Author gallery: Meet the experts in our series Teaching and Learning in Higher Education

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Authors in WVU Press’s series Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, edited by James M. Lang, have given successful talks and workshops around the world and are available for a variety of programming on topics ranging from small teaching interventions to universal design to neuroscience. When you bring a WVU Press author to your campus or conference, we’ll work with you to get books in the hands of your audience or participants; we offer bulk discounts for all-conference reads, faculty reading groups, or even just a few books for raffle prizes. Contact Derek Krissoff for details, and get to know our authors below.

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Series editor James M. Lang is a professor of English and the director of the D’Amour Center for Teaching Excellence at Assumption College in Worcester, MA. He is the author of five books, the most recent of which are Small Teaching: Everyday Lessons from the Science of Learning (Jossey-Bass, 2016), Cheating Lessons: Learning from Academic Dishonesty (Harvard, 2013), and On Course: A Week-by-Week Guide to Your First Semester of College Teaching (Harvard, 2008). He is coeditor of Teaching the Literature Survey Course, published by WVU Press, and his next book, Teaching Distracted Minds, will be published by Basic Books in the fall of 2020. Lang writes a monthly column on teaching and learning for The Chronicle of Higher Education; his work has been appearing in the Chronicle since 1999. His book reviews and public scholarship on higher education have appeared in a wide variety of newspapers and magazines, including the Boston Globe, Chicago Tribune, and Time. He has conducted workshops on teaching for faculty at more than a hundred colleges or universities in the US and abroad.  In September of 2016 he received a Fulbright Specialist grant to work with three universities in Colombia on the creation of a MOOC on teaching and learning in STEM education. He has a BA in English and philosophy from the University of Notre Dame, an MA in English from St. Louis University, and a Ph.D. in English from Northwestern University.

Talks:

Small Teaching: From Minor Changes to Major Learning

Research from the learning sciences and from a variety of educational settings suggests that a small number of key principles can improve learning in almost any type of college or university course, from traditional lectures to flipped classrooms. This interactive lecture introduces some of those principles, offers practical suggestions for how they might foster positive change in higher education teaching and learning, and guides faculty participants to consider how these principles might manifest themselves in their current and upcoming courses.

Cheating Lessons: Learning from Academic Dishonesty

When students engage in academically dishonest behaviors, they may be responding to subtle pressures in the learning environment that interfere with deep learning and nudge them toward cheating. Hence if we can gain a better understanding of the reasons for academically dishonest behavior, we can use that knowledge to improve our course design, teaching practices, and communication with students.  This interactive lecture provides an overview of the various pressures that push students toward academic dishonesty, proposes solutions for helping students learn how to do their work with integrity, and invites discussion about how to build a campus culture of academic integrity.

New Approaches to the Traditional Survey Course

Many humanities departments require students to take survey courses of major thinkers or movements within their disciplines.  While these courses can provide an essential service to students, they can also stifle creative thinking and deep learning.  This conversational lecture introduces a variety of ways in which instructors of survey courses can explore new organizational structures, invite their students into deeper and more creative forms of learning, and develop alternative forms of assessment.

Links:

Reinventing the Survey Course

Small Changes in Teaching

News flash . . . Harvard students cheat too

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Kirsten Tilney Behling is the director of student accessibility services at Tufts University, an adjunct professor in the disability services in higher education graduate certificate program at Suffolk University, and coauthor of Teach Everyone, Reach Everyone: Universal Design for Learning in Higher Education, published by WVU Press. Prior to working at Tufts, Kirsten developed and managed the office of disability services at Suffolk University. While at Suffolk she worked to ensure that while students were accommodated the university was also proactively addressing the access needs of diverse learners. She helped to develop the graduate certificate program in postsecondary disability services at the University of Connecticut. Behling is also heavily involved in New England AHEAD, a regional affiliate of AHEAD. Her research interests include campus-wide buy-in to access needs, access in online learning, teaching the diverse learner, and educating current and future disability service professionals. She can be reached by email at: kirsten.behling@tufts.edu.

