Melinda Maris, Ph.D.

Melinda Maris, Ph.D., is an award-winning teacher and scientist whose work is transforming the way we approach teaching and learning in all disciplines.  She is a pioneer in the field of teaching and learning using evidence-based methods, and she has quickly established herself as one of the rising stars using research to improve student learning.  Dr. Maris is passionate about creating student-centered learning environments grounded in research on how people learn.  She has a proven record of successfully launching new initiatives, having established six new teaching and learning support centers at different institutions over the course of her career thus far.

Dr. Maris earned her B.S. in biology from the College of William and Mary and her Ph.D. in genetics and molecular biology from Emory University.  She completed her post-doctoral fellowship at the Johns Hopkins University, and she held her first faculty position at Johns Hopkins.  Since that time, Dr. Maris has held faculty positions, student support positions, and faculty development positions at a wide range of institutions around the world, from organizations for gifted children to community colleges to liberal arts colleges to medical schools, providing her with insight into the teaching and learning needs of diverse learning environments.  Dr. Maris facilitates more effective student learning by working in partnership with students to improve their learning skills and with faculty to implement innovative, evidence-based pedagogical practices that will advance teaching and learning.  Her research contributes to the body of data validating the efficacy of active learning methods. 

Dr. Maris is the recipient of numerous awards on the basis of her demonstrated commitment to evidence-based teaching and assessment practices, including being named a Biology Scholar by the National Science Foundation and the American Society for Microbiology, a Georgia Governor’s Teaching Fellow, and a National Endowment for the Humanities / Arthur Blank Teaching Fellow.  She has also received highly competitive grants from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute to implement transformative, authentic learning experience-based undergraduate science courses.

Dr. Maris is available to speak to your group on a wide variety of topics.  She is also available as a certified Pilates instructor.  For more information, please refer to the Contact Information section of this site.

Please explore this site to learn more about Dr. Melinda Maris.

Media Updates:
Ken Bain's Best Teachers Institute
I am thrilled to be facilitating Ken Bain's Best Teachers Institute:

Dr. Melinda Maris joins Vesalius College as new Director of Student Learning & Educational Development
The Office of Student Learning and Educational Development is the fifth teaching and learning support center that I have launched.

LASSI as a Tool for Supporting Student Success
This article that I authored describes some of the work that I do as Learning Strategies Specialist at GA-PCOM:

National Genomics Research Initiative

My collaborator and I submitted a successful grant proposal to the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and were selected as one of twelve schools to join the National Genomics Research Initiative.  To read more about this honor, please visit this link.

Bradley University Pre-Professional Health Advisory Center
To learn more about the new academic center that I founded at Bradley University, please visit the following links:

National Panhellenic Conference Month of the Scholar

To read an article that I wrote describing the history of academic excellence in Phi Mu and the importance of keeping this legacy alive, please visit and scroll down to "National Panhellenic Conference Month of the Scholar."

Twitter in the Classroom

My use of Twitter as an instructional tool in my graduate-level courses at Johns Hopkins was featured in the May 2010 issue of Pathways, the faculty newsletter produced by the Johns Hopkins Instructional Resource Center::

Faculty Showcase: Mindy Maris:

Biotechnology faculty member Mindy Maris uses the social networking service, Twitter, to boost student engagement and broaden class participation in her web-supported Stem Cell Biology course.

By having her students open accounts on Twitter, Dr. Maris and her students are able to share journal and press articles more frequently, and then go to the discussion boards in Sakai to expand and reflect on their findings.

Dr. Maris notes that building connections outside of the classroom leads to more organized discussions and deeper learning and that this activity keeps the class constantly thinking about the material during the day.

"Participation is heavily weighted in my course," Dr. Maris wrote. "In addition to informal participation (e.g., answering questions in class, emailing me, etc.), students have both an individual and a group presentation, and students also participate in a debate.  I wanted to provide more reticent students, who may be uncomfortable speaking in class, with additional non-verbal outlets for participation." 

An additional advantage, says Maris, is that students can continue to have access to this material after the course ends.

Twitter is a social networking and microblogging service that enables its users to send and read messages known as "tweets". Tweets are text-based posts of up to 140 characters displayed on the author's profile page and delivered to the author's subscribers who are known as followers.
Twitter recently earned the top spot on the Centre for Learning and Performance Technologies' Top 100 Tools for Learning list. Twitter helps to builds community among course members.  An instructor can post regular announcements for students and the instructor can gather student comments informally on the course and provide formative feedback.

For more information about Twitter or to set up an account, go to .