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Teaching and Learning Symposium focuses on transforming education

May 15, 2014 By Käri Knutson

The 2014 Teaching and Learning Symposium, a two-day event taking place May 19-20 at Union South, will focus on “Transforming Education” as this year’s theme.

“Recent activities and circumstances at UW–Madison (such as the Educational Innovation effort projects, concerns for education costs, new campus leadership), have sparked awareness of new approaches in teaching and learning and substantial opportunities for positive change,” says Christopher Olsen, interim vice provost for teaching and learning. “The theme of ‘Transforming Education’ highlights this exciting time.”

The annual symposium provides an opportunity for the UW–Madison teaching and learning community to share best practices, celebrate accomplishments and discuss new learning and teaching practices and theories in a forum dedicated to enriching the student learning experience.

“The symposium offers a wonderful mix of fresh ideas, practical strategies and a collegial network,” Olsen says. “Each attendee will find innovative opportunities to enhance their educational talents, from subtle shifts in how one considers the role of students in a classroom, to complete changes in pedagogies and collaborative partnerships in teaching.”

Speakers include:

Richard J. Davidson, the William James and Vilas Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry and director of the Waisman Brain Imaging Lab. His talk, “Well-Being is a Skill,” will consider scientific evidence that suggests we can change our brains by transforming our minds and cultivate habits of mind that will improve well-being.

Greg Downey, an Evjue-Bascom Professor in both the School of Journalism and Mass Communication and the School of Library and Information Studies, and incoming associate dean for social sciences in the College of Letters & Science. “A Brief History of Innovation in Higher Education,” will draw on Downey’s research into technology and society to set the current debates over higher education innovation in historical context.

Gloria Ladson-Billings, the Kellner Family Chair of Urban Education in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction and faculty affiliate in the departments of Educational Policy Studies and Afro American Studies. Her presentation, “Getting Serious About Education: Preparing to Teach New Century Students,” will provide information about incorporating youth culture and new technologies into classrooms as a way to ensure that all students benefit from classroom instruction.