CTE has temporarily relocated to East Campus 3 (EC3). We will continue to offer our regular programs and services from our temporary offices and workshop locations.

Donna Ellis


Donna EllisEmail: donnae@uwaterloo.ca
Phone: 519-888-4567 ext. 35713
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, and integrative and experiential learning; 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. In March 2019, she became the President Elect for the Professional and Organizational Development (POD) Network in Higher Education, which is based in the United States.

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. (2018). Changing the Lens: The Role of Reframing in Educational DevelopmentTo Improve the Academy37(1), 142-150.

  • 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.

  • Timmermans, J., & Ellis, D. (2015, Spring). Further explorations of institutional culture. Commentary on “Preaching What We Practice: How Institutional Culture Supports Quality Teaching” by J. Riddell and C. Haigh, Journal of Eastern Townships Studies/Revue d’études des Cantons-de-l’Est, (JETS/RECE), 44, 35-39Sherbrooke, QC: Eastern Townships Resource Centre.
  • 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. 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

  • 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).


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

  • Editorial Board Member, To Improve the Academy: A Journal of Educational Development (2017 – 2019).

  • 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.

  • External reviewer of the teaching centre at Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, BC (2016) and at Dalhousie University, Halifax, NS (2015).

  • Chair, Awards committee, POD Network (includes serving as a member of awards subcommittees) (2015 – present).

  • Editorial Board member for Innovative Higher Education (2013 to 2018)

  • 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.
University of Waterloo