Previous CONNECT Conferences

What is CONNECT?

In 1993, Lee Shulman argued against “pedagogical solitude,” suggesting that for teaching to be most effective, we must “go public” more. We need more conversation about teaching, more opportunity to share what we do to promote student learning, and more venues in which this can happen. 

To provide such a forum, the Bruce K. Nelson Faculty Development Center is proud to host the CONNECT Teaching Conference every year. The CONNECT Conference serves as an opportunity for educators to come together to learn about and reflect on effective and innovative teaching practices, and begin to develop ideas about how to integrate new practices into their own classrooms. Programs presented and conversations started at the CONNECT Conference are additionally important for developing teaching practices that encourage student-faculty collaboration and partnerships, which the FDC is increasingly committed to supporting. Thank you for joining us to take part in these exciting discussions and to share ideas about teaching and learning.

The 2023 CONNECT Conference began on Thursday afternoon, February 9, with a keynote address by Dr. Alison Cook-Sather, Mary Katharine Woodworth Professor of Education at Bryn Mawr College and Director of the Teaching and Learning Institute at Bryn Mawr and Haverford Colleges (see below for more details).  The learning continued on Friday, February 10, with a day of panels, presentations, and opportunities to learn from and CONNECT with each other.

For updated information on the 2024 CONNECT Conference, click here.

View the 2023 CONNECT online program

Photos from the 2023 CONNECT Conference:


CONNECT 2023 Programs: 

Click each program, to find a description of the program and the slideshow presented at connect. 

  • Presentations
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    • Trauma Informed Teaching in Higher Education Expand dropdown

      By: Dibya Choudhuri  - Professor, Leadership and Counseling

      We focus on ways in which trauma is ubiquitous in higher education and significantly impacts learning, through student characteristics, delivery of subject content, educator behavior and interaction. This presentation offers ways to think through pedagogical assumptions and develop syllabi, assignments, and course content presentation using trauma-informed principles to maximize effectiveness of student learning, retention, and future success of trained professionals. Geared primarily for higher education and referencing mental health training, many of the suggestions may be broadly implemented. 

      Link to Trauma Informed Teaching in Higher Education Slideshow.

    • Effective Teaming and Meeting Mechanics Expand dropdown

      By: Celeste Gentile - Part-Time Lecturer, Special Education & Communication Sciences and Disorders

      Meetings are an important part of sharing information and making decisions that help us capitalize on the strengths and experiences of a group of people with common goals. The most efficient and effective meetings adhere to a defined process and agreed upon guidelines that the group follows to execute the goals of the meeting. 

      Experience tells us that certain key ingredients are important for meetings to achieve their purpose, for example getting the right people to the table, staying on task, making decisions based on accurate information, problem solving, and executing plans in a fair and timely manner. Each of these steps, among others, are defined in this manual to assist teams to accomplish their meeting goals and work more effectively. 

      The Effective Teaming and Meeting Mechanics processes and tools are both universal for all meetings and customized for specific types of meetings so that it will function as a resource for various meetings. (START, GVSU

      Link to Effective Teaming and Meeting Mechanics Slideshow.

    • Collaborative Interdisciplinary Learning Expand dropdown

      By: Jillian Graves - Associate Professor, Social Work & Alankrita Pandey - Associate Professor, College of Business

      We will discuss the use of the InterProfessional Education Simulation for Complex problem solving pedagogy in a graduate classroom. We will discuss our experiences of using the process with Management and Social Work Students. We will talk about the process, learning objectives, methodology and student reactions. We will then discuss how the process can be employed to teach complex concepts involving different disciplines which nonetheless deal with similar problems (HRM and Social Work, Management and Engineering, Healthcare and Management etc).

      Link to Collaborative Interdiscplinary Learning Slideshow.

