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2009 OPID Spring Conference

"Pedagogies of Hope: Inspiring, Understanding, and Assessing Student Learning"
Hyatt Regency Hotel in Milwaukee
Friday April 17-Saturday April 18, 2009

Agenda and Program Abstracts


dotFriday, April 17


Wisconsin Teaching Fellows and Scholars Meeting


Conference Workshops: Learning Transformations through Digital Storytelling
Cheryl Diermyer, Caton Roberts, and Margaret Nellis, UW-Madison

In this workshop, UW-Madison faculty share their challenges, successes and assessment strategies when using student produced digital storytelling in the curriculum. This session also includes a presentation and discussion on how digital storytelling is used to increase retention, foster community, and help meet essential learning outcomes.

Meeting Your Pedagogical Needs Using Second Life
Tanya M. Joosten, UW- Milwaukee

Throughout this workshop the facilitator will use concrete examples showcasing the use of immersive virtual environments like Second Life to help faculty meet pedagogical needs in innovative ways. Attendees will learn how Second Life provides opportunities for experiential learning through role-plays and simulations; networking with individuals and organizations not easily accessible in the real world; gathering information and dialoguing about sensitive subjects; collaborating on projects; and for showcasing student work.

Participants will also learn about the best practices for Second Life, developed during a pilot study at UW-Milwaukee that shows students’ positive perceptions of their engagement, learning, and overall satisfaction using Second Life.

Understanding White Privilege: The Elephant in the Room
Damian Evans and Roseann Mason, UW-Parkside

This workshop, based on the ethnic studies course of the same name, will provide an explanation of white privilege, followed by a discussion on the following topics:  the curriculum, the impact of the interracial teaching team, and the impact of student demographics on pedagogy and successful learning. There will also be an explanation of the use of YouTube technology in the classroom.  It will end with an interactive activity that exemplifies the invisibility of whiteness and how that plays out at the four levels of oppression--personal, interpersonal, institutional, and cultural.

Student Evaluations of Instruction: Faculty, Student, and Research Perspectives
April Bleske-Rechek, Matt Evans and Abigail Stellmacher, UW-Eau Claire

During the Fall 2008 semester 13 UW-Eau Claire faculty/staff and two undergraduate students participated in a learning community on student evaluations of instruction. In this workshop we will use brainstorming, case studies, and larger group discussion to share and expand upon some of the findings and conclusions of the learning community. We will discuss prominent trends in empirical research on student evaluations of instruction, the various purposes of student evaluations of instruction, the types of items most commonly found on student evaluation forms, and the pros and cons of using a common set of items across a given university community


Lunch with Opening Plenary: Celebrating a Collaborative UW-System Effort in Creating Exploring Signature Pedagogies: Approaches to Teaching Disciplinary Habits of Mind
with Nancy Chick, UW-Barron County; Angela Bauer-Dantoin, Regan Gurung, Aeron Haynie, Rebecca Meacham, UW-Green Bay; Joel Sipress and Eri Fujieda, UW-Superior

Join us for a celebration of our UW System faculty and staff who were part of this endeavor. Panelists will talk about how the book came to be, introduce the concept of "signature pedagogies," and discuss authors' examples from disciplines in the humanities, fine arts, social sciences, and natural sciences.


Meet the Authors of Exploring Signature Pedagogies: Approaches to Teaching Disciplinary Habits of Mind and book signing.


7 Concurrent Breakout Sessions

  1. E-portfolios and Wiki Pedagogy
    Anne Gurnack, Joseph Bergeron, Stephanie Gwyn, UW-Parkside, Arlene Haffa, Alan Haffa, and AnnMarie Johnson , UW-Oshkosh

    E-Portfolios as Tools to Understand Student Diversity
    Anne Gurnack, Joseph Bergeron, and Stephanie Gwyn will discuss the importance of successful and affordable tools for the assessment of student academic achievement.  Assessment strategies must be helpful to programs that wish to improve their curriculum, and they must also be suitable as devices that can provide data for administrative reporting requirements.  This presentation will further the discussion by reviewing the results of implementation of the e-portfolio assessment; and in particular, the usefulness of the “life history” component for understanding characteristics of the student population at UW-Parkside, the most ethnically and racially diverse campus in the UW System.  Wiki Pedagogy: Integrating Data Analysis, Graphics, Writing, and Webpage Development In this workshop Arlene Haffa, Alan Haffa, and AnnMarie Johnson will discuss the many benefits of integrating Wiki into curricula and the importance of improving student skills in posting and evaluating online information. Examples will include applications in literature, biochemistry and other courses.  The technology, however, will be shown to be universally applicable.

