Pictured at this year's CCTL conference are, from right, David Schoen, Dr. Robyn Goacher, Dr. Todd Zakrajsek, Dr. Paula Kot and Dr. Kris Principe.

The 17th annual CCTL Conference on Teaching and Learning was held Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2018, at Niagara University. CCTL is the College Teaching and Learning committee, which is aimed at rethinking tools and developing ways to jumpstart the learning process and engage students while guiding them through more effective ways to connect course content to real-world issues. With educators from a variety of institutions in attendance, the conference’s theme this year was “Evidence-Based Teaching.”

The conference began with breakfast in St. Vincent’s Hall, followed by the morning keynote speaker, Dr. Todd Zakrajsek, associate professor of family medicine and associate director of the faculty development fellowship at the University of  North Carolina School of Medicine.

Morning and afternoon breakout sessions had many interesting topics and also included posters and roundtable discussions with even more opportunities for engaging conversations. Lunch was provided for the attendees in the Russell J. Salvatore Dining Commons.

Dr. Zakrajsek’s keynote address, “Teaching for Brain-Based Learning: Evidence-based Strategies for Today’s Students,” discussed evidence about how students learn, showed methods to get students more involved in the content and demonstrated relevant applications from pedagogical research that can be used.

Dr. Kris Principe, CCTL co-chair and associate professor of economics, explained that Dr. Zakrajsek’s keynote was based on his book, Dynamic Lecturing: Research-Based Strategies to Enhance Lecture Effectiveness.  

“For me, the most valuable aspect of his presentation was that I didn’t need to throw out everything I was currently doing in my courses,” Dr. Principe said. “Rather, he showed us numerous techniques that I could easily bring into my classes that would improve their quality.”

In addition to Dr. Principe, the other CCTL co-chairs are Dr. Paula Kot, associate professor of English, and Dr. Robyn Goacher, associate professor of chemistry. The co-chairs acknowledged the efforts of the CCTL committee members, and offered a special thanks to David Schoen, director of libraries, and Olivia Welch, whose work was vital to the preparation of this conference.

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