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Washington State University
Washington State University Office of the Provost

Transformational Change Initiative

LIFT Faculty Fellowship

Learn. Inspire. Foster. Transform.

Since 1890, the faculty at Washington State University have demonstrated a strong commitment to educating students. Our faculty are passionate about their work in classrooms, research settings, and one-on-one with WSU students. This commitment to and passion for education are what drive us to continuously improve the WSU student experience.

The LIFT Fellowship (Learn.Inspire.Foster.Transform.) is designed to support instructors in this work. We use teaching methods that have been shown to improve students’ engagement, connection, and learning, to decrease course withdrawal and fail rates, and to increase retention.

Learning outcomes

After participating in LIFT Faculty Fellows will be able to transform their courses using methods that have been shown to increase student engagement, connection, and learning. Through participation in LIFT, faculty will:

  • Develop knowledge of theory and research related to active learning approaches and brief behavioral interventions
  • Apply active learning techniques and brief behavioral interventions in their classes
  • Support and be supported by colleagues who share their commitment to student success

Application overview

We are currently inviting WSU faculty system-wide to join our eighth cohort of LIFT Fellows.

Applications are due by March 17, 2024 at 11:00 p.m. (Pacific). The application includes the following questions, which we recommend applicants prepare in advance in a Word document to cut and paste into the online application.

  • What does academic success look like for your students?
  • How do you support your students’ academic success?
  • How have previous professional development opportunities facilitated your ability to meet the needs of your students?
  • What is the course number for the class in which you will be implementing LIFT practices?
  • What is the average enrollment for this course?
  • LIFT Fellows are required to integrate a LIFT teaching practice in academic year 2024-25. Will you be able to meet this requirement? Why or why not?

Commitment to participate in the LIFT Faculty Fellows Program

Once accepted to the program, LIFT Faculty Fellows join an intensive learning environment as they explore and integrate evidence-based active learning and behavioral interventions in their teaching plans. LIFT Faculty Fellows agree to completing the following activities by May 15, 2025:

Date-specific meetings and trainings

  • Attend the LIFT Cohort 8 2-day training on the WSU Vancouver Campus May 23 and 24.
  • Complete readings and pre-reflections in preparation for in-person training modules
  • Complete all LIFT evaluations
  • Attend at least two of the pedagogical trainings offered by the Transformational Change Initiative, Learning Innovations, WSU Teaching Academy, or CVM Teaching Academy (other campus-specific options may be substituted with approval).
  • Complete a Classroom Implementation plan detailing how you will use active learning approaches to incorporate at least one LIFT teaching practice in your classroom (e.g., resilience, social belonging, mindfulness, self-compassion, growth mind-set).
  • Meet at least three times with your Peer Mentoring Pod.
  • Attend a 50-minute peer observation and/or co-mentoring training session.
  • Conduct a classroom observation of a current or former LIFT faculty fellow and debrief OR complete a co-mentoring activity.
  • Complete a final progress report.

Additional information about these requirements will be offered by the LIFT team via email, during the training, and at subsequent times throughout the year. We work diligently to make sure you are on track and successful.

Upon completion of the program

We recognize that LIFT involves a substantial time commitment which will be recognized with:

  • $2,000 for completing all LIFT Faculty Fellow requirements including the adoption and implementation of at least one brief behavioral intervention in an active learning style related to connection/social belonging, values/value-based decision-making, mindfulness/self-compassion or growth mindset/resilience.
  • A certificate of completion.
  • A letter of thanks, copied to your department chair and dean.

Faculty members highlight value of LIFT

Leticia Fanucchi, DVM, PhD, WSU Veterinary Teaching Hospital

“The training program was very useful for me and I certainly learned a lot from it. The lectures and assignments were flexible and I did not feel overwhelmed by it. The team organized it really well, and gave us several opportunities to discuss our plans and activities. Also, the scholarship was much appreciated.

The highlights of the training for me were:

Learning how to be more mindful of oneself, of the teaching (content), and more mindful of the students and their impressions/perspectives.