    • Empowering College Faculty to Support and Advocate for International Students Expand dropdown

      By: Zuzana Tomas - Profesor, ESL/TESOL

      The presenter shares a framework for promoting international student success in academic courses. Concepts and strategies are based on a book she co-authored for use in faculty development. The target audience is instructional faculty with emerging knowledge about teaching students from varying linguistic and cultural backgrounds. Attendees get familiar with core second language acquisition theories underpinning international student successes and challenges, reflect on key effective classroom instructional practices that promote scaffolding, interaction, noticing, and connections which foster learner success; list alternative assessments that broaden the opportunities for students to demonstrate learning; and identify institutional resources on their campus that sustain and supplement efforts made in the classroom. Attendees will also receive a handout that outlines a framework for fostering international student success in academic courses. We will engage in a short discussion about challenges participating instructors are grappling with, sharing firsthand experiences. 

      Link to Empowering College Faculty to Support and Advocate for International Students.

    • CIDI Labs Expand dropdown

      By: Rebecca Pietrowski - Instructional Designer, Center of E-Learning & Garrett Whitehead - Instructional Designer, Center for E-Learning

      CIDI Labs is an enhancement to Canvas that instructors can use to apply more sophisticated organization and layout to their course content. Join us for training on this tool that can make your online course materials easier to navigate and study. 

    • Learning Partnerships Outside of the EMU Classroom Expand dropdown

      By: Mark Whitters - Full Time Lecturer, History & Philosophy, John Milkovich - Graduate Student, Philosophy, Justice Carlton - Graduate Student, Philosophy & Kuma Gordon

      This is a platform for former EMU students to share how their learning partnerships with EMU teachers continue to serve them in life. Two speakers will describe the dividends of their learning experiences at EMU as they currently study in grad school, one about such benefits in the workplace. Their topic: How do partnerships forged at EMU still impact members of the EMU community?  

    • Empowering Students as Class Coaches Expand dropdown

      By: Mark Whitters - Full Time Lecturer, History & Philosophy

      This presentation profiles several students who explain what got them so excited to serve without pay for an entire semester (and longer) as class coaches. They will describe their role as course designers, their participation as non-enrolled members of the class, and their involvement as social and learning community bridge-builders.  Their experience is based on a methodology called "Reacting to the Past," using tools of role-playing, team-building, and educational gaming. 


  • Workshops
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    • Civics Across the Disciplines Expand dropdown

      By: Brigid Beaubien - Professor, Teacher Education & Amanda O. Maher - Assistant Professor, History and Philosophy

      Universities play an essential role in preparing students for civic life and sustaining democracy. For some disciplines, this responsibility is directly tied to our content and teaching. For others, it seems a distant objective. This workshop is for any faculty or instructor who is interested in beginning or honing their civic teaching practices in their disciplines and areas of expertise. Participants will explore what citizenship engagement looks like in our students, examines multiple theories of civics and citizenship education, and provides practical activities for participants to take immediately back to their classrooms. 

    • Addressing Challenges Faced by Neurodivergent Students Expand dropdown

      By: Lake Braendle - Student, Women's and Gender Studies & Kaycee Johnson - Student, Psychology and English

      Typical classrooms have been built for people with neurotypical brains, which poses obstacles for neurodivergent people. Many neurodivergent students struggle with conventional teaching strategies, leading us to conduct research on strategies to better accommodate neurodivergence in the classroom. Our main areas of interest and research for this project are focus and environments, both of which affect learning experiences. The workshop will consist of a presentation of our research findings, small-group discussions, and a final whole-group discussion exploring strategies to assist neurodivergent students. Overall, this workshop will provide our audience with knowledge of how neurodivergence affects the classroom and learning experience, how teaching and learning can benefit from being more accommodating, and specific actions students and faculty can take to better their own and others’ learning experiences. 

      Link to Addressing Challenges Faced by Neurodivergent Students Slideshow.

    • Making Mistakes in the Classroom: Rupture and Repair Expand dropdown

      By: Dibya Choudhuri - Professor, LDCN

      An inevitable, and I argue necessary, component of teaching is making mistakes in the classroom. These can occur from a variety of sources involving the juicy juxtaposition of the instructor, the students, the topic, the teaching method, and the sociopolitical context.

      In this workshop, I share some of my mistakes; ways I addressed them, and both successes and failures of my strategies. I then invite you to work on case studies in small groups; analyzing what pedagogical assumptions and beliefs led up to this situation, and then generate strategies. Finally, I invite you to volunteer to share a mistake and your thoughts about repair, or a current situation (described FERPA safe) with which we can assist. We then go on our ways with thoughts, insights, and some collected resources on repairing interpersonal relationships.

