National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment |

National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment

Occasional Paper 38 - Creating Student-Centered Learning Environments and Changing Teaching Culture: Purdue University’s IMPACT Program



Levesque-Bristol, C., Flierl, M., Zywicki, C., Parker, L. C., Connor, C, Guberman, D., Nelson, D., Maybee, C., Bonem, E., FitzSimmons, J., & Lott, E. (2019, February). Creating student-centered learning environments and changing teaching culture: Purdue University’s IMPACT program (Occasional Paper 38). Urbana, IL: University of Illinois and Indiana University, National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment (NILOA).


Paper Abstract

How does a large research university establish a culture supporting student-centered evidence-based teaching? This paper describes Purdue University’s IMPACT course design program, now in its 7th year, which has involved 321 instructors, 529 courses, and in some semesters as many as 95.1% of first-time, full-time undergraduate students. IMPACT uses assessment on multiple levels: What should we examine in addition to grades to document achievement of learning outcomes in individual courses? How do we measure the learning climate and student engagement in a class? Most important, how does a faculty development program focused on course redesign lead to meaningful and lasting institutional change? In telling this story, including lessons learned, readers will discover ways to enhance and evaluate their own faculty development programs to effect evidence-based and teaching-centric culture changes on their own campuses.


Biographies of the Authors

Chantal Levesque-Bristol
is the Executive Director of the Center for Instructional Excellence and Full Professor of Educational Studies at Purdue University. She received a Ph.D. (2000) in Social Psychology from the University of Ottawa, Canada. Her primary areas of interests are teaching and learning, motivation, educational psychology, faculty development, and institutional change. She works with faculty and conducts research on human motivation. She has worked with institutions of higher education both nationally and internationally. She is the Principal Investigator on a First in the World Grant from the Department of Education.


Michael Flierl
is an Assistant Professor of Library Science and Learning Design Specialist at Purdue University Libraries. In this position, he aims to enable Purdue students in transition (e.g. first-year and international students) to use information intentionally and creatively to learn. His research interests include informed learning, self-determination theory, and student-centered teaching and learning environments. He has published in Library & Information Science Research, portal: Libraries and the Academy, and The Journal of Academic Librarianship.




Craig Zywicki is an Assessment and Data Analyst in the Office of Institutional Research, Assessment, and Effectiveness (OIRAE) at Purdue University West Lafayette.






Loran Carleton Parker is the Associate Director of the Evaluation and Learning Research Center at Purdue University. She conducts evaluation focused on higher education and professional development.






Cody Connor is the Manager, Course Design and Development in Teaching and Learning Technologies in the Office of Information Technology at Purdue University.





Daniel Guberman, Ph.D., is an instructional developer in the Center for Instructional Excellence at Purdue University. Dan’s work, rooted in critical pedagogy, is focused on providing equitable learning opportunities for all students, while promoting the scholarship of teaching and learning. He provides consultations to faculty and graduate instructors, co-leads the Teaching Certificate Program, coordinates and delivers workshops, and organizes reading groups on pedagogy for faculty and staff. As a faculty developer and musicologist, his recent publications have appeared on the Noba Psychology Blog; in Tyranny, Resistance and Music; American Music; New Horizons in Adult Education and Human Resource Development; and The Journal of Assessment and Institutional Effectiveness. He has been interviewed and cited in The New York Times and The Chronicle of Higher Education for his work on Gen Z students in college.

David Nelson received his Ph.D. in History from the University of California, Irvine and has worked in the Center for Instructional Excellence at Purdue University since 2008, where he is currently the Associate Director. He works on SoTL projects and teaching initiatives with faculty across the campus, and has particular interests in cooperative faculty development and research in computer science around initiatives to increase the number of women with programming degrees.


Clarence Maybee is an Associate Professor of the University Libraries at Purdue University. He leads the Libraries’ efforts in working with teachers to integrate information literacy into course curricula. He authored IMPACT Learning: Librarians at the Forefront of Change in Higher Education, which details the ways academic librarians make a difference in student learning and success.




Emily Bonem
is an instructional developer in the Center for Instructional Excellence at Purdue University. In this position she focuses on consulting with faculty on pedagogical topics, data collection and analysis for a large course transformation program, and scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL). She earned her Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of Michigan. Her main research interests include self-determination theory, course redesign, and assessing student learning.



Jason FitzSimmons received a B.S. and M.S. degree in Civil Engineering and a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He is an instructional developer in the Center for Instructional Excellence at Purdue University. His primary areas of interest are active learning spaces, Engineering and STEM development as well as curriculum and program development.




Erica Lott received a B.A. in Geology and Geography from Mount Holyoke College, a M.A. in Earth Sciences and Ph.D. in College Science Teaching from Syracuse University. Her research interests include but are not limited to: learners’ understanding and representation of scientific phenomena, course transformations and implications for teaching and learning, discourse analysis, STEM education and gender studies, and science teacher education.




Additional Resources:


Jankowski, N. A., & Marshall, D. W. (2017). Degrees that matter: Moving higher education to a learning systems paradigm. Sterling, VA: Stylus Publishing



Hutchings, P. (2016, January). Aligning educational outcomes and practices.


Jankowski, N. A. (2017). Unpacking Relationships: Instruction and Student Outcomes.


National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment. (2018, December). Mapping learning: A toolkit.