Learn@Lunch Series

The Center for Teaching Excellence and Innovation’s (CTEI) Learn@Lunch series is an opportunity for University of Hartford faculty to lead and engage in discussions about teaching and learning.

About Learn@Lunch Series

All Faculty are Welcome

For recordings of previous Learn@Lunch sessions go to CTEI Teaching Resources.

The sessions (typically 3-4 each semester) are designed to encourage faculty to share and explore new teaching methods and are intended to foster collegiality, community, and peer support around teaching. Each semester the topics vary and are selected based on feedback from faculty and with the guidance of the CTEI Faculty Advisory Committee.

Do you have an idea for a session? Visit Learn@Lunch and share your idea with us.

Previous Sessions

Creating a Welcoming Syllabus for All Students 

Friday, August 19, 2022


Co Facilitated with the College of Arts & Sciences

In this panel discussion, faculty will share insights and inspiration regarding inclusive syllabi creation. The panelists will answer questions such as:

What advice would you give to faculty who want to easily revise their syllabi to make it more welcoming?

How has a welcoming syllabus transformed your classroom?

What are some other ways that you build community in your classroom that stem from your welcoming syllabus?

Is there anything you do to engage students in your course and syllabus before the first day of class?


Kristen Comeforo

Nat DuFord Nathan R. DuFord is an assistant professor of philosophy at University of Hartford. They're the author of Solidarity in Conflict (Stanford UP, 2022). They teach and research social philosophy, feminist and queer theory, and radical political thought. 

Laura Enzor

Margaret Tarampi

Patrick Allen

Patrick Allen’s association with the University of Hartford dates back to 1989 when began work as a Manager of Training and Human Resources at the University until 1997 when he left to pursue a 25-year teaching career in public schools as an elementary and middle-school teacher. 

In addition to being a classroom teacher and team-leader for all of these years, Patrick also created professional development workshops, teaching teachers in the district.  He is also proud to have been named his school district’s Teacher of the Year. Patrick is thrilled to be back at UH teaching UISS courses, working with college-aged students and considers his career in education has come full circle!

Video: Creating a Welcoming Syllabus for all Students 

Honors Contracts: What are the Best Practices? 

Friday, September, 9, 2022


How do you respond when students ask if they can complete an Honors Contract in your class? Dread? Uncertainty? Excitement? 

Your work in supporting Honors Contracts serves a critical role in students' progress in the Honors Program. 

Attend this panel discussion to learn about best practices in Honors Contracts. A panel of experienced faculty members will talk about issues to be considered when working on a contract with a student. Innovative strategies related to contracts will be explained. Helpful suggestions will be provided. 

Claudia Oakes is the Director of the University Honors Program. She also served as the Honors Coordinator for ENHP for many years. She is a faculty member in the Health Science Department.

Adam Silver is an Associate Professor in the Biology Department, and the Honors Coordinator for A&S.

Christine Ye

John Nordyke

Video: Honors Contracts: What Are the Best Practices?



The Practice of Critical Reading in the Classroom

Wednesday, October 26, 2022


Join Distinguished Teaching Humanist, Nicholas Ealy, as he offers a glimpse into a strategy that is the hallmark of this teaching: critical reading. Starting with an exploration of the trivium (grammar, rhetoric and logic), the traditional basis of a liberal arts education, this workshop will navigate the problems language poses with interpretation and analysis, as well as give strategies for using the trivium to help students read more critically.

Nicholas Ealy

Video: Teaching Critical Reading 


Feb. 18, 2022, 12:45-1:45 

Senior Year Honors Research and Writing: Everything Students Want to Know but May Be Afraid to Ask

The ultimate challenge for honors students in their senior year is to conduct independent research and complete a research project/thesis. However, even some of our best students feel intimidated as they begin so they may need careful mentoring.  

Led by the Honors Director - Dr. Claudia Oakes, the A&S Honors Coordinator – Dr. Adam Silver, and the 2020-22 Distinguished Teaching Humanist - Dr. Donald Jones, this interactive workshop will help experienced and aspiring advisors become better mentors for senior-year honors research and writing. It will focus on the first few months of these efforts, and the following questions will be addressed: 

  1. As honors students start to consider a research project/thesis during their junior year, how should their mentors describe this effort (and implicitly persuade more students to dare to try)? 
  2. How should the honors students conceive of this project so that it seems feasible and worthwhile? What do students especially need to understand about a preliminary honors proposal/prospectus that may be required (varies by college)? 
  3. What training for reading scholarly sources and framing the research question do mentors need to provide for at least some honors seniors? 
  4. Why should students be advised to start writing early in their research process, and what is the value of such preliminary writing? 
  5. Why should mentors stress the identification of central concepts and the use of keywords? 
  6. What are satisfactions and the benefits of mentoring a senior honors student? 

In other words, what mentoring at the end of junior year and at the start of senior year will lead more honors students to the successful completion of an honors research project/thesis?  

This workshop is intended for the Honors Program Coordinators, experienced thesis advisors, and all faculty interested in supporting our top seniors in their honors projects. The workshop leaders hope that experienced mentors will join them in sharing their insights with others. 


Claudia Oakes is the Director of the Honors Program and the former ENHP Honors Coordinator. She is an Associate Professor and the Director of the Health Science Program.

Adam Silver is the A&S Honors Coordinator. Adam Silver has served as the A&S Honors Coordinator since 2019, is an Associate Professor in Biology, and has mentored Honors Thesis students.

