SUU Hosts 2022 Teaching for Learning Conference

Published: May 05, 2022 | Read Time: 3 minutes

Teaching for Learning conference at SUUThe 6th annual Teaching for Learning Conference hosted by Southern Utah University took place on March 3-4, 2022. Representing 21 universities from Utah, Nevada, Idaho, Colorado, and Louisiana, over 140 attendees– 21% of the population being SUU faculty members– were present to hear what speakers had to say. The conference included 53 presentations ranging from breaking traditional classroom methods to resources and practices addressing the increasing mental health issues of students and faculty. Out of 67 total presenters, 14 were SUU faculty. 

Keynote speaker, Dr. Jenae Cohn, author of Skim, Dive, Surface: Teaching Digital Reading, elevated the attendees’ experience through her presentation and workshop. Attendees were able to understand the need of incorporating digital tools into higher education classrooms. Her invitation to integrate these tools to transform higher education through more sustainable teaching approaches and strategies has left a life-lasting impression on attendees.

Dr. Travis Thuston, the plenary speaker, gave a talk about enhancing teaching and learning to impact people’s lives to create a stronger society. With the pandemic, people have been forced to separate from their normal routine, but for teachers, Dr. Thuston argued that the pandemic brought an opportunity to strengthen the professor and student connection. He challenges faculty members to think outside the box with new activities and strategies of thinking and learning and to provide more support for students.

Other notable presentations were: “Liquid Syllabi: Impacts on Access, Equity, and Relationship-Building” by Clare Donohue, Kelly Svobada, Emily Hoover, and Laura Decker and “Broadening Our Understanding of Bandwidth: Empathy Post-COVID” by John Wolfe and Jim Haendiges. These presentations touched upon traditional problems faculty face– students not reading syllabi– to unpredicted changes in faculty and students, such as the mental and emotional toll of COVID-19. With the realization that these and other teaching challenges are universal, sharing potential solutions others have found successful is the core of attending these professional development conferences.

Due to the evolution of education through the pandemic, the Teaching for Learning Conference created an outlet for faculty members to stay current with the national conversation about teaching and learning.

Matt Weeg, director of the Center of Excellence for Teaching Learning, shared that the conference gave people who care deeply about teaching the chance to talk about teaching, learn from others, and become even better at what they do.

Corresponding to this year’s conference theme, “Looking Forward, Thinking Forward,” attendees can apply what they’ve learned and advance the power of education in their classrooms. While it’s impossible to address each and every faculty member’s concerns, the annual conference has assisted in taking a multitude of steps forward in improving higher education and lifelong learning throughout the region.

The annual Teaching for Learning conference is organized by SUU's Center of Excellence for Teaching and Learning. The CETL is a resource for all faculty who are passionate about teaching and developing their craft and offers a number of professional development opportunities to help faculty stay up to date on best practices in teaching and learning, experiment with new teaching strategies, and maximize the impact they have on students. 

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