Center for Teaching and Learning

Advances in Higher Education Research Seminar

This seminar series highlights original research in college-level learning and instruction. Multidisciplinary in scope, each seminar addresses the broad themes of our work as instructors, including the cognitive processes by which students learn, and the classroom context in which they do so.

All seminars are free and open to the public. Presentations will be followed by a Q&A session and opportunities for discussion.

Winter quarter seminars

Can Learning be Fair?:  Explicit Acknowledgment of Structural Oppression as a Teaching Tool

Speaker: Jessica Cleeves, Center for Science and Mathematics Education, University of Utah

Tuesday, February 11 (2:30-3:20 p.m.) OUG 220

Traditional diversity classes engage students in self-reflection about identity and experience, often around ideas like race, class, gender, ableism, and heteronormativity. These curricula typically explore complex problems deeply, but seldom discuss practical steps toward solutions. This problem-centric focus can leave individual students feeling helpless, overwhelmed, and/or guilty to the point of emotional overload. A creative new approach to impactful instruction about equity situates conversations about access and power within a context of enactable inclusive pedagogical practices.

In this talk, Jessica Cleeves describes the Learning Assistant (LA) pedagogy course she developed for the University of Utah’s Center for Science and Mathematics Education. The course connects evidence-based best practice for small group facilitation and the individual, institutional, and cultural barriers that motivate the opportunity gap in the first place. LAs delve into issues of academic exclusion, while also learning strategies they can deploy to increase inclusion. This approach helps LAs from backgrounds of privilege move beyond potentially paralyzing feelings of anger, guilt, and shame. Simultaneously, LAs who identify with historically excluded communities are protected from tokenization and invited into advocacy for their students, with whom their identities may or may not align. LAs learn to co-create solutions concurrent with understanding the historical depth, cultural complexity, and structural resistance to making education equitable and inclusive.

Jessica Cleeves (MAT, NBCT, MSW) is the Associate Director for Equitable Instruction and Clinical Support at the University of Utah’s Center for Science and Mathematics Education. Jess supports educators of all levels to hone practices and expand socio-emotional skills to improve classroom instruction. Prior to her role at the CSME, Ms. Cleeves taught middle and high school science for a decade, and supported her colleagues as an instructional coach in Title I “Turnaround” schools.

RSVP for the Feb. 11 seminar

Hannah Wiley, UW Dept. of DanceReimagining Graduate Dance Education

Speaker: Hannah Wiley, UW Department of Dance

Tuesday, March 3 (2:30-3:20 p.m.) OUG 220

RSVP for the March 3 seminar


Spring quarter seminars

Justin Lerner, lecturer, UW School of Social WorkBeyond Diversity and Inclusion: Creating a Social Justice Agenda in the Classroom

Speaker: Justin E. Lerner, UW School of Social Work

Tuesday, May 5 (2:30-3:20 p.m.) OUG 220

RSVP for the May 5 seminar

Questions about the series?

Would you like to suggest a speaker? Use our online form.