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UW LAMP Educators, Mentors Present Projects at National Conference

December 14, 2021

Five Learning Actively Mentoring Program (LAMP) educators and two University of Wyoming mentors recently presented projects at the Original Lilly Conference on College Teaching at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio.

LAMP, part of the UW Science Initiative, is a comprehensive, sustained mentoring and professional development program. LAMP emphasizes how to best adopt active-learning strategies in large-scale active-learning classrooms at UW. The Original Lilly Conference on College Teaching is one of the nation’s most renowned conferences presenting the scholarship of teaching and learning.

Through LAMP, the educators all completed 2019-2020 yearlong training and then became a part of an educator learning community that gathered regularly for more than a year, says Rachel Watson, LAMP director. All of the educators completed a scholarship of teaching and learning project that they presented either orally or via poster at the Lilly Conference.

“These instructors expanded their knowledge of active, inclusive, student-centered pedagogies,” Watson says. “Miami University is the cradle of the scholarship of teaching and learning, and the conference organizers are the preeminent authorities on both (that science) and faculty learning communities.”

Presenting at the conference were:

-- Deepthi Amarasuriya, of Northwest College, presented a poster centering on a novel active-learning strategy that she implemented for her physics courses. She calls this method the “layered approach,” which is an inclusive pedagogy allowing students to learn in different ways using different resources and metacognitive and small-group approaches.

-- LAMP mentors Christi Boggs, director of UW digital teaching and learning, and Watson presented a poster showing increased connectivity in the social network after yearlong LAMP training and the subsequent educator learning community. This corresponds with educators’ decreased feelings of isolation, increased feelings of confidence and pedagogical knowledge. The social network analysis also reveals a disproportionate increase in advice-giving for several community members after the second year in the program. They say this may indicate either the need for multiyear development or educator learning community-style cohorts when helping educators become campus opinion leaders and change agents.

-- Tawfik Elshehabi, of UW’s Department of Petroleum Engineering, led conference attendees through an interactive investigation of teaching philosophy construction. Attendees were invited to engage in written, visual and multimodal versions of his philosophy and were given time to generate these formats of their own philosophies to share with their students.

-- McKensie Phillips, of UW’s Department of Animal Science, was the last of the LAMP members to present her work on knowledge surveys. Phillips' research shows that students’ knowledge and confidence are, on average, greater at the end of the semester than after a one-course unit. LAMP data analyst Ella DeWolf, from Laramie, supported Phillips' statistical analysis and data visualization.

-- Phillips and Reshmi Singh, of UW’s School of Pharmacy, presented on a study titled “Exploring Multidisciplinary and International Engagement by a Faculty Cohort.” This study used qualitative and quantitative research methodologies to inquire into the multidisciplinary teaching, research and scholarship of educators at UW and Wyoming’s community colleges.

-- Amy Rhoad, of UW’s Department of Veterinary Sciences, presented her use of case studies in a large undergraduate medical microbiology course. She used a critical thought assessment strategy to explore the impact of varying case study approaches. During her session, she immersed conference attendees in a mock food poisoning case study titled “A Case of the Conference Blues.”

This class of LAMP members follows in the footsteps of the inaugural class of graduates. Educators in the inaugural class also presented their own projects at a previous Lilly Conference in areas ranging from agricultural economics to physics and astronomy education.

For more information, email Watson at rwatson@uwyo.edu.

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