Don Jones is the 2020-22 Distinguished Teaching Humanist in the College of Arts and Sciences. He is an Associate Professor in English, and since 1996, Jones also has served as the Writing Program Director, the A&S HON Coordinator, and the Director of Honors. 


Wednesday, March 2, 12:45-1:45

IRB eProtocol Training to Support the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning 


Jessica York-Dean of Graduate Studies and Research, Chair of IRB

Lisa Zawilinski-Executive Director for the Center for Teaching Excellence and Innovation; Associate Professor Elementary Education

Join Dr. Jessica York, Chair of the Institutional Review Board, for an overview of eProtocol, the University’s new electronic IRB protocol submission system. Learn how to navigate eProtocol, see a demonstration of the of how to login and create your protocol, and the steps required for a successful submission. Dr. Lisa Zawilinski, CTEI, will join Dr. York and the two will share guidelines specific to IRB protocols for SoTL projects. 


Jessica York is Dean of Graduate Studies and Research as well as the Chair of the Institutional Review Board at the University. Jessica has a broad background in academic administration, academic advising, online education, instructional design for online and hybrid courses, new program and curriculum development, and assessment. Her academic background is educational leadership with a focus on policy, higher education administration, and history.

Lisa Zawilinski serves as the Executive Director of the Center for Teaching Excellence and Innovation.  She is an Associate Professor of Elementary Education with a research interest in the ways in which technologies can support learning for ALL students. Lisa is passionate about engaging in the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) as well as using Universal Design principles to remove barriers in her teaching.


Friday, March 11, 12:45-1:45

Creating varied, flexible, and inclusive assignments and assessments 

Facilitator: Karla Loya- Assistant Professor of Educational Leadership

In this session, we will learn about specific ways of creating varied, flexible, and inclusive assignments that accommodate and embrace learners’ skills, strengths, and needs. We will also discuss how to connect our assignments to equally responsive assessments and become more self-reflective instructors.


Karla I. Loya is assistant professor in the educational leadership doctoral program. Her research investigates the processes, experiences, and decisions that lead to more inclusive higher education settings, interweaving three areas: (1) inclusive college teaching and learning; (2) faculty and student experiences and success; and (3) socially-just research methods and assessment. In short, her work seeks to foster more inclusive environments where everyone can succeed.  



Friday, April 22, 12:45-1:45

Funds of Knowledge: A Source of Strength

Facilitator: Kayon Morgan- Assistant Professor of Educational Leadership

In this session, we will learn about ways to bracket our role as expert and take on the role of learner to understand the rich cultural, social, and cognitive backgrounds of students as sources of strength in the institution


Kayon Morgan is an Assistant Professor in the Educational Leadership Doctoral Program. As a scholar-practitioner, her research focuses on the engagement of families from preschool to graduate studies (P-20); organizational systems, policies, and procedures that exclude populations that are historically untapped, and paradigms, and methodologies that prevent these communities from embracing their authentic selves, which is essential to their well-being.



Am I Empathizing or Enabling?

Wednesday, October 13, 2021 12:45 p.m.–2 p.m. via Zoom.

Facilitator: Laura Enzor

Over the past year, students and faculty have been faced with unprecedented challenges, obstacles, and stress. This ongoing crisis required many faculty to re-think and re-evaluate our expectations for our students. Faculty were, and still are, frequently asked for: extensions on assignments or to allow late submission of work, extra time outside of office or student hours to assist with student issues, and help with time management and test anxiety. While we want all our students succeed in their classes, when are we bending our expectations to the point we are lowering our academic standards? When do we move from empathizing with a student to enabling a behavior we deem undesirable? This seminar will discuss these ideas and present examples of faculty responses to student issues frequently encountered at UHart.


Laura Enzor came to UHart in 2019 after earning her PhD at the University of South Carolina and working as a post-doctoral fellow with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. She is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biology, the course-coordinator for BIO122, Introductory Biology I, and her research explores the physiological response of aquatic organisms to factors of Global Climate Change.

Kenna Grant, MS serves as Executive Director for Student Health and Wellbeing at the University of Hartford. Her specialty areas include, working with students at risk, public health and wellness prevention intervention strategies on a college campus. Education: University of Connecticut and University of Hartford.

Suzanne McNeil, serves as the Assistant Vice President for Student Success.  Suzanne oversees Access-Ability Services, Student Health and Wellness, and Health Services and is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the Dean of Students Office.  Suzanne works closely with all the schools/colleges on academic and outside of the classroom concerns.  Education: B.S., Psychology (Springfield College); M.Ed/C.A.G.S, Marriage and Family Therapy (Springfield College).

 Laura Pence, Professor of Chemistry and winner of the Larsen Award for Outstanding Teaching in 2006, has been teaching first year students in chemistry for more than 25 years at the University.  Her dual interests in the environment and science policy inform her advanced courses and honors seminar, and she currently co-chairs the University’s 10-year accreditation process.

 Anne Pidano earned her PhD in clinical psychology from the University at Albany after completing an internship at the University of Virginia Hospitals, and is licensed as a psychologist in Connecticut. She came to UHart in 2005 and is currently a Professor of Psychology and Coordinator of the Graduate Institute of Professional Psychology’s Child and Adolescent Proficiency Track.

 Paola Sacchetti, Associate Professor in the Department of Biology and Director of the Master’s Program in Neuroscience, is a neuroscientist who has been teaching introductory biology courses for 10 years. Her interest in the biological causes of behavior motivated her to develop a class on the effects of stress and trauma on the brain.



