Professor, Psychological Sciences and Director, First Year Learning Initiative – Northern Arizona University
Michelle D. Miller trained as a cognitive psychologist specializing in working memory, memory encoding, and the psychology of language, earning her Ph.D. from UCLA in 1997. After leaving UCLA, Dr. Miller was a postdoctoral research associate at Rice University, studying memory processes in brain-injured individuals and helping to design functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) studies of brain areas involved in working memory. She continued to study memory after joining the faculty of Northern Arizona University as an assistant professor, then over time, turned her research efforts towards investigating effective online and face-to-face learning activities in college courses.
This interest in evidence-based, technologically-enhanced pedagogy led Dr. Miller to join the course redesign movement sparked in the mid-2000s by the National Center for Academic Transformation. She was selected as an NCAT Redesign Scholar in 2007 and began to lead the NAU Course Redesign Team shortly thereafter. As a redesign expert, Dr. Miller has presented workshops and provided consulting at a diverse array of institutions including California State University-Fresno, University of Central Florida, and the University of Arizona.
At Northern Arizona University, Dr. Miller co-created and eventually came to direct the First Year Learning Initiative, a major, cross-disciplinary program for enhancing student success in foundational gateway courses. This initiative was designed to address student effort, motivation for learning, and persistence through methods of course design.
Dr. Miller’s work on teaching and course design culminated in her 2014 book Minds Online: Teaching Effectively with Technology (Harvard University Press). The book has elicited praise, including a strong review in the Chronicle of Higher Education by teaching expert and author James Lang. Minds Online continues to generate interest from readers who are attracted to its clear, conversational style and practical, evidence-based strategies.
She will offer both the keynote address and keynote workshop at the 2018 Faculty Summer Conference on Teaching and Learning.