of Education. Her author page for links to most recent books is available by clicking here.

Resource and Communication Support

Erin Jones

Erin Jones, Project Support Specialist
(607) 255-6552

Dr. Erin Jones received her Ph.D. in Cellular and Molecular Biology from the University of Wisconsin, Madison and her B.A. in Biology from Scripps College. As a Project Support Specialist with the CTE, Erin assists with developing materials for CTE programing, supports the CTE assessment plan, and helps with coordination and internal communication of CTE programing. Prior to joining the CTE, Erin was a postdoctoral researcher at Cornell studying longevity using the model organism C. elegans. At Cornell, Erin taught with the Cornell Prison Education program. Erin has been active in undergraduate teaching and science outreach throughout her graduate and research career.

Sarah Laplante

Sara LaPlante, Project & Statistics Support Specialist
(607) 255-6552

Sara LaPlante comes to the Center for Teaching Excellence from the world of statistical policy analysis. After completing her Master of Public Policy at the University of Chicago, she joined the New York Civil Liberties Union, where she gathered and analyzed data to support a range of social policy research. Most recently, she worked as a Technical Analyst studying issues of poverty and inequality at MDRC, a non-profit research organization that evaluates the effectiveness of social policy initiatives. Her contributions at MDRC focused on the evaluation of Family Rewards, a large-scale conditional cash transfer program aimed at reducing poverty in New York City and Memphis. She draws on these experiences in her multi-faceted role at the Center, where she contributes to the data collection and analysis components of CTE's research grants.

LaPlante joined the CTE staff in June 2016. She is originally from Dallas.

Ilze Lemesis

Ilze Lemesis, Project Specialist for Outreach and Communication
(607) 255-3711

As the Project Specialist for Outreach and Communication, Ilze Lemesis facilitates the communication of Center programs and initiatives through print media, digital design and marketing. Before joining the Center, Ilze worked in New York City in advertising, publishing, Wall Street corporate communications and the arts. Past clients have included Pearson Education, Longman, Penguin, Rowman & Littlefield, Anne Klein, BBDO, Bill Blass, Pioneer, TEAC, American College of Physicians, Thompson, and others. She holds a BFA in painting from SUNY New Paltz, studying with Emanuel Bromberg. Ilze joined CTE in February 2017. She is originally from Tioga County.

Radmila Veshcherevich

Radmila Veshcherevich, Project Specialist/Administrative Assistant
(607) 255-6552

Radmila is a Project Specialist/Administrative Assistant. Previously she taught in the CTE’s International Teaching Assistant Summer Program for four years and conducted numerous assessments as part of the ITAP team. Radmila has twenty years of experience teaching at the college level and has taught grammar, speaking, and writing and Russian at Cornell, Ithaca College, Elmira College, Tompkins Cortland Community College (TC3), and SUNY-Cortland. She holds an M.A. in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and earned a B.A. in Linguistics from Novosibirsk State University.

Office Manager

Leslie Williams

Leslie Williams
(607) 255-3990

Leslie Williams supports all Center initiatives including Faculty Programming, GET SET Programming for graduate students, future educators, and teaching assistants, and the International Teaching Assistant Program. She holds a B.A. degree in Sociology with a Clinical Concentration from Ithaca College, an A.A.S. degree in Liberal Arts, Social Science from Tompkins Cortland Community College, and an M.B.A. from LeTourneau University. Prior to joining the Center for Teaching Excellence, Leslie worked for the Advocacy Center, formerly known as the Task Force for Battered Women/Child Sexual Abuse Project. While there, she served as Director and Instructor for Domestic Violence Education.

Graduate Assistants

Michael Dunaway

Michael (Mike) Dunaway, Outreach and Communication

Mike Dunaway is a Ph.D. student in Cornellís Natural Resource Department and has been awarded both the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship and the Cornell Sloan Diversity Fellowship. He has experience with teaching university level mathematics, English, geoscience and American Indian studies classes. Mike is certified as a NSF media communications liaison and has previously worked on communication and outreach in his role as a NSF Climate Change: Humans and Nature in a Global Environment (C-Change) IGERT Trainee. He received his Masterís degree in Geography from the University of Kansas and his Bachelorís degree in Native American studies from Haskell Indian Nations University.

Undergraduate Student Staff