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 sets of evaluations from four courses to demonstrate progress and occasionally setbacks in the effectiveness of my approaches to each of them over time.

Student Testimonials:

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

    • “I was a student in your anthropology class last semester at Western Michigan University and was extremely influenced by your teaching techniques and the special passion you displayed for anthropology. I am interested in setting up an interview with you, this would take no longer than one hour of your time. The goal of this interview is to better understand the different communication techniques you, as an anthropologist and a professor, have used throughout your career and on a daily basis. This interview is for my Professional Writing class at Western Michigan University. The information collected at the time of the interview will be compiled into a report and turned into my professor.” [Student (from ANTH 2400) email – Spring 2016]
    • “Elise Decamps’ 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]
    • “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 – Spring 2015]
    • “Very very organized, knows what she is doing, she is a great professor, knows how to budget her time, all in all she is a great [professor]. If it is not her area of specialization, she will bring a guest lecturer. By any means she accomplish[es] the object of the course.” [Student evaluation SOC 2000 – Spring 2014]

SOC 2000: Principles of Sociology Evaluations:

ANTH 2400: Principles of Cultural Anthropology Evaluations:

ANTH 1200: Peoples of the World Evaluations:

ANTH 3470: Ethnicity and Multiculturalism/A385: Racial and Ethnic Identities Evaluations:

*3470 and 385 are offerings of a slightly modified course at different universities

HNRS 4300: Racial and Ethnic Humor in the U.S. Evaluations:

  • Spring 2017 Evaluations
  • Spring 2018 Evaluations

ANTH 1500: Race, Biology and Culture Evaluations:

ANTH 2600: Sex, Gender, and Culture Evaluations:

Documentation of Teaching Development Activities:


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