Best Practices for Teaching Honors Courses

Friday, October 15, 2021 from 12:45 p.m.–2 p.m. via Zoom.

Facilitator: Claudia Oakes

CTEI is pleased to announce a panel discussion Learn@Lunch on Friday, Oct. 15, from 12:45 p.m.. to 2 p.m.

Have you taught an Honors class in the past? Are you currently teaching one? Have you considered teaching one, but wondered what was involved? Please join us for a panel discussion about “Best Practices in Teaching Honors Courses.” New faculty members are welcome.

This virtual workshop will feature a panel of seasoned Honors instructors who will talk about their experiences, expectations, and inspirations. Honors courses can serve as a wonderful opportunity to try innovative educational strategies. Come to the workshop to discuss how to offer engaging courses that are a positive experience for both students and faculty. 


Don Jones is the 2020-22 Distinguished Teaching Humanist in the College of Arts and Sciences. He is an Associate Professor in English, and since 1996, Jones  also has served as the Director of Honors, the A&S HON Coordinator, and the Writing Program Director.

Beth Richards directs the First- and Second-Year Writing Program, which offers numerous sections of honors writing courses each semester. She led the Humanities Seminar in 2013 and 2014 (Topic: Utopia/Dystopia) and teaches The Rhetoric of Certainty, an Honors seminar that explores thinking errors.

helly DuFord is an Assistant Professor of Philosophy and Director of the Philosophy Program at University of Hartford. She works in critical theory, political philosophy, and feminist thought. She teaches Honors Philosophy and an Honors seminar called "Applying Ethics."

Bill Heiden an Adjunct Faculty member who teaches American Studies at the University of Hartford and a social entrepreneur who works on global food justice and economic security.  As a Davis Fellow he is current examining the effects of faculty intervention on student writing and as the co-founder of Levo Labs, he works internationally at the interface of scholarship and practice in entrepreneurship. He teaches Honors sections of Contemporary American Studies to first-year students who are participating in the Honors Residential Learning Community

This event is co-sponsored by the Center for Teaching Excellence and Innovation and the Honors Program.

From 100 to 400: Senior Year Research and its Instruction

Friday, October 22, 2021 from 12:45 p.m.–2 p.m. via Zoom

Facilitator: Don Jones, Distinguished Teaching Humanist

At the start of the writing process movement back in the 1960s, one theorist quipped, “We don’t teach students to write, we expect them to” (Christensen). I don’t think that we just expect students in 400-level courses to engage in research, but in this continuation of last year’s workshops, I want to shift the focus from first- to senior-year research assignments and their instruction. Let’s consider how do we teach seniors to engage in research in 400-level courses? Using actual assignment samples, this workshop will examine such questions as: How do we define the task of research and writing for seniors? What are the greater expectations beyond the 100-level research? How do (and can) we help seniors fulfill those higher demands?

Don Jones is the 2020-22 Distinguished Teaching Humanist in the College of Arts and Sciences. He is an Associate Professor in English, and since 1996, Jones also has served as the Director of Honors, the A&S HON Coordinator, and the Writing Program Director.


Why Engage in the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning: A Panel Discussion with UHart Faculty

WednesdayDec. 15 from 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. via Zoom

Join your faculty colleagues as they discuss their experiences engaging in the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL). Faculty panelists will describe the questions they examined about their teaching/student learning and why they explored these questions. They will also offer tips for those interested in conducting their own SoTL projects. At the end of the session, their sample publications/presentations will be shared. Resources for further SoTL exploration will be provided. You may choose to attend virtually or join us for lunch (provided) in the Creative Technology Center, lower level Harrison library. 



Mehmet Dede

Stewart Frankel

Regina Graziani

Laura Pence

Marcus Thomas

Rebecca Townsend


Empathy and Compassion for Students and Ourselves: A Catalyst for Transformation in the Classroom

Mondays, March 8 & 15, 2021 12:45 p.m.–1:45 p.m. via Zoom.

Facilitator: Julie Sochacki

In this interactive workshop, we will reflect on changes that we made in the classroom after March 2020--from short welcome-to-the-week audio's to weekly check-ins and open student hours--- and explore their impact and effectiveness. Then we will examine and consider further 2.0 changes that we can make in our pedagogy, assessment, and even our own self-care to support our students during these ever-changing times.

March 8th: Video: Empathy and Compassion for Students and Ourselves Part 1

March 15th: Video: Video: Empathy and Compassion for Students and Ourselves Part 2

First-year Research Assignments: From Task Definition to Database Selection and the Deep Reading of Print and Digital Sources 

Friday, March 12, 2021 from 12:45 p.m.–1:30 p.m. via Zoom.

Facilitator: Don Jones, Distinguished Teaching Humanist

This second workshop continues the examination of research assignments in 100-200 level courses, after the fall 2020 workshop focused on task definition. Now the adage of “What you ask for is what you get” will be extended from the professor’s definition of the research assignment to the student’s decisions on databases and search engines. Some students will wonder, “Why can’t I just Google it?” so the instructor should have solid answers on why specialized academic sources should be sought. An activity on database selection will be presented, and it can easily be adapted to other disciplines. 

Once students have obtained print and/or digital sources, another crucial step is their deep reading of these materials. Again, the definition of “deep reading” itself can be discussed with students. Several strategies for teaching students to read deeply and critically also will be presented. 