Talks:

Evaluating the Effectiveness of College Disability Services Offices

Behling serves as a consultant for universities looking to evaluate the impact that their disability offices have in a time of change or in a time of growth. She provides a comprehensive review of the functionality of disability services as a consumer-end need and provides best practices for disability-related advocacy across the university.

Building Inclusivity into Online Learning

As the diversity of students in higher education grows so too does the need to ensure that the courses offered online are accessible for all types of learners. The challenge lies in how to do this easily and with the greatest impact. This workshop will acknowledge the busy schedules that faculty have by providing a hands-on opportunity to create personalized course templates with everyday tools that faculty can use for years to come. By knowing how to check current course materials for accessibility issues and how to design new material, faculty are empowered to effectively reach the diverse learners in their courses.

Influencing a Culture of Universal Access across Campuses

Universal Design for Learning is a good idea–we all know that. But bringing it to a campus and getting it to stay there can be a challenging task. This workshop is designed to help institutions identify the best ways to bring UDL to their campus and keep it there. Participants will have opportunities to apply content to their individual campuses though the development of a doable, next step process when they leave.

Implementing the New Norm: Managing Increased Requests for Exceptional Accommodation

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) defines disability as “anything that limits one or more major life activity.” You can imagine the breadth of diversity that institutions of higher education are seeing then when it comes to students with disabilities. This workshop will address some newer common requested accommodations: excused absences, the presence of emotional support animals, the ability to attend class remotely, etc. We will discuss if these are indeed accommodations and if so, how to navigate them on your campus.

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Derek Bruff is director of the Vanderbilt University Center for Teaching and a principal senior lecturer in the Vanderbilt Department of Mathematics. As director, he oversees the Center’s programming and offerings for faculty and graduate students, helping them develop foundational teaching skills and explore new ideas in teaching and learning. He also consults regularly with campus leaders about pedagogical issues, seeking to foster a university culture that supports effective teaching.

Bruff’s scholarly interests include educational technology, faculty development, and visual thinking. He writes about these topics on his blog, Agile Learning, and his second book, Intentional Tech: Principles to Guide the Use of Educational Technology in College Teaching, will be published in 2019 by West Virginia University Press. His first book, Teaching with Classroom Response Systems: Creating Active Learning Environments, was published by Jossey-Bass in 2009. Bruff is also producer and host of the podcasts Leading Lines, VandyVox, and One-Time Pod.

Bruff has taught at Harvard University and has a PhD in mathematics from Vanderbilt University.

Talks:

Intentional Tech: Principles to Guide the Use of Educational Technology in College Teaching

Chalkboards and projectors are familiar tools for most college faculty, but when new technologies become available, instructors aren’t always sure how to integrate them into their teaching in meaningful ways. As faculty interested in supporting student learning survey the changing landscape of technology, determining what’s possible and what’s useful can be challenging. In this talk, we’ll explore several teaching principles for matching technology to pedagogy, principles that can help us make intentional and effective use of technology in our teaching.

Students as Producers: Creative Assignments for Deep Learning 

In the courses we teach, we have the opportunity to engage our students not only as consumers of information, but producers of knowledge. Usually this means moving beyond the five-page paper to less traditional assignments and projects. In this introduction to the “Students as Producers” approach to course design, we’ll consider assignments that encourage students to tackle open-ended problems, to operate with a high degree of autonomy, and to share their work with wider audiences. We’ll also discuss teaching and assessment practices that support students as they engage in these kinds of assignments.

All Skate: Active Learning in the University Classroom

How can we make the most of the relatively limited time we have with our students during class?  Educational research is clear: engaging students in active learning in the classroom leads to improved learning outcomes over “continuous exposition by the teacher.”  But what is active learning?  Why does it work?  And how can we engage all of our students in active learning during class?  In this keynote, we’ll explore teaching strategies, learning principles, and digital technologies for creating active learning environments in our classrooms—and inviting all our students into deeper learning.