  2. What do our Student Learning Outcomes Mean?
    Susan Nuernberg, John Koker and Todd Kostman, UW-Oshkosh

    This presentation will describe the methods being used at UW-Oshkosh to involve the campus as a whole in the process of defining a set of non-disciplinary expectations for each learning outcome. We will share the results of research that provides evidence for being optimistic--that is, our hopes and vision are data based.  We will also discuss the following:  Why involve the whole campus in liberal education reform? Why define criteria (student performance indicators) for each learning outcome?   Why create a set of expectations or a rubric for non-disciplinary use?  We will end by asking participants to discuss what methods or strategies are, or could be, successfully used on their campuses to raise the level of student performance on liberal education learning outcomes. 

  3. Personal Narratives and Inspiring Student Learning
    Janis Hanson, UW-La Cross; and Dean VonDras, UW-Green Bay

    Janis Hanson will demonstrate classroom activities that helped international students develop personal narratives which they orally presented at area secondary schools.  Attendees will listen to students’ stories via podcast.  The audience will then participate in selected activities related to the objectives of narration skills for advanced-level oral proficiency and interpretive reading.  The presentation will conclude with an overview of student assessments of the project.

    Dean VonDras will explore how assigning students as informal advocates for unique groups of individuals, such as the elderly, may inspire enhanced student learning in the form of interactive inquiry, critical analysis, heightened awareness and insight, and empathic understanding. 

  4. Case Studies: Practice and Pedagogy
    Robert Gutsche, UW-Richland , Erick Hofacker and Kathryn Ernie,
    UW-River Falls

    Democracy in the Classroom: A Case Study in Student Media
    Robert Gutsche will discuss how creating democracy in the classroom through student-directed learning works and what it means.  He will also discuss how it can be utilized in campus organizations and even professional learning communities. This interactive session will explore student-directed learning through the experience of an instructor who is using online media and student-driven learning principles to allow students to learn about social justice issues, democracy, and their own skills and abilities independently.  The session will focus on discussion, definitions, experiences, activities, and thoughts to share with each other. Case Methods, Pedagogy in the Professional Development of Teachers
     Erick Hofacker and  Kathryn Ernie explore how thoughtful study of cases can provide future teachers with opportunities to connect their subject matter knowledge with pedagogy, assessment of student understanding, and classroom context prior to school-based field experiences.  Case studies provide a method to bridge the disconnect between being a student and becoming a teacher with an understanding of student reasoning, and a knowledge of issues affecting teaching and learning in diverse school settings.

  5. Student Engagement and Learning Outcomes
    Dan Riordan, UW-Stout; and George Smith, UW-Platteville

    Does Engagement Help Students Learn? 
     Dan Riordan discusses how six UW-Stout instructors from four departments and three colleges have explored whether intentionally using engagement practices would increase student learning of course content. Data from their project will be used to explore three questions:  If instructors deliberately use engagement practices, will students learn more?  Are engagement practices equally effective across disciplines and class sizes? How can instructors assess the value of engagement practices?  Attendees will leave with an understanding of the value and outcome of such practices, and with the materials to conduct similar research.

    Linking Course Activities to Student Learning Outcomes
    George Smith discusses the generally held perception among educators that most undergraduate students do not understand or appreciate General Education, either in concept or in application.  Based on a Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) case study, the PI concluded that organized group reflections have the ability to enhance students’ understanding, achievement, and appreciation of General Education competencies and student learning outcomes (SLOs). 

  6. Reason to Hope? Student's Attitudes about Race and Class
    Cyndi Kernahan and Sandy Ellis, UW-River Falls

    What happens as students take a diversity course?  The presenters have conducted research which examined this question through the assessment of a new diversity course focused on race and class in the media. In this presentation, they will discuss their results and place them in the larger context of the literature on diversity learning and student attitudes, including tips on what works and what might not in teaching students about race and class.