Plan and gradually execute active learning without having to change your entire course overnight. You can take your time and implement one small change at a time.

The peer observation activity was my favorite homework of the program, and I learned a lot from observing my colleague.

I highly recommend the LIFT program, not only for junior faculty, but for those who want to stay current on teaching strategies.”

Krista R.A. Nishida, Ph.D., Clinical Assistant Professor, Dept. of Chemistry

“The LIFT program has gotten a lot of us in chemistry implementing and researching additional things to benefit the students and their learning, so it was a very much appreciated opportunity. Thanks, again to the LIFT team!”

Current LIFT Trainers

Mary Kay Patton

Human Development & Center for Transformational Learning and Leadership

Mary Kay Patton, J.D., is dedicated to nurturing the human spirit as an essential dimension of leading a rich, full, meaningful life. In so doing, she supports LIFT faculty in taking value-based committed action from a place of presence and mindfulness. Patton is a gifted facilitator, writer, educator and advocate. She was instrumental in designing the LIFT program and is convinced that its success is in large part due to the translation of evidence-based interventions into a playful, engaging and experiential training; thus elevating and reimagining the role of quality classroom teaching at land-grant institutions.

An Idaho native, Mary Kay has a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Washington and a J.D. from the University of Idaho.

Anna Whitehall

Human Development & Center for Transformational Learning and Leadership

My purpose in life is supporting others in discovering and developing their best selves. My position as both a professor and LIFT trainer have allowed me to live into that purpose every day. As a LIFT Fellow and LIFT Trainer I have found the evidenced based approaches that we need to make our teaching come alive and support our students on their journey to their best selves. Social belonging, growth mindset and resilience are just some of skills we all need to be our best selves and LIFT brings those to life for faculty and their students. I find such joy in seeing students have an ah-ha moment or working with a faculty member to fit the puzzle pieces of their discipline and LIFT together. I am excited to live into my purpose with a student-centered learning community.


Kara Whitman

School of the Environment

Many students entering college have not yet fully developed their learning skills, nor gained the confidence to self-direct that learning, and propose novel ideas and solutions.   Students at this stage in their education are also in a time of transition and are particularly susceptible to influences that will shape the mindset that will guide the type of learner they become, the skills that they acquire, and the experiences that they have during their time at the University and beyond. LIFT provides the evidence as well as ideas for approaches to enhance student self-confidence, sense of belonging, and provide a structured process to transform and/or enhance each student’s approach to growth, learning, and problem solving. I am very excited to be a LIFT Trainer and look forward to building a larger collaborative community of student-centered teachers!



Janet Peters


As a teacher, I strive to engage, challenge, and spark intellectual curiosity in my students. In a perfect world, I would accomplish those goals within each course, class session, and assignment. But the reality is that teaching, good teaching, is hard. Maybe that’s why I’m passionate about it, because I like the challenge and complexity of the problem. I enjoy analyzing my classes for areas of improvement, scrutinizing my grading and course policies, developing new projects, and evaluating my own performance. But, like anyone else, I get stuck. After participating in the LIFT program as a faculty fellow, I was re-energized with fresh ideas to incorporate into my most difficult courses. Now, as a LIFT trainer, I am thrilled to be able to work with other faculty who want to positively impact their students through empirically supported interventions. I love the collaborative nature of the LIFT program and am happy to share my experiences and resources with anyone interested.

