Teaching Development

Student Evaluations Summary:

Student evaluations are a significant component of how I evaluate the effectiveness of my teaching in each course. While there are at times contradictions between student comments/perceptions of a particular teaching method within the same course, I look to the patterns of comments to understand what pedagogical strategies students are most engaged by and what confuses them or fails to hold their attention. I have also, at times, noted a significant correlation between higher grades and more positive evaluation numbers. Again, I look less at the numbers in these cases and more at the substance of the comments on the strengths of the course and my teaching as well as specific suggestions for improvement. On this page, I have included student testimonials and a chart to illustrate increasingly positive teaching evaluation scores.

Student Testimonials:

Below are selected excerpts of student emails and anonymous evaluations regarding my teaching:

    • I just submitted my final paper to you, but before our time together comes to a close. I must express to you how much I have enjoyed you as a professor and learning and growing with you this semester. I have enjoyed all of the courses I have taken at WMU, but this by far has been my favorite. I know they say that perfection does not exist, but you taught this class perfectly. To take us through the history of African American comedians, Black comedy styles, functions, and theories, simultaneously the historical aspects of what Black people were/are facing in U.S. was pure perfection. My father is the former Director of the AAAS Department at Michigan State University, so I was raised in a household that taught me a tremendous amount of Black history, pride in being an African American woman, and the understanding that I stand tall on the shoulders of giants. Your course reiterated that for me. I am forever grateful to you for the vast amount of knowledge I gained in your course. I sincerely hope that WMU continues to offer this course and you are the one teaching it. [Student email AAAS 2800 - Spring 2019]

    • “The instructor is articulate and always well prepared for class, and I do feel that I’ve learned quite a bit this semester. Although I was a little apprehensive about the discussion leader project initially, I found it really wasn’t that scary, and I gained a far deeper understanding of my topic than I would have otherwise. The textbook is a little dry, but I thought the other reading material was interesting and applicable to the class. I think the class is well done.” [Student evaluation ANTH 3470 (HNRS) – Spring 2015]

    • “Elise DeCamp’s strength is that she has the ability to make what might not be interesting–interesting. She also gives really good feedback, which I believe is paramount.” [Student evaluation from ANTH 1200 – Summer I 2015]

    • “Professor DeCamp was by far one of my favorite instructor's I've ever had. You can tell she's extremely knowledgeable in the subject of humor and anthropology. She always had great content to discuss and the readings never seemed too overbearing. I also extremely appreciated that she never forced people to talk. Even when we would just sit in silence for a while, she always knew how to move past those moments. I just really loved this course and I really felt like I actually learned something brand new to me. I was very worried because I thought that this wouldn't really be much of a useful course for me. However, I'm really glad I took this course. I loved every class period and I loved everything we discussed. Thank you so much.” [HNRS 4300 – Spring 2017]

    • “Instructor had a general understanding and sympathy for students, confidence and passion for the material.” [ANTH 1500 – Fall 2018]

Student Evaluations Chart - Fall 2013 - Fall 2018:

Through comparing my recent two-year teaching record averages at WMU with my total teaching record averages at WMU (below), three notable points emerge: 1) an overall higher point average in every category in the most recent period; 2) consistent strength over time in the following areas: explanations of grades, teaching preparedness, explanation of material, and accessibility; and 3) marked recent improvements in the following areas: teaching effectiveness, course quality, amount learned, atmosphere conducive to learning, objectives accomplished, and good classroom leader.

Documentation of Teaching Development Activities:


  • Summer Seminar for Teaching Inclusivity, Western Michigan University - Annual participant from 2017-2019.

  • Midwest Sociological Society – March 24, 2016 [Presented]

  • Teaching with Technology Symposium – Feb. 17, 2016 [Attended]

    • Workshops in which I participated/Skills to apply:

      • Socrative – Sue Caufield & Carla Chase

      • New E-learning tools – La Shaunda Webb

  • Southern Sociological Society Conference – March 26, 2015 [Presented]

  • Teaching with Technology Symposium – Feb. 19, 2014 [Attended]

    • Workshops in which I participated/Skills to apply:

      • Adobe Connect – Robert Leneway

      • Game Design – Kevin Abbott

      • Digital Narrative – Lucy Guevara-Velez

  • Midwest Conference on the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning – April 26, 2013 [Attended]

  • Future Faculty Teaching Fellows Summer Institute – July 13-15, 2012 [Invited Participant, see awards below]


  • Writing to Learn Workshop, Western Michigan University – Aug 30 – Sept 1, 2016 [Participant]

    • This workshop involves reading the book, Embracing Writing: Ways to Teach Reluctant Writers in Any College Course by Gary R. Hafer, and engaging in two three-hour participatory sessions.

Teaching Development Awards:

  • March 2019 - College of Arts and Sciences Part-time Instructor Award for Excellence in Teaching, Western Michigan University ($1,000)

  • 2017 - College of Arts and Sciences Teaching Development Award for Part-Time Instructors, Western Michigan University ($250)

  • 2016 – College of Arts and Sciences Teaching Development Award for Part-Time Instructors, Western Michigan University ($500)

  • March-June 2016 – Part-Time Instructor Teaching and Learning Institute, Western Michigan University, Completed online certification, ($200 stipend and $50/credit hour raise)

  • 2015 – College of Arts and Sciences Teaching Development Award for Part-Time Instructors, Western Michigan University ($500)

  • 2012-2013 – Future Faculty Teaching Fellowship, Indiana University South Bend ($22,000)