  7. Expanding Curriculum to All Learners
    Jill Klefstad and Michael Lawler, UW-Stout, and Jeffery B. Henriques, UW-Madison

    Universal Design for Learning (UDL): Expanding Curriculum to All Learners
     Evidence shows that instructional strategies and curriculum addressing the accommodation of children with disabilities is lacking in curricula for Birth-3rd grade regular pre-service teachers. Jill Klefstad and Michael Lawler will discuss how the UDL project addressed the need for these pre-service teachers to become familiar with concepts and strategies to accommodate students with disabilities. Faculty in vocational rehabilitation, special education and early childhood education collaborated efforts to support the UDL framework within one regular early childhood pre-service curriculum course.

    Prepared and Underprepared Students View Teaching Tools Differently
    Jeffrey Henriques will address a study wherein students in two sections of introductory psychology ( N = 615) were asked about the utility of traditional (e.g. lectures and textbook)  and nontraditional (e.g., online resources and clickers) teaching tools.  Students who felt unprepared for college (23.6%), differed from their peers in their perceived utility of these tools. While there was no group difference in the usefulness of the novel tools, underprepared students found traditional tools to be less helpful. Thus, these students could benefit from instruction on to how to better use these tools, and all students would benefit from faculty making greater use of non-traditional teaching tools.


7 Concurrent Breakout Sessions

  1. Using the Common Theme to Advance the Goals of Liberal Education
    Donna Ritch, Regan Gurung and Kim Nielsen, UW-Green Bay

    This panel presentation will report on how the first Common Theme, entitled “Waging War, Waging Peace” was implemented across UW-Green Bay and describe how the First Year Seminar program used the Common Theme. The Common Theme proved to be an exciting way for the campus and community to engage in interdisciplinary thinking as well as providing a novel way for the University to advance the goals of liberal education.

  2. Student Voices
    Pao Lor, Nick Schwei, Rachel Rose Gerth, UW-Green Bay, and Anne Hoel with her student Jordan Chabalowski, UW-Stout

    Sowing the Seeds of Innovation-Operation Compost-Action
    Anne Hoel, and Jordan Chabalowski

    This faculty/student team will share the benefits and challenges to student learning experienced within an interdisciplinary course project focused on the strategic challenges present when both university and community stakeholders are interested in developing a community composting network.

    Attendees will emerge from the session with a model of interdisciplinary teaching that involves undergraduates in community and industry outreach projects to assist in meeting the needs of business and society in a global economy.

    Classroom:  Dynamic, Living and Evolving Social Interactions, Reflecting Professional Practices

    Professor Lor and former students, Nick Schwei, Rachel Rose and/or Megan Hanson, will share their experiences from the Fall 2008 Introduction to the Art and Science of Teaching course at UW-Green Bay, as it evolved from predominantly structuralistic pedagogies to an engaging constructivist classroom.   The presentation covers the course pedagogical framework, students’ perspectives on the framework, and learning outcomes of the framework.  Artifacts, including syllabus, student work, and assessments are used to substantiate and validate course pedagogical framework, perspectives and outcomes.

  3. MENTOR: A New System to Track Student Progress
    David Hastings, David DeLyser and Jeff Erickson UW-Stevens Point

    While traditional methods of assessment provide some insight with regard to learning outcomes, there is no centralized way of examining each student’s aggregate progress and, therefore, no effective way of systematically monitoring each student’s weaknesses and areas for improvement.

    The presenters have been examining the similarities and differences among their

    students and in turn, are designing what they hope will be an efficient way of looking at them. This new way of monitoring students’ work has the potential to improve learning outcomes, help solve retention issues, and also help them seek out students who would be best suited to their program. Significant discoveries in assessment and teaching/learning throughout the process of designing this tracking system will be presented.

  4. Cultural Competency
    Jolanda Sallmann UW-Green Bay; Sarah Morgan and Julie Kailin,

    Assessing Impact of an MSW Course on Cultural Competency
    Jolanda Sallmann discusses how her experiences teaching a graduate-level diversity course indicate that many students initially exhibit defensiveness toward learning such content, however, by semester’s end resistance dissipates and students consistently evaluate the course and their achievement of objectives positively. On the other hand, evaluations have not adequately assessed whether or not the course has an impact on students’ levels of cultural competency. This presentation will provide an overview of a study that began as a Teaching Scholars evaluation project aimed at examining this issue. 

