October 19, 2020

Join in a conversation about active learning, student engagement in online environments

Virtual conference set for Oct. 30

Wayne State University will host a free conference for faculty interested in exchanging ideas about online learning environments, active learning and student engagement. The virtual conference, “Conversations About Teaching: Lessons Learned, Future Envisioned,” is set for Friday, Oct. 30, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The event, which will be hosted on Zoom, is free and open to all. Those interested can RSVP online.

The conference, which is sponsored by Student Success Through Evidence-based Pedagogies (SSTEP) and the Office for Teaching and Learning (OTL), will include a poster session, a town hall/panel discussion, and a keynote address from Jenny Knight, associate professor of molecular cellular and developmental biology at the University of Colorado Boulder. Knight’s expertise includes the development of concept assessments for student learning, the impact of in-class work on student learning, and developing and measuring the impact of curricular changes and teacher training on students and faculty.

“This conference celebrates many years of effort of the SSTEP team and all the fabulous faculty who have been involved in our efforts. Through SSTEP, we have funded faculty teams reforming introductory courses, facilitated a large peer mentor community serving thousands of students, hosted dozens of workshops and initiated teaching conversations all over campus,” said Peter Hoffmann, chair and professor of physics and astronomy at Wayne State, and the principal investigator of the National Science Foundation (NSF)-funded SSTEP grant. “We are excited to connect with faculty across campus and learn how we can continue such initiatives beyond the life of the grant.”

“The pandemic has pushed faculty and academic staff to be even more innovative, and to adapt to new and evolving challenges as we continue to support our students in this new normal,” said Sara Kacin, assistant provost for faculty development and faculty success and director of OTL. “This conference will provide an opportunity to learn from one another, reflect on the lessons we’ve learned so far, and look ahead to how we can further improve online teaching and learning.”

SSTEP is a five-year campus project, funded via a $3 million grant from the NSF to advance institutional transformation projects aimed at incorporating innovative teaching approaches in STEM courses. SSTEP is a continuation of the NSF WIDER grant (2013-15), which served as a self-study of teaching practices used in Wayne State’s classrooms and an exploration of the opportunities and barriers toward the implementation of interactive, student-centered pedagogies on campus.

For more information about this event, please contact Sarah Schrag at 248-635-7634 or aj6312@wayne.edu