Peter Felten is executive director of the Center for Engaged Learning, professor of history, and assistant provost for teaching and learning at Elon University. He has published seven books about undergraduate education, including Connections are Everything: A College Student’s Guide to Relationship-Rich Education (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2023) co-authored by Isis Artze-Vega, Leo Lambert, and Oscar Miranda Tapia – with an open access online version free to all readers. His next book, The SoTL Guide (CEL Open Access Book Series), is co-authored by Katarina Mårtensson and Nancy Chick, and will be published in 2025. He is on the advisory board of the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) and is a fellow of the Gardner Institute. Contact Peter at

Peter’s Recent CEL Blog Posts and Podcast Episodes

Image of a student and teacher looking at a computer screen. The following quote by Peter Felten is overlayed: "Three practices can make relationship-rich education possible no matter how many students you teach."

Relationship-Rich Education at Scale, aka the Too Many Bodies Problem

Decades of research demonstrates that student learning and well-being in higher education are enhanced by positive relationships with peers and instructors (Felten and Lambert 2020). Yet, one common challenge with relationship-rich education is scale. How is this possible when I’m…

Elon University Poll / Center for Engaged Learning 2021 Survey of 1800+ US college graduates: 50% participated in internships or work placements; 71% received feedback on final projects multiple times; 55% had meaningful relationships with faculty and staff; 85% thought college was probably or definitely "worth it"

Meaningful Learning Experiences and the Value of a College Degree

A recent survey by the Center for Engaged Learning and the Elon University Poll explored the types of meaningful learning experiences college graduates had while in school and how college helped them develop skills they’re applying in their professional careers….

Cover to report "Supporting Transfer STudent Success: Five Key Faculty Practices" and "This new report explores "five research-informed practices designed to help faculty reflect on and reframe the ways they think about, teach, advise, and mentor transfer students."

Faculty Practices to Support Transfer Student Success

Nearly 40% of all US undergraduate students transfer between institutions at least once, and at some colleges and university more than half of all students have transferred (Shapiro et al. 2018). Many students successfully navigate transfer, earning their degrees at…

Is College Worth It? Alumni Say High-Impact Experiences Make College Worthwhile

What is the value of an undergraduate education? Scholars, politicians, and families have debated that question for decades. Research consistently demonstrates the economic payoff of earning a degree, but is that enough to make college “worth it” for students? In…

Can we teach curiosity?

by Peter Felten Curiosity might be bad for cats, but it is essential for human learning. As Eleanor Duckworth notes, “What you do about what you don’t know is, in the final analysis, what determines what you will know” (The…

The Conversation: title screenshot

Mentors play critical role in quality of college experience, new poll suggests

The Elon University Poll, in collaboration with the Center for Engaged Learning, conducted a representative online survey of more than 4,000 Bachelor degree holders in the United States. The purpose of this survey was to study the extent of mentor…

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Select Articles/Chapters:

  • Cook-Sather, Alison, Peter Felten, ^Kayo Stewart, and ^Heidi Weston (2023). “Reviving the Construct of ‘Mattering’ in Pursuit of Equity and Justice in Higher Education: Illustrations from Mentoring and Partnership Programs.” In Academic Belonging in Higher Education: Fostering Student Connection, Competence, and Confidence, edited by Eréndira Rueda and Candice Lowe-Swift. Routledge. 198-214.
  • Lim, Lisa-Angelique, Simon Buckingham Shum, Peter Felten, and Jennifer Uno (2023). “Belonging Analytics: A Proposal.” Learning Letters 1, art. 4, 1-12.
  • Johnson, Amy M., Jonathan Iuzzini, Peter Felten, and Tazin Daniels (2023). “Institutional and Instructional Humility for Equity-Forward Teaching and Learning.” In Recentering Learning, edited by Maggie Debelius, Joshua Kim, and Eddie Maloney. Johns Hopkins University Press (forthcoming).
  • Felten, Peter, Rachel Forsyth, and Kathrine Sutherland (2023). “Building Trust in the Classroom: A Conceptual Model for Teachers, Scholars, and Academic Developers in Higher Education.” Teaching & Learning Inquiry 11, 1-9.
  • Bovill, Catherine, Ashton Croft, Caroline Dean Glover, and Peter Felten (2023). “Is Discussing Identity More Important than Shared Identity to Student-Staff Relationship Building?” Teaching & Learning Inquiry 11, 1-19.
  • Felten, Peter (2022). “From Pandemic to Endemic Teaching: Being CLEAR in Our Teaching.” In International Perspectives on University Teaching and Learning, edited by Andrew Gillespie, James E. Groccia, Jennifer Mason, and Kalani Long. New Directions for Teaching and Learning. Wiley Periodicals.
  • Bheda, Divya, Peter Felten, and Natasha Jankowski (2022). “Equitable Assessment: An Invitation.” In Reframing Assessment to Center Equity: Theories, Models, and Practices, edited by Gavin Henning, Gianina Baker, Natasha Jankowski, Anne Lundquist, and Erick Montenegro. Stylus.
  • Ketcham, Caroline J., Anthony G. Weaver, Jessie L. Moore, and Peter Felten (2022). “Living up to the Capstone Promise: Improving Quality, Equity, and Outcomes in Culminating Experiences” In Delivering on the Promise of High Impact Practices, edited by Jerry Daday, Jillian Kinzie, Ken O’Donnell, Carleen Vande Zande, and John Zilvinskis. Stylus.
  • Hampshire, Claire, Jessie L. Moore, and Peter Felten (2022). “Social Media and Public SoTL.” In SoTL as Public Scholarship, edited by Nancy Chick and Jennifer Friberg. Stylus. 
  • McGowan, Susannah, and Peter Felten (2021). “On the Necessity of Hope in Academic Development.” International Journal for Academic Development 26:4, 473-476. DOI: 10.1080/1360144X.2021.1903902
  • Anderson, Paul and Peter Felten (2021). “Improving Writing, Teaching, and Learning in Higher Education.” In Schreiblehrkonzepte an Hochschulen. Fallstudien und Reflexionen zum Schreibenlehren und –lernen, edited by Swantje Lahm, Frank Meyhöfer und Friederike Neumann. Bielefeld, 21-34. DOI: 10.3278/6004807w
  • Felten, Peter (2020). “Critically Reflecting on Identities, Particularities and Relationships in Student Engagement.” In A Handbook for Student Engagement in Higher Education: Theory into Practice, edited by Tom Lowe and Yassein El Hakim. Routledge, 148-155.
  • Chick, Nancy, and Peter Felten (2020). “Slow: Liberal Learning for and in a Fast-Paced World.” In Redesigning the Liberal Arts, ed. by Rebecca Pope-Ruark, Phillip Motley, and William Moner. Johns Hopkins University Press, 254-265.
  • Felten, Peter (2020). “Critically Reflecting on Identities, Particularities and Relationships inStudent Engagement.” In A Handbook for Student Engagement in Higher Education: Theory into Practice, ed. by Tom Lowe and Yassein El Hakim. Routledge.
  • Cook-Sather, Alison, Sophia Abbot, and Peter Felten (2019). “Legitimating Reflecting Writing in SoTL: ‘Disfunctional Illusions of Rigor’ Revisited.” Teaching & Learning Inquiry, 7:2 (14-27).
  • Felten, Peter, Sophia Abbot, Jordan K. Kirkwood, Aaron Long, Tanya Lubicz-Nawrocka, Lucy Mercer-Mapstone, and Roselynn Verwoord (2019). “Reimagining the Place of Students in Academic Development.” International Journal for Academic Development, 24:2 (192-203).
  • Felten, Peter, Jessie L. Moore, and Tim Peeples (2019). “Multi-Institutional SoTL: A Case Study of Practices and Outcomes.” In Conducting and Applying the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning beyond the Individual Classroom Level, ed. by Jennifer Friberg and Kathleen McKinney. Indiana University Press, 149-161.
  • Matthews, Kelly, Lucy Mercer-Mapstone, Sam Lucie Dvorakova, Anita Acai, Alison Cook-Sather, Peter Felten, Mick Healey, Ruth L. Healey, and Elizabeth Marquis (2019). “Enhancing Outcomes and Reducing Inhibitors to the Engagement of Students and Staff in Learning and Teaching Partnerships: Implications for Academic Development. International Journal for Academic Development, 24:3 (246-259). DOI: 10.1080/1360144X.2018.1545233.
  • Moore, Jessie L., and Peter Felten (2019). “Understanding Writing Transfer as a Threshold Concept across the Disciplines.” In Threshold Concepts on the Edge, ed., by Julie A. Timmermans and Ray Land. Brill, 341-352.
  • Felten, Peter, Kristina Meinking, Shannon Tennant, and Katherine Westover (2019). “Developing Learning Partnerships: Navigating Troublesome and Transformational Relationships.” In Building Teaching and Learning Communities: Creating Shared Meaning and Purpose, ed. by Craig Gibson and Sharon Mader. Association of College and Research Libraries/American Library Association.
  • Little, Deandra, David A. Green, and Peter Felten (2019). “Identity, Intersectionality, and Educational Development.” In Educational Development and Identity: New Directions for Teaching and Learning, ed. By Lindsay Bernhagen and Emily Gravett. Jossey-Bass, 11-23. DOI: 10.1002/tl.20335.
  • Felten, Peter, Margy MacMillan, and Joan Ruelle (2019). “SoTL Difference: The Value of Incorporating SoTL into Librarian Professional Development.” In The Grounded Instructional Librarian: Participating in the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, ed. by Melissa Mallon, Lauren Hays, Cara Bradley, Rhonda Huisman, and Jackie Belanger. Association of College and Research Libraries/American Library Association.
  • Felten, Peter (2019). “Student Engagement in the United States: From Customers to Partners?” In Student Engagement and Quality Assurance in Higher Education: International Collaborations for the Enhancement of Learning, ed. by Masahiro Tanaka. Routledge, 46-56.
  • Matthews, Kelly, Alison Cook-Sather, Anita Acia, Sam Dvorakova, Peter Felten, Elizabeth Marquis, and Lucy Mercer-Mapstone (2018). “Theories, Constructs, and Metaphors: Conceptual Frameworks for Students as Partners in Higher Education.” Higher Education Research and Development, 38:2 (280-293). DOI: 10.1080/07294360.2018.1530199.
  • Knight-McKenna, Peter Felten, and Alexa Darby (2018). “Student Engagement with Community.” In Student Engagement: New Directions for Teaching and Learning 154, ed. by James E. Groccia and William Buskitt. Jossey-Bass, 65-74.
  • Felten, Peter, and Nancy Chick. “Is SoTL a Signature Pedagogy of Educational Development?” To Improve the Academy 37:1 (2018), 4-16.

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