See What I Mean: Visual Thinking Tools for Deep Learning

Our brains are wired to rapidly make sense of and remember visual input.  How might we tap into our students’ ability to think visually when teaching?  In this session, we will explore ways that visual thinking tools such as concept maps, coordinate axes, timelines, and sketchnotes can help students refine, share, and receive feedback on their understanding of relationships among ideas.  These tools can thus help students build more robust mental models useful for solving problems, thinking critically, and learning deeply.

Links:

Students as Producers: Collaborating Toward Deeper Learning

An Indirect Journey to Indirect Impact

A Social Network Can Be a Learning Network

Multiple-Choice Questions You Wouldn’t Put on a Test

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Sarah Rose Cavanagh is a psychologist, professor, and associate director of the D’Amour Center for Teaching Excellence at Assumption College. Her research considers whether the strategies people choose to regulate their emotions and the degree to which they successfully accomplish this regulation can predict trajectories of psychological functioning over time. Her most recent research project, funded by the Davis Educational Foundation, focuses on whether giving students tools from emotion regulation at the start of class can improve their same-day and semester-long learning. Sarah’s first book, The Spark of Learning: Energizing the College Classroom with the Science of Emotion, was published by West Virginia University Press in 2016, and her second book, HIVEMIND: The New Science of Tribalism in Our Divided World, was published by Grand Central in 2019. She gives keynote addresses and workshops at a variety of colleges and regional conferences, blogs for Psychology Today, and writes essays for the Chronicle of Higher Education. She’s also on Twitter too much, at @SaRoseCav.

Talks:

Spark of Learning Keynote

Traditional views of education assume that reason should reign over emotion, and that the classroom should be a quiet, dispassionate space where students and instructors impartially engage with facts, figures, and theories. However, emotions possess the power to arrest attention, enhance memory, and mobilize efforts. Cavanagh brings to bear a wide range of evidence from the study of education, psychology, and neuroscience to suggest that targeting emotions in your presentation style, course design, and assignments is a highly potent teaching strategy.

Spark of Learning Workshops

All sessions involve both new research content and modeling of active learning and discussion:

Be the Spark: Performance, Presence, and Relationships

Four Principles of Classroom Engagement

Inclusion, Psychological Safety, and Reducing Anxiety and Reactance

Links:

Voices Lost and Voices Found

All’s the Classroom’s a Stage

Caring Isn’t Coddling

Once More, with Feeling (Psychology Today blog)

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Josh Eyler is director of faculty development and director of the Thinkforward Quality Enhancement Plan at the University of Mississippi, where he is also on the faculty in the department of writing and rhetoric. He previously worked on teaching and learning initiatives at Columbus State University, George Mason University, and Rice University. His research interests include the biological basis of learning, evidence-based pedagogy, and disability studies, and he is the author of How Humans Learn: The Science and Stories behind Effective College Teaching (WVU, 2018).

Josh is a frequent speaker at colleges and universities across the country, and he often consults with centers for teaching and learning on a range of issues related to programming and research. You can contact Josh at jeyler42@gmail.com or at @joshua_r_eyler on Twitter.

Talks:

The Science of Learning, and Why It Matters

Recent intersections between anthropology, psychology, cognitive neuroscience, and educational research have yielded important findings about the ways in which students learn most effectively. This interactive workshop explores the biology of learning and its significance for our students, our classrooms, and our pedagogical innovations.

Why Failure is Essential for Student Learning

Students are frequently asked to achieve, on their first attempts, stellar results on high-stakes, high-pressure assessments. New research on the science of learning is beginning to show us that this strategy does not work well, though, because it is not how human beings naturally learn. We need to make mistakes before we can get the right answers. In this talk, I’ll be reviewing some of the most important findings in this new area of inquiry and suggesting ways that we can generate “opportunities for failure” in our courses so that our students may learn more effectively.