LIFT Faculty Fellows 2021

Name WSU Campus College Department
Kersten Bergstrom Tri-Cities CAS Biological Sciences
Christina Chacon Tri-Cities Nursing Nursing
Jia Cheng Pullman VCEA Civil and Environmental Engineering
Georgina Cox Vancouver CAS Biological Sciences
Ameera Fayad Tri-Cities Nursing Nursing
Robert Franklin Tri-Cities CAS History
Sarah Guess Pullman CVM Veterinary Teaching Hospital
Khan Md Ariful Haque Pullman Business Finance and Management Science
Ben Ladd Vancouver CAS Psychology
Xingqiu Lou Pullman CAHNRS Apparel, Merchandising, Design and Textiles
Renee Magnan Vancouver CAS Psychology
Philip Morgan Pullman Education Kinesiology
George Newman Vancouver CAS Physics and Astronomy
Matt Peck Pullman CAHNRS NIH Protein Biotechnology Training Program
Catherine Perillo Pullman CAHNRS Crop and Soil Sciences
Michael Pumphrey Pullman CAHNRS Crop and Soil Sciences
Jamie Rice Pullman VCEA Design and Construction
Bonnie Sarkinen Tri-Cities Nursing Nursing
Yuxin Zhang Tri-Cities VCEA Mechanical Engineering

LIFT Faculty Fellows 2020

Name WSU Campus College Department
Bob Zeng Everett VCEA Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
Christa Abdul-Karim Pullman CAS Anthropology
Alana Anderson Pullman CAHNRS Human Development
Liz Aust Pullman CAS Sociology
Jessica Bilek Pullman International Programs Intensive American Language Center
Nandita Biswas Pullman VCEA Mechanical and Materials Engineering
Susan Collins Pullman CAS Psychology
Lynn Dils Pullman International Programs Intensive American Language Center
Ken Faunce Pullman CAS History
Jamie Flathers Pullman CAS English
Traci Gillig Pullman Communication Strategic Communication
Anne Marie Guerrettaz Pullman Education Teaching and Learning
Will Hall Pullman CAS Mathematics
Cara Hawkins-Jedlicka Pullman Communication Strategic Communication
Kasee Hildenbrand Pullman Education Kinesiology and Educational Psychology
John Hinz Pullman CVM Molecular Biosciences
Nancy Irlbeck Pullman CAHNRS Animal Sciences
Dipra Jha Pullman CCB Hospitality Business Management
Jane Kelley Pullman Education Teaching and Learning
Laura Kuhlman Pullman CAS English
Amrita Lahiri Pullman CCB Management, Information Systems, and Entrepreneurship
Yen-I Lee Pullman Communication Strategic Communication
David Martin Pullman CAS English
Leone Musgrave Pullman CAS History
Erika Offerdahl Pullman CVM Molecular Biosciences
Sylvia Omulo Pullman CVM Global Animal Health
Jeb Owen Pullman CAHNRS Entomology
Melissa Parkhurst Pullman CAS Music
Wendy Raney Pullman Communication Journalism and Media Production
Lauren Reed Pullman International Programs Intensive American Language Center
Michael Ritter Pullman CAS Politics, Philosophy, and Public Affairs
Geoffrey Ruzicki Pullman International Programs Intensive American Language Center
Amanda Stahl Pullman CAHNRS/CAS School of the Environment
Dana Algeo-Nichols Spokane Medicine Speech and Hearing Sciences
Cindy Brigham-Althoff Spokane Nursing Nursing
Kevin Fiedler Tri-Cities CAS Mathematics
Yimo Liu Tri-Cities CAS Biology
Shirley McIntosh Tri-Cities Nursing Nursing
Sarah Roley Tri-Cities CAHNRS/CAS School of the Environment
Tanja Burkhard Vancouver CAHNRS Human Development
JoAnn LoSavio Vancouver CAS History
Samantha Reisz Vancouver CAHNRS Human Development
Lisa Vickers Yakima Nursing Nursing

