2023 Massachusetts PKAL Regional Network Winter Meeting

Inspiring Joy for Teaching and Learning in a World of Disruption

Massachusetts PKAL Regional Network

January 11, 2023

Virtual Conference

Call For Proposals

The Call for Proposals is now open. Click here to submit.

    • Notification of proposal acceptances - December 21st

Meeting Registration Info

  • Registration cost for the meeting- $35
  • Meeting is free to graduate students and community college faculty/administration
  • Meeting is free for Non-Tenure Track Faculty that attend the focus listening session

Host Institution

UMass Amherst, the Commonwealth's flagship campus, is proud to be partnering with PKAL MA to facilitate this conference. The UMass organizing team includes Paula Rees, Assistant Dean for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) in the College of Engineering and Kirsten Helmer, Director of Programming for DEI with the Center for Teaching and Learning. UMass is a nationally ranked public research university offering a full range of undergraduate, graduate, and professional degrees. The University sits on nearly 1,450 acres in the scenic Pioneer Valley of Western Massachusetts and offers a rich cultural environment close to major urban centers. In addition, the University is part of the Five Colleges (including Amherst College, Hampshire College, Mount Holyoke College, and Smith College), which adds to the intellectual energy of the region.

Conference Organizers

This event is being co-sponsored by the UMass College of Engineering and the UMass Center for Teaching & Learning.

Paula Sturdevant Rees is the Assistant Dean of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion for the College of Engineering and Kristen Helmer is the Director of Programming for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion with the Center for Teaching & Learning, both at UMass.

The PKAL MA team supporting UMass includes Catherine Dignam, Framingham State University, Thomas Kling, Bridgewater University, and Ashley Smith, PKAL National.

Event Overview

How do we bring joy back into our teaching as a way to support faculty and student learning in a world that is increasingly marked by disruption and uncertainties in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, climate change, economic upheavals, the future of U.S. politics, and more? How can we engage the difficult issues of our times and turn them into opportunities for innovative transformation? The purpose of this meeting is to share and celebrate how higher education professionals are creatively addressing challenges posed by the student mental health crisis, shifting expectations about higher education, continued racial and gender disparities across fields of study, and faculty burnout. How are you incorporating new techniques and ideas to inspire and activate the next generation of STEM professionals, particularly diverse students, and maintain your joy of teaching?

Conference Themes

Practices and reform efforts that:

  • Acknowledge and integrate a mix of learning modalities.

  • Celebrate the richness different perspectives and approaches can bring to the classroom.

  • Explore the complexities and challenges of real-world issues in a format that inspires and activates the next generation

  • Appreciate students as individuals, promoting equitable outcomes for differing social identities (race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, ability, language, or other).

  • Recognize the student mental health crisis and support student well-being.

  • Bring personal satisfaction and sense of achievement, combating factors that contribute to faculty burnout and loss of well-being.