Curiosity and the College Classroom

Curiosity is an essential part of the way human beings learn, and it always has been. In order to learn something, we must first wonder about it. This was true of our distant ancestors, and it is true of all of us. Researchers have shown, though, that somewhere between the time when children are very young and when they find their way to our college classrooms, the lion’s share of this curiosity is lost. I suggest some ways that we might try to find it again and why the search matters so much for higher education.

The Important Role of Effective Teaching in Student Retention and Persistence Efforts

One of the most important discussions in higher education today centers around the ways in which we help our students to succeed once they are admitted to our colleges and universities. The conversation often focuses on data regarding retention, progression, and graduation (RPG) percentages, but the issue is far more nuanced than the numbers convey. One important tool for student success is effective, evidence-based teaching, yet pedagogy is often left out of the RPG debate. This talk outlines a model for student success that places transformational teaching and social-psychological interventions at the forefront and suggests ways that we might implement such a framework at our institutions.

Links:

To Ban or Not to Ban? Technology, Education, and the Media

Against Student Shaming

Teaching Is Messy. We Need to Embrace That.

Instructional Design, Trust, and Discovery

Biology, the Brain, and Learning

Teaching Lessons from Pixar

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Cyndi Kernahan is a professor of psychology and assistant dean for teaching and learning in the College of Arts and Sciences, University of Wisconsin-River Falls. A social psychologist, Cyndi’s expertise is in the psychology of prejudice and racism and her scholarly work is typically focused on better understanding how students learn about these topics and how psychological factors influence student learning and student success more broadly. Her book Teaching about Race and Racism in the College Classroom: Notes from a White Professor is forthcoming from West Virginia University Press. In addition to her teaching and scholarly work, Cyndi regularly gives talks and provides workshops for faculty on a variety of topics related to race, bias, and student success. She also coordinates the First Year Adventure program, providing development and support to the instructors who teach first-year courses at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. Learn more at her website.

Interactive Talks/Workshops:

Teaching about Race and Racism Effectively

Teaching about race and racism can be difficult, eliciting strong emotions as common understandings clash with new information and students struggle to reconcile their previous beliefs with what they are learning. Drawing from both the scholarship of teaching and learning and the social psychological literatures, as well as from experience, Cyndi provides evidence for how learning works with respect to race and racism along with practical strategies for facilitating learning. In doing so, she focuses on providing a compassionate classroom environment for both the students and the instructor as well as drawing important distinctions between the experiences of White people and people of color.

Implicit Bias: What It Is and What It Is Not

Implicit bias and implicit associations are social psychological concepts that have been studied for more than 25 years, but that are often misunderstood by the general public. Lately, the idea of “implicit bias training” has become common, with politicians and pundits calling for various groups (e.g., doctors, teachers, police officers) to develop their understanding of their own biases as a way to reduce discrimination. In this talk, Cyndi Kernahan explains implicit bias clearly, breaking down the science to help participants understand how it works and when it should (and should not) be used. Cyndi also provides strategies for minimizing your own implicit biases and suggestions for ways to reduce the role of implicit bias in both personal and organizational ways.

Stereotype Threat, Bias, and The Student Experience

Stereotype threat is a well-studied and well-documented phenomenon within social psychology. But despite its important implications for students, it is often not well understood by faculty. Translating the research, Cyndi Kernahan explains what stereotype threat is, including why, when, and how it happens. She also explains how it can happen across a variety of social identity groups, depending on the person and the situation. Focusing on both the short- and long-term effects of stereotype threat, Cyndi assists instructors in finding ways to better understand the student experience and thinking about ways to signal belonging and lessen feelings of threat.

Psychological Interventions for Student Success

Often paired with talks/workshops on stereotype threat and/or implicit bias, this session focuses on a variety of small, low-cost interventions that can be applied at either the classroom or campus level. Drawing from the social psychology of “wise interventions”, Cyndi Kernahan describes the science behind a variety of strategies that have been shown to improve student persistence, boost grades, and help close the gaps we often see between White students and students of color as well as between first-generation and continuing-generation college students. Some strategies that can be included: values affirmations, growth mindset, sense of belonging, purpose and relevance, and utility interventions.

