About Us


The Trefny Innovative Instruction Center’s mission is to inspire an institutional culture that values, studies, and implements transformative teaching and learning at Mines. We

  • Advance teaching and learning through university strategic planning, initiatives, and policy,
  • Promote teaching that is intentionally designed, supportive of students, focused on learning, and reflective,
  • Further data-driven instruction and education research in continuous improvement, and
  • Foster a collaborative, learning-centered teaching community.

Contact us today to engineer transformative teaching and learning at Mines. 

The Trefny Innovative Instruction Center is located on the Colorado School of Mines Campus, in Green Center building #211. The Green Center is located at 924 16th Street Golden, CO 80401, on the corner of 16th and Arapahoe.
Trefny Innovative Instruction Center
Colorado School of Mines
924 16th Street.
211 Green Center
Golden, CO 80401
Office phone: (303) 384–2678
Quick Contact

Trefny Center:
Deb Jordan: djordan@mines.edu
Susan Ciriello:sciriello@mines.edu
Megan Sanders: sanders@mines.edu
Amy Hermundstad Nave: ahnave@mines.edu
Carter Moulton: cartermoulton@mines.edu

Trefny Team

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.


Susan works collaboratively with Trefny Center staff to provide project management of  multimedia development for instructional courses as well as support for other Center initiatives and efforts. This includes managing the HIVE multimedia student team. She provides guidance and support to faculty, staff, and students, and coordinates much of the fiscal details of the Center’s work. Her background includes teaching as well as academic program management and support. Susan received her B.S. in Education from Boston University and her MBA from Argosy University. Outside of the office, she enjoys cooking, hiking with her dogs, and traveling.

Megan Sanders, Ph.D – Senior Assessment Associate

Megan is the Senior Assessment Associate. Before coming to Mines, Megan worked at the Eberly Center for Teaching Excellence and Instructional Innovation at Carnegie Mellon University, where her role focused on supporting instructors in conducting research about student outcomes in their courses. Megan’s disciplinary background is in educational psychology. She earned her doctorate from the Ohio State University, and her research focused on the idea of relevance in higher education—how we define it, how students perceive it, and how to measure it—an interest that continues to inform her work.

Amy Hermundstad Nave, PH.D – Faculty Developer

Amy is a faculty developer in the Trefny Center. Originally from Colorado, she earned a BS in Mechanical Engineering from Colorado State before going on to earn her Ph.D. in Engineering Education and MEng in Mechanical Engineering from Virginia Tech. Amy’s research interests include engineering students’ professional development and efforts to support underrepresented students within engineering, primarily using qualitative research methods to investigate a variety of perspectives on these topics. She has also done research on conceptual understanding in engineering courses and studied the variation in cultures between engineering departments and disciplines. In addition, while at Virginia Tech, Amy taught first-year engineering courses, worked in the Center for the Enhancement of Engineering Diversity, and worked with graduate students to incorporate contemporary pedagogical practices in a variety of fields. Amy is excited to work with faculty at Mines to engineer learning. Outside of the office, Amy enjoys spending time outdoors, exploring new places (both locally and internationally), and working on various art projects.

Carter Moulton, PH.D – Faculty Developer

Carter is a Faculty Developer at the Trefny Center, where he is excited to work with faculty and graduate students to further transformative teaching and learning at Mines. Prior to joining the Trefny team, 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. In these various roles, he’s provided support to faculty and graduate students on topics including formative and summative assessment, lesson planning, evaluation, classroom community, Universal Design for Learning, inclusive pedagogy, course and lecture design, and mobilizing digital tools to create active learning spaces. He is particularly interested in whole-human learning, metacognition, alternative assessment, and experiential learning—thinking creatively about how we can build classroom communities that foster student belonging and encourage high-level, authentic learning. Originally from Michigan, Carter is also a returned Peace Corps Volunteer (Thailand) and enjoys writing music, bouldering, backpacking, and baking. 


Sam Spiegel, Ph.D – Founding Director

​Prior to joining Mines, Sam served as Chair of the Disciplinary Literacy in Science Team at the Institute for Learning (IFL) and the Associate Director for the Swanson School of Engineering’s Engineering Education Research Center at the University of Pittsburgh. He previously served as a science educator at Biological Sciences Curriculum Study (BSCS); as Director of Research & Development for a multimedia development company; and as founding Director of the Center for Integrating Research & Learning (CIRL) at the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory, Florida State University. Under Dr. Spiegel’s leadership, CIRL matured into a thriving Center recognized as one of the leading National Science Foundation Laboratories for activities to promote science, mathematics, and technology (STEM) education. While at Florida State University, Dr. Spiegel also directed an award winning teacher enhancement program for middle grades science teachers entitled Science For Early Adolescence Teachers (Science FEAT).

His extensive background in science education includes experiences as both a middle school and high school science teacher, teaching university-level biology and science education courses, working with high-risk youth in alternative education centers, working in science museums, designing and facilitating online courses, multimedia curriculum development, and leading and researching professional learning for educators. The Association for the Education of Teachers of Science (AETS) honored Dr. Spiegel for his efforts in teacher education with the Innovation in Teaching Science Teachers award (1997). Dr. Spiegel’s current efforts focus on educational reform and in the innovation of teaching and learning resources and practices.

Sam is currently the Assistant Vice President for Online Education. 

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. Listen to the Trefny’s thoughts about Mines and education in the interviews below.