      Link to Making Mistakes in the Classroom: Rupture and Repair Slideshow.

    • Developing Inclusive Excellence in STEM Expand dropdown

      By: Vernnaliz Carrasquillo - Associate Professor, Product Design Engineering Technology & Kristi Judd - Professor, Biology

      We will have a panel made of 3 faculty members curently participating in the MOOC facilitated by Andrew Ross. The faculty will talk about what they've learned and what they've put into practice into their classroom.

    • Empowering Students Through Interviewing and Writing Expand dropdown

      By: Elizabeth M. Donovan - Assistant Professor, Paralegal Program

      Understanding their potential to play an important role in issues that matter to them can motivate students to obtain skills that allow them to express their views, support their views with reliable information, address contrasting views, and build consensus.

      I will share an assignment, student work, and student feedback, and facilitate a conversation addressing the benefits of a multi-week assignment that includes the following elements: topic, interview, research, writing, outlines, peer-review, self-review, and assignment management.

      We will discuss how such an assignment enables students to learn and practice soft and hard skills while exploring a topic of interest to them, in an inclusive learning community that is caring and supportive. We will also share strategies to encourage students to discover connections between the course material, their personal experiences, and broader societal experiences.

    • Discussing Accessibility, Equity, and Inclusion in Online Course Design Expand dropdown

      By: Marisol Garrido-Gutierrez - Professor, World Languages

      One of the challenges of online teaching is designing courses that allow all students to feel welcome, and  able to engage in  class regardless of their background or abilities. This session aims to discuss and evaluate inclusiveness and equity teaching practices. Participants will have the opportunity to self-evaluate one of their courses (using a rubric adapted from the Peralta equity rubric) to determine areas to improve). 

    • Let's Chat about ChatGPT Expand dropdown

      By: Michael McVey - Professor, Teacher Education, Susan Bushinski - Associate Professor, Nursing & Ann Blakeslee - Professor, English Language and Literature

      ChatGPT is an artificial-intelligence (AI) driven chatbot launched as a prototype in late fall 2022. It has gained the attention of teachers across a range of disciplines since it provides detailed responses and articulate answers across many domains of knowledge. Faculty have shared concerns about widespread cheating despite uneven factual accuracy and just as many have found interesting uses for it as an instructional tool. In this open-ended discussion, we will share examples of ChatGPT's potential uses (and abuses) in the classroom and we expect the audience to chime in with their own examples and insights as we work toward understanding its potential impact on our teaching.

    • Engagement and Partnerships in the Asyncgronous Community: The Potenial of Gaming Expand dropdown

      By: Mark Whitters - Full Time Lecturer, History & Philosophy & John Bruenger - Instructional Designer, Center for E-Learning

      As higher education turns increasingly to online learning and especially asynchronous classes, the challenges of building "a learning community" over time and space mount. This workshop describes an attempt to capitalize on teamwork, role-playing, and gaming strategies as a way to foster engagement in a cyberspace world. The immersion involves workshop participants enrolling in a "sand-box" classroom, listening to short lectures about the difficulties facing course designers, and then reacting to the "veteran" students who took a Fall 2022 course called "Global History of Islam," but now asynchronously are members of the Connect 2023 virtually constituted community learning about gaming. By the end of this process, the workshop aspires to incentivize an active response among its Connect 2023 participants as if involved in the same teamwork, role-playing, and gaming that motivated those who previously took the Global History of Islam. 


  • Sandbox
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    • Learning to Approach Difficult Conversations with Caregivers about Autism Concerns: A Qualitative Study Conducted in a Graduate Communication Disorders Course Expand dropdown

      By: Leslie Blome - Assistant Professor, Department of Special Education and Communication Sciences and Disorders

      Lack of confidence about conducting difficult conversations is one barrier to timely diagnosis of autism and access to. Speech-language pathologists (SLPs) are often in the position of broaching these conversations with caregivers, particularly given the prominent role of communication deficits in the diagnosis of the disorder. However, future SLPs rarely receive instruction about how to perform this complex and delicate task during their graduate education. Teaching future clinicians a structured framework (PEWTER – Prepare, Evaluate, Warning, Telling, Emotional Response, Regrouping) to approach this delicate task may ease anxiety, increase the likelihood that crucial conversations will take place, and improve the experience for both clinicians and caregivers. 

