AIW reform impacts people in different ways. The following testimonials reflect how Center programs and staff have promoted transformative professional development and thoughtful practice in the field.

Dr. Dana Carmichael is deeply immersed in practicing personal reflection on her continually evolving journey to self-transformation.  She naturally blends the artistry and science of reflective practices as she models evolving in a transparent way for her workshop participants and varied school clientele.  She fully commits herself to becoming while helping others experience the joy and profound insights of their own transformational journeys.  Her practical workshops are always engaging, thought provoking, and inspiring.

Cassandra Erkens
Author, Educational Researcher, and Consultant,
Anam Cara Consulting, Inc.
Minneapolis, MN

Dr. Carmichael has profoundly changed the way I work with teachers. The “aha moment” for me came through our collaboration on a Teaching American History grant in 2000. She helped me better understand how much instruction matters. Although most people think of AIW reform in the context of schools, the AIW framework and its deep connection between authentic instruction in the classroom and its impacts student academic achievement has translated into better staff development for National History Day and an overall stronger program in Minnesota. I believe her expertise could help any organization that is passionate about high level teaching with meaningful learning.

Tim Hoogland
Director of Education Outreach Programs
Minnesota Historical Society
Affiliated Instructor of History
University of Minnesota

Intellectual Work is the best example of job-embedded, just-in-time professional learning that I’ve supported. Teachers and administrators engage in professional learning communities to solve their own problems of practice through review and discussion. Dana Carmichael, director of the Center for AIW, is a master at working with districts to identify creative solutions to the problems encountered in moving to full implementation.  She is a never ending source of new ideas and models that can be applied to ensure that AIW is successful in improving instruction.

Rita Martens
Lead Consultant, Iowa Core at Iowa Department of Education
Des Moines, Iowa

I have been an educator for over a decade in two states, three high schools and two middle schools. I have gone through various staff developments. Like all investments, school districts are looking for returns like gains in student achievement and staff collaboration. Yet, most of the investments I have been part of as an educator never produce returns or have longevity. After experiencing this first hand, it is understandable why some educators accept apathy towards innovation and expect isolation professionally.
In 2012, I was introduced to the AIW framework, and I felt as if a switch had been turned on. AIW has been the most profound and important professional development I have ever done. For over a decade I have felt frustrated when collaborating with my peers and isolated in my desire to think outside the box. Yet the ‘go it alone’ philosophy never helped me produce the results in the classroom I desired.

Now I realize it was because my collaboration time lacked a common language, objective and purpose. When I sit with my AIW colleagues and score a task, student work, or instruction, I’m empowered by teachers leading teachers. Together we break down the barriers of isolation and help each other become better professionals in the classroom by creating student work that is meaningful and purposeful.

Laura Hensley
AIW teacher
West Sioux Community schools, IA


The Center provides professional development for instructional and assessment reform, using the Framework for Authentic Intellectual Work. Learn More