     Teaching Cultural Competence and Assessing if Students Are Learning  Sarah Morgan became interested in examining whether or not students who successfully completed her course, Cultural Diversity in Health Care, make measurable gains in cultural competence.  To address this issue she engaged in a research project, the results of which will be discussed during the workshop.  There will also be an interactive reflective exercise leading to the discussion of the following:  What is cultural competence?  What is an effective way to teach cultural competence?  How can student learning be positively affected at the same time their beliefs may be challenged?

    Antiracist Education: Engaging Students in a Pedagogy of Hope

    Julie Kailin, recipient of the AESA Critics Choice Award for her book, Antiracist Education, will discuss her successful pedagogical strategies for engaging all students from multiple backgrounds to develop a truly inclusive campus environment.

  5. -Isms and Identity in the College Classroom
    Jordan Landry, UW Oshkosh

    Both women's studies and queer studies emphasize the importance of recognizing that identity is multi-faceted. In turn, they stress that different forms of oppression are intimately tied together and that institutions play a crucial role in maintaining oppressions as interlocking. This presentation will focus on strategies for teaching these threshold concepts. What strategies work to convey to students the complexity of –isms and identity? What misconceptions do students have about these concepts that hinder their understanding of them? What assignments work to increase students' comprehension of the relationship between identity and institutions?

  6. Improving Student Writing and Argumentation from the Basics to the Major
    Karen Gibson, UW-Oshkosh, John Pruitt, UW-Rock County; and Mesut Akdere, UW-Milwaukee

    Student Perceptions of Fully Developed Arguments
    In this session, John Pruitt will share the responses of first-year writing students reflecting on how they know they’ve fully developed/completed formal arguments, and ask participants to discuss means of teaching students how to develop their arguments without instructor-imposed guidelines and external sources. Moving Beyond Acceptance of Mediocrity: Improving Student Writing
    Quality writing is an essential skill in the academic world and beyond; however, many students, both undergraduate and graduate, reach us with poor written expression.  Karen Gibson presents an interactive session which will explore providing quality, meaningful feedback to students to help them improve their writing skills.  A number of rubrics will be analyzed during the session.  It is essential that students are provided with the clear message that mediocrity in written work is unacceptable.  Regardless of area of study,  opportunities exist to provide feedback that will help students be more expressive, articulate and effective communicators. Advancing Student Writing in Human Resource Development
    As higher education institutions are striving to thoroughly prepare their students for the workplace, the importance of writing skills has become more important than ever. The way a person writes, in fact, is another way of self-representation. Mesut Akdere argues that the success of individuals in their careers is not limited to their subject matter knowledge but also dependent upon their writing skills. Consequently, this study examines the integration of major-specific writing assignments into a Human Resource Development course and its impact on student learning.

  7. A Tale from Two Campuses: Learning Assessment Tests and the VSACarleen Vande Zande, UW-Oshkosh; and Jane Henderson, UW-Stout; George Smith, UW-Platteville, convener

    In this session you will hear about the lessons learned from both UW-Oskhosh and UW-Stout as they move towards adoption of the CLA and CAAP learning assessment components of the VSA. In telling their stories they will focus on a broad array of issues including the process for selecting the test, implementation issues such as faculty buy-in and student motivation. There will be plenty of time for discussion and sharing of other campuses decisions and practices.


2008-2009 Wisconsin Teaching Fellows and Scholars Poster Session: Examples of Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Projects


Dinner and Keynote Speaker: Melissa Harris Lacewell
Associate Professor of Politics and African American Studies at
Princeton University

Getting Out of Class: A Discussion of Liberal Education, New Technologies, and What Students Can Learn when we Move Beyond the Classroom
Professor Harris-Lacewell draws on experiences of teaching race and politics in diverse settings to explore how students can use new technologies and beyond the classroom experiences to push the boundaries of contemporary liberal education.  This talk focuses on research and projects designed by students in a recent course, The Politics of US Race and Health.

