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Teaching & Learning Conference

16th Annual Teaching & Learning Conference
Promoting Student Engagement: Practices of Compassionate and Inclusive Educators

Monday, August 15, 2022
9:30 am - 1:20 pm 
Williams Center 
State University of New York at Fredonia
Fredonia, NY
View the Conference Program

As a courtesy to our presenters, please register for the sessions you are interested in attending. Refreshments will be served throughout the day. 


Afternoon Keynote Address:  Moving Forward Together: Becoming More Inclusive Educators 

Andrea O'Reilly Herrera
University of Colorado, Women's & Ethnic Studies Program
12:00 - 1:20 pm
Attend in person, Williams Center S204D&E or Via Zoom

This workshop will examine ways that educators can create more inclusive learning environments in their classrooms, regardless of what subject they teach. It will begin by focusing on social identity formation and cultural responsiveness, a term that has alternatively been referred to as cultural competency, proficiency and/or humility. At its heart, this refers to developing an understanding of one’s own social and cultural lenses, and the many ways these may shape our work and relationships with others. We will consider questions such as: How do our own cultural practices, beliefs, worldviews, communications, and more limit, devalue, and provide obstacles for some, while recognizing and prioritizing others? How do we learn to recognize and create inclusive spaces for varying cultural worldviews and practices? We will then discuss how to create settings for inclusive dialogue and lay the groundwork for a deeper examination of the dynamics of inclusionary practices, including exploring implicit bias, stereotype threat and more. Concrete tools and strategies will be shared.  

About Dr. Andrea Herrera: 

Dr. Herrera is a published poet, literary critic, and the author of a number of books, essays and journal articles. Her novel, The Pearl of the Antilles, was awarded the Golden Quill Book Award in 2005, and is currently in the process of being transcribed into a play script. Her most recent book, Cuban Artists Across the Diaspora: Setting the Tent Against the House, continues her exploration of Cuban diasporic history and culture.

Dr. Herrera was selected for the Fulbright Distinguished Chair in American Studies at Maria Curie-Sklodowska University, Lublin, Poland in spring 2006 and has received numerous awards for her teaching and research. She was selected for the 2009 University of Colorado President's Teaching Scholar, the 2008 Elizabeth D. Gee Memorial Lectureship Award, and the 2004 Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Research, Teaching, and Service. 

Morning Breakout Sessions: 

10:00 - 10:50 am 

TED* - The Empowerment Dynamic [Trauma-Informed Practices for Faculty & Staff]
Jeffrey Janicki, LMHC, NCC - Clinical Director of Mental Health Services, SUNY Fredonia
Williams Center S204D&E

This workshop is intended to introduce strategies for faculty/staff to engage students in meaningful conversations that promote student engagement and academic success by shifting student orientations from learned helplessness towards resilience. While all students face challenges through the college transition, for those who come to campus with a history of trauma, it can be even more challenging. This program is intended to raise awareness of trauma in institutions of higher education, help faculty and staff understand how trauma impacts learning and development, and provide practical advice on how to work effectively with college students who have been exposed to trauma. Participants will learn the differences between problem and outcome orientations; strategies to improve student motivation, engagement, and success; coaching/referral skills; and an overview of Counseling Center Services.  

Improving Student Engagement Through Designing of Interactive STEM Education Apps
Gurmukh Singh, Senior Lecturer, Computer & Information Science
Williams Center, S204C

Generally speaking, in literature the deterministic STEM education problems are solved using well-known numerical methods, whereas probabilistic STEM education problems are solved through Monte Carlo simulations. In both cases, the computer simulation plays an important role and requires the computational techniques involving modern software systems to develop such applications. To improve the engagement of middle, secondary and post-secondary levels of STEM education, it becomes imperative to include many opportunities for learners and teachers to learn how to employ modern technology to better understand and promote students’ engagement in the learning of mathematical concepts with technology-based pedagogy. This scholarly article highlights the designing of a variety of STEM education Apps to help out teachers and learners use commonly available Spreadsheets and .NET Framework as an interactive exploratory teaching/learning tool. Several examples of designing STEM education Apps will be presented and discussed, which may be used by the teachers in their own teaching. 

Well, That Escalated Quickly: When One Project Becomes Many Projects
Mandi Shepp, Senior Assistant Librarian, Reed Library
Williams Center, S204A

Have you ever been working on a large-scale project, found one problem that needs to be resolved in order to continue the project, and in the process of solving that one problem, discovered several smaller, more immediately urgent, problems along the way? Figuring out these project knots can be overwhelming and potentially discouraging at times, especially when each individual issue that’s run into seems to have several others wrapped up in it as well. How do you even begin to continue on your original project when all of these other sudden to-dos are standing in the way? In this session, you’ll learn about various project management and productivity techniques, software and apps, and thought strategies - for individuals and small teams/groups - to prioritize, manage, and begin to solve their project knots.

11:00 - 11:50 am

Going beyond “How’s it going” to integrated wellness “habits” in our courses: Action strategies
Kathleen Gradel, Interim Director, Grants & Sponsored Programs, and Professor, College of Education
Williams Center S204D&E

We all integrate peer-to-peer and instructor-student segues with students in our courses. We mean well, but sometimes don’t strategically embed wellness-smart moments and practices into our course structure. This session will focus on a few actionable “habits” that you can embed in your courses to both check in with and empower students to bring their growing resilience to the table, while they grapple with major mental health “busters” they are facing. 

Using Grackle and Ally to Create Accessible Course Content
Lisa Melohusky, Director of Online Learning
Williams Center, S204A

Accessible course content gives all students the same access to educational experiences, services, and information, whether a person has a disability or not. In this session, several tools will be covered to assist with creating accessible materials. Topics covered will include: 

  • Learn about the Ally, a Moodle plugin that checks course materials against WCAG 2.1 accessibility standards and provides guidance to educators to improve the accessibility of their course material.
  • Learn how to create accessible documents in Google Docs using the Grackle add-on
  • Accessibility tools in Brightspace

Participants should have access to their syllabus and bring a device to use during the session.

Talking with Students about Allyship
Jennifer Hildebrand, Associate Professor, History Department and Coordinator of Ethnic Studies
Williams Center, S204C

Many of our students (and many of us!) want to be good allies and advocates, but don't know the best ways to offer support. We'll talk about five key steps we can take to help us be thoughtful and engaged partners in a push for social justice. Sometimes people are hesitant to step forward because they worry they'll say or do the wrong thing. And at some point they will, because we're all learning together and we all make mistakes! We'll spend some time brainstorming about the "do's and don't's" of a good apology to underline the fact that fear of misstepping shouldn't stop anyone from trying to be a good ally and advocate and to prepare ourselves for that inevitable moment when we need to reevaluate our words and actions.