LIFT Faculty Fellows 2019

Name Campus College Department
Brianna Valliere Everett CAHNRS Food Science
Corrie Wilder Everett Communication Marketing & Communications
Mark Billings Pullman CAHNRS/CAS School of the Environment
Blythe Duell Pullman CAS Psychology
Eman Elturki Pullman International Programs Intensive American Language Center
Sharon Fraser-Allen Pullman International Programs Intensive American Language Center
Megan Hall Pullman CAS English
Emily Harmon Pullman International Programs Intensive American Language Center
Laci Hubbard-Mattix Pullman CAS Politics, Philosophy, and Public Affairs
Michelle Kistler Pullman Communication
Sue Lani Madsen Pullman VCEA Architecture
Robert McCoy Pullman CAS History
Julie Menard Pullman CAHNRS/CAS School of the Environment
Brenna Miller Pullman CAS History
Wannaporn Phipps Pullman International Programs Intensive American Language Center
Kathleen Rodgers Pullman CAHNRS Human Development
Michael Salamone Pullman CAS Politics, Philosophy, and Public Affairs
Eugene Smelyansky Pullman CAS History
Alexander Spradlin Pullman CAS Psychology
Raymond Sun Pullman CAS History
David Torick Pullman VCEA Mechanical & Materials Engineering
Lisa Waananen Jones Pullman Communication Journalism & Media Production
Kayla Wakulich Pullman CAHNRS/CAS School of the Environment
Sarah Whitley Pullman CAS Sociology
Brett Bell Tri-Cities CAS History
Shannon Calderone Tri-Cities Education Educational Leadership
Gina Cronrath Tri-Cities Nursing Nursing
Brigit Farley Tri-Cities CAS History
Rhonda Hammond Tri-Cities CCB Hospitality Business Management
Maria Moscatelli Tri-Cities Education Teaching and Learning
Meagan Lobnitz Vancouver CAS English
Mark Stephan Vancouver CAS Politics, Philosophy, and Public Affairs


LIFT Faculty Fellows 2018

Name Campus College Department
Jacob Murray Everett VCEA Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
Lucrezia Paxson Everett COMM Communication
Soobin Seo Everett CCB Hospitality Management
Caitlin Bletscher Pullman CAHNRS Human Development
Shira Broschat Pullman VCEA Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
Chris Cooney Pullman COMM Communication
Rebecca Cooney Pullman COMM Strategic Communication
Christine Curtis Pullman COMM Communication
Lee Daffin Pullman CAS Psychology
Anne Drobish-Shahat Pullman International Programs Intensive American Language Center
Dave Evans Pullman CAS Biological Sciences
Sam Gizerian Pullman CVM Integrative Physiology and Neuroscience
Amy Heile Pullman CAS English
Matthew Hudelson Pullman CAS Mathematics
Chanmi Hwang Pullman CAHNRS Apparel, Merchandising, Design and Textiles
Babu John Mariadoss Pullman CCB International Business
Michelle Mann Pullman CAS History
Ali Mehrizi-Sani Pullman VCEA Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
Hallie Meredith Pullman CAS Fine Arts
Margaret Mount Pullman International Programs Intensive American Language Center
Holly Neibergs Pullman CAHNRS Animal Sciences
Samanthan Noll Pullman CAS Politics, Philosophy, and Public Affairs
Somava Pande Pullman COMM Communication
Sammy Perone Pullman CAHNRS Human Development
Karen Phoenix Pullman CAS History
Jenni Sandstrom Pullman CCB Hospitality Management
Michael Thomas Pullman CAS English
Raven Weaver Pullman CAHNRS Human Development
Jennifer Lodine-Chaffey Tri-Cities CAS English
Robin Ebert Mays Tri-Cities CAS English
Lodi Nelson Tri-Cities CAS Biological Sciences
Jodi Rosso Tri-Cities CAHNRS + CAS Geology
Gunjan Gakhar Vancouver CAS Biological Sciences
Kristin Huggins Vancouver COE Administration and Supervision
Liz Reilly Gurocak Vancouver CAHNRS Economic Sciences
Kimber Saville Vancouver CAS Psychology
Praveen Sekhar Vancouver VCEA Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
Nanette Thrush Vancouver CAS Fine Arts

LIFT Faculty Fellows 2017

Name Campus College Department
Paul Buckley Pullman CAS Chemistry
Lisa Carloye Pullman CAS Biology
Sandra Cooper Pullman CAS Math
Asaph Cousins Pullman CAS Biology
Leticia Fanucchi Pullman CVM Integrative Physiology and Neuroscience
Michael Finnegan Pullman CAS Chemistry
Erin Gallagher Pullman COMM Communication
Mark Gibson Pullman CAHNRS School of Economic Sciences
Deborah Handy Pullman CAHNRS Human Development
Hanjo Hellmann Pullman CAS Biology
Joseph Hewa Pullman CAHNRS Human Development
Leeann Hunter Pullman CAS English
Jennifer Johnson Pullman CAHNRS/CAS Environmental Science
Allyson King-Beall Pullman CAHNRS/CAS Environmental Science
Lyudmyla Kompaniyets Pullman CAHNRS School of Economic Sciences
Krista Nishida Pullman CAS Chemistry
Anna Plemons Pullman CAS English
Donelle (Dee) Posey Pullman CAS Psychology
Alejandro Prera Pullman CAHNRS School of Economic Sciences
Marsha Quinlan Pullman CAS Anthropology
Judy Schultz Pullman COE Sport Science
Jihyeong Son Pullman CAHNRS Apparel, Merchandising, Design & Textiles
Sam Swindell Pullman CAS Psychology
Paul Verrell Pullman CAS Biology
Kate Watts Pullman CAS English
Elizabeth Weybright Pullman CAHNRS Human Development
Anna Whitehall Pullman CAHNRS Human Development
Kara Whitman Pullman CAHNRS/CAS Environmental Science
Srinivas Allena Tri-Cities VCEA Civil and Environmental Engineering
Katherine Banks Tri-Cities CAS School of Politics, Philosophy, and Public Affairs
Jesus Bravo Tri-Cities CCB Management
Vanessa Cozza Tri-Cities CAS English
Sena Clara Creston Tri-Cities CAS Fine Arts
Gibran Escalera Tri-Cities CAS English
Jonah Firestone Tri-Cities COE Science Education
Mark Mansperger Tri-Cities CAS Anthropology
Byron Marlowe Tri-Cities CCB Hospitality Business Management
Allison Matthews Tri-Cities CAS Psychology
Sarah Newcomer Tri-Cities COE Literacy Education
Janet Peters Tri-Cities CAS Psychology
Elsa Silva Lopez Tri-Cities CAS Chemistry
Sara Sorensen Petersen Tri-Cities COE Special Education
Elly Sweet Tri-Cities CAS Biology
Cynthia Cooper Vancouver CAS Molecular Biosciences
Dale Fortin Vancouver CVM Neuroscience
Brenda Grell Vancouver CAS Digital Technology and Culture
Adam McKee Vancouver CAS Sociology
E. Regina McMenomy Vancouver CAS English and Women Studies
Wendy Olson Vancouver CAS English
Cynthia O’Rourke Vancouver CAS Biology
Michael Rabby Vancouver CAS Digital Technology and Culture
Aaron Whelchel Vancouver CAS History
Debra Wilmington Vancouver CAS Biology

Acronyms: College of Agricultural, Human and Natural Resource Sciences (CAHNRS), College of Arts and Sciences (CAS), College of Education (COE), College of Veterniary Medicine (CVM), Voiland College of Engineering and Architecture (VCEA), Carson College of Business (CCB)

In the news:

TCI makes major strides

After five years working on the Transformational Change Initiative, principal investigator Laura Hill has a tough time coming up with any shortcomings of the grant-funded project. The initiative received funding from 2016’s strategic reallocation to come up with new ways to help improve student retention. Full story…

LIFT inspires WSU Everett colleagues to go above and beyond in support of student success

EVERETT, Wash. – Jan. 24, 2019 – Engineering, communication and business students are working together at WSU Everett under a merged coursework project launched this spring by three faculty members exploring greater opportunities for interdisciplinary studies. Full story…


2024 LIFT Fellows Application—Eighth Cohort

Online Application
(Due March 17, 2024 at 11:59 PM Pacific)