Preconference Workshops

The Teaching Professor Annual Conference offers a selection of half-day preconference workshops to further enrich your conference experience.

The cost is $215 for each half-day preconference. These sessions are held Friday, June 1, before the conference begins.

Enrollment is offered during conference registration.

If you have already registered for the conference, call 608-246-3590 to enroll.

Assignments: Revisiting Details that Make a Difference

Friday, June 1, 2018 | 8:30 am–Noon

Carl R. Lovitt, professor emeritus, Connecticut State Colleges and Universities and Maryellen Weimer, editor, The Teaching Professor newsletter, professor emerita, Penn State Berks

Maryellen Weimer Maryellen Weimer,
Penn State Berks
Carl R. Lovitt Carl R. Lovitt,
Connecticut State Colleges

Every course has assignments. Generally students think of them as things teachers make them do. Generally teachers think of them as demonstrations of what students know and can do. Both teachers and students need to think of them more as learning experiences. Good assignments engage students with the content and require use of important learning skills. Unfortunately, not all assignments accomplish those objectives. Good assignments can be completed poorly and are regularly by students who don’t care about the course or learning. But sometimes the problem is the assignment—they too can get in the way of learning.

Assignments are easy to recycle and many are, until they reach the point of being old and tired. Moreover, there’s a tendency to rely on the similar assignment formats regardless of the disciplines or course levels. Students often do the same kinds of assignments in introductory surveys and capstones in the major. How fresh, interesting, and creative are the assignments in your courses?

This workshop takes a look at assignments, exploring the implications of considering them learning experiences. It offers a chance to revisit some of the details that enhance their learning potential, such as how they’re described. Can assignments be designed so they motivate students to devote time and energy to their completion? What design details make a difference when the assignment has students working in groups? What about some new, creative options for writing assignments? And finally, there’s the issue of what kind of learning an assignment promotes. Would you give students an assignment they hate if the learning that resulted was transformative?

Learning goals:

  • Be able to think more clearly about assignments as learning experiences and have ideas for enhancing the learning potential of assignments
  • Understand how design details influence the learning that occurs when students complete an assignment
  • Be motivated to revisit and possibly revise your collection of assignments

Large-section Classes: Structuring, Grading, Engaging, and Connecting with Students

Friday, June 1, 2018 | 8:30 am–Noon

Anthony Sweat, assistant professor, Brigham Young University

Anthony Sweat Anthony Sweat,
Brigham Young University

Teaching classes with large student enrollments is a necessity for many college and university instructors. However, large classes present inherent challenges that often aren’t addressed in typical research literature and teacher training. For example, how do we invite active learning into large lecture halls or auditoriums? How do we grade hundreds of students effectively but also efficiently? How do we personally connect with and create rapport among students we may never meet due to the masses? How do we structure our courses to minimize hundreds of emails and maximize self-directed learning? As a professor who typically teaches 2,500 students per year, Sweat proposes methods to help solve the unique difficulties created by large enrollment courses.

Learning goals:

  • Enhance active learning in large class settings through the “Know, Feel, and Do” model
  • Build strategies to personally connect with students in large classes
  • Explore efficient grading methods to provide student feedback in large classes
  • Structure an efficient, self-directed large-section class

Laying the Foundation for Meaningful Conversations About Diversity

Friday, June 1, 2018 | 8:30 am–Noon

Tasha Souza, associate director for the Center for Teaching and Learning and professor, Boise State University and Tolulope Noah, assistant professor of liberal studies/undergraduate education K-8, Azusa Pacific University

Tolulope Noah Tolulope Noah,
Azusa Pacific University
Tasha Souza Tasha Souza,
Boise State University

In this interactive workshop, participants will learn how to lay the foundation for meaningful conversations about diversity in the classroom setting. The workshop will address strategies for building trust and rapport amongst students, encouraging openness to dialogue, and establishing group agreements. In addition, participants will explore activities that can be used to help students unpack their personal identities, biases, and privileges. This is a stand-alone workshop. Participants should also consider the afternoon session for facilitating difficult dialogue and managing "hot" moments.

Learning goal:

  • Participants will leave the workshop with practical tools they can use to foster a supportive classroom environment where students are more open to engage in dialogue about diversity

2018 Teaching Professor ConferenceFaculty Are Learners Too: How Learning Principles Can Inform Professional Development

Friday, June 1, 2018 | 8:30 am–Noon

Amy B. Mulnix, founding director of the Faculty Center at Franklin and Marshall College

Amy B. Mulnix Amy B. Mulnix,
Franklin and Marshall College

This preconference workshop will highlight six learning principles and explore how they can be embedded in faculty development activities from workshops to learning communities to individual consultations. By focusing on the principles at the foundation of learning (e.g., knowledge is constructed, practice with feedback enhances learning), faculty developers can help faculty apply what they are learning to a wide variety of circumstances. Like their students, they too can move successfully beyond the content of introductory courses to become independent and creative practitioners.

Learning goals:

  • List and define six learning principles that are relevant to your work
  • Analyze barriers to successful programming through the lens of learning principles
  • Apply learning principles to think strategically about programs

2018 Teaching Professor ConferenceCircles of Innovation: Bricks, Clicks, and Teacher Tricks

Friday, June 1, 2018 | 1:00–4:30 pm


James May, faculty fellow for innovation and technology, Valencia College and Sharon May, professor new student experience, Valencia College

Sharon May Sharon May,
Valencia College
James May James May,
Valencia College

This interactive, hands-on preconference workshop highlights a variety of techniques designed to leverage bricks (brick and mortar best practices), clicks (cutting-edge digital tools), and teacher tricks (best practices from game theory, brain science, and viral learning). Learn new methods to keep your teaching fresh and invigorate today’s learners. The presenters discuss digital and pedagogical shifts and the needs and expectations of learners in the twenty-first century. They share a wide variety of face-to-face classroom and online engagement and communication techniques and resources that you can add to your bag of tricks for your own classroom.

Learning goals:

  • Build creative confidence and identify discipline agnostic ideation strategies
  • Discover 21st Century communication strategies for enhancing connections with Generation C
  • Examine best practices for making learning go viral
  • Discuss bricks, clicks, and teacher tricks for elevating instruction both in the classroom and online
  • Employ a variety of active learning strategies that galvanize student learning

Facilitating Meaningful Conversations About Diversity

Friday, June 1, 2018 | 1:00–4:30 pm

Tolulope Noah, assistant professor of liberal studies/undergraduate education K-8, Azusa Pacific University and Tasha Souza, associate director for the Center for Teaching and Learning and professor, Boise State University

Tasha Souza Tasha Souza,
Boise State University
Tolulope Noah Tolulope Noah,
Azusa Pacific University

This interactive workshop focuses on techniques for facilitating dialogue about diversity and managing hot moments that may arise in the classroom. Participants will learn what to do during and after difficult dialogues and practice communication frameworks for responding to "hot" moments. The workshop addresses strategies for responding to student resistance and microaggressions in the classroom. This is a stand-alone workshop. Participants should also consider the morning session to learn more about how personal background and bias can contribute a classroom dynamic.

Learning goal:

  • By this end of this workshop, participants should be better equipped to facilitate and navigate difficult dialogues about diversity in the classroom setting

Teaching and Learning in Professional Programs: Exploring the Challenges, Opportunities & Best Practices

Friday, June 1, 2018 | 1:00–4:30 pm

Lolita Paff, associate professor, Penn State Berks and Olive Yonge, vice dean and professor, University of Alberta

 Olive Yonge Olive Yonge,
University of Alberta
 Lolita Paff Lolita Paff,
Penn State Berks

Content knowledge is critical for any course or program. Faculty and administrators invest significant time coordinating disciplinary content and designing courses that promote learning and build competencies. A frequent measure of professional program effectiveness is successful completion of licensing exams and other certifications. These high stakes exams force faculty to focus content coverage and professional skill development, even though most who teach in these programs also aspire to develop the learning skills students need for ongoing career development.

This interactive workshop is an opportunity to explore and discuss challenges unique to professional programs: test anxiety caused by high stakes exit exams; faculty pressure resulting from program reputation in part dependent on exit exam performance; the need within tight time frames to teach content, develop professional skills, and cultivate professional behavior; and staff delivering the programs who have the skills and content knowledge but no teaching experience and no experience in academic teaching environments.

This is a chance for teachers and program leaders to pause and consider the many details related to teaching and learning in professional programs. This workshop presents a unique occasion to explore the similarities and differences, opportunities and challenges faced by educators from a range of professional disciplines. Our goal is for participants to leave with new ideas and practical strategies gleaned from others who share this challenging teaching assignment.

Learning goals:

  • Initiate dialogue to clarify goals, identify barriers, and explore opportunities
  • Understand the relationships between technical skills, theory and learning
  • Advocate for new approaches and strategies

2018 Teaching Professor Conference Supporting Faculty Through Online Educational Development

Friday, June 1, 2018 | 1:00–4:30 pm

Josie Baudier, Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning instructional designer and part-time instructor, Kennesaw State University and Traci Stromie, Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning instructional designer and part-time instructor, Kennesaw State University

Traci Stromie Traci Stromie,
Kennesaw State University
Josie Baudier Josie Baudier,
Kennesaw State University

In order to reach instructors who cannot come to campus for traditional educational development experiences, faculty developers can create learning opportunities using online delivery models to meet the needs of their faculty. Whether faculty are part-time instructors, online instructors, or just have demanding schedules, offering variations to the traditional one-hour face-to-face workshop can help extend support to all. In this preconference workshop, faculty developers will examine the research supporting alternative delivery modalities, explore technologies, and create a plan for inclusive faculty development opportunities.

Learning goals:

  • Investigate research-based online delivery models
  • Explore new technologies and engagement tools to support active learning in online faculty development
  • Create a plan for educational development opportunities by using the Backward Design model, considering campus culture and faculty needs that align to university and center goals