The Joys of Teaching and Learning:

Intersecting Identities & Pedagogies


Each spring, faculty and instructional academic staff from UW System’s 13 institutions gather to share experiences, knowledge, and innovative teaching and learning practices. This year’s conference will be held at the newly renovated Memorial Union overlooking Lake Mendota in Madison to consider The Joys of Teaching and Learning: Intersecting Identities & Pedagogies. The Spring Conference is also the culminating event for the 2018-19 Wisconsin Teaching Fellows & Scholars Program with participants making public their year-long Scholarship of Teaching & Learning projects at a festive poster reception. We envision a conference where participants are reinvigorated with the joys of teaching and learning in Wisconsin.

Full Conference



Rosalyn La Pier headshot

Photo by Joerg Metzner

Dr. Rosalyn LaPier

2019 Keynote Speaker

Friday, April 12, 2019
10:30 p.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Great Hall, Memorial Union


Dr. Rosalyn LaPier is an award-winning Indigenous writer and ethnobotanist with a Ph.D. in environmental history and a B.A. Degree in physics. She studies the intersection of traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) learned from elders and the academic study of environmental history.

Growing up on the Blackfeet reservation in Montana, Dr. LaPier learned about ethnobotany from her maternal grandmother Annie Mad Plume Wall and her aunt Theresa Still Smoking. She splits her time between living in the heart of Salish country in Missoula, Montana and the Blackfeet reservation. Hear her story on Spark Science.

As an activist she advocates for both Indigenous and Western science-based decision making. LaPier’s longtime passions include the revitalization of Indigenous languages and traditional ecological knowledge. She is the founder of Saokio Heritage, a co-author of the Indigenous Science Statement, and an organizer of the March for Science in 2017, the largest day of science advocacy in history, with over one million participants in 600 cities worldwide.

Dr. LaPier is an Associate Professor of Environmental Studies at the University of Montana and a Research Associate at the National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution. She received the 2018 George M. Dennison Presidential Faculty Award for Distinguished Accomplishment at the University of Montana. LaPier is the author of two books, a Blackfeet language lexicon, several book chapters, academic journal articles and dozens of general audience articles and commentaries. Her writing has appeared in The Conversation, Washington Post, High Country News, Grist, Huffington Post, Associated Press, TeleSUR, and other venues. She is currently working on her third book, Plants That Purify: The Natural and Supernatural History of Smudging.

Dr. LaPier will be joined by her daughter Abaki Beck for a conversation about undergraduate research on the Blackfeet Reservation. They will address how their identities as Blackfeet and Metis women intersect with their academic work.

Abaki Beck headshotAbaki Beck is a first-year public health graduate student at Washington University in St Louis. She earned her B.A. with honors in American Studies from Macalester College in 2015. After graduation, she served as an Udall Congressional Intern in the office of Congresswoman Betty McCollum (D-MN) before being hired as a full time staffer assisting with health, education, and Native American issues.

From 2016 to 2018, Abaki was the research coordinator for an oral-history project on Blackfeet traditional foods and food sovereignty. The goal of this project was to preserve elder knowledge of traditional foods, educate tribal members, and improve community health. For this work, she received the 2017 National Indian Health Board’s Local Impact Award, was a Nominated Changemaker at the White House United State of Women, and was presented with the 2016 Forward Montana Foundation 25 Under 25 Award. She has also spoken at several national tribal health conferences. The report she authored from this research is integrated into an undergraduate course at the University of Montana and in a graduate course at Montana State University.

In her spare time, Abaki is an intern for Washington University’s Prison Education Program, founding editor of the social justice education website POC Online Classroom, and writes freelance. Her writing has appeared in Bitch, Aperture, the Establishment, Yes! Magazine, the zine Survivance: Vol. II Indigenous Poesis, and other media. She is Blackfeet and Red River Metis.

Questions may be directed to:

Fay Akindes, Director of Systemwide Professional and Instructional Development, UW System,, (608) 263-2684.

Catherine King, Program Associate, Office of Academic Programs & Educational Innovation, UW System,, (608) 262-8522.