About Improving University Teaching

The International Conference on Improving University Teaching (IUT) invites you to join us for our 48th annual forum, which will be held as a hybrid conference this year from July 29th to July 31st, hosted by Ilia State University in Tbilisi, Georgia. Our conference theme, “From Research to Practice,” will address the challenge of how to ensure that sound pedagogical research better inform sour teaching and fosters the flow of information from both directions—from classroom practice back to formulating new research questions and generating data to test what we think we “know”?

Traditional forms of teaching, including the much-maligned lecture, have demonstrated remarkable resiliency, while innovative practices, such as flipped classrooms and extended student discussions, have often faced resistance from both teachers and students. These and other challenges have increased with the pandemic, which has transformed classroom teaching in unpredictable and often negative ways.  So it is time to revisit the issues of what counts as “best practices” and what barriers prevent their adoption.

The first IUT Conference was organized in 1975 in Heidelberg, Germany by Ben Massey of the University of Maryland system. Massey’s original aim was to stimulate discussion and improve the teaching skills of American university faculty and their European counterparts. Over the past four decades, the conference has grown and broadened its attendance to include participants from more than two dozen nations on six continents.

After 27 years of guiding the conference, Massey retired in 2002. Jane Halonen of University of West Florida and Peter Seldin of Pace University succeeded him as co-directors of IUT. Their five years of collaborative leadership brought about renewal in the conference format and registration systems, and strong relationships with several universities around the globe.

In 2009, James Wilkinson of Harvard University and Todd Zakrajsek of the University of North Carolina succeeded Halonen and Seldin as co-directors. On their initiative, IUT was chartered in 2011 as an independent, non-profit organization under United States law. The following year Wilkinson assumed sole responsibility as conference director and the Advisory Board expanded in size. This is now his tenth year as president of IUT.

Until the coronavirus pandemic began in 2020, IUT was held in a different country each year. In 2020, however, we shifted for the first time to a virtual format—live sessions held over 72 hours, shifting from Australia to Europe to North America and on to Australia again in a continuous cycle.  All sessions were recorded and are available on our website. In 2022, hosted by Ilia State University in Tbilisi, Georgia, we will be pioneering a hybrid format with in-person and remote sessions.

Whether face-to-face, virtual, or hybrid, IUT conferences emphasizes dialogue and sharing among participants through thought-provoking keynote addresses, interactive theme sessions, workshops, concurrent paper sessions, poster presentations, and a digital showcase. The small size of the conference, drawing 100 to 125 participants each year,  helps to foster additional opportunities for informal exchange. An expanding online presence promises to provide additional resources to the international teaching community.

Previous Conference Sites

2021: Second IUT virtual conference
2020: First IUT virtual conference
2019: Mülheim an der Ruhr, Germany
2018: Port Macquarie, Australia
2017: Tel Aviv, Israel
2016: Durham, UK
2015: Ljubljana, Slovenia
2014: Vancouver, Canada
2013: Santiago, Chile
2012: Innsbruck, Austria
2011: Bielefeld, Germany
2010: Washington, DC, USA
2009: Vancouver, BC, Canada
2008: Glasgow, Scotland
2007: Jaén, Spain
2006: Dunedin, New Zealand
2005: Pittsburgh, USA

2004: Bern, Switzerland
2003: Växjö, Sweden
2002: Vilnius, Lithuania
2001: Johannesburg, South Africa
2000: Frankfurt, Germany
1999: Brisbane, Australia
1998: Dublin, Ireland
1997: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
1996: Nottingham, England
1995: Hong Kong
1994: College Park, Maryland, USA
1993: Schwäbisch Gmünd, Germany
1992: Tokyo, Japan
1991: Glasgow, Scotland
1990: Yogyakarta, Indonesia

1989: Vancouver, BC, Canada
1988: Umea, Sweden
1987: Haifa, Israel
1986: Heidelberg, Germany
1985: Utrecht, Netherlands
1984: College Park, Maryland, USA
1983: Dublin, Ireland
1982: West Berlin, Germany
1981: Tsukuba, Japan
1980: Lausanne, Switzerland
1979: London, United Kingdom
1978: Aachen, Germany
1977: Newcastle-on-Tyne, UK
1976: Heidelberg, Germany
1975: Heidelberg, Germany