Pre-Meeting Workshops


Wednesday, January 18, 2023 /

Bandwidth Tax of Uncertainty: Helping Students Reclaim Cognitive Capacity Post-COVID and Beyond

For many college and university students, cognitive capacity for learning has been and is being diminished by the negative effects of persistent economic insecurity and childhood trauma and discrimination and hostility against non-majority groups based on race, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation or gender identity, and other aspects of difference—and, lately, by high levels of uncertainty relatedto the pandemic and war and social unrest in the nation and world. All of these factors result in depletion of available cognitive capacity – bandwidth – for most students and especially for those in certain identity groups. From this workshop, you will understand the bandwidth tax of uncertainty and learn about and practice strategies and interventions that can be implemented inside and outside the classroom that show promise in helping students reclaim the cognitive capacity they need to be successful in college.

  • Cia Verschelden

    Cia Verschelden

    Special Projects Advisor for the Integration of Academic and Student Affairs, AAC&U

Beyond Performative Liberal Arts: Capturing Our Ideals in Assignment Design

This workshop begins with the assumption that we all care deeply about our work in the classroom. Following on that is a second assumption: some of the goals we have for our students—for their intellectual lives, for their professional lives, for their personal lives—often live more on hope than on substance. Life-long learning. Curiosity. Service. How can we ensure that these things actually occur in our classes and our students’ lives? The purpose of this workshop is to engage attendees in deliberative explorations of these questions—and to walk away with assignments that move our students closer to the goals of the liberal arts. After two years of a pandemic and some of the most challenging educational circumstances we’ve ever faced, is it possible that we can re-energize our students, their work, and ourselves by rethinking student work in ways that capture our greatest aspirations for them?

  • Paul S. Hanstedt

    Paul S. Hanstedt

    Director of the Houston H. Harte Center for Teaching and Learning, Washington & Lee University

Quality, Equity, Affordability, and Access: Leveraging Open Educational Resources (OER) to Further Student Success

Nearly all colleges and universities have developed portfolios of strategies to support student success. Emerging evidence regarding OER suggests it should be included among the core institutional student success strategies throughout higher education. While long seen as an affordability strategy, recent research has shown OER adoption can improve end of course grades and reduced drop, withdrawal, and fail (DWF) rates for all participating students. These improvements tend to occur at greater rates for non-white, Pell eligible, and part-time students. This interactive workshop will begin by reviewing emerging OER research with a focus on OER’s connection to equity. It will then move to helping participants plan for OER success on their campus. The OER offerings landscape will be explored as will successful strategies for helping faculty author OER. Significant time will be spent exploring campus OER adoption strategies, and participants will engage in planning activities that will help them move their OER work forward on their own campus.

  • C. Edward Watson

    C. Edward Watson

    Associate Vice President for Curricular and Pedagogical Innovation, AAC&U

  • Robert J. Awkward

    Robert J. Awkward

    Director of Learning Outcomes Assessment, Massachusetts Department of Higher Education

  • David Harris

    David Harris

    Editor-in-Chief for OpenStax, Rice University

  • Barbara Illowsky

    Barbara Illowsky

    Co-author, “Introductory Statistics” and “Introductory Business Statistics”

Harnessing the Resilience Within: The Science of Biological and Behavioral Resilience through Plasticity, Sociality, and Meaning

In this workshop, participants will examine polyvagal theory, which describes the nervous system as having a hierarchical organization. At the top of that hierarchy is our social engagement system, which helps us connect and navigate relationships. Participants will consider the benefits and practical approaches to lead our institutions using a polyvagal lens. Further, participants will deliberate on the science of biological and behavioral resilience and the three factors that give rise to resilience: plasticity, sociality, and meaning. Finally, participants will examine practical implications for how we can empower ourselves and our teams to “befriend” our social engagement nervous system so we can continue to engage, learn, lead, and thrive.

  • Mays Imad

    Mays Imad

    Assistant Professor of Biology, Connecticut College; Senior Fellow, AAC&U

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