Rachel Niemer

Director, Strategic Initiatives

Role: Rachel Niemer is the founding Director of the Gameful Learning Lab in the Office of Academic Innovation at the University of Michigan (U-M). In this role, Rachel leads a team that helps instructors, at U-M and beyond, design engaging and motivating learning environments using motivation research, game-design principles and findings from the learning sciences. Working with instructors on redesigning traditional courses, employing simulations and developing engaging educational technologies, the Gameful Learning Lab aims to create environments that shift learners away from relying on extrinsic motivation to succeed academically, and instead, take agency over their learning. Additionally, Rachel collaborates with the Academic Innovation Initiative Steering Committee to advance the mission of the University’s Academic Innovation Initiative.

Experience: Prior to joining the AI team, Rachel served as the Assistant Director at the Center for Research on Learning and Teaching at U-M, where she specialized in health sciences educational development and instructional technology. Rachel has also taught pedagogy courses at the University of Rochester, where she was an Assistant Director of Learning Assistance Services. Previously Rachel was a chemistry instructor at Gustavus Adolphus College in Minnesota and a postdoctoral scholar in pharmacology at the University of Rochester Medical Center.

Doctor of Chemistry, California Institute of Technology
Artium Baccalaureus in Chemistry and Women’s Studies, Bowdoin College