Questions? Suggestions? Please contact Don Jones –

March 12th: Video: Research Assignments: From Task Definition to Database Selection and Deep Reading

The Preceptor Program:  How a student leadership opportunity was leveraged to support remote and hybrid instruction.

Thursday, April 8, 2021 from 12:45 p.m.–1:45 p.m.

Facilitators: Ken Goldstein & Celia Lofink

Wondering how you will manage remote students, and hybrid or synchronous class meetings next fall?  Join us as we share our experiences partnering with student preceptors to support instruction while simultaneously supporting student leadership development.  This session was offered in Fall 2020 and is being offered again in preparation for Fall 21.  It will be recorded for those teaching during this time block.  Please register if you would like the recording or to attend.  

 April 8: Video: The Preceptor Program: How a student leadership opportunity was leveraged to support remote and hybrid instruction

 Improv in the College Classroom

Friday, April 9, 2021 from 12:45 p.m.–1:45 p.m. via Zoom.

Facilitator: Nathan Tong  

It is said that the first rule of improv is saying, "Yes, and..." to add onto what others say and do. However, improv also teaches us the importance of listening carefully, being attentive, and living in the moment because it extremely difficult to add or contribute anything meaningful to an improv scene if you are unaware of what is currently happening. These principles of improv can be applied to better our teaching because effective teaching involves listening to our students (both individually and collectively), being attentive to what they are saying and doing (because it reflects what they are learning), and living in the moment (to maximize the impact of our interactions with our students). In this session, we will discuss and explore how lessons from improv can be used to better our teaching and our interactions with our students.

April 9: Video: Improv in the College Classroom

Teaching and Learning in the Inclusive Classroom

Friday, April 16, 2021 from 12:45 p.m.–1:45 p.m. via Zoom.

Facilitators: Margaret Tarampi & Linda Scacco

This workshop will explore strategies that promote inclusive course design, effective communication and discussion, facilitate student engagement and belongingness, and enhance inclusive pedological practices. We will also discuss models that help us understand why inclusivity and diversity matter.

April 16th: Video: Teaching and Learning in the Inclusive Classroom

 DEI in the Classroom: Inclusive Pedagogies, April 30, 2021 10 a.m.–3 p.m.

Dr. Tia Brown McNair will present the keynote address in the morning and facilitate an afternoon workshop. Dr. Brown McNair is the Vice President in the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Student Success and Executive Director for the Truth, Racial Healing, and Transformation (TRHT) Campus Centers at the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) in Washington, DC. McNair currently serves as the project director for several AAC&U initiatives: "Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation Campus Centers," "Strengthening Guided Pathways and Career Success by Ensuring Students are Learning," and “Purposeful Pathways: Faculty Planning and Curricular Coherence.” She is the lead author of the book From Equity Talk to Equity Walk: Expanding Practitioner Knowledge for Racial Justice in H

Morning Keynote:

Building Intercultural Knowledge and Responsiveness to Advance Student Success by Dr. Tia Brown McNair

Engaged inclusivity transforms the dialogue on inclusion from general acceptance and tolerance of difference to active institutional transformation, based on the belief that the richness of our culture is due to our diversity, a recognition of our common humanity, and a sense of belonging for all students. What are promising strategies for helping educators design campus environments where inclusivity thrives through constant reflection, analysis, and accountability? What does it mean to be an “equity-minded” practitioner? How do we embed students’ “cultural wealth” into our educational designs to engage diversity and challenge inequities in student outcomes to make excellence inclusive? This keynote presentation will provide a forum for educators to examine critical questions about institutional and external practices, policies, and structures that hinder full inclusion and belonging with the goal of improving the educational environment for all participants.

Afternoon Session:

Workshop: Developing Students’ Skillset's for Intercultural Knowledge

How does greater transparency of intent and purpose of high-impact practices contribute to students’ depth of engagement in and learning from these experiences? This practice-oriented workshop will build on the principles outlined in the keynote presentation and will focus on effective teaching, learning, and assessment strategies that promote student success and higher learning gains for intercultural knowledge. Examples will be offered from several national projects led by the Association of American Colleges and Universities.

The Range of Research Instruction in the Humanities, in A&S, and Beyond

Distinguished Teaching Humanist Workshop led by Don Jones

Friday, October 30th, 12:45 p.m.–1:30 p.m. via Zoom

With preliminary research instruction moved from WRT 111 to 100-200 major courses in A&S (2009 gen ed reform), how are we teaching students to engage in research? How does this instruction vary between the humanities and other areas as well as from A&S to other colleges? In this interactive workshop, samples of the range of research instruction in 100-200 level courses will be discussed, and the innovative strategies of your colleagues will be presented. Special focus will be placed on task definition and its implications for database selection because for both: “What you ask for is what you get.

Video: Range of Research Instruction in the Humanities, in A&S, and Beyond

Breakout Groups in the Hybrid and Remote Class

Rebecca Ranucci, Barney & Julie Sochacki, A&S

November 2nd, 12:45 p.m.–1:45 p.m. via Zoom

Breakout groups are a part of a dynamic and collaborative hybrid or remote classes. Join Rebecca and Julie as they share what worked this semester when implementing breakout groups and teams in all sorts of ways. This will be a flipped session. Two, 10-15 minute videos will be shared to be viewed before this session. This will give us more time to actively explore and discuss during our hour together!

