Trefny Center Unit ID


The Trefny Innovative Instruction Center’s mission is to inspire an institutional culture that values, studies, and implements transformative teaching and learning at Mines. The Center provides leadership, consultation, resources, and programs to achieve the four areas of our mission:


Promote teaching that is intentionally designed, supportive of students, focused on learning, and reflective.


Advance teaching and learning through university strategic planning, initiatives, and policy.


Further data-driven instruction and education research.


Foster a collaborative, learning-centered teaching community.

Find Us at Green Center 211!


Deb Jordan, M.A. — Director

Deb leads the Trefny Innovative Instruction Center team in their work with faculty and staff to continuously expand high-quality, research-based, and innovative learning experiences for Mines students. Prior to joining Mines, Deb’s interests were leading and supporting transformational change in science education. Deb served as Senior Fellow on the Disciplinary Literacy in Science Team at the Institute for Learning (IFL) at the University of Pittsburgh. She previously served as a science educator at Biological Sciences Curriculum Study (BSCS), as Research Associate at RMC Research, and as Senior Consultant at McREL International. Her extensive background in science education involves reform efforts, curriculum design, instruction, and assessment. She has provided project direction, professional learning experiences, technical assistance, and research and evaluation both nationally and internationally. Early in her career, she served as a K-12 Science Coordinator and teacher. Deb continues to serve as an educational change agent, supporting efforts to continuously improve teaching and learning at Mines.

Megan Sanders, Ph.D – Senior Assessment Associate

Megan earned a PhD in Educational Psychology from the Ohio State University. In her role at the Trefny Center, she collaborates on assessment and education research across all levels of the institution, from working with faculty on classroom-based research to collaborating on campus-wide teaching and learning initiatives. Before coming to Mines, she worked in the teaching centers at both Ohio State and Carnegie Mellon University.

Laura Carroll, Ph.D – Education Research and Assessment Analyst

Laura earned a Ph.D. in Engineering Education Research from the University of Michigan. Her research interests include the college experiences and academic success of neurodiverse students, instructional change, barriers instructors experience in adopting active learning, and instrument development. She has experience using qualitative methods and advanced quantitative methods including structural equation modeling. As a member of the Trefny team, Laura supports faculty with the educational component of grant proposals. She develops educational research and assessment/evaluation plans and serves as an educational researcher or external evaluator. Prior to pursuing her Engineering Education Research graduate work, Laura earned a Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering at the University of Michigan and conducted high temperature structural materials research at Idaho National Laboratory and General Electric Aviation.

Carter Moulton, Ph.D — Faculty Developer

Prior to joining the Trefny team as a Faculty Developer, Carter earned a PhD from Northwestern University and worked as a Teaching Consultant, Mentor, and Fellow at Northwestern’s Searle Center for Advancing Learning & Teaching. He provides support to Mines faculty and graduate students on topics including inclusive pedagogy, teaching with technology, formative and summative assessment, methods of facilitating learning, Universal Design for Learning, course and lecture design, and more. He is particularly interested in critical pedagogies, community and belonging, metacognition, alternative assessment, and experiential learning. Originally from Michigan, Carter is also a returned Peace Corps Volunteer (Thailand) and enjoys writing music, bouldering, backpacking, and baking. 

Areas of Interest: classroom Community & Belonging, critical pedagogy, Ungrading & Alternative Assessment, Collaborative Learning, Educational Technology


In 2014, Mines completed a multi-year strategic planning effort. Through this effort, Mines faculty and staff agreed that there was a need for greater emphasis on teaching and learning. Three of the four goals established in this plan called for a center to provide the leadership and support to innovate instruction systemically. The vision of the new center was that it should serve as a strategic extension of the Provost’s Office, providing leadership, guidance, support, and resources to advance learning and teaching across the university. The work began by creating and implementing the Engineering Learning framework. With funding from the Board of Trustees, the first major initiative was to immerse cohorts of faculty in the Engineering learning framework and to shift their focus from “covering content” to creating engaging, inclusive, and effective learning experiences. In its first three years under Founding Director Sam Spiegel, the Trefny Center reached more than a third of Mines faculty in intensive learning experiences that significantly and systemically impacted learning on campus.

Dr. John and MRs. Sharon Trefny — Founders

The Trefny Innovative Instruction Center was named in honor of Dr. John and Mrs. Sharon Trefny for their many contributions to Mines. Dr. Trefny served as Mines’ 15th President, as well as Vice President for Academic Affairs, Department Head of the Physics Department, and a Professor of Physics.  Mrs. Trefny is a retired systems engineer, and served as the First Lady of Mines during Dr. Trefny’s presidency. The Trefnys remain active members of the local education community and are valued ambassadors for the institution.

Contact Us

Trefny Innovative Instruction Center
Colorado School of Mines
924 16th Street.
211 Green Center
Golden, CO 80401
(303) 384–2678