Community, Conversation, Classroom Experience

Spring Teaching and Learning Conference 

The Return of MSU's 2023 Spring Conference on Teaching & Learning: Community, Conversation, and Classroom Experience.
Organized by the Center for Teaching & Learning Innovation (CTLI). 

A conference where MSU educators gather to share approaches, tools, and techniques that support teaching and learning. 

Conference Info

May 10-11, 2023 

Day 1: In-person in the STEM Teaching and Learning Facility (all day)  

Wednesday, May 10 - seating capacity reached

Day 1 Schedule

Day 2: Virtual day with online sessions (all day) 

Thursday, May 11

Day 2 Schedule

Conference Information:

Emails will be going out to attendees, presenters, and volunteers with the information for the conference. There will be a message with in-person information and virtual day information. A playlist on iteachmsu contains links for virtual day sessions. The full schedule for both days will also be available in that playlist.

  • You will receive a separate email from the iteachmsu platform prompting you to join the virtual conference day group. Once you have been added, you can use the link at any point before, during, or after the conference. This group provides a platform for ongoing, asynchronous material and will be the main resource for conference information throughout both days of the conference. 
  • All Zoom sessions for day two of the conference need to be registered for individually on iteachmsu. This calendar view will be the easiest way for you to do this.
  • Please be sure to register for any and all sessions you could potentially be interested in, even if they are happening concurrently. Each virtual session will have its own zoom link on the iteachmsu schedule with only a few exceptions.   
  • On the virtual schedule, there will be a few zoom rooms for paper presentations in the same time slot. These are 25 minutes short sessions within the same registration link, and you only have to register once for that slot.  
  • Anyone not registered for the conference with an MSU ID will not have the ability to interact with others on the iteachmsu platform but will be able to see all the necessary information. 
  • All sessions will be hosted in a Webinar format on Zoom unless otherwise indicated by the presenters. 

Keynote Speakers:  

Stephen ThomasStephen Thomas

Associate Director, CISGS; Assistant Dean for STEM Education Teaching and Learning in the Office of the APUE

Drawing to Teach: Visualizing our Curriculum for Reflection and Community

College courses and programs of study are comprised of a complex arrangement of structures and processes that can make them difficult to conceptualize or communicate to others. When describing a course to others, we often fall back on simplistic narratives of the topic without referencing the pedagogy, assessment, learning environment, resources, student engagement, or a myriad of other impactful features. In this presentation we will look at what it might mean to use visual tools and formats to more formatively represent our curriculum to allow reflection on your teaching, receive feedback from colleagues, and foster community around our teaching efforts.

Dr. Stephen Thomas is the Assistant Dean for STEM Education Teaching and Learning, the Associate Director for the Center for Integrative Studies in General Science at and the Digital Curriculum Coordinator for the College of Natural Science at MSU.  For his bachelor’s degree from Denison University, Stephen majored in Biology and minored in Art.  This interest in the science/art intersection continued into graduate school as he freelanced as a biological illustrator while earning his masters and Ph.D. at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst in Organismal and Evolutionary Biology and Entomology.   Since coming to MSU, Stephen’s focus has shifted from virulence of fungal pathogens of Lymantria dispar to visual communication of science in formal and informal settings and the use of technology in teaching.   
Stephen has worked on projects such as the use of comics to reduce subject anxiety in non-major science courses, the development of a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) to teach general science, and augmented reality and kiosk games to engage visitors in science museums.  In more recent projects, Stephen has worked on curriculum for Drawing to Learn Biology where students explore science practices of observation and visual model-based reasoning through nature journaling.  In his professional development work, Stephen collaborates with Dr. Julie Libarkin on building communities of practice in STEM teaching, STEM education research, and interdisciplinary experiences in art, science, and culture. You can learn more about this work at the STEMed@State website


Kris RennKris Renn

Professor of Higher, Adult, and Lifelong Education and serves as Associate Dean of Undergraduate Studies for Student Success Research

Teaching for Equity in Treacherous Times
In over half of US states legislators have introduced bills that would limit or prevent DEI-related curriculum and programming in higher education. There are additional legislative threats to the rights of LGBTQIA2S+ individuals in education. Movements to restrict college and university instructors’ academic freedom are permeating state legislatures, boards of higher education, and boards of trustees. Although postsecondary education in Michigan is not currently facing anti-DEI legislation the time is right for understanding why and how equity and inclusion should be central to our work as educators at MSU. This talk will offer context for understanding the stakes we face and what is at stake for our institutions and students, as well as strategies for moving forward within a national and state context divided on our rights and responsibilities to teach in ways that advance diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging in higher education.
Kristen A