Video: Breakout Groups in the Hybrid and Remote Class

Using Polls to Assess, Engage, and Increase Student Participation During Class

Kori Stewart, ENHP & Lisa Zawilinski, CTEI

November 9th, 12:45 p.m.–1:45 p.m. via Zoom/WebEx

Looking for an idea to engage students and assess their understanding of content in real time during instruction? Come explore some polling options with us to get students thinking. Participants will gain insight into and explore a variety of different polling options available in WebEx/Zoom/Bb Collaborate and Poll Everywhere. There is no better way to implement a new technology than to “see one, do one, teach one”. We will be asking participants to respond to polls, create a poll and share with peers during mini-breakout sessions. This will be a flipped session. Two, 10-15 minute videos will be shared to be viewed before this session. This will give us more time to actively explore and discuss during our hour together!

Video: Polling to Assess, Engage and Increase Student Participation During Class

Unconscious Bias and Its Impact on Our Teaching (Two Parts)

Karen DeMeola, University of Connecticut

November 20th, 12:45 p.m.–1:45 p.m. (Part 1 of 2) via Zoom

Everyone has cognitive biases which influence their decision making, relationships, memory, learning preferences, leadership, and service. The unconscious patterns, or schemas, aid us in interpreting situations, performance, and decision making. They can also have negative effects that impact our teaching and learning environment. Part 1 explores unconscious bias. Brief pre-work will be sent in advance.

Video: Unconscious Bias and Its Impact on Our Teaching, Part 1

December 11th, 12:45 p.m.–1:45 p.m. (Part 2 of 2) via Zoom

Part 2 builds on what we discover/uncover and offers ideas to interpret and make decisions more intentionally.

Video: Unconscious Bias and Its Impact on Our Teaching, Part 2

Preceptors Supporting Hybrid Instruction

Ken Goldstein, Barney & Celia Lofink, Barney

December 9, 12:45 p.m.–1:45 p.m. via Zoom

Are you teaching a hybrid course next semester? Wondering how you will manage remote students and synchronous class meetings? Join us as we share our experiences partnering with preceptors to support hybrid instruction.

Video: Preceptors Supporting Hybrid Instruction

Creating The Open Invitation; Strategies for Getting Students to Engage in and Take Risks in the classroom

Peggy Beauregard, Mathematics, Hillyer College

Wednesday, March 4th, 11:30 a.m.–1:p.m. Auerbach Hall 427

We see our students for 16 weeks and then they are gone. In that time, we are charged with the task of advising them, caring for them, inspiring them and ultimately making judgments about them in the form of a grade. We will discuss some essential tools and strategies for getting to know students quickly and getting them to engage, trust and take risks in the classroom.

Video: Creating The Open Invitation

Alternative Forms of Assessing Student Understanding via Blackboard Discussions

Presented by: Lisa Zawilinski, Education Department, ENHP, and Regina Graziani, Paralegal Studies, University Studies

Tuesday, March 24th at 2:30 p.m., Webex Meeting

Join us to share ideas how the discussion board in Blackboard might include more than simple text-based student replies. We will share examples of ways that discussion board work can include the use of sketches, concept maps, and other options. Participants will create or modify an existing forum or thread to increase student options for responding. They will also create a list of possible reply types for future use.

Video: Alternative Forms of Assessing Student Understanding

Taking the Best of the Studio Classroom into Online Education: Simple Ways to Maintain Hands-on Learning and Rigorous Critical Feedback through Online Teaching

CTEI-sponsored e-workshop by Carol Padberg from the Hartford Art School

Friday, March 27th at 9:30 a.m. Webex Meeting

Carol Padberg will present strategies for students and faculty to maximize the opportunity of online learning, and turn the corner from seeing online pedagogy as second best to seeing it for what it is: another excellent learning space. In this presentation and discussion, Carol will present a range of techniques that she has used since she first taught online in 1996 when she offered her course, Visual Journals: A Space of Possibility at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. In addition, this presentation will include techniques for critiquing studio art online, suggestions for helping students to continue their studio art practices at home, as well as advice on creating clear assignments with specific learning goals for online teaching.

Carol now leads the Nomad MFA learning community which utilizes distance learning and immersive residencies. Pointers from the Nomad MFA faculty will be included in this presentation. Over the years Carol has brought what she has learned into a series of peer reviewed papers and presentations, including “Expanding Possibilities: Using Online Technology in Studio Art Courses” (2006) and “Doing the Same Thing, Differently,” co-written with Rebecca Alm, in the panel chaired by Padberg and Alm at the 2007 College Art Association Conference called “The Cyber-Space of Hands-on Studio Learning: Theory and Praxis.” Carol sees online learning as fortifying students’ abilities to be independent and confident artists in the world. One of her favorite attributes of online learning is that it reinforces equal engagement among introverts and extroverts, and fosters a different type of thoughtfulness in critiques. She looks forward to sharing with faculty the hidden benefits of online learning strategies.

"Thanks to the following colleagues for sharing their online teaching philosophies and practices:

Rebecca Alm, Amanda Carlson, Christy Gast, Kathleen Heideman, Billie Lee, Mary Mattingly, Nico Wheadon, and Caroline Woolard"

Video: Alternative Forms of Assessing Student Understanding

Tech Tools for Art and Design Critique: Providing Feedback on Drawings, Sculptures, Models/Maquettes 

CTEI-sponsored webinar by Julie Chen from the College of Engineering, Technology and Architecture 

Friday, April 3rd at 3 p.m. Webex Meeting

Maybe your classes aren't normally taught in a classroom setting? Maybe your assessments are not multiple-choice or word bank tests, but with projects that involve process, drawings, and physically built objects in a studio environment? Maybe you rely on that group interaction and feedback? Join us to explore and share the different possibilities of working online, synchronously, or asynchronously. Combine sharing apps and websites. Combine that with screen sharing and annotation tools for live feedback.  NOTE: Students are required to have camera phone or home scanner.

