2015 Teaching Seminar Speaker Biography

May 13, 14, & 15, 2015

"How Can I Help My Students Do Their Best Work?  Strategies for Reaching, Focusing, Motivating, and Engaging Them as Learners"

Professor Linda Nilson

Linda B. Nilson is founding director of the Office of Teaching Effectiveness and Innovation (OTEI) at Clemson University and author of Teaching at Its Best: A Research-Based Resource for College Instructors, now in its third edition (Jossey-Bass, 2010; fourth edition in planning stages), The Graphic Syllabus and the Outcomes Map: Communicating Your Course (Jossey-Bass, 2007), Creating Self-Regulated Learners: Strategies to Strengthen Students’ Self-Awareness and Learning Skills (Stylus, 2013) and Specifications Grading: Restoring Rigor, Motivating Students, and Saving Faculty Time (Stylus, 2015). She also co-edited Enhancing Learning with Laptops in the Classroom (Jossey-Bass, 2005) and Volumes 25 through 28 of To Improve the Academy: Resources for Faculty, Instructional, and Organizational Development (Anker, 2007, 2008; Jossey-Bass, 2009, 2010). To Improve the Academy is the major publication of the Professional and Organizational Development (POD) Network in Higher Education.

Dr. Nilson’s career as a full-time faculty development director spans 25 years. In this time, she has published many articles and book chapters and has given more than 500 keynotes, webinars, and workshops at conferences, colleges, and universities both nationally and internationally. She has spoken on numerous topics related to course design, best teaching and assessment practices, scholarly productivity, and academic career matters. In her recent articles, she documents the instability of faculty development careers, raises serious questions about the validity of student ratings, and describes instructor-friendly ways to measure course-level learning that are suitable for the most rigorous faculty review.

Before coming to Clemson University, Dr. Nilson directed the teaching centers at Vanderbilt University and the University of California, Riverside. She has also taught graduate seminars on college teaching. She entered the area of educational/faculty development while she was on the sociology faculty at UCLA. After distinguishing herself as an excellent instructor, her department selected her to establish and supervise its teaching assistant training program. In sociology, her research focused on occupations and work, social stratification, political sociology, and disaster behavior.

Dr. Nilson has held leadership positions in the POD Network, Toastmasters International, Mensa, and the Southern Regional Faculty and Instructional Development Consortium. She was a National Science Foundation Fellow at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, where she received her Ph.D. and M.S. degrees in sociology. She completed her undergraduate work in three years at the University of California, Berkeley, where she was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. 

Dr. Nilson lives with her retired husband, Greg, and their somewhat pampered miniature schnauzer in Anderson, South Carolina.