Registration is now open for the 2016 Annual Faculty Retreat, to be held March 4 with the theme “Bringing Out the Best in Our Students.”
The U. of I. has a diverse student population. In the fall 2015 entering cohort of students, more than 50 percent are in the top decile, 17 percent are identified as underrepresented students and 20.5 percent are the first in their families to attend college. A record 3,151 new international students and 1,640 students registered to receive academic support services from Disability Resources and Educational Services. The DRES website states a promise “to provide our undergraduate students with truly transformative education experiences. Whether these experiences take place in the classroom, in the surrounding community or around the globe, our students leave this campus with the skills, knowledge and the drive to become leaders in their fields and to lead lives of impact in the world."
Can the U. of I. meet the challenges of a diverse student population, while maximizing teaching and learning opportunities in which we can bring out the best in our students? Sheryl Burgstahler, the 2016 Faculty Retreat plenary speaker, will lead a discussion on this topic. She is the founder and director of the Disabilities, Opportunities, Internetworking and Technology Center, and an affiliate professor in the College of Education at the University of Washington. She is the lead editor of the book “Universal Design in Higher Education: From Principles to Practice” and current co-principal investigator of the “UW Promoting Equity in Engineering Relationships” project. The project is funded by a first-round, Innovation through Institutional Integration grant from the National Science Foundation. She has presented at national and international conferences that focus on universal design of distance learning, websites and multimedia, computer labs, instruction, student services and other applications in education. Burgstahler will present the practice of universal design, an approach where educational products and environments are welcoming, accessible and supportive for all students to succeed.
The retreat will offer interactive activities and video vignettes to learn what colleagues are doing and to explore new activities to implement. A number of exemplary teachers will demonstrate their strategies in a teaching simulation. Mats Selen, a U. of I. professor of physics and this year’s U.S. Professor of the Year, will speak during the lunch hour. This award is given to outstanding undergraduate instructors who excel in teaching and have positively influenced the lives and careers of their students. Selen will talk about his passion and excitement toward teaching and the success his students have achieved.
Building on the success of the funding program the last two years, 12 Faculty Retreat grants of $4,000 each will again be offered. Retreat attendees will be eligible to apply for these grants to help implement ideas inspired by the retreat.
The goals for the Annual Faculty Retreat are to build on collective knowledge about teaching and learning, to share innovative ideas and approaches, and to promote partnerships within and beyond the campus community.
Register online; there is no fee to attend, and lunch is included. Send questions to Michelle Marquart, the program coordinator for the Center for Innovation in Teaching and Learning, at 217-244-8174 or email@example.com.