Video: Tech Tools for Art and Design Critique

Julie Chen, a faculty member in Architecture, is kindly offering to host a weekly Faculty-to-Faculty Tech Clinic!

When: Tuesdays 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m., April 7th through May 5th

What: Drop in if you are having that one little tech trouble that you can't figure out, specifically having to do with hardware. Here is a sample of what you might be going through:

  • Echoes in audio?
  • How do I record a demonstration for asynchronous sharing?
  • How do I use a web cam?
  • How do I use a document camera?
  • I just got a second monitor; can I customize how it is set up? 
  • What if my student is having tech problems?

... and any other little tech thing that you feel like you're on the verge of figuring out, but can't quite get right.

 How: No RSVP needed. Just click on the Join meeting tab below any Tuesday at 1:30 p.m.

Julie Chen invites you to join this Webex meeting.

Meeting number (access code): 613 970 522
Meeting password: lego
Host key: 155606

Every Tuesday, from Tuesday, April 7, 2020, to Tuesday, May 5, 2020

1:30 pm  |  Eastern Daylight Time (New York, GMT-04:00)  |  1 hr
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Cultivating Connection and Compassion in the Online Classroom

Presented by: Julie Sochacki, A&S

THURSDAY, April 16th at 12:15 p.m.

Join us to share ideas about how to create the conditions for connection and compassion in the remote classroom. Julie will share tips and tangible examples of how to create a community of learners infused with compassion and empathy in this current teaching landscape.

Please RSVP to and we will send you a meeting invite.

Video: Cultivating Compassion

How to Create Inclusive Classrooms… and How to Know If Our Efforts Are Working

Karla I. Loya, Educational Leadership, ENHP

Wednesday, October 2nd, 11:30 a.m.–1:p.m. Creative Technology Center
(bottom floor of Library)

In addition to teaching content and skills, we instructors are increasingly faced with a diverse student body and with the need to adjust our instruction to help students learn. During this Learn@Lunch we will discuss several ways to create environments where learners’ distinct experiences, backgrounds, abilities, and needs are part of the strengths and perspectives that enhance the teaching and learning process. The session will include pedagogical and assessment examples that could be easily incorporated.

Video: How to Create Inclusive Classrooms

Classroom Accommodations: Inclusion in Academic Success

Sarah Hart, Education, ENHP & Tracy Carlson, Access-Ability Services

Thursday, October 24th 12:15 p.m.–1:45 p.m. Auerbach 424

Most people agree that our public spaces must be universally designed so that everyone can gain access. Yet, for some reason the same agreement is not shared within our classrooms. Come and learn more about students’ legal rights to individual accommodations as well as practical strategies to make classrooms successful learning spaces for all.

Video: Classroom Accommodations

The Learner-Centered Classroom

Julie Sochacki, English and Modern Languages, A&S

Wednesday, November 6th, 11:30 a.m.–1:p.m. Creative Technology Center
(bottom floor of Library)

Have you had an unplanned discussion that derailed the class, and made everyone unproductively uncomfortable? Would you like to plan for difficult conversations in class to deepen student learning and give them practice for civic conversations outside of class? Whether they are unplanned or planned, this session will help you manage difficult discussions, and consequently help students achieve learning goals and promote effective ways of speaking and listening with each other.

Video: The Learner-Centered Classroom

Experiential Learning: At Home and Abroad

Kat Owens, UIS and Politics, Economics and International Studies, A&S

Thursday, November 21st, 12:15 p.m.–1:45 p.m. Auerbach 424

Marine litter is a pervasive problem that threatens ecosystems, wildlife, human health, and the economy. Katharine Owens has been working to integrate research on marine debris into her courses on environmental policy since 2015. Most recently, she travelled to Thiruvananthapuram, India on a Fulbright Nehru grant to spend six months teaching and researching on the topic. This presentation will introduce you to Katharine’s work, focusing on how she integrates teaching and research through experiential learning. In addition, she will describe her work training communities to use scientific methods to collect debris and to share the results with local politicians. She will also share the challenges and benefits of teaching and researching abroad and information about the Fulbright program.

Video: Experiential Learning

Teaching Resolutions for the New Year: Starting (and Finishing) Next Semester Strong*

Erin Striff, English and Modern Languages, A&S

Tuesday, December 3rd, 12:15 p.m.–1:45 p.m. Auerbach 424

Participants will consider ways of setting the narrative for next semester’s classes that keeps both you and your students engaged. We will focus on such topics as developing achievable teaching and learning goals, building community and improving teaching through incremental change and habits which are sustainable throughout the course.
*Co-sponsored by 2018-2020 Harry Jack Gray Distinguished Teaching Humanist, Prof. Erin Striff

Video: Teaching Resolutions for the New Year

Collaboration and Self-Reflection

Caroline Woolard, HAS

Join Hartford Art School Assistant Professor Caroline Woolard for a workshop about activities that foster collaboration and self-reflection in the classroom. Woolard will teach the group how to bring the practice of "asset mapping" from community organizing into the classroom, and will share self-reflection worksheets that she has created for students to become aware of their own learning goals, and to reflect upon them.

