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20th Annual UWSP Teaching Conference: Appreciating the Value of Higher Education


“Appreciating the Value of Higher Education: Engaging our Students, the Community, and Ourselves” was the overarching theme at the 20th Annual University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point Teaching Conference held in the Dreyfus University Center on Thursday, Jan. 21, 2016. [Photo Gallery]

The Teaching Conference Planning Committee assembled various panel discussions and presentations that demonstrate UW-Stevens Point’s ongoing commitment to quality teaching that leads to student success.

College of Professional Studies faculty presentations included:          

Teaching and Assessing Critical Thinking Across the Curriculum with Argument Mapping – Dona Warren, Paula DeHart, Vera Klekovkina, Wade Mahon, Cade Spaulding, Nancy LoPatin-Lummis and Todd Huspeni

The development of critical thinking skills is widely considered to be an important value of higher education, but it’s easier to recognize the importance of this mission than to identify a core set of critical thinking skills and infuse the curriculum with intentional efforts to develop those skills in our students. With the support of an Office of Professional and Instructional Development (OPID) Teaching and Learning Grant, an interdisciplinary team of faculty at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point met over the summer to address this dilemma by discussing the relationship between critical thinking and argumentation, exploring the potential of argument mapping to elucidate arguments, and experimenting with computer assisted argument mapping tools. In this panel discussion, Paula DeHart will review campus efforts to integrate and assess critical thinking. Dona Warren will set out the justification for taking argumentation as a central component of critical thinking, for representing arguments graphically with argument maps, and for utilizing computer based tools to support argument mapping. Vera Klekovkina will discuss her experience using argument mapping in her First Year Seminar. Wade Mahon will discuss his experience with

Integrating Makerspaces into Teaching and Learning with Student Success – Mindy King, Kathe Julin and Sean Ruppert

Makerspaces are community-based centers designed to support innovation and creativity. The spaces promote multidisciplinary thinking and collaboration and encourage hands-on, self-directed learning in the spirit of entrepreneurship. Creation of makerspaces is on the rise in higher education; not just in STEM fields, but in the Arts and Humanities as well. This panel presentation will discuss the purpose of makerspaces in higher education, how the “maker movement” philosophy can be incorporated into teaching and learning, its relevance at UWSP, and how it might impact the broader Central Wisconsin community.

Cultural Immersion in Experiential Learning: Broadening Students’ Perceptions Through Involvement in a Global Community – Sallie Scovill, Sterling Wall, Cuiting Li, Annie Wetter, Celine Kline and Susan Turgeson

School of Health Promotion and Human Development (HPHD) faculty and staff will conduct a discussion on developing a department strategy for imbedding experiential and curriculum-specific cultural immersion experiences. This unique approach creates a broad array of opportunities for students to experience other cultures and learn that despite differences (food, language, and habits), these are only a small part of diversity. These trips help students understand how perceptions, beliefs, and values influence ways of life and other views of the world. HPHD’s goal is to reduce ethnocentrism and bias while creating a new generation of open-minded citizens that have strong communication, creative thinking, and problem solving skills, and are adaptable, flexible self-starters.

Globalization has increased job competition beyond traditional boundaries of a community, state, or nation driving a need for students to develop creative problem solving skills. One way to meet this need is through exposure to foreign cultures (Cho & Morris, 2015). Lou & Jamieson-Drake (2015) found study abroad made a unique contribution to college outcomes, such as understanding moral and ethical issues, communication skills, academic performance, and overall satisfaction with the education process. Empirical evidence indicates study abroad participants exhibit enhanced cognitive skills and increased interest in international economic, political, and cross-cultural issues compared to non-participants (Lou & Jamieson-Drake, 2015). Other benefits are quite personal, said one of the students on the first HPHD trip to China: “When I left for China I felt like I was leaving home, when I came back I realized the whole world is my home.”

Lightning Round

  • Using Technology for Group Projects and Student Engagement – Deborah Tang
  • Safe Zone Workshops – Laurie Schmeling/Kym Buchanan
  • Tools, Techniques, and Tricks to bring the WOW factor to lecture presentations – Sally Jones

Meta-Learning Moxie in Student-Instructor Collaborative Course Design – Charlie Osborne and Pamela Terrell
Two instructors collaborated with groups of students to redesign three existing courses. Students were involved in every part of course design from developing learning outcomes and the syllabus to constructing assessments. Throughout the collaboration, the students and instructors reflected on the process, including thoughts about pedagogy, meta-learning and partnership.

Beyond the Beloit College Mindset List: Connecting Us, To Them, To One Another – Celine Kline and Sterling Wall
Move beyond fun factoids about our students (like whether they’ve ever licked a postage stamp), to more meaningful understanding and engagement. Stories about who are students really are will be shared (from their own perspective), along with skills and activities from the HPHD Coaching and Pointer Unity Programs (PUP) that can be learned, adapted, and implemented in your own courses.

Closing Plenary: The Division Street Student Research Initiative: Changing the World at Our Doorstep – Tori Jennings, Krishna Roka, Anna Haines, Dave Barbier, Annie Wetter and Katja Marquart
North Division Street (also known as Business 51) is a roughly 92-acre blighted highway/business corridor adjacent to the UWSP campus. Creating a vision for the regeneration of north Division Street requires skill, innovation, and knowledge of the city and community. Students involved in the Division Street Student Research Initiative are investigating zoning strategies, creating innovative conceptual renderings, designing sustainable streetscapes, and learning through experience how a holistic approach that draws upon the social and natural sciences and the humanities can tackle complex urban design problems, and ultimately improve quality of life for all in the community. Following a brief introduction to the Division Street Student Research Initiative, panelists will explain how they are engaging students in the project. The expected outcome of this presentation is to illustrate how interdisciplinary teaching and learning can be operationalized in the community.

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