    • What are the Best Practices for Creating Immersive Learning Experiences that Lead to Effective Bilingual Education Programs? Expand dropdown

       By: Michael Foster - Assistant Professor, French and Bilingual Education 

      The aim of this research project will be to study effective pedagogical approaches and practices used in established bilingual education programs at different universities in Canada and then replicate those practices in the bilingual education courses taught here at EMU. This presentation will briefly present one model, describe some best practices in the model, and then discuss preliminary research questions using the SoTL framework of how teaching practices in bilingual education can be better informed through replicating and analyzing the established model for courses here at EMU. 

      Link to What Are the Best Practices for Creating Immersive Learning Experiences that Lead to Effective Bilingual Education Programs? Notes

    • Introducing and Expanding Mentorship in Graduate Programs using a First Year Meeting Expand dropdown

      By: W. John Koolage - Professor & Director of General Education, History and Philosophy, ENVI 

      Students entering graduate programs face the same sorts of questions that students entering college face: can I do this, do I belong here, and do I want to do this (Golde 1998)? In general, students are left to answer these questions on their own. Student success metrics, such as graduation rates, retention rates and placement rates, can indicate how and to what degree students are answering these questions in the affirmative. Further, the ‘this’ in the question (do I want to do this?) is typically brought into focus for students by way of ‘apprenticeship of observation’ (Lortie 1975). That is, students are left to figure out what the profession and graduate work is like by observing those around them: peers and faculty, primarily (Austin 2002). One solution to this problem is to create a more formal mentoring system. Philosophy at EMU has done so, and I intend to study and assess this teaching and learning intervention. This sandbox touches on the basics of both an introduction to a formal mentoring intervention and its potential assessment. 

    • Creating a Culture of Belonging for BIPOC Students Expand dropdown

      By: Dyann Logwood - Assistant Professor, Women's and Gender Studies

      This sandbox discussion provides an opportunity to discuss a project centered on the mentoring and academic experiences of BIPOC students. A central goal of the project is to determine how faculty can cultivate safe and nurturing spaces for our diverse student population. We will explore the challenges faculty mentors may encounter in their efforts to support BIPOC students and provide space for faculty to share ideas to support our diverse student population.

    • Analyzing Reflections: A Work in Progress Expand dropdown

      By: Cynthia Macknish - Associate Professor, TESOL

      Reflecting on teaching is an important aspect of transformative learning (Gorski & Dalton, 2020), but the reflection process is not always well understood (Farrell, 2019). Moreover, assessing learning through reflections is challenging. The often-limited quality of reflections by preservice teachers in my TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) courses has prompted me to examine ways to be more intentional in guiding reflective practice and to explore models of assessing learning through reflections. In my research, I plan to analyze pre and post samples of reflections using a model of analysis that will effectively demonstrate learning. I would love to hear about how others assess learning through reflections in other contexts. 

      Link to Analyzing Reflections: A Work in Progress Slideshow.

    • Towards Best Practices in Role Playing Assignments Expand dropdown

      By: Mary G. Strasma - Associate Professor, History & Philosophy

      In debates, simulations, role-playing games, and other deep-immersion pedagogies, how much impact does role assignment have on student learning? Should students be given input into what role they will play, and if so how much?  Can we discern a set of best practices that will stretch students while also ensuring safety, promoting persistence, and furthering DEI goals? Participants in this session will examine these questions, take a look at some preliminary ideas and tips, and discuss this developing research area. 

  • Plenary Discussion
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    Building a Broader Tent to Support Student Success

    By: Sean Woolf (Moderator), Associate Director, Office of Wellness and Community Responsibility, Wayne Doyle, Director, Veteran Student Support Services, Lucas Langdon, Director, Campus Life & Jeanette Zalba, Director, Housing and Residence Life

    Faculty are not alone in their concern for, and in working toward, student success.  Our colleagues in the Division of Student Affairs, and in closely-related other offices on campus, share our goals, and bring unique and valuable skills to the table in helping to best support our students in their intellectual and personal growth.  Join us for this plenary to hear more about some of these offices on campus, what they do, and how they can be allies for instructional staff.  Following this panel discussion, our panelists will be available during lunch to continue the conversation. 