Video: Collaboration and Self-Reflection

Educating the Whole Student: How to Promote Wellness in the Classroom

Kenna Grant and Gail Syring, Health Education and Wellness Center 

In these challenging times, the overlapping emotional and academic needs of our students are placing more demands on the college classroom.  Incorporating the tenants of a wellness model into your classroom can increase effectiveness and retention.  In this workshop you will be introduced to two wellness models; ways to integrate them seamlessly into your classroom; and how to identify, address and refer students of concern. 

Video: Educating the Whole Student

Teaching with Team-Based Learning

Tricia Prokop, Barb Crane, Danni Bellows, Donna Snowdon, and Dawn Roller, Rehab Sciences, ENHP 

Many faculty are interested in creating a more active learning environment for students that fosters collaboration and critical thinking as well as deep knowledge acquisition.  Faculty in the Department of Rehab Sciences have experienced these benefits by implementing team-based learning (TBL) in multiple courses.  This Learn@Lunch will allow faculty to participate in a TBL experience while exploring how to create a TBL course and the benefits of teaching and learning with TBL.

Video: Teaching with Team-Based Learning

ImProf: How the Basics of Comedy Improvisation can Help Your Teaching*

Erin Striff, English and Modern Languages, A&S

As professors, we may be most comfortable when we take control of the classroom, but it doesn’t always work out the way we planned.  The first rule improvisers learn is to look for opportunities to say “yes and…” building on the ideas of others in order to create something that’s shared.  Improv can help us adapt to the unexpected, fully listen to others and allow our students and ourselves to “fail forward.”  You don’t have to be funny to learn from this active workshop—just willing to take a few risks. 

 *Co-sponsored by 2018-2020 Harry Jack Gray Distinguished Teaching Humanist, Prof. Erin Striff

Video: How the Basics of Comedy Improvisation can Help Your Teaching

From "Oops!" to "Aha!": Grasping the Value of Mistakes in Learning

Maleka Donaldson, Education, ENHP

Making mistakes is an inevitable part of academic challenge and intellectual risk-taking, but often causes tremendous anxiety and worry for learners and instructors alike. This session will provide an active learning experience in which faculty can articulate their implicit thinking about mistakes, feedback, and learning, and then juxtapose their beliefs with current research, popular educational practices, and peer reflections. There will also be opportunities to brainstorm actionable strategies to better leverage student mistakes as learning opportunities and embrace them as a valued part of day-to-day instruction in the university classroom.

Video: From "Oops!" to "Aha!"

Managing Groups in the Classroom

Lynne Kelly and Bob Duran, School of Communication, A&S

Many courses require students to work in groups because it is a valuable method for teaching them how to collaborate with others to solve problems, generate ideas, and participate in real-world tasks. Most faculty have encountered problems with student groups at one time or another. This Learn@Lunch session addresses key issues in managing groups in the classroom, from forming and evaluating groups to how to help students solve common problems like unequal effort and communication difficulties.

Managing Groups in the Classroom: Documents

Video: Managing Groups in the Classroom

Smarter Together: Getting All Students Engaged in Group Work

A presentation by Dr. Marcy Wood, University of Arizona 

We often put students into small groups, hoping that this structure will allow more students to participate. However, our small groups often have the same problems as large groups: a few people dominate while others hang back, resulting in frustration all around. This workshop will explore the role of status in student participation and will provide tools for analyzing and addressing issues with student engagement in group settings.

Dr. Marcy Wood, Associate Professor at the University of Arizona, has been studying and working with student groups for more than a decade. She works with teachers of students from kindergarten to graduate school, helping teachers create equitable learning opportunities for their students. She is a co-author of Smarter Together! Collaboration and Equity in the Elementary Math Classroom.

Smarter Together: Documents

Managing Difficult Discussions in the Classroom

Rebecca M. Townsend, Humanities, Hillyer

Have you had an unplanned discussion that derailed the class, and made everyone unproductively uncomfortable? Would you like to plan for difficult conversations in class to deepen student learning and give them practice for civic conversations outside of class? Whether they are unplanned or planned, this session will help you manage difficult discussions, and consequently help students achieve learning goals and promote effective ways of speaking and listening with each other.

Video: Managing Difficult Discussions in the Classroom

The Benefits of Knowing Nothing: Teaching Critical Reading from a Humanistic Perspective

Nicholas Ealy, English and Modern Languages, A&S

This talk will explore what it means to read critically from a humanistic perspective and how to teach this to students within a variety of disciplines. Beginning with the perspective that students must approach texts with an open mind (as if they “know nothing”), this talk will place critical reading within the history of exegesis – a process of knowing that meaning is never straightforward, and that an insightful and “necessary” understanding of texts can only come through an examination of evidence coupled with commentary and analysis.

Video: The Benefits of Knowing Nothing

Giving Voice: Developing Methods of Assessing Oral Communication*

T Stores and Erin Striff, English and Modern Languages, A&S 

Striff and Stores will discuss creative ways to develop oral communication skills in your classroom.  They will present simple lesson plans and assessment tools for podcasts, formal presentations, interviewing, oral examinations and other methods. Time will be spent on adaptations and developing oral communication assignments in your discipline and in your classroom.

