Jennifer Brill, associate professor and program leader of instructional design and technology in the School of Education, and Robert P. Stephens, associate professor of history and associate dean for undergraduate academic affairs, are recipients of the 2015 Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Award.

Both recipients are faculty in Virginia Tech's College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences.

The Center for Instructional Development and Educational Research presents the award annually to one or two Virginia Tech faculty members who have shown ongoing dedication to scholarship in the realm of higher education teaching and learning.

Jennifer Brill

Brill joined Virginia Tech as a faculty member in 2004. Prior to that, she served as faculty at Lehigh University for two years and held various positions in the field of instructional design and technology in business, government, and educational settings for 16 years.

Brill has research and teaching interests in social and systemic theories of learning; design and evaluation of learning and performance support experiences, resources, and environments; qualitative research design; and academic writing.

“As a scholar, I am driven to understand how individuals, as members of a professional community, create and sustain a professional identity and practice that meets the needs of its stakeholders as well as the needs of its group members, improving both individual and group learning and performance,” Brill said.

“My scholarship focuses on developing and disseminating empirically-grounded models and strategies for articulating how professional work groups can foster a practice focused on practical, disciplined innovation that contributes to improved learning and performance.”

Brill received a bachelor’s degree in biology from Boston College, a master’s degree in instructional systems/training design and development from Pennsylvania State University, and a Ph.D. in instructional design and technology from the University of Georgia.

Robert P. Stephens

Stephens, a Virginia Tech faculty member since 2001 and associate dean in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences since 2013, has won several accolades for teaching including the 2010 Edward S. Diggs Teaching Scholar Award. In addition to teaching in the Department of History, Stephens serves as affiliated faculty with the Alliance for Social, Political, Ethical, and Cultural Thought and the program in cinema studies.

When he first began teaching, Stephens found “that most of what I thought about teaching was just plain wrong.” He learned quickly, however, that “teaching and learning should and could be a radically experimental medium to create relationships and expand our collective capacity to learn.”

Since then, Stephens has actively engaged in the scholarship of teaching and learning including a National Endowment for the Humanities-funded project that a group of historians undertook that resulted in the Digital History Reader, as well as research on student motivation and undergraduate research. In 2011, Stephens became the founding principal of the Honors Residential College. He used the living-learning community as an opportunity for new research into teaching and learning.

Stephens received his bachelor's degree from the University of North Texas and Ph.D. in modern European history from the University of Texas Austin, where he taught for a year before coming to Virginia Tech.

To learn more about the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Award, contact the Center for Instructional Development and Educational Research.

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