WSU ELEVATE conference focuses on cutting-edge teaching topics

Washington State University faculty and teaching graduate students can now register online for the Aug. 16 system-wide ELEVATE conference focused on the theme of “Timely Topics to ELEVATE Your Teaching.” 

There will be a keynote address, two presentations, and a panel discussion offered from 10:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. WSU system-wide access will be available over Zoom from WSU Pullman throughout the day. Those attending in person in Pullman will meet at SPARK G45. Zoom information will be available on the ELEVATE webpage.

“We have invited WSU experts to invigorate our teaching community and provide practical recommendations for  how to create engaging and inclusive classrooms that support student success,” said Erika Offerdahl, director of theTransformational Change Initiative (TCI) in the provost’s office. 

“The conference promises a broad selection of topics that are of contemporary interest and value to all educators. They range from artificial intelligence to syllabus design to a discussion on the role of mindfulness and compassion to reinforce anti-racist pedagogies.” 

TCI produces ELEVATE biannually to “engage learners, enhance voices, and advance teaching excellence.” This ELEVATE is co-hosted with the Office of the Provost and Executive Vice President and Learning Innovations.

Keynote on growth mindset

The keynote presentation will be delivered at noon by Elizabeth Canning, assistant professor of psychology at WSU Pullman.

She will discuss her recent research on cultivating growth mindset cultures in the classroom—the idea that anyone can develop their abilities over time with effective strategies, hard work, and seeking help. Her presentation will center on evidenced-based, practical strategies that instructors can implement in classes to narrow performance gaps and support stigmatized students.

Aug. 16 conference agenda

Offerdahl said the following schedule agenda applies to all sessions available system wide. Outside of these time slots, each campus will coordinate any of its own local events.

10:30-11:30 a.m.: “Teaching in the Time of AI: Practical Ideas for a Productive Semester”
Presenters are:

  • David Makin, associate professor, criminal justice and criminology, WSU Pullman
  • Dee Posey, professor, psychology, WSU Pullman
  • Kate Watts, associate professor, English, WSU Pullman

Noon-12:50 p.m.: Keynote, “Instructors as Meaning Makers: Growth Mindset Message That Support Stigmatized Students,” by Elizabeth Canning

1:00-2:00 p.m.: Panel discussion, “Mindfulness and Anti-Racist Modalities to Improve Learning”

Moderator: Trymaine Gaither, special assistant to the provost for inclusive excellence, WSU Pullman
Panelists are:

  • Kersten Bergstrom, facilitator, LIFT Faculty Fellows Program
  • Charice DeGuzman, mental health counselor associate and multicultural specialist, Cougar Health Services, WSU Pullman
  • Jennifer Robinson, associate vice president for interprofessional education, WSU Spokane
  • Clif Stratton, vice chancellor for academic engagement, WSU Pullman

Panelists will explore issues of equity, effective teaching, and mindfulness that, when combined, can positively impact students. They will offer their insights, missteps, and pedagogical practices around these domains and discuss teaching approaches that foster an engaging learning experience across disciplines.

2:00-3:00 p.m.: “Syllabus Design for Engaging Learners”

Presenters are:

  • Anna Plemons, associate vice chancellor, WSU Tri-Cities
  • Clif Stratton, vice chancellor for academic engagement, WSU Pullman

Second year for ELEVATE

The Aug. 16 event is the third ELEVATE. The inaugural conference in fall 2022 focused on the topic of inclusive teaching, with presentations, dialogue, and engaged participation demonstrating how structured, active learning can create more equitable classroom and improve learning. In spring 2023, ELEVATE hosted a guest speaker on the topics of faculty burnout and student wellness.

Additional TCI events and series

TCI represents a multi-component plan for increasing student access at WSU. The aim is to produce transformational change institutionally by creating a university that supports students emotionally, socially and academically, and individually by producing graduates positioned for lifelong success. A major component of the initiative is to promote faculty development. 

In addition to ELEVATE, TCI offers PIT Stops—the acronym for pedagogy, innovation, and technology—a faculty support series launched in February, the LIFT Faculty Fellows Program, and each spring awards TCI IDEA (inclusion, diversity, equity, and access) grants to innovative faculty. 

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