The Faces of CAFE:


Shawnalee WhitneyShawnalee Whitney
Interim Director, CAFE

Shawnalee holds the rank of Associate Professor in the Department of Journalism and Communication. As a facilitator and enthusiastic participant, Shawnalee has been involved in faculty development for many years. She led workshops for CAFE's precursor, the Teaching Excellence Program, and has served CAFE as a workshop facilitator, book group coordinator, Team-Based Learning faculty associate, member of the Advisory Council and more. In addition to her own CAFE presentations, she's worked on student-led sessions for CAFE on topics like academic dishonesty, communication in education, and supporting students transitioning from the foster care system. Shawnalee is a former director and co-director of UAA's award-winning speech and debate team and the Alaska Native Oratory Society. She considers it a great privilege to facilitate student learning and was thrilled to be honored with a Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2014.


Libby RoderickLibby Roderick
Associate Director, CAFE

Libby Roderick is the Associate Director for CAFE, focusing especially on issues related to difficult dialogues, sustainability and climate change, and effective teaching to diverse student populations. She is the editor of Alaska Native Cultures and Issues; Associate Editor of Start Talking:  A Handbook for Engaging Difficult Dialogues in Higher Education; and co-author of Stop Talking: Indigenous Ways of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education.  She is also an internationally recognized singer/songwriter and recording artist.


Liisa MorrisonLiisa Morrison
Program Coordinator

Liisa Morrison is CAFE's Program Coordinator. She keeps the entire enterprise afloat and functioning. Prior to joining CAFE in 2007, Liisa worked for ten years with the Union of Students, advising and providing support to over 40 student clubs at UAA.


CAFE Faculty Associates

CAFE Faculty Associates (past and present)

CAFE works to bring in national speakers and trainers from time to time, but the community of scholars at UAA is rich with experience and expertise and colleague-to-colleague training and development are at the heart of CAFE's philosophy and programming. A number of CAFE Faculty Associates serve or have served in leadership roles in many of our initiatives:

  • Difficult Dialogues/Indigenous Ways of Teaching –A dimension of CAFE's Initiative on Inclusive Excellence
  • Information Literacy Initiative
  • Making Learning Visible (MLV) - CAFE's Initiative in the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning
  • Team-Based Learning (TBL)
    • Difficult Dialogues/Indigenous Ways of Teaching

      • Don Rearden, Difficult Dialogues/Indigenous Ways of Teaching. Don Rearden is an Associate Professor of College Preparatory and Developmental Studies at UAA. He grew up in southwestern Alaska and is both a novelist and a produced screenwriter. His award-winning novel The Raven's Gift was published by Penguin Books in 2013.

      • Ilarion (Larry) Merculieff, Difficult Dialogues/Indigenous Ways of Teaching. Ilarion Merculieff was born on the Pribilof Island of St. Paul, raised in a traditional Aleut community, and has served indigenous peoples over a 35 year career. He has co-taught or led a wide range of courses and projects at UAA related to indigenous education and is co-author of the UAA book, Stop Talking: Indigenous Ways of Teaching and Learning and Difficult Dialogues in Higher Education.

    • Information Literacy Initiative

      • Dr. Heather Adams, Associate Professor of English, has worked to support the Community of Practice exploring Information Literacy. In addition to her own rich scholarly life and active research program, Heather has developed an embedding information literacy project for her courses.
      • Page Brannon, Associate Professor and Head of Instruction and Research Services for the Consortium Library, Page is a long-time advocate for information literacy competencies. She has partnered with faculty on embedding information literacy in courses and works alongside Heather Adams to lead the Information Literacy Community of Practice.

  • Making Learning Visible (MLV) - CAFE's Initiative in the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning
      • Deborah Periman, Making Learning Visible (MLV) Book Group Leader. Deborah is Associate Professor and Program Coordinator of the Legal Studies Program at UAA’s Justice Center.  She was a recipient of the coveted CAFE COW Award, which recognized her contributions to UAA’s Books of the Year, MLV, Difficult Dialogues and New Faculty Orientation programs.

      • Dr. Elizabeth (Betty) Predeger, Making Learning Visible (MLV) Inquiry Project Leader. Betty is Professor of Nursing in the College of Health.  She has been a member of the CAFE Advisory Council since 2009 and was one of the original Scholarship of Teaching and Learning team that launched the Making Learning Visible initiative at UAA in 2001.

      • Diane Erickson, Director of Academic Affairs at Matanuska-Susitna College. Diane has served as an Inquiry Project Leader for the Making Learning Visible (MLV) initiative, as well as a Ford Foundation Fellow in both Difficult Dialogues programs.  Previously, she was an Assistant Professor of Adult Education at UAA and taught for the Honors College. She has also taught for the College of Rural and Community Development at UAF.  

Team Based Learning Faculty Learning Community Leader. Shawnalee Whitney- see bio above under staff.