Donna EllisEmail:
Phone: 519-888-4567 x45713
Office: EC3 2017
Pronouns: she/her/hers

Since 1994, Dr. Donna Ellis has supported teaching development for Waterloo’s instructors and promoted the importance of teaching and learning at our institution. 

In her role as Director, she oversees the strategic direction of the Centre's work which includes individual faculty consultations; events directed at instructors at all levels regarding face-to-face teaching, blended learning, emerging technologies, integrative and experiential learning, and indigenization, decolonization and anti-racism; online resources; curriculum and program review consultations; and research and evaluation. She also engages in both research and institutional-level projects about teaching and learning. She is the President-Elect for the International Consortium for Educational Development and a former president of the U.S.-based POD Network.

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.

Selected Publications

  • Ellis, D.E., Brown, V.M., Tse, C.T. (2020). Comprehensive assessment for teaching and learning centres: A field-tested planning model. International Journal for Academic Development. DOI 10.1080/1360144X.2020.1786694.

  • Shaw, L., Brown, K., Ellis, D., Wolf, P., Dawson, D., Goff, L., Kustra, E. (2019). From Perception to Practice: A Qualitative Exploration into Institutional Teaching Culture. Pedagogical Innovation: Adapting Practice to Evolving Cultures in Collected Essays on Learning and Teaching, Vol. 12, 140-154. DOI 10.22329/celt.v12i0.5397.
  • Ellis, D.E., Chu, S.T.L., Popovic, C., Rolheiser, C., Le-May Sheffield, S., Wolf, P., & Wright, W.A. (2018). Educational Development Guide Series: No. 3. Centre Reviews: Strategies for Success. Ottawa, ON: Educational Developers Caucus.
  • Ellis, D.E. (2018). Changing the lens: The role of reframing in educational development. To Improve the Academy: A Journal of Educational Development, 37 (1), 142-150. DOI 10.1002/tia2.20067
  • West, K., Hoessler, C., Bennetch, R., Ewert-Bauer, T., Wilson, M., Beaudoin, J.-P., Ellis, D. E., Brown, V. M., Timmermans, J. A., Verwoord, R., & Kenny, N. A. (2017). Educational Development Guide Series: No. 2. Rapport-Building for Educational Developers. Ottawa, ON: Educational Developers Caucus.
  • Timmermans, J.A., & Ellis, D.E. (2016). Reconceptualizing the scholarship of teaching and learning at the University of Waterloo: An account of influences and impact. In N. Simmons (Ed.) New Directions for Teaching and Learning, 146, (Summer), 71-78.
  • Ellis, D.E., (2015). What discourages students from engaging with innovative instructional methods: Creating a barrier framework. Innovative Higher Education, 40 (2), 111-125. DOI 10.1007/s10755-014-9304-5
  • Kustra, E., Doci, F., Gillard, K., Dishke Hondzel, C., Goff, L., Gabay, D., Meadows, K., Borin, P., Wolf, P., Ellis, D., Eiliat, H., Grose, J., Dawson., D., & Hughes, S. (2015). Teaching culture perception: Documenting and transforming institutional teaching cultures. Collected Essays on Learning and Teaching, 8, 231-244.
  • 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, 29. 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.

Grants and awards

  • 2018 – 2019. Educational Developers Caucus grant. Cultivating an institutional culture that values teaching: Collecting and collating promising practices. Co-investigator (Principal Investigator: J. Grose, Brock University; Co-investigators: L. Goff, K.N. Meadows, D. Dawson, D. Ellis, P Borin, J. Beer, L. Taylor, P. Wolf).

  • 2016–2018. Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, Insight Development Grant. Teaching Culture Indicators: Enhancing Quality Teaching. Co-investigator (Principal Investigator: E. Kustra, University of Windsor; Co-investigators: P. Borin, D. Dawson, D. Ellis, K. Meadows, L. Taylor, P. Wolf; Co-applicants: J. Beer, L. Goff, J. Grose.)

  • 2013. Robert J. Menges Award for Outstanding Research in Educational Development, Professional and Organizational Development Network in Higher Education. 
  • 2013. Ministry of Training, Colleges, and Universities Productivity and Innovation Fund grant. Teaching Culture Indicators: Enhancing Quality Teaching. Co-investigator with 8 Ontario universities (Principal Investigator: E. Kustra, University of Windsor).


  • Editorial Board Member, To Improve the Academy: A Journal of Educational Development (2017 – 2021).

  • Strategic planning retreat facilitator for teaching centres at Dalhousie University, Halifax, NS (2020) and Queen’s University, Kingston, ON (2019)

  • President, Professional and Organizational Development (POD) Network in Higher Education (three-year term starting March 2019).

  • External reviewer of the teaching centres at McGill University, Montreal, QC (2017), Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, BC (2016), and at Dalhousie University, Halifax, NS (2015).

  • Faculty role at the POD Network’s Institute for New Faculty Developers, Saratoga Springs, NY (2017).

  • Core Committee member, Professional Organization Development Network in Higher Education (2014-2017).

  • Educational Developer workshop with Trevor Holmes. (2015, April). Assessing educational development work At the Educational Developers’ Caucus Institute, Toronto, Ontario.

  • Educational Developer workshop with Celia Popovic. (2015, April). What is institutional change? At the Educational Developers’ Caucus Institute, Toronto, Ontario.

  • Editorial Board member for Innovative Higher Education (2013 to present)

  • Co-author of the 2011 final report of the Task Force on Innovative Teaching Practices to Promote Deep Learning at the University of Waterloo.
University of Waterloo