Keynote Presentation


Making the Connection: Facilitating a Creative, Inclusive Culture for Effective Learning for All Students


Presentation Description

The Center for Teaching Excellence is delighted to host Professor Kathryn (Katie) Dawson and Dr. Jennifer (Jen) Moon as our virtual keynote co-presenters for the 2021 Innovations in Pedagogy Summit!

As we close an unprecedented year in our personal and academic lives, what discoveries will we take forward? Perhaps one positive outcome of remote teaching is the broadened awareness of the student experience. Data from a fall 2020 Strada poll suggest that emotional well-being (stress, anxiety, and loneliness) was the single greatest challenge facing students in higher education during the pandemic. These issues were further amplified for first generation college students and those from historically marginalized groups. Research in post-secondary teaching and learning suggest a strong correlation between students’ experiences in the classroom and the quality of students’ learning. Key factors that can positively impact learning 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). Foregrounding equity and inclusion in instruction requires educators to think about representation, access, and expression across multiple modes. Yet, it can be difficult to know where to start.

In this interactive keynote, Jen Moon and Katie Dawson will explore active, creative teaching strategies educators can use to support students’ connections with you, with your course content, and with each other.

About Professor Dawson

Professor Katie Dawson is the Co-head and Associate Professor of Drama and Theatre for Youth and Communities/UTeach Theatre at the University of Texas at Austin. She uses the arts to increase equity and access in educational contexts, and her areas of expertise are arts-based educational research, community-engagement, teaching artist pedagogy and practice, qualitative research methods, curriculum design, and program evaluation. Dawson received the Distinguished Book Award (for The Reflexive Teaching Artist: Collective Wisdom from the Drama/Theatre Field), the Creative Drama Award, and the Winifred Ward Scholar Award from the American Alliance of Theatre and Education.

Dawson is an internationally recognized consultant in creative learning and teaching artist practice. She publishes, speaks, and facilitates workshops locally and globally, including ongoing partnerships in Australia, Asia, and Eastern Europe with university and government partners. Dawson recently completed a two-year fractional appointment at the University of South Australia in pedagogical innovation.

Prior to academia, Dawson worked as teacher, museum theatre educator, youth theatre director, and actor.

About Dr. Moon

Dr. 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 facilitates a professional development workshop series and faculty learning community that incorporates arts-based pedagogy for science and engineering faculty. She earned her Ph.D. in Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology at Indiana University studying regulated gene expression, and completed her postdoctoral work at the University of Texas at Austin in 2007. Dr. Moon regularly teaches Advanced Introduction to Genetics, Cell and Developmental Biology Lab, and an undergraduate teaching assistant training course. She was co-chair of the Online Education Task Force, a university committee created to help transition the university to remote teaching in the COVID-era.

Dr. Moon has won several teaching awards such as the Regents Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching Award, the President’s Associates Teaching Excellence Award, Natural Science Council Faculty Service Award, and College of Natural Science Teaching Excellence Award. She is an inaugural member of the University’s Distinguished Service Academy and served as the 2020-2021 chair of the Provost’s Teaching Fellows.

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