Ellen Iverson2017 Rising Alumni

Ellen Iverson

Ellen Iverson has achieved early career distinction as the Evaluation Director of the Carleton College Science Education Resource Center. She focuses on the type of academic cultures and teaching styles that influence student learning, with the goal to broaden access in science. She has led multiple NSF-funded evaluations of science curricula and faculty development programs, and was co-author of a book on the effects of faculty development on teaching and student learning. Ellen is in her eighth year on the Northfield Board of Education and volunteers with a local StriveTogether program.


Evaluation Director, Science Education Resource Center at Carleton College

Please list any professional accomplishments you wish to mention.

Two recent publications culminated many years of my work evaluating faculty professional development. I had the opportunity to work with a team of researchers at Carleton College and Washington State University where over the course of five years we investigated the effects of faculty development on teaching and student learning. Now that our book is out, it has been exciting to hear from peers how our findings influence their actions in promoting productive cultures of teaching and learning. As part of my work at the Science Education Resource Center, I have focused on how faculty in STEM fields change their teaching in response to faculty development. Our team was pleased to publish our findings in a peer-reviewed science journal where little educational research is featured.

  • Condon, W., Iverson, E. R., Manduca, C. A., Rutz, C., & Willett, G. (2016). Faculty development matters: Connecting faculty learning to student learning. Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana University Press.
  • Manduca, C. A., Iverson, E. R., Luxenberg, M., Macdonald, R. H., McConnell, D. A., Mogk, D. W., & Tewksbury, B. J. (2017). Improving undergraduate STEM education: The efficacy of discipline-based professional development. Science Advances, 3(2).

Please list any past or current volunteer activities.

For the last eight years I have had the honor of serving on the Northfield Board of Education (2009 to present).I served as chair (2012-2014) and am currently vice-chair. Additionally, Northfield has a collective impact initiative focused on addressing opportunity gaps from cradle to career. Northfield Promise, which is part of the National Strive network (and nationally recognized in the 2016 Strive Accelerator Fund), allows me to volunteer my expertise in evaluation and passion for education. My favorite part of the week involves these efforts where I can work with others in my community on data and actions that help all students thrive and succeed.

Please list any awards or honors from your collegiate, professional, or volunteer experiences.

I was recently selected to be the 2017 Sherman Fairchild Foundation Pilot Bridge Conference Plenary speaker. The Sherman Fairchild Foundation Bridge programs aim to support and broaden access into science fields. Additionally, I was the 2012 invited white paper author for the AAAS National Meeting on the Measurement of Undergraduate Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Teaching

What is your favorite memory from the University of Minnesota?

Because I received all of my degrees from the University and met my husband as an undergraduate, I have so many memories connected with my University experiences and education. One of my favorite memories from my Ph.D. experiences at the University centered in the OLPD student lounge. Many of the students in my year of OLPD were hanging out in the lounge waiting for the start of OLPD 8015 course with Dr. Roozbeh Shirazi. My son who was a senior in high school just learned where he had been accepted for college and was texting me his happy news. I started crying and all my fellow students were there to hug me, and it was just a special moment.

What professor(s) or course(s) were most influential during your time in CEHD?

Both of my internship courses were influential in bringing theory and literature into my practice. Dr. Jean King led my first internship course. The class meetings provided not only intellectual support but also personal support to navigate through stakeholder conflicts. The second internship course was led by Dr. Stuart Yeh, my advisor. He provided virtual and face-to-face space for students to discuss their projects and frameworks for organizing evaluation efforts. The facilitated exchange with peers was instrumental in my work on that particular project which also led to an AEA presentation and my involvement in co-authoring a journal publication.

What gets you excited about work?

I particularly enjoy my evaluation work associated with breaking barriers. Projects centered on broadening access in science fields or my volunteer efforts in reducing opportunity gaps keep me going.

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

I only knew that I wanted to make a difference. Now my position involves determining when programs make a difference.

What is a "fun fact" about you?

I practice mindfulness through baking.