*Co-sponsored by 2018-2020 Harry Jack Gray Distinguished Humanist, Prof. Erin Striff

Video: Giving Voice

Developing Clear and Effective Writing Assignments

In this session Drs. Lisa Zawilinski (Education, ENHP) and Bill Major (English, Hillyer) will provide a brief overview of how to develop effective writing assignments. Topics include the relationship between effective writing and discipline-specific competence; the importance of mixing writing assignments; the need to think of writing as a process; and a few “don’t's.”

Video: Developing Clear and Effective Writing Assignments

Deliberative Pedagogy-Teaching Choices

You are making choices every day. Your students are, too. In this workshop, Rebecca Townsend (Communication, Hillyer) will share a type of significant learning-oriented experience you can offer to your students: deliberative pedagogy. This strategy of teaching engages students in meaningful dialogue and deliberation with fellow classmates, people on campus, or in the community. It can be scaled to fit a part of a class period or a whole semester. By the end of the workshop, you will have ideas and resources to help.

Video: Deliberative Pedagogy-Teaching Choices

Speak Up! Strategies for Improving Students' Oral Communication Skills

When asked to assess the importance of candidate skills/qualities, employers rated oral communication as the most important, according to National Association of Colleges and Employers’ Job Outlook 2016 report. In a similar survey by CareerBuilder (2017) employers identified oral communication, along with teamwork, problem-solving and people skills as the top four skills they found lacking in recent college graduates. In this session, Lynne Kelly and Robert Duran (Communication, A&S) will share their strategies for supporting students in developing their public speaking skills. This session will be particularly helpful to faculty thinking about how to teach and assess oral communication, one of the University’s four essential learning outcomes.

Video: Speak Up! Strategies for Improving Students' Oral Communication Skills

Moving Forward with Backwards Design

Do you sometimes wonder whether your graded assignments and tests get at the learning you really intend or desire?  Interested in breathing some new life into your assigned coursework?  If so, join Lisa Zawilinski and Sheetal Sood (Education, ENHP) as they utilize backward design principles in an existing course. Participants will apply backward design principles to a course of their choosing. This application will likely increase ideas for assignments both graded and ungraded that lead students to more explicit and specific learning outcomes.

Video: Moving Forward with Backwards Design

Beyond Chalk and Talk: Active Learning in the Humanities

The humanities classroom has long been moving away from the “chalk and talk” method of teaching.  But do all discussion-based seminars include active learning?  In this Learn@Lunch, Bryan Sinche and Erin Striff (English, A&S) will present methods of active learning such as flipping the humanities classroom and using student-generated media to encourage critical and creative thinking.  They will also show how educational technologies in or out of the classroom are most effective when combined with collaborative, hands-on learning, encouraging students to analyze and interpret the information they've learned.

Video: Beyond Chalk and Talk

Beyond Hand-Wringing: How the Writing Fellows—people, resources, techniques—can help you get your students to write better!

William Major, professor of English, Hillyer and Warren Goldstein, Chair of the A&S History Department and Co-Coordinator of the Writing Fellows Program, will walk participants through resources available to them via the Writing Fellows Program and Library, including online resources curated by the DTH Writing Initiative. Also, Bill and Warren will demonstrate how to use one of those key resources, John C. Bean's Engaging Ideas to integrate writing into any course. Finally, they will offer some simple strategies to help teachers provide genuinely effective feedback to students on their writing. (Spoiler alert: heavy markup or close editing of student writing DOES NOT WORK!  What does? Come and find out!)

OER 101: The Basics and Benefits of Open Education Resources

Have you heard the talk about OER lately?  Do you want to learn more about OER and how you can be supported in integrating OER into your courses? If so, please come to this Learn@Lunch and hear from Ivana Milanovic (Mechanical Engineering, CETA), James McDonald (Physics, A&S) and Melinda Miceli (Sociology, Hillyer) –all faculty who are currently using OER in their courses. Jillian Maynard (Reference Librarian, Harrison Libraries) will cover the basics of OER and discuss how our participation in the OpenStax Institutional partnership program can support your work with OER. Sample OER materials will be available for your review!

An Introduction to SOTL (Scholarship of Teaching and Learning)

Vanessa Bond (Music Education, Hartt), Joshua Russell (Music Education, Hartt), and Jim Shattuck (Chemistry, A&S), will lead this conversation, describing their experiences conducting SoTL, employing a variety of qualitative and quantitative methods. They will discuss strategies for engaging in research on teaching and learning, including formulating questions, securing approval to work with human subjects, gathering data, and finding outlets for SoTL articles.

Video: An Introduction to SOTL

Flipping the Classroom: Strategies, Challenges and Successes 

Mako Haruta (Math, A&S), Ed Gray (Chemistry, A&S) and Roger Desmond (Communication, A&S) will share their experience teaching a flipped classroom for the first time, discussing a range of topics, including: why they decided to flip their classes, what advice they would give to faculty considering teaching a flipped class, how students reacted and performed in their flipped class, and what kind of work is involved in teaching a flipped class.

Video: Flipping the Classroom

Engaging Students in the Classroom through Active-Learning Strategies

Larissa Schroeder (Math, A&S) and Lisa Zawilinski (Education, ENHP) will present a range of instructional strategies, which require students to do more than simply watching, listening, and taking notes in class. These strategies can be as short as one-minute long, and help to reinforce important content, provide frequent and immediate feedback to students, and help foster a sense of community and collaboration in the classroom.

Video: Engaging Students in the Classroom through Active-Learning Strategies

Just Write: How to Integrate Writing into Content Area Courses—without Sacrificing Content