About The Center

Vilas A. Prabhu Center for Academic Excellence

CAE Logo

On September 21, 2021, the Millersville University Council of Trustees voted unanimously to create the Vilas A. Prabhu Center for Academic Excellence. This makes us the first named center for faculty professional development in the PASSHE system. Not only does this designation honor the legacy of Dr. Vilas A. Prabhu’s more than seventeen years of distinguished service and leadership, it also recognizes the value faculty professional development programming brings to the campus community. 

During his time at Millersville, Dr. Prabhu was instrumental in the Open Educational Resources adoption project the Open Textbook Initiative. Dr. Prabhu’s support of the collaborative work between the Center and the OER Working Group helped us save students over one million dollars in textbooks fees between 2019 and 2021.

Additionally, Dr. Prabhu advanced the development of online programs, and advanced degree programs. He also championed civic engagement, diversity and inclusion, experiential learning, high-impact practices, service learning, and undergraduate research. His support of these approaches to teaching aided faculty in developing student-centered learning spaces.


The purpose of the Millersville University's Vilas A. Prabhu Center for Academic Excellence (CAE) is to:

  • provide professional development across the teaching-learning scholarship spectrum;
  • support campus wide learning communities;
  • fosters innovative instructional strategies to promote learning through evidence based practice;
  • examine local, state, and national trends and potential impact on the campus community;
  • respond proactively to university faculty needs; and
  • offer resources to support teaching, scholarship, and service endeavors.


The mission of Millersville University’s Vilas A. Prabhu Center for Academic Excellence (CAE) is to:

  • promote excellence in teaching and learning;
  • encourage an atmosphere of collaboration and scholarly inquiry as an integral part of teaching and learning;
  • provide resources and programs to assist faculty with their professional development as educators;
  • promote a campus environment that fosters scholarship;
  • encourage teaching practices that are grounded in scholarship;
  • enhance learning through support of interdisciplinary collaborations across the university;
  • develop services and programs for faculty members of all experience levels;
  • engage critical thinking and discussion through open forums; and
  • establish and maintain mutually supportive relationships with other institutions of higher education in Pennsylvania.

Types of Programs

The Vilas A. Prabhu Center for Academic Excellence (CAE) offers a variety of Professional Development Sessions, Instructional Technology Workshops and Sessions, Faculty Learning Communities, Pedagogy+ workshops, Pre-Tenure sessions, Faculty Fellows grant programs, CAE Professional Development Sessions, CAE Teaching & Innovative Education sessions, CAE Accessibility sessions, and CAE Inclusive Practices sessions. The CAE also facilitates special events, such as the Promotion and Tenure panel, the Assessment Luncheon, and the Spring Colloquium. These faculty-centered events and sessions are designed to support faculty building student-centered, engaging learning environments, growing as teachers and scholars, and growing in their professional career here at Millersville University. Suggestions for new topics and presenters are always welcomed. Please contact Dr. A Nicole Pfannenstiel if you have any recommendations.

Plan to attend the CAE events this semester! Check out our Professional Development Opportunities page to see what we have scheduled for this semester.

More Information on Types of Programs


Since 1997, the CAE has been led by a Director who is appointed by the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs. The CAE is an independent entity. The CAE Director reports to the Associate Provost for Academic Administration. Currently, the CAE operates with limited administrative support. The Administrative Assistant for the Associate Provost for Academic Administration provides help with purchasing and budget management processes. Finally, the CAE has support from a full time GA (20 hours per week during the academic year).    

In Fall 2013, the CAE moved to the 5th floor of McNairy Library where it made use of rooms within the library for programming. Initially, the CAE was scheduled to relocate from McNairy to Lyle Hall in late Winter 2020. The move was postponed until Spring Break of 2020 as the Instructional Designers, the CAE, and meeting rooms were still being updated. Because Spring 2020 was then interrupted by COVID-19 closures, the expected move to Lyle did not happen until Fall 2020. The CAE is currently located in Lyle 140, 141, 142. 

Past Directors: 

Dr. Patricia Hill, 1997-2003  

Dr. Marjorie Warmkessel, 2003-2007 

Dr. Diane Zimmerman Umble, 2007-2009 

Dr. Sharon Brusic, 2009-2012  

Dr. Oliver Dreon, 2012-2020 

Dr. A. Nicole Pfannenstiel, Summer 2020-2024 

CAE Advisory Board

In support of the CAE’s mission, the CAE Advisory Board serves to enhance, enrich, and support how the CAE programming supports and furthers the Center’s purpose and mission. Members of the Advisory Board are comprised of faculty representatives from departments across campus, and staff representatives from departments across campus that can provide diverse perspectives on student and faculty professional development needs. Advisory Board members not only advise the CAE on its programming, direction, and assessment, but they also facilitate the center’s programming, they support and advocate on behalf of the CAE ensuring the CAE continues to stay abreast and ahead of faculty needs across campus. This work ensures the CAE flexibly meets ever changing faculty and student needs in supporting faculty careers at Millersville University.  

Charge of the Advisory Board

  • Provide the CAE with advice and direction on its Yearly Activity Report
  • Advise the CAE on strategic directions, events, publications, and resources to support the purpose and mission of the CAE. Monthly Activity Reports and other documentation will support the Advisory Board Members in this charge. 
  • This work requires Advisory Board Members share CAE information with other groups across campus. This work requires Advisory Board Members bring information from across campus to the CAE in support of future programming and strategic direction development. 
  • Coordinate the preparation, planning, and assessment documentation for all CAE programming 
  • Carry out and facilitate sessions identified within the Yearly Activity Report 
  • Advisory Board members will facilitate sessions that align with expertise and interests 
  • Meet twice per Fall/Spring semester, once in late Summer to: 
    • Approve the Yearly Activity Report for the academic year 
    • Review Monthly Activity Reports 
    • Discuss the needs of faculty within Colleges across campus  
    • Discuss the needs for future programming  
    • Build the structure to offer new programming 
  • Review the charge and membership of the CAE Advisory Board on an annual basis 
  • Review the mission and purpose of the CAE on an annual basis 

Membership: Advisory Board Leaders

For the 2023-2024 Academic year the CAE Advisory Board Leaders will be Dr. Nicole Pfannenstiel and Marie Firestone. 

The CAE Advisory Boards Leaders prepare the Yearly Activity Report by August 1st of each year, then call the Summer Advisory Board meeting to discuss the proposed activities. The Advisory Board will prepare the Yearly Activity Report based on input from the Associate Provost for Academic Administration, input from the Provost, and input from the Advisory Board at prior meetings.  

The CAE Advisory Board Leaders support the professional development of the Advisory Boards members so they are well positioned in facilitating the programming from the Yearly Activity Report. This will include connecting programming facilitators with the structural and assessment practices prepared for the programming.  

The CAE Advisory Board Leaders coordinate reporting from the Advisory Board Members to accurately track and maintain data.  

The CAE Advisory Board Leaders prepare and share the Yearly Activity Reports (forecasting the year ahead) and the Monthly Activity Reports (document progress toward meeting outcomes).  

Membership: Advisory Board Members 2023-2024

  • Dr. Leonora Foels, associate professor: School of Social Work
  • Dr. Aaron Haines, professor: Biology
  • Dr. Jessica Hughes, associate professor: Communication & Theatre
  • Dr. Lauren Kaiser, associate professor: Psychology
  • Dr. Ann Marie Licata, assistant professor: Educational Foundations
  • Dr. Kaitlin Mondello, assistant professor: English & World Languages
  • Dr. Christopher Stieha, associate professor: Biology