18th Annual Teaching & Learning Conference at Elon University

Elon University welcomed university and college educators to the 18th Annual Teaching & Learning Conference on Monday, June 6th, 2022. This was a free, fully-virtual conference is sponsored jointly by Elon’s Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning (CATL) and Teaching and Learning Technologies (TLT).

The 18th Annual Teaching & Learning Conference can be viewed here.

Conference Theme: Educating Engaged Citizens for an Uncertain and Changing World

Colleges and universities have long played a critical role in preparing future citizens and engaged leaders. This role takes on increased salience in times of rapid societal change. In the coming decades, our current students will take on jobs that do not yet exist, tackle existential threats like climate change and biodiversity collapse, and strive to reshape our society to be more equitable and inclusive at every level. What would our teaching approaches, courses, curricula, and other structures look like if educating engaged citizens for an uncertain and changing world were at the forefront of our thinking?

  • What might forward-looking engaged citizenship look like in different disciplines, or in an interdisciplinary context?
  • How might we connect with our students to provide more of the mentorship we know helps them thrive, in college and in life?
  • In these challenging times, how do we define resilience? In what ways can we help students develop habits of resilience and practices for self-care that allow them to weather difficulties and rectify injustices around them?
  • How can we encourage students to recognize the value of the liberal arts and sciences for personal, professional, and civic outcomes?

Keynote Speaker: Dr. Paul Hanstedt

Paul Hanstedt is the founding director of the Houston H. Harte Center for Teaching and Learning at Washington & Lee University in Virginia. He has worked with dozens of universities on four continents to support curricular and pedagogical reform and innovation, including a Fulbright year helping Hong Kong move from a three- to a four-year tertiary model. He is the recipient of multiple teaching awards and has authored several books, including Creating Wicked Students and General Education Essentials (soon to appear in a 2nd edition).


Plenary Speakers

Dr. Vanessa Drew Branch

A member of Elon’s faculty since 2018, Dr. Drew-Branch is Associate Professor of Human Services Studies and African and African American Studies and an affiliated faculty for the Poverty and Social Justice Studies program. During that time, Vanessa has demonstrated a consistent record of effective teaching and undergraduate research mentoring, scholarship, and contributions to the life of the university.

Dr. Drew-Branch regularly incorporates a variety of innovative, inclusive, and equity-minded teaching and learning strategies into her courses, including culturally responsive teaching, alternative modes of assessing knowledge, and community engaged courses. She has designed and taught a range of courses at Elon, including courses in Human Services Studies, Poverty and Social Justice Studies, and a Core capstone, and brings over a decade of experience with college teaching and supporting colleagues through faculty development before coming to Elon.

A common theme in Dr. Drew-Branch’s teaching, scholarship and professional activity is supporting equity for historically marginalized groups. She has been teaching college-level DEI courses since 2007 and has created and facilitated DEI sessions for educators, private sector companies, and community members. Her teaching areas include mental health assessment, advocacy practice, human diversity, and social work practice skills. Her research and practice has expanded to include maternal mental health, grief, and loss. Dr. Drew-Branch is also a Sacred Passage End of life doula.

Dr. Drew-Branch also actively contributes to life at the university, through a number of service roles on campus including (among others) serving on the Academic Service Learning Committee, the ECAS Social Science Curriculum Committee, and on other advisory and search committees.

Professor Phillip Motley

Phillip Motley is an associate professor in the Department of Communication Design at Elon University, where he teaches communication design and interactive media courses to undergraduate and graduate students. His research interests include pedagogies of design and experiential learning, especially service-learning and social innovation. He is currently focused on the potential value that design thinking has for liberal arts education.  He is a co-author of An Introduction to Visual Theory and Practice in the Visual Age, a co-editor of Redesigning Liberal Education: Innovative Design for a Twenty-First-Century Undergraduate Education, and has published his scholarship in peer-reviewed journals including Communication Teacher, Teaching and Learning Inquiry, Arts and Humanities in Higher Education, New Directions for Teaching and Learning, and Journalism and Mass Communication Educator. Professor Motley received his MFA in Industrial Design from North Carolina State University and his BA in Fine Art from Davidson College. He has worked professionally as a web designer, graphic designer, and animator.

Dr. Dinidu Karunanayake

Dinidu Karunanayake is an assistant professor of English at Elon University, NC. His research and teaching concentrate on twentieth- and twenty-first-century Anglophone postcolonial literature, Asian American literature, human rights, memory, and diaspora studies. He holds an M.A. and Ph.D. in English from Miami University and a B.A. in English from the University of Colombo, Sri Lanka. His work has appeared in South Asian Review, ICES Research Papers, The Subjects of Human Rights: Critical Asian and Asian American Studies, and The Oxford Encyclopedia of Asian American Literature and Culture.