2024 Hybrid Conference: Foundations for the Future
This year the International Conference on Improving University Teaching celebrates its fiftieth gathering. Over the past half century, IUT has held yearly conferences in 42 cities and 25 countries. Despite recessions, pandemics, and other challenges, we have managed to share ideas, make contacts, and offer mutual support both at our annual gathering and online. The result, we trust, has been a stronger and more effective teaching community.
The half century mark provides an opportunity to look back and take stock. What ideas and approaches to improving university teaching and learning have proven most effective over these five decades. How could they continue guide us in the future? How have education, students, and/or teaching changed and what foundational principles remain intact? Looking to the future, what are ways we could leverage new techniques and technologies to improve learning, guided by these foundational concepts?
Over three days in late July and early August, the 2024 conference will explore these and related questions under the broad theme of “Foundations for the Future.” As was true the past two years, this conference will be a hybrid event. Our in-person host is the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, one of thirteen schools in the University of Wisconsin System and a major research university with 1,600 faculty serving 23,000 students, located in the city of Milwaukee on the shores of Lake Michigan. Other sessions will be held within the live but remote 72-hour format we have successfully used since 2020. We hope many participants will attend the conference in person in Milwaukee, but also warmly welcome those who choose to participate remotely.
50th Annual Conference:
July 31-Aug 2, 2024 + Extended Access
Our seven subthemes this 5oth year are:
1. Foundational concepts:
Some productive approaches to teaching and learning have emerged over the past few decades that have stood the test of time, while others have proven less useful than originally assumed. What major shifts in pedagogical approach shape how instruction and learning now occur? What principles have proven most effective in reorienting traditional teaching practices, and what is the role of educational context in determining their success?
2. Higher education’s purpose:
In countries such as the US and the UK, over the past few years the stated goals of higher education have moved closer to those of vocational training. There we have also seen increased emphasis on STEM courses and growing marginalization of the humanities. The “salary impact” of instruction on graduating students’ incomes is now used by some institutions as a metric of success, in an atmosphere of increasing corporatization and a shift toward privatization. Is this outcome inevitable? How can higher education best find a balance today between practical outcomes and a broader educational purpose?
3. Engaging Students:
Over the past few years, engaging students has become ever more of a challenge. What has the widespread adoption of remote teaching enforced by the COVID pandemic taught us that could now be applied to face-to-face instruction or retained as a continuing option for some students? What teaching practices and components remain fundamental to student learning? How can we invite students into the learning process, e.g. through flipped classrooms and active or experiential learning, while also retaining the traditional lecture where appropriate?
4. Advances in assessment:
Evaluating both students and teachers fairly has never been easy. Despite the gains and opportunities afforded by increased access, technological innovation, and shifts in pedagogy, higher education outcomes and accountability standards are being defined ever more narrowly. What approaches promise the best balance between ease of administration and accuracy? What are ethical and learning implications for different assessment formats and how can we ensure assessments that foster development and improvement for both teachers and students?
5. Generative Artificial Intelligence opportunities and challenges:
Generative Artificial Intelligence is here to stay. In what ways can Generative AI be used to enhance the learning process and further student learning? How can we develop a nuanced understanding of Gen AI in the context of university teaching and learning? How, for example, should we rethink student assignments—moving from summative to formative assessments that privilege process over product?
6. Improving institutional professional development:
Instructional development aimed at improving the skills of both novice and experienced teachers and setting realistic career goals is crucial for enhancing the overall quality of instruction at institutions of higher education. What tools have the greatest potential in this regard, e.g. workshops, mentorships, microteaching, or pedagogical research support? What “local” programs deserve to be better known among the IUT community as a whole?
7. Future Scholarship of teaching and Learning (SoTL) Research:
What are recent and emerging Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) topics that expand our understanding of teaching and learning in higher education? How do we encourage colleagues to engage with SoTL in a meaningful way that develops their expertise and benefits the student learning experience? Could SoTL play a more meaningful role in tenure and promotion, and if so, how?
Expect to enjoy:
Sharing tips on resources
Collaborating with colleagues
Virtual and real meetups
Asking for advice or help
New technologies and methods
Friendly, easy, stress-free networking
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