Dear Colleagues and Friends,
We are pleased to invite you to our 6th Annual Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Conference at Maryville University on October 10-11, 2014. As always, we will continue to pursue our overarching focus of Integrating the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning into Academic Culture. At the same time, we will highlight a specific issue that seems particularly relevant to our times, Learner-Centered Teaching: Research and Rationale for Change.
This theme has been chosen, in part, to recognize the dramatic changes we are witnessing both in our students and the world of work for which we are preparing them. Students we meet in our classrooms today do not come empty handed. They bring their cell phones, tablets, laptop computers, and other mobile devices with them. They can use these tools to access knowledge that, in the past, came mainly from us. They can also use these tools to stay in constant and close contact with each other. These connections may lead to highly positive collaborations or to deeply negative distractions. Today’s students can also chose to learn without physically attending a classroom; nonetheless, whether we meet them in real, virtual, or some combination of settings, we can clearly see their preoccupation with the payoff from a degree program. In light of rising tuitions and declining job numbers, many students want and expect us to take responsibility for their learning and to figure out what will prepare them for a largely unknowable future. However, given the speed with which some job opportunities are disappearing and others are surfacing, today’s students actually need to take more, not less, responsibility for their own learning. Students need to develop critical and creative thinking skills that will enable them to be nimble and adaptive to dynamic social and economical forces in their future.
This theme has also been selected because developments in the science of learning, technology, and the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning now offer us powerful means with which to address these challenges. Considerable scientific research has illuminated the way the brain works, and these studies not only confirm that students learn by taking an active role in their education, but also point to strategies that encourage them in that direction. Startling advances in the development of mobile devices now provide faculty with new approaches that can actively involve today’s students in their own learning. Finally, a critical mass of national and international higher education institutions, academic organizations, and scholarly journals now encourage and value the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning as a viable method for understanding and assessing faculty efforts to bring innovative learning experiences to their classrooms. This year’s conference will feature three extraordinary keynote speakers whose expertise and experience can help us to understand and apply these new developments in very thoughtful and practical ways.
Dr. Terry Doyle – author of Learner-Centered Teaching: Putting the Research on Learning into Practice (2011) and co-author of The New Science of Learning: How to Learn in Harmony with your Brain (2013).
Dr. Gintaras Duda – Associate Professor of Physics at Creighton University, Co-director of the International Institute for SoTL Scholars and Mentors (IISSAM) in 2011, and 2013 Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching Outstanding Master’s Universities and Colleges National Professor of the Year.
If you have questions concerning the conference, please contact us at: email@example.com We look forward to greeting you at the conference!
Marilyn M. Cohn, Director, Finch Center for Teaching and Learning
2014 Conference Coordinator; SoTL Facilitator