Melissa Harris-Lacewell is Associate Professor of Politics and African American Studies at Princeton University. She is the author of the award-winning book, Barbershops, Bibles, and BET: Everyday Talk and Black Political Thought, (Princeton 2004). And she is currently at work on a new book, Sister Citizen: A Text For Colored Girls Who've Considered Politics When Being Strong Wasn't Enough.  Her academic research is inspired by a desire to investigate the challenges facing contemporary black Americans and to better understand the multiple, creative ways that African Americans respond to these challenges.

Professor Harris-Lacewell’s creative and dynamic teaching is also motivated by the practical political and racial issues of our time. For example, her course entitled Disaster, Race and American Politics explored the multiple political meanings of Hurricane Katrina. Professor Harris-Lacewell has taught students from grade school to graduate school and has been recognized for her commitment to the classroom as a site of democratic deliberation on race.

Professor Harris-Lacewell's writings have been published in newspapers throughout the country. She has provided expert commentary on U.S. elections, racial issues, religious questions and gender issues for many television, radio and print sources both in the United States and around the world.

Professor Harris-Lacewell received her B.A. in English from Wake Forest University, her Ph.D. in political science from Duke University and an honorary doctorate from Meadville Lombard Theological School. She is currently a student at Union Theological Seminary in New York.

dotSaturday, April 18




7 Concurrent Breakout Sessions

  1. Melissa Harris-Lacewell Follow-up Conversation/Action Plan
    Facilitated by La Vonne Cornell-Swanson, Interim Director OPID, with materials and information provided by Professor Lacewell

  2. Integrating Information Literacy Enhancement and Disciplinary Learning: Two Projects
    Lisa Larson, Eri Fujieda and Kay Biga, UW-Superior

    In this panel presentation, two instructors and the campus learning technology coordinator discuss two Fall 2008 projects in which student disciplinary learning was integrated with development of student information and visual literacy skills through the use of learning technologies.  During the session, panelists will discuss their experiences with the projects and project outcomes. After a brief tour of each custom-built computer-based learning environment, participants will engage in a paper-based version of the visual literacy activity. Participants will then consider issues of integrating information literacy development into disciplinary learning and apply these ideas to their own courses and disciplines.

  3. Increasing Learning and Success for All Students: The U-Pace Mode
    Diane Reddy, Jesscia L. Barnack, Raymond Fleming, Rodney Swain, Laura Pedrick and Jessica Stein, UW-Milwaukee

    Supporting the efficacy and potentially transformative effect of a new instructional model developed at UW-Milwaukee called U-Pace, disadvantaged U-Pace students earned a significantly higher percentage of A’s and B’s than not disadvantaged conventionally taught students. Academically underprepared
    U-Pace students achieved as much success as academically prepared, conventionally taught students. The greater academic success demonstrated for racial/ethnic minority students, Pell grant eligible students, students with GPAs
    < 2.0, and students with composite ACT scores < 19 was found to reflect greater learning. U-Pace students significantly outperformed conventionally taught students on a cumulative exam, achieving a mean score that was 12% higher.

  4. Pedagogy of Hope: Human Rights in the Classroom and Beyond
    Catherine M. Bryan, UW-Oshkosh

    In this session, Catherine Bryan will analyze and discuss the case of a course she taught last semester, Latin American Literature and Human Rights, on both a theoretical and practical level.  One of the central goals set for the course was that of taking initial steps in the elaboration of a pedagogy of hope--what has been called in Spanish concientización.  Through the intertwining of human rights as a guiding principal, engagement with multiple modes of cultural production, and course assignments that provoked interaction with texts and the community, students developed a deeper critical and intellectual understanding of human rights issues in Latin America and in general.  Students appeared truly inspired, hopeful, even transformed as they sought out ways to communicate new knowledge and comprehension to others and create change.   She will discuss this with participants and discuss how to continue to elaborate a pedagogy of hope, new pedagogical strategies to promote consciousness/awareness and action, and how to evaluate these new inspirational pedagogical tools.   

