Linda Nilson

Founding Director, Office of Teaching Effectiveness & Innovation

Dr. Nilson’s contributions to ACUE’s Community of Professional Practice include:

Her recent publications include:

  • Creating Engaging Discussions: Strategies for “Avoiding Crickets” in Any Size Classroom and Online (Stylus 2018)
  • Online Teaching at Its Best: Merging Instructional Design with Teaching and Learning Research (Jossey-Bass 2017)

Nilson is Founding Director of the Office of Teaching Effectiveness and Innovation at Clemson University. She has held leadership positions in the Professional and Organizational Development (POD) Network, Toastmasters International, Mensa, and the Southern Regional Faculty and Instructional Development Consortium.

In her career as a full-time faculty development director, she authored publications including Teaching at Its Best: A Research-Based Resource for College Instructors, The Graphic Syllabus and the Outcomes Map: Communicating Your Course, Creating Self-Regulated Learners: Strategies to Strengthen Students’ Self-Awareness and Learning Skills, and Specifications Grading: Restoring Rigor, Motivating Students, and Saving Faculty Time. Nilson co-edited Enhancing Learning with Laptops in the Classroom and Volumes 25 through 28 of To Improve the Academy: Resources for Faculty, Instructional, and Organizational Development. To Improve the Academy is the major publication of the POD Network in Higher Education.

In addition, Nilson has published many articles and book chapters and has given well over 400 keynotes, webinars, and live workshops at conferences, colleges, and universities both nationally and internationally. She has spoken on dozens of topics related to course design, best teaching practices, assessment, scholarly productivity, and academic career matters. Most popular among her current presentation topics are critical thinking, self-regulated learning, specifications grading, and the effectiveness of various instructional technologies. In her recent articles, she documents the instability of faculty development careers, raises serious questions about the validity of student ratings, and describes instructor-friendly ways to measure learning at the course level.

Before coming to Clemson University, Nilson directed teaching centers at Vanderbilt University and the University of California, Riverside and taught graduate courses on college teaching. She entered the area of educational development while she was on the sociology faculty at the University of California, Los Angeles. After distinguishing herself as an excellent instructor, her department selected her to establish and supervise its Teaching Assistant Training Program. In sociology, her research focused on occupations and work, social stratification, political sociology, and disaster behavior.

Nilson was a National Science Foundation Fellow at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, where she earned her MS and PhD in Sociology. She completed her undergraduate work in three years at the University of California, Berkeley, where she was elected to Phi Beta Kappa.