2021 Keynote Presentation

Teaching with Intention: Facilitating an Inclusive and Joyful Classroom Culture for Effective Learning

Dr. Jen Moon and Katie Dawson, University of Texas at Austin

Research in post-secondary teaching and learning suggest a strong correlation between classroom climate and the quality of students’ learning. Key factors that can positively impact classroom climate include a student’s sense of belonging, their personal connections to the course content and materials, and their relationship with other students and the instructor (Freeman, et al., 2007; Buksist and Saville, 2001; Diamond, 2008). The instructor’s role in facilitating a positive, productive classroom culture is essential. Yet, it can be challenging to establish an ethos of curiosity, discovery, and wonder in the classroom. Jen Moon and Katie Dawson will invite participants to reflect on their beliefs and experiences about teaching and learning and share insights from their own work leading professional learning communities with faculty from a variety of disciplines. Through three engaging activities, this interactive keynote will explore simple ways to design and facilitate a more inclusive and joyful classroom culture in post-secondary learning spaces.

About Our Speakers

Dr. Jen Moon and Katie Dawson

Jennifer (Jen) Moon is an Associate Professor of Instruction in the Department of Molecular Biosciences and the Assistant Dean for Non-Tenure Track Faculty in the College of Natural Sciences at the University of Texas at Austin. She earned her Ph.D. in Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology at Indiana University, working on hormone control of regulated protein degradation in Arabidopsis thaliana. Her postdoctoral work focused on elucidating the transcriptional control of photomorphogenesis in Arabidopsis. Although teaching in the College of Natural Sciences is her first passion, she is also interested in faculty learning communities and facilitates a professional development workshop series that incorporates arts-based pedagogy for science and engineering faculty. At the university level, she has been a Provost’s Teaching Fellow since 2016, and will become chair of the Provost’s Teaching Fellows program in the 2020-2021 academic year. She is active on Faculty Council, having served on several standing committees, and has chaired the Technology Enhanced Education Oversight Committee for three years. Jen has won several teaching and service awards including the Regents Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching Award, the President’s Associates Teaching Excellence Award, Natural Science Council Faculty Service Award, and the College of Natural Science Teaching Excellence Award, and is a member of the Provost’s Distinguished Service Academy.

Kathryn (Katie) Dawson uses the arts to increase equity in and access to education. She is an associate professor in the Department of Theatre and Dance at the University of Texas at Austin and serves as Director of the Drama for Schools program. Katie received the Creative Drama Award and the Winifred Ward Scholar Award from the American Alliance of Theatre and Education. She is appointed as a Provost’s Teaching Fellow at UT Austin where she has received multiple awards for her work including the College of Fine Arts Distinguished Teaching Award, the College of Fine Arts Distinguished Research Award, and the Regents Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching Award, among others. Katie has published numerous articles, book chapters, and award-winning books on active and creative teaching in learning environments. She is also an internationally recognized consultant in creative learning. She frequently gives talks and workshops about ways to increase student engagement and ownership of learning globally and across the United States, including work with the US Embassy System on critical thinking in education across Eastern Europe. Most recently, Katie completed a two-year fractional appointment with the South Australian Department for Education and the University of South Australia in pedagogical innovation.

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