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Keynote Speaker

We are both excited and proud to announce Christina Katopodis as our 2024 Keynote Speaker for our fourth annual Innovative Teaching & Learning Conference.

Christina Katopodis, PhD, is a Senior Postdoctoral Research Associate at the City University of New York’s Humanities Alliance, currently pursuing research on the indispensable role of a humanities education. She is the former Associate Director of Transformative Learning in the Humanities and founder of Engaged & Ready, a project that empowers faculty with active learning tools to democratize their classrooms. She is the winner of the 2019 Diana Colbert Innovative Teaching Prize and the 2018 Dewey Digital Teaching Award. She has authored or co-authored articles published in Chronicle of Higher EdEnglish Language NotesESQ: A Journal of Nineteenth-Century American Literature and CultureHybrid PedagogyInside Higher EdISLE: Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and Environment, MLA’s ProfessionTimes Higher Ed, and Zeal: A Journal for the Liberal Arts.

With Cathy N. Davidson, Katopodis is author of The New College Classroom (Harvard University Press, 2022), a book that, in effect, draws from bell hooks, Audre Lorde, and Paolo Freire to offer practical examples and extensive research on how to actually do active, equitable, inclusive teaching in any classroom, any discipline, at any kind of university, in both introductory and specialized classes. Since publishing The New College Classroom, Katopodis has delivered over a dozen keynote talks and workshops on equitable, inclusive teaching methods for today’s students that engage everyone in a classroom (or Zoom room), not just the hand-raising few.

Please feel free to learn more about our previous conference Keynote Speakers below.

2023 Keynote Speaker: Dr. Petere Felten

We are both excited and proud to announce Dr. Peter Felten as our 2023 Keynote Speaker for our fourth annual Innovative Teaching & Learning Conference.

Peter Felten is a professor of history, the Executive Director of the Center for Engaged Learning, and Assistant Provost for Teaching and Learning at Elon University. This academic year, he serves as the Fulbright Canada Distinguished Chair in the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning at Carleton University in Ottawa. Peter has published six books related to postsecondary education including (with Leo Lambert), Relationship-Rich Education: How Human Connections Drive Success in College (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2020). He has served as president of the International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (ISSOTL) and also of the POD Network, the U.S. professional society for educational developers. He is on the advisory board of the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) and is a fellow of the Gardner Institute, a foundation that works to advance equity, justice, and upward social mobility through higher education.

2022 Conference Speaker: Dr. Saundra McGuire

Dr. Sandra McGuire portraitOur 2022 keynote speaker is Dr. Saundra McGuire, world-renowned teacher, consultant, and scholar. She is the author of the best-selling book, Teach Students How to Learn, published by Stylus in 2015. The student version of this book, Teach Yourself How to Learn, was released in January 2018.

Dr. McGuire’s most recent accolades include being listed in the 2020 edition of Marquis Who’s Who in America. She was also the 2019 Distinguished Lecturer Award from the National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development (NISOD). She is an elected Fellow of the American Chemical Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the Council of Learning Assistance and Developmental Education Associations. She received the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring in a White House Oval Office Ceremony.

Dr. McGuire received her B.S. degree, magna cum laude, from Southern University in Baton Rouge, LA, her Master’s degree from Cornell University, and her Ph.D. from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, where she received the Chancellors Citation for Exceptional Professional Promise.

2021 Conference Speaker: Dr. Claire Major

Our 2021 keynote speaker for both breakfast and lunch was Dr. Claire Major, world-renowned teacher, consultant, and scholar. She is the author or coauthor of several books in the field of instructional development that include: Learning Assessment Techniques: A Handbook for College Faculty Online Learning: A guide to theory, research, and practice; Teaching for Learning: 101 Intentionally Designed Learning Activities to put Students on the Path to Success; and Collaborative Learning Techniques: A handbook for college faculty.

Now at the University of Alabama, Major teaches masters and doctoral level courses in the Higher Education Administration program. She often teaches courses about college teaching, technology in higher education, and reading research in the field of higher education.

Major’s research interests are in the areas of faculty work, pedagogical approaches, technology for teaching, and online learning.

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2019 Conference Speaker: Dr. Darin Detwiler

Our first 2019 speaker was Dr. Detwiler, an internationally recognized leader in academia and the food regulatory industry with over 20 years of award-winning experience as an educator.  He is frequently invited as a keynote speaker and media consultant and a proud US Navy nuclear submarine veteran.

As an Assistant Dean, Detwiler leads undergraduate and graduate programs in areas of academic quality assurance, authentic assessment, as well as effective planning and delivery of on-ground, online, and regional programs. While promoting strong health and maturity of programs, he supervises, evaluates, and collaborates with academic units and individual faculty to advance excellence in instruction, scholarly research, thought leadership, and university service in alignment with the college’s strategic plan.

Recognized for his collaborative approach and keen ability to effectively translate complex pedagogical concepts into tangible action plans, Detwiler works with lead faculty to restructure entire programs, in partnership with industry experts and academic quality assurance stakeholders, before passing through governance.  His models for program, course, and syllabus design are used as templates throughout the college.

With over 20 years of instructional experience, Detwiler has taught students with diverse needs and backgrounds from middle school through doctoral levels.  Further, recognition of his achievements in higher education innovation have allowed him to support new and existing faculty in engaging students and fostering industry partners within the classroom and beyond.

Due to popular demand, Detwiler still teaches once a year – a graduate course that combines students from three disciplines.  He uses it to showcase innovative teaching practices to new professors.

Detwiler has captivated academic and industry audiences across the U.S. and abroad – Spain, Ireland, England, and in Dubai.  Instructors go beyond resonating with his examples and stories as he challenges audiences to consider multiple perspectives for building a syllabus, class discussion, assignments, and assessments.

2019 Conference Speaker: Dr. Lisa Nunn

Our second 2019 conference speaker was Dr. Lisa Nunn, a noted scholar and workshop facilitator whose work centers on students’ experiences, students’ identities, and students’ academic success and overall well-being. As a cultural sociologist, Nunn approaches research questions about student belonging by looking at the role each university plays in terms of the programs and resources it provides to new students as well as the overall campus culture that the school fosters. To fully understand the experience of students, Dr. Nunn systematically interviews them to find out what their experiences are like, whether school programs and resources help them, and what they do when they find themselves struggling.

Dr. Nunn is particularly interested in first-generation college students, those for whom neither parent has a 4-year degree. In her opinion, when first-generation students succeed in college it is a sign that higher education is doing something right, something that benefits our entire society by serving as an engine of upward social mobility.

Out of her research, she authored the book, 33 Simple Strategies: A Week-by-Week Resource for Teaching First-Year and First-Generation Students. 2018. Rutgers University Press. It outlines ways we might make small changes in our teaching and in our everyday interactions with students that can make a big difference in students’ lives. A recent book from her research is College Belonging: How First-Year and First-Generation Students Navigate Campus Life. 2021. Rutgers University Press.