The Active Learning Team

Director of Active Learning

Dr. Leah Carmichael
Sanford Hall 307A

The University of Georgia has long been known as the birthplace of public higher education in America, and now it can also be considered a leader among its peers in creating a University-wide culture of active learning. Within a culture of active learning, students are active participants in the classroom, learning is understood as the construction of knowledge rather than its absorption, and instructors guide students to construct knowledge while actively reflecting upon the learning process. 

A campuswide culture shift toward active learning is the result of the university’s newest Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP)  developed as part of UGA’s reaffirmation of accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.  

The Active Learning QEP builds on existing programs, such as the Center for Teaching and Learning’s Active Learning Summer Institute (a three-week intensive program that helps faculty redesign courses using active learning methods) and several rounds of classroom enhancement initiatives aimed at making UGA classrooms more flexible.  

The three goals of the initiative are:

Goal 1 – Expand the use of active learning pedagogies in undergraduate courses by trained instructors 
Goal 2 – Prepare students for active learning inside and outside the classroom
Goal 3 – Transform learning spaces for active learning through classroom & infrastructure updates

The impact of this culture change will be most directly felt by students, as the key learning outcomes of this initiative are to instill students with lifelong learning dispositions: curiosity to explore topics and yield new insights, an initiative in identifying and pursuing areas to expand one’s knowledge, reflection on the relationship between old and new concepts and how one learns, and the ability to connect one’s role in active learning with the development of knowledge and skills.

While a Lecturer in the Department of International, I participated in the Active Learning Summer Institute through the Center for Teaching & Learning, redesigned each of my courses using the active learning pedagogical approach, conducted research on active learning and student learning outcomes, utilized peer learning assistants in my courses, and initiated a curriculum redesign for my department to consider best teaching practices were in place at all levels of our program. As Active learning has fundamentally transformed my approach to my work, I am deeply proud to serve As the Director of Active Learning. Please don’t hesitate to contact my office if my team or I can be of assistance to you. 

Leah Carmichael

Active Learning Management Team

  • Annie Carlson Welch, Assistant to the Vice President for Student Affairs, Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs
  • Cara Winston Simmons, Interim Director, Division of Academic Enhancement
  • Ching-Yu Huang, Associate Director for Active Learning Initiatives, Center for Teaching and Learning
  • Katie Burr, Associate Director of Assessment, Office of Instruction
  • Krista Coleman-Silvers, Assistant Vice President for F&A and Director of Space Planning and Management
  • Maggie Parker, Associate Director for Accreditation, Office of Accreditation and Institutional Effectiveness
  • Meg Mittlestadt, Director, Center for Teaching and Learning