Leanne Wells is the Senior Director of the Center for the Advancement of Teaching (CAT) at Florida International University and is the project lead for the Evaluation and Rewarding Teaching Initiative. She works closely with stakeholders across the institution to cultivate engaging and safe environments where faculty and students are agents of their own success. This includes strategically planning and supporting FIU’s ambitious goal of a 30:30:40 face-to-face to hybrid to online credit hour ratio that keeps student learning and academic progress at its center. Leanne also partners with FIU’s STEM Transformation Institute to support departments and faculty in course level (re)design particularly in high-enrollment, high-impact entry-level classes and is the principal investigator of a project exploring the impact of adaptive learning tools in Calculus for Engineering.
Prior to moving to CAT in 2017, Leanne was the Founding Director and primary architect of FIU’s Mastery Math Program which received both Bright Spots in Hispanic Education and Commitment to Action awards from the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics. The Mastery Math Program included the opening of FIU’s dedicated Mastery Math Labs and the development of departmental courses for entry-level mathematics resulting in 20 – 40% increases in overall course passing rates. Leanne also worked to introduce and develop FIU’s Learning Assistant program, now the largest in the country, to provide our students with learning support from near peers and to increase the number of STEM degree seekers who also become certified to teach in the public schools.
Leanne is a National Park Service mobile patrol volunteer in the Everglades National Park at Shark Valley where she enjoys watching the ebb and flow of the River of Grass and the lives of its inhabitants. She is committed to restoring this unique ecosystem and sharing with locals and visitors alike its intricate and amazing story.
Leanne graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Physics and Mathematics from Salisbury University and a Master of Science degree in Mathematics from Clemson University. Post-graduation, Leanne was a Peace Corps volunteer in Botswana where she taught mathematics, electronics, and physics. After returning to the U.S., Leanne moved to South Florida to serve as lead teacher for Miami-Dade County Public Schools/FIU’s Partnership in Academic Communities (PAC). A math and science program for middle and high school students typically underserved in the STEM disciplines, PAC, and her Peace Corps experience led to her ongoing and strongly held belief that ensuring access to and equity in education, particularly mathematics education, is a social and civic responsibility. She has co-authored numerous scholarly publications and presented her work in national forums.