  5. Science Student's Perception of Scale
    Kristen Murphy, Peter Geissinger, and Karrie Anderson, UW-Milwaukee; and Mohamed Ayoub, UW-Washington County

    The development of a student’s scale conception has been noted as an important component of a student’s overall science literacy; however, grasping scale outside the visual realm can be difficult particularly with regard to the very small.  Undergraduate students in introductory chemistry courses, for example, are required to begin thinking about certain concepts in chemistry on a particle level.  The presenters will report on a study in introductory chemistry courses which measured students’ perception of scale and subsequent ability to unitize on the atomic level.

  6. Understanding and Assessing Student Learning through Lesson Study
    Joy Becker, Matthew Horak, Helen Schroeder, and Bryan Beamer,

    A lesson study project investigates how students think and respond to instruction by focusing on creating a single lesson, measuring student learning, and revising it based on classroom observations.   The presenters will share their experiences from mathematics to introduce the lesson study process and will also discuss the benefits of participating in a project.  This interactive session will include a small group activity where participants model the lesson study process to brainstorm possible projects in their own departments.  Resources will be available for participants interested in starting a lesson study project of their own.

  7. Interdisciplinary Collaboration Using Lesson Plan Study
    Monica Roth Day, Shevaun Stocker, Jennifer Christensen, UW-Superior

    Lesson plan study is a method utilized to help educators review and develop class content and activities. The method, which originated in Japan, assists educators in critically evaluating lesson plans and learning objectives.  The presenters received an OPID grant to apply the lesson plan study to understanding an ethics lesson taught in beginning courses in education, psychology and social work.  Presenters will share their insights on the lesson plan study process, development of an ethics case study, and the strengths of interdisciplinary collaboration.   Opportunities for research will also be discussed.   Participants will leave the interactive session with a clear plan for how they can utilize the lesson plan study on their campus. 


Plenary Session: Exploring Threshold Concepts and Troublesome Knowledge in Teaching and Learning About Diversity
Renee Meyers, Rene Antrop-Gonzales, and Erin N Winkler, UW-Milwaukee

Threshold Concepts and Troublesome Knowledge are theoretical frames that can help us understand how, when, and why students get "stuck" and/or have trouble "getting it."   These concepts are especially useful in the teaching and learning of diversity-related content.  Engaging these concepts can open up previously inaccessible ways of thinking for our students, and can both inspire them and help them to better understand.  In this workshop, the presenters will explore a variety of unanswered questions surrounding TCs and TK, including how we recognize them, teach them, assess them, and research them.

Renee A. Meyers is Coordinator of the UWS Leadership Site for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL), and Professor of Communication at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.  This year she is also directing the Center Scholars faculty research program at UWM where the theme is Threshold Concepts and Troublesome Knowledge.  Her teaching interests include both undergraduate and graduate courses in Group Communication and Organizational Communication.  She received a Central States Communication Teaching Award in 1989, and was twice a finalist for the UWM Martine D. Meyer Excellence in Teaching Award.  She is widely published, with numerous scholarly refereed articles and book chapters in both the Communication and SoTL areas, and has received several grants to support her research.  Renee also serves on the editorial boards of several communication and SoTL journals.    Her most recent project is developing a “Certificate in Teaching and Learning” for graduate students at UWM. 


Lunch and Closing Remarks: Tony Ciccone, Senior Scholar, Carnegie Academy for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning

Teaching and learning are essentially hopeful endeavors in that they are founded on the belief that something better is possible. In this sense, hopefulness connects us to our students and connects us all to a vision of the crucial role of higher education in society.  In these remarks, Tony Ciccone will try to parse the many meanings of the concept of hope and suggest why it may be even more critical today - for us, our students, and our institutions of higher education - to focus on it.

Anthony (Tony) Ciccone directs the Carnegie Academy for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (CASTL). Ciccone is also professor of French and director of the Center for Instructional and Professional Development at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. He is a past executive director of the University of Wisconsin System Undergraduate Teaching Improvement Council and the Wisconsin Teaching Scholars program, which received a Hesburgh Certificate of Excellence in 2005. Ciccone has received an AMOCO Award for Teaching Excellence and the French Teacher of the Year Award from the Wisconsin Association of Foreign Language Teachers. Ciccone, who earned his doctorate from the State University of New York at Buffalo, is the author of a book on the 17th Century French playwright Molière and two French textbooks, one of which is based on authentic video materials.