CONNECT 2023 Keynote Address: Teaching and Learning Together: Principles and Possibilities

Speaker: Alison Cook-Sather


Alison Cook-Sather


In this talk, Dr. Alison Cook-Sather presented a definition and underlying principles of pedagogical partnership, reviewed arguments in the scholarly arena for the potential of partnership work, and provided examples of some of the most common outcomes of pedagogical partnerships as articulated in student and faculty participants’ words. She then highlighted faculty work at Eastern Michigan University that embodies partnership principles, and she invited all participants to explore ideas for (further) developing pedagogical partnership work at Eastern Michigan University.


Alison Cook-Sather is Mary Katharine Woodworth Professor of Education at Bryn Mawr College and Director of the Teaching and Learning Institute at Bryn Mawr and Haverford Colleges. Alison has developed internationally recognized programs that position students and teachers as pedagogical partners, published over 100 articles and book chapters, and spoken or consulted on partnership work at over 80 institutions in 13 countries. Author or co-author of eight books, including Pedagogical Partnerships: A How-To Guide for Faculty, Students, and Academic Developers in Higher Education (2019), Promoting Equity and Justice through Pedagogical Partnership (2021), and Co-Creating Equitable Teaching and Learning: Structuring Student Voice into Higher Education (2022), she is founding editor of Teaching and Learning Together in Higher Education and founding co-editor of International Journal for Students as Partners. Learn more about Alison’s work at

View Dr. Alison Cook-Sather's PowerPoint from the 2023 CONNECT Conference

  • 2022 CONNECT

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    CONNECT 2022 Resources

    Keynote Speech of Connnect 2022: Trauma-Informed Education & Bearing Witness to Challenges and Resilience 

    Speaker: Dr. Mays Imad


    In The Book of Joy, the Dalai Lama invites us to develop our “mental immunity,” the skills we need, individually and collectively, to help ourselves and our communities guard against chronic stress so we may continue to learn and thrive. A key to developing such pivotal skills is understanding how our brains perceive and react to “triggers.”  In this interactive session, we began by considering the neuroscience of traumatic stress, especially as it relates to work-related traumatic experiences. We then considered the research behind the burnout epidemic and why this global phenomenon is something we must, as educators and leaders, not take lightly. Finally, we examined the notion of healing, at the individual and community levels, and what key ingredients are needed for us to move forward in a meaningful, elevating, and sustainable way. This session offered a combination of theory and practice. 


    Mays Imad received her undergraduate training from the University of Michigan–Dearborn where she studied philosophy. She received her doctoral degree in Cellular & Clinical Neurobiology from Wayne State University School of Medicine in Detroit, Michigan. She then completed a National Institute of Health-Funded postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Arizona in the Department of Neuroscience. She joined the department of life & physical sciences at Pima Community College in Tucson, Arizona as an adjunct faculty member in 2009 and later as a full-time faculty member in 2013. During her tenure at Pima, she taught Physiology, Pathophysiology, Genetics, Biotechnology, and Biomedical ethics. She also founded Pima’s Teaching and Learning Center (TLC).  

    Mays is a Gardner Institute Fellow and an AAC&U Senior Fellow within the Office of Undergraduate STEM Education. Dr. Imad’s research focuses on stress, self-awareness, advocacy, and classroom community, and how these impact student learning and success. Through her teaching and research she seeks to provide her students with transformative opportunities that are grounded in the aesthetics of learning, truth-seeking, justice, and self-realization. 

    Outside of the classroom, Dr. Imad works with faculty members across disciplines at her own institution and across the country to promote inclusive, equitable, and contextual education–all rooted in the latest research on the neurobiology of learning. A nationally-recognized expert on trauma-informed teaching and learning, she passionately advocates for institutions to make mental health a top priority and to systematically support the education of the whole student.

    View Mays's recent publications

    Follow Mays on Twitter

    View a recording of the keynote speech here. 

    View Dr. Imad's keynote slides here.

  • 2021 CONNECT Mini Conference

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