Getting Started with the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning

Cyndi Kernahan served as a co-director of the Wisconsin Teaching Fellows and Scholars program for six years. This award-winning and long-admired program allows faculty and instructors from across the state of Wisconsin to participate in a year-long training on how to conduct Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) projects. As co-director, Cyndi helped train more than 150 Fellows and Scholars in the techniques of SoTL, shaping their initial research questions, assisting with assessments, and answering questions from start to finish. Drawing from this experience, Cyndi explains the basics of SoTL, including the important guiding questions that can result in a strong research question and a successful project. Cyndi also works with participants to help narrow their ideas into workable projects and can assist with project design, assessment, and publication.

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Jessamyn Neuhaus is professor of US history and popular culture at SUNY Plattsburgh and recipient of the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching. As the Teaching Fellow at Plattsburgh’s Center for Teaching Excellence for several years, Jessamyn created and facilitated a variety of professional development opportunities for faculty such as teaching workshops, individual consultations, class visits, online resources, and department consultations. She is the author of Geeky Pedagogy: A Guide for Intellectuals, Introverts, and Nerds Who Want to be Effective Teachers (WVU Press), as well as two monographs: Manly Meals and Mom’s Home Cooking: Cookbooks and Gender in Modern America (Johns Hopkins University Press) and Housework and Housewives in American Advertising: Married to the Mop (Palgrave Macmillan). Jessamyn has also published pedagogical, historical, and cultural studies research in numerous anthologies and journals including Journal of American History, The History Teacher, Journal of Popular Culture, Journal of Women’s HistoryStudies in Popular Culture, Teaching History, and Transformations: The Journal of Inclusive Scholarship and Pedagogy. Visit her website https://geekypedagogy.com and find her on Twitter @GeekyPedagogy.

Talks:

Geeky Pedagogy Keynote

If there’s one thing instructors in higher education have in common, it’s that they’re the experts in their fields. In this talk, titled Geeky Pedagogy: Use Your Big Brain for Effective College Teaching, Jessamyn explains how faculty can apply their intellectual prowess towards acquiring pedagogical content knowledge. She argues that the super-smart intellectuals, introverts, nerds, eggheads, and wonks teaching in academia must also “geek out” about pedagogy, and use their passion for scholarly subjects to fuel effective teaching practices.

Geeky Pedagogy Workshops

In her interactive workshops Jessamyn offers numerous practical, evidence-based tools for increasing student learning and empowering teaching self-efficacy. Jessamyn pays close attention to the myriad ways that employment status, campus culture, and identity—race, ethnicity, age, gender expression, socioeconomic class, sexual identity, and so on—shape teaching and learning. All of her workshops reflect this awareness and offer extensive opportunities for faculty brainstorming, discussion, and reflection about how to utilize a geek culture of sharing pedagogy in every unique teaching context:

Geek Out About Teaching: How Intellectuals and Scholars Become Effective Educators

Geeky Pedagogy for Diverse Faculty and in Disparate Teaching Realities

Gratitude Practices: A Practical Tool for Empowering Teachers in Higher Education

Put on Your Professor Pants: Teaching Strategies for Introverts, Geeks, and Shrinking Violets

Links:

My Big Teaching Mistake: Losing Sight of Pedagogical Success (forthcoming summer 2019)

Professors Get Tired of Teaching But a Gratitude Practice Can Offset Burnout

Talk Amongst Yourselves: A SoTL Manifesto

How Wonder Woman Helped My Students “Join the Conversation:” Comic Books as Teaching Tools in a History Methodology Course

“Shake this square world and blast off for Kicksville:” Teaching History with Post-WWII Prescriptive Classroom Films

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John A. Staunton is professor of English education and American literature and the 2017 recipient of the Ronald W. Collins Distinguished Faculty Award for Teaching at Eastern Michigan University.  He publishes on English teacher education, literature pedagogy, and multi-modalities in literacy education.  Currently, he is the coordinator of English education programs and the faculty associate for university studies. A past co-director of the National Writing Project site at Eastern Michigan (EMWP), John has been involved with local and national teacher research networks for the past 15 years, most recently to support site-based teacher research and teacher inquiry groups in southeast Michigan. Staunton is coeditor of the book Teaching the Literature Survey Course, published by WVU Press.

Talks:

Transmediations across the Curriculum:  Multi-Modal Strategies for Teaching and Learning

Research in new literacies studies, multimodality, and aesthetic education suggest that how students design and represent their initial understandings of new material has lasting effects on their long-term learning and development.  This interactive workshop and demonstration introduces participants to the multi-modal techniques of “transmediation”—how they work, how to introduce them to students, and how to use them across content areas.

New Approaches to the Traditional Survey Course

Many humanities departments require students to take survey courses of major thinkers or movements within their disciplines.  While these courses can provide an essential service to students, they can also stifle creative thinking and deep learning. This conversational lecture introduces a variety of ways in which instructors of survey courses can explore new organizational structures, invite their students into deeper and more creative forms of learning, and develop alternative forms of assessment.

Failing to Learn:  Knowing when to Abandon Prior Knowledge to Advance Understanding

Research on high impact practices in teaching and learning highlights the importance of threshold moments and signature work in student learning.  This conversational lecture explores the pedagogical benefits of helping students understand the importance of “expectation failure” in developing metacognitive and disciplinary understanding.

Links:

Deranging English/Education: Teacher Inquiry, Literary Studies, and Hybrid Visions of “English” for 21st Century Schools

 

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Thomas J. Tobin is the area director for curriculum and programming on the Learning Design, Development, and Innovation (LDDI) team at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, as well as an internationally-recognized speaker and author on topics related to quality in technology-enhanced education, especially copyright, evaluation of teaching practice, academic integrity, and accessibility/universal design for learning. Since the advent of online courses in higher education in the late 1990s, Tom’s work has focused on using technology to extend the reach of higher education beyond its traditional audience. He advocates for the educational rights of people with disabilities and people from disadvantaged backgrounds. His books include Evaluating Online Teaching: Implementing Best Practices (2015), The Copyright Ninja (2017), Reach Everyone, Teach Everyone: Universal Design for Learning in Higher Education (WVU Press), and Going Alt-Ac: A Guide to Alternative Academic Careers (in press, 2019). Visit his website here.

Talks:

Evaluating Online Teaching

How are online courses taught differently than face-to-face? I’ll show you how student ratings, peer observations, and administrative evaluations align to the online medium via five use-them-now practices from my book Evaluating Online Teaching (Jossey-Bass).

Reach Everyone, Teach Everyone: Universal Design for Learning

Universal Design for Learning (UDL) strategies are typically discussed as ways to accommodate learners with disabilities, but they make courses more engaging and flexible for everyone. This workshop, presentation, or keynote increases student retention through UDL in higher-ed course design in five practical steps from my book Reach Everyone, Teach Everyone: UDL in Higher Education (WVU Press).

Copyright for Faculty and Administrators

Faculty and administrators often don’t have clear guidance about copying materials for teaching, or who owns content they create. I offer plain-language best practices in these areas—for both US and Canadian audiences. Help the learning to “stick” with copies of my comic book, The Copyright Ninja, for your participants, too.

Three Paths to Academic Integrity across Campus

The primary approach to academic integrity on many campuses is “catching cheaters.” From this presentation, you’ll get seven specific strategies that your institution and faculty members can implement within the next ten days to help increase campus-wide academic honesty (and, yes, still catch those cheaters).

Links:

Improve the Flipped Classroom with Universal Design for Learning

How Universal Design for Learning Supports the Flipped Classroom

How Universal Design for Learning Supports Concept Mastery in the Flipped Classroom

Increase Online Student Retention with Universal Design for Learning

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