In the past 25 years, over 500 UNL faculty from at least 53 different departments and eight colleges have discussed, researched, analyzed and reflected upon their teaching as part of the FIRST program. Through the documentation of their experiences, they created an amazing array of teaching portfolios and Scholarship of Teaching and Learning projects.

We showcase some of those FIRST works here.

First-Year Course Portfolios

First-Year Course Portfolios

Some examples of portfolios created by FIRST participants to document their teaching and their students’ learning.

Foundations of Organizational Behavior (MNGT 360)

Amy Bartels, 2021

Amy’s portfolio describes the shift from in-person teaching to an online, asynchronous format. She discusses how she tried to embrace opportunities and tackle online learning challenges while creating an interactive environment where students could learn from each other. Her portfolio outlines how she redesigned assignments, created new assignments and used technology to help students understand course content.

Nutrition Through the Lifecycle (NUTR 251)

Sabine Zempleni, 2021
Nutrition and Health Sciences

In this portfolio, Sabine focuses on how using a set of learning tools in her 200-leavel nutrition course helped students make the transition from memorizing individual facts to conceptual learning. Sabine discusses the learning tools she used -- multi-answer study quizzes, problem-solving activities, infographics, comprehension questions, and collaborative self-explanation – and provides an analysis of what worked and what needed fine-tuned.

Architectural Design Studio: Integrate (ARCH 411)

David Newton, 2020

David’s portfolio explores the application of dynamic multi-objective optimization (DMOO) concepts and tools in a comprehensive studio course to help students improve their ability to explore tradeoffs between design solutions. The portfolio studies how DMOO, an emerging area of research in computer science and optimization, can provide a rigorous conceptual framework for architecture students in this upper-level course.

Weather and Climate (METR 100)

Dawn Kopacz, 2019
Earth and Atmospheric Sciences

In this portfolio, Dawn discusses her attempts to better align course objectives with UNL’s ACE program by reducing the number of topics covered while increasing the time devoted to having students practice skills. The portfolio discusses her pedagogical approaches, course activities and the assessment tool she created for the introductory-level course.

Software Engineering IV (SOFT 261)

Suzette Person, 2018
Computer Science and Engineering

Suzette’s portfolio reflects on the intellectual challenges of designing and teaching a visual communications course specifically for software engineering majors that incorporates team-based, hands-on learning working with and communicating with software developers on a large open-source project. She analyzes student learning to assess the effectiveness of teaching strategies and course materials.

SoTL icon

Scholarship of Teaching and Learning

Some examples of the SoTL work FIRST participants have created as part of their Advanced Program inquiry projects.


Lindsay Hastings, 2020
Agricultural Leadership, Education and Communication

Lindsay and Hannah Sunderman’s workshop – “How do we know if anything changed? Using degree-of-change methodology to improve leadership research and program evaluation” – won the Distinguished Methods Workshop award at the 2021 Annual Conference of the Association of Leadership Educators in June 2021.

Presentation and Podcast

Carolyn Brown-Kramer, 2019

Carolyn presented “Group Work: Going from ‘Ugh!’ to ‘Aha!’” in October 2019 at the Society for the Teaching of Psychology Annual Conference on Teaching in Denver. Her work also was featured in Season 2 of PsychEverywhere, a podcast of Psi Chi, the International Honor Society in Psychology. She discussed effective group work and how group organizers, such as professors, ensure that the members of a group have the best chance to succeed.

Poster Presentation

Michelle Carr Hassler, 2017

Michelle’s poster presentation – “Embedding for Empathy: Helping Journalism Students Become Better Reporters” – was named the top award in the 2017 Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication’s Great Ideas for Teachers (GIFT) competition in Chicago in August 2017.


Eve Brank, 2013

Eve and Lindsey Wylie’s article – “Let’s discuss: Teaching students about discussions” – was published in the August 2013 issue of the Journal of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning.

Other Course Portfolios

Other Portfolios

Published FIRST portfolios can be found on the Digital Commons site.