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Engaging Pedagogy Conference Quadruples Participation

May 2, 2016

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Dedicated to innovation and improving the classroom experience, TLU’s Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) is proud to present the first regional Engaging Pedagogy Conference. Due to the success of last year’s local faculty workshops, this year’s conference was opened to presenters and attendees across the region.

The number of schools participating has quadrupled from last year and attendance is already more than expected, prompting a change in venue for the keynote speakers in order to accommodate all the attendees.

“We are excited to have garnered so much interest from our neighboring institutions for our first Engaging Pedagogy Conference,” said Dr. Chris Bollinger, associate professor of communication studies and director of the TLU CTL. “Each session offers a compelling take on how we can broaden our skills to provide a better experience for our students. I think all the attendees will find this to be a valuable forum.”

The conference opens with an address from Mr. Bruce King, assistant to the president for institutional diversity at St. Olaf College, titled “We are All Marginalized in the Absence of Full Inclusion.” Following the opening session, attendees will be able to choose from five workshop sessions ranging from blended teaching and learning techniques to revisiting the pursuit of verifiable evidence. A second group of five workshop sessions prompts educators to integrate distance learning and critical thinking into student learning, among other topics.

The lunch session follows the thread of diversity with “Conociéndonos in Interaction: Relational Knowledge in Chicana/o Studies” from Dr. Josephine Méndez-Negrete, associate professor in Mexican-American studies at the University of Texas at San Antonio. Poster sessions and three different round table discussions provide an interactive afternoon where technology and innovation in the classroom, infusing marketable skills into the curriculum, and appealing to individuality will be explored. Two final groups of workshop sessions round out the conference program, which will wrap up with a closing session.

The Engaging Pedagogy Conference is one of the many programs facilitated by the TLU CTL, which launched in 2013 thanks to a $50,000 gift from Mrs. Lena Wilson. The work of the Center has included workshops, lunch discussions, grants for course development, participation in a conference on diversity and learning, and an emphasis on increasing the number of Supplemental Instruction Leaders and Collaborative Learning Assistants, who are peer educators trained to support their fellow students academically. The CTL is making a difference for both TLU faculty and students and furthers the institution’s mission as a teaching-centered university. The conference furthers the CTL’s mission to offer specific and intentional training with faculty, focusing on best practices in the 21st century college classroom, while being especially mindful of the needs of first-generation college students and the particular challenges they may face.

With the intention of making the Engaging Pedagogy Conference an annual colloquium, Bollinger said, “Our hope is that the conference will continue to grow as faculty and staff continue to critically rethink and innovate teaching and learning.”