Donna Ellis


Donna EllisEmail:
Phone: 519-888-4567 ext35713
Office: EV1 320

Since 1994, Dr. Donna Ellis has supported the teaching development of Waterloo faculty members and graduate students. 

In her role as Director, she oversees the development and delivery of all the Centre for Teaching Excellence programming and services, which include individual faculty consultations; events directed at graduate students, new faculty, and established faculty regarding face-to-face teaching, blended learning, and emerging technologies; online resources; curriculum and program review consultations; and research support services.

Donna has a PhD from Waterloo’s Management Sciences program and completed her dissertation research on instructional innovations. She also has an MA in Language and Professional Writing from Waterloo, and has taught in the Speech Communication program. Donna, along with her husband, spends time away from work raising three fine boys.


  • Ellis, D.E., What discourages students from engaging with innovative instructional methods: Creating a barrier framework. Innovative Higher Education, 2014, DOI 10.1007/s10755-014-9304-5. [currently available online only]

  • Schönwetter, D.J. & Ellis, D.E. (2011). Taking stock: Contemplating North American graduate student professional development programs and developers. In J. Miller & J. Groccia (Eds.) To Improve the Academy. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
  • Ellis, D.E. & Ortquist-Ahrens, L. (2010). Practical suggestions for programs and activities. In K. Herr Gillespie & D. Reimondo Robertson (Eds.) A guide to faculty development, 2nd ed. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
  • Taylor, K.L., Schönwetter, D.J., Ellis, D.E., & Roberts, M. (2008). Profiling an approach to evaluating the impact of two Certification in University Teaching programs for graduate students. Studies in Graduate & Professional Student Development, 11, (1), 45-75.
  • Schönwetter, D.J., Ellis, D.E., Taylor, K.L., & Koop, V. (2008). An exploration of the landscape of graduate courses on college and university teaching in Canada and the USA. Studies in Graduate & Professional Student Development, 11, (1), 22-44.

Grants and awards

  • Recipient of the 2013 Robert J. Menges Award for Outstanding Research in Educational Development, Professional and Organizational Development Network in Higher Education. 
  • Co-recipient of the 2009 Robert J. Menges Award for Outstanding Research in Educational Development, Professional and Organizational Development Network in Higher Education. 
  • Co-recipient of a 2008 EDC research grant for the project “Identifying Learning Outcomes in Graduate Student Development Programs and Educational Developers’ Preparation to Teach Them.”


  • Editorial Board member for Innovative Higher Education.
  • Core Committee member, Professional Organization Development Network in Higher Education (2014-2017).
  • Co-author of the 2011 final report of the Task Force on Innovative Teaching Practices to Promote Deep Learning at the University of Waterloo.
  • Invited presentation. (2011, October). Key principles for effective learning in lectures at the 5th Pan-American Conference on Teaching and Learning of Geotechnical Engineering, Toronto, Ontario.
  • Coordinated a two-week instructional training program in 2010 for faculty members from King Saud University, Saudi Arabia.
University of Waterloo