Teaching Innovators

Each year a handful of instructors and graduate students across disciplines are awarded the ABLConnect Teaching Innovator Award. They are awarded an honorarium, have their activities highlighted on the ABLConenct website, and are invited to give a testimonial. 

Apply for the Innovator Award

Submit your activity based learning example for entry into this year's Innovator Prize competition by taking this ~15 minute survey.

Innovator Award Winners for 2018–2019 

Thank you to everyone who submitted an activity to our Teaching Innovator Award contest for 2018–2019! We were so impressed with the high quality of the submissions and thrilled to see the wide range of imaginative activities being used across campuses. Instructors from every discipline and at every level are sure to benefit from implementing these activity-based learning activities in their classrooms. We are excited to announce the winners of the 2018–2019 Teaching Innovator Awards, as follows:


Shai Dromi, Andrew Keefe, and Kwan Woo

Dr. Dromi and his teaching fellows helped students master the art of synthesizing and visualizing a complex array of historical information to shed light on precipitating forces behind humanitarian crises in “Visualizing Humanitarian Crises and Interventions.” See how they leveraged a novel and creative platform to help students build illuminating timelines here.


Graham Allison, Derek Reveron, and David Sanger

This trio of trailblazing faculty has brought their diverse experiences and expertise on topics ranging from national security to foreign policy to bear on classroom instruction through an exciting, immersive medium: a realistic simulation, aptly called “Being in the White House Situation Room.” See how they used this activity to make classroom material come to life here.


Dana Mirsalis

Dana Mirsalis’s activity “Let's try to stop the Tokugawa shogunate from collapsing!” puts students in the shoes of an advisor to the Tokugawa shogunate in the 19th century to get them to think about how they would respond to pressing issues given the limited information they had at the time. See how this activity brings students to appreciate the motivations for historical decisions through research and role play here.



Jennifer Rivers Cole

In her broadly applicable activity “A Before and After Close Paper Reading,” Dr. Cole addresses a concern students so often have when they first enter the world of reading research papers: They don’t know what all the key terms mean. By helping students identify and build up to understanding these terms, Dr. Cole teaches students a strategy that will serve them throughout their time in college and beyond. See how she guides them through the process here.


Lucy Ballard

Through her activity “Learning through Case Construction,” Dr. Ballard flips the script on the familiar case study by having students grapple with an ethical issue concerning sex, gender, and sexuality and then construct their own case studies to capture the issue. See how she tailored a familiar activity to help students discuss and debate new ethical questions in a civil and focused way here.


These and other entries can be found on our activity database. We encourage all teachers to find inspiration for their lesson plans in our expansive database and to submit your own activities

for the next contest so that we can recognize your achievements at reimagining what classroom learning can look like. Thanks again for your submissions, and congratulations to our winners!



Paper Outline Workshop by Alexandra Schultz, Graduate Student (GSAS)

See also: Prize Winners, 2018

Case Study for the Regulation of Financial Institutions by Professor Howell Jackson, J.D., M.B.A. (HLS)

See also: 2018

Parisian Narratives in Virtual Reality by Dr. Nicole Mills, Ph.D. and team (FAS) 

See also: 2018

Lord of the Rings - Music Analysis by Dr. Katherine Pukinskis, Ph.D. (FAS)

See also: 2018

Empathetic Bridge Role-Play by Rosi Greenberg, Sarah ElRaheb, Marshall Ganz, Graduate Students (HKS)


Modeling the Ecological System for Children with Incarcerated Parents by Abena Subira Mackall, Graduate Student (HGSE)

Visual Arts in Dermatology: Training the Eye by Elizabeth Buzney, M.D. and Jennifer Huang, M.D. (HMS)

See also: 2017

Paper Figure Jigsaw by Christopher Burtner, Ph.D. (DCE)

Simulated Auction for the Sale of an International Company by Mitchell Presser, J.D. (HLS)

ABL_MitchellPresser on Vimeo

Team Midterms by Jenny Hoffman, Ph.D. (FAS)



Community Service & Education by Ariane Liazos

Complex Stats, Simple Tech by Theodore Svoronos


Mining Shakespeare by Peter Henstock


Peer Learning for Dissection by Glenna Clifton



Dying in a New World by Christopher Allison

 Christopher Allison, American Studies on Vimeo


Farm to Fork Project by P.K. Newby

 P.K. Newby, Nutrition on Vimeo


Peer Review Revisions by Samuel Ronfard

 Samuel Ronfard, Human Development & Education on Vimeo


Real Estate Investment Pitch Project by Teo Nicolais


Fall 2014

From Text to Hypertext by Thenesoya Vidina Martín de la Nuez

 Thenesoya Martín De la Nuez, Roman Languages and Literature on Vimeo


Planning a Documentary Film on Developmental Biology by Kaitlyn Choi

 Kaitlyn Choi, Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology on Vimeo


Mock Congressional Hearing by Jonathan Bruno

 Jonathan Bruno, Department of Government on Vimeo


Spring 2014

Name Five by Kellie Carter Jackson

 Kellie Carter Jackson, African and African-American Studies on Vimeo


Theme and Variations: Understanding Musical Style by Bill O'Hara

 William O'Hara, Music on Vimeo

Mapping Indian Political Institutions by Emily Clough

 Emily Clough, Government on Vimeo

Bring a Goddess to a Party by Maria Metzler

 Maria Metzler, Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations on Vimeo

Globe Toss Icebreaker by Michael Parzen