Liz Norell

Associate Director of Instructional Support

Liz Norell


As an Associate Director of Instructional Support, Liz’s CETL portfolio includes all of the core services of the Center along with specific activities to:

  • Support faculty who want to engage in Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) projects, including assistance with design, execution, analysis, and publication of those projects.
  • Serve as department liaison for social sciences and applied sciences departments.
  • Coordinate assessment activities of CETL and its services, including managing systems for event registration and evaluation.

With her background in teaching writing and political science, Liz is particularly interested in collecting and sharing evidence of the impact of effective teaching. She has substantial experience in designing, deploying, and analyzing complex data analysis projects, using both quantitative and qualitative methods. 

Liz is passionate about advancing equitable and accessible education in open-access institutions. She spent more than a decade teaching in community college settings before joining the University of Mississippi. As a first-generation college student herself, Liz understands the transformational power of higher education to improve the quality of life within a community. Among the topics she writes and speaks about frequently are instructor presence, understanding disability in the context of education, and creating supportive classroom community.  

Currently, Liz serves as Associate Editor for To Improve the Academy, the peer-reviewed journal of the POD Network. She also serves as a Contributing Editor to College Teaching, the Chair-Elect of the POD Disability and Accessibility Special Interest Group (SIG), and a leader in the POD Disability Affinity Group. She also volunteers with the Chattanooga Women’s Leadership Institute, which includes giving professional development talks to professional women in Tennessee. Liz has completed 500 hours of yoga teacher training; her Advanced YTT-300 studies emphasized trauma-informed and accessible yoga practices and teaching (2016-2021). She also has completed certifications in life coaching (Courageous Living Coaching Certification, 2018), the Enneagram Applications program (Enneagram Atlanta, 2023), and Tara Mohr’s Playing Big Facilitator Training (2017-2018). Finally, she completed the ACUE microcredential course in Fostering a Culture of Belonging (2023) and the Center for Courage & Renewal’s Taking It Home to Others and Courage & Renewal Practicum programs (2022-2023).

Request a Teaching Consultation with Liz


Forthcoming. Under advance contract with James Lang/Michelle Miller/Derek Krissoff series for a book manuscript on instructor presence in the classroom, working title: The Present Professor. Draft of Chapter 1 available on request. University of Oklahoma Press.

“How Identities Impact Our Pedagogical Practices.” Teachers Going Gradeless blog, invited post. Available online at

“Civic Engagement Meets Service Learning: Improving Wikipedia’s Coverage of State Government Officials.” PS: Political Science & Politics, 55(2): 445-449. Available online at

Magna Publications. 2022. “Transforming Classroom Culture.” Best of the 2021 Teaching Professor Conference. Available online at

Heterodox Academy: The Blog. 2021. “Teaching Students to Engage with Opposing Viewpoints.” Available online at Published 7 April 2021.

Magna Publications. 2021. “Stop Blaming Students! Why We Must Teach Students, Not Content.” Best of the 2020 Teaching Professor Conference. Available online at

Recent Presentations/Workshops

Talks in the Hard Conversations series, organized by the Student Support Services unit Chattanooga State Community College, Spring 2022:

  • Burnout: Experiences with & strategies for overcoming
  • Developing self-confidence and self-trust
  • Sharing stories in stressful times (organized by honors students)
  • What does it mean to be an “anti-racist”?

Facilitated the honors program book club on Caste: The Origins of Our Discontent, by Isabel Wilkerson. Open to all students, faculty, and staff of the College. Academic year 2021-2022.

“How to keep your sanity during …. interesting political times,” presented as part of the Chattanooga State Chautauqua series, November 2021.

“Decolonizing Your Syllabus,” presented at the ATD Teaching & Learning Summit with colleagues from across the country, May 2021.

“How to Boost Student Learning & Motivation with Ungrading,” presented to College faculty and staff, April 2021.

Civics 101 workshops (sessions on federal government, state government, and local government), geared to members of the broader community, offered as donations-only workshops, February 2020-January 2021.

Led a statewide book club for faculty/staff on Blindspot: Hidden Biases of Good People, Fall 2020.

Presented on “Building Impact (and Success) in Your Classroom: Teach Students, Not Content,” at statewide summer institute, June 2020 and January 2021.

Co-organized international summer 2020 antiracism book club as part of a higher ed collective; met biweekly and discussed Beverly Daniel Tatum's seminal book on racism. Our small group extended this through late January with a group reading of Ibram X. Kendi/Jason Reynolds's YA book on the history of racism, Stamped from the Beginning, Summer 2020.

Recent Conference Presentations

Advancing Inclusivity While Mitigating Burnout. 2022. a panel discussion with John Kane and Rebecca Mushtare of SUNY-Oswego, Michelle Miller of Northern Arizona University, and Kelvin Thompson of the University of Central Florida. Online Learning Consortium Accelerate 2022 Conference, Orlando, Fla.
** Note: This discussion was released as episode #268 on the podcast Tea for Teaching,
21 December 2022.

Choose-Your-Own-Adventure Course Design. October 2022. Teaching Professor Online Conference.

What Now? How to Keep Your Career Fresh and Energizing. October 2022. Teaching Professor Online Conference.

Transforming Classroom Culture. 2021. Teaching Professor Conference, New Orleans, LA / virtual conference.

Peer Mentoring with Online Learning Champions. 2021. Teaching Professor Conference, New Orleans, LA.

Stop Blaming Students! Why We Must Teach Students, Not Content. 2020. Teaching Professor Conference, virtual.

All Politics is Local: Teaching Civic Engagement in American Politics 2018. Southern Political Science Association Annual Meeting, New Orleans, LA. (Coauthored with Andrew Steinfeldt, Lamar State College – Orange (TX)).

Recent Invited Talks

Making the First Day Count: Setting the Stage for an Engaged Class, SUNY-Plattsburgh (virtual), 22 August 2023.

Dispelling Myths about Autism in Adults. 2023. Monteagle Sunday School Assembly (southern Chautauqua), TN, 29 June 2023.

Facing the Future: Educators Discuss Teaching in the Era of ChatGPT. 2023. Magna Online Seminars with Flower Darby and Jeremy Caplan, 14 March 2023.

Effective Listening & Communication. 2022-2023. Chattanooga Women’s Leadership Institute Game ChangeHer leadership development program, workshop with participants, 7 October 2022/6 October 2023.

Rethinking Assumptions in Effective Teaching. 2022. Volunteer State Community College 2022 Summer Institute, invited virtual presentation to faculty, 12 July 2022.

Ungrading: How to Assess Student Work Without Grades. 2022. Southwest Tennessee Community College 20th Annual Summer Institute, invited virtual presentation to faculty from across the state, 17 May 2022.

Transforming Classroom Culture. 2021-2022.
Northern Oklahoma College, 24 February 2022.
Teaching Professor Conference, New Orleans, LA / virtual conference. June 2021.

Teach Students, Not Content. 2021. TBR High Impact Practices Conference, virtual.

Courses Taught


B.A. Journalism, George Washington University (1999)

M.A. Journalism, University of Arkansas-Fayetteville (2002)

M.A. Library Science, Texas Woman's University (2005)

M.A. Political Science, Vanderbilt University (2011)

Ph.D. Political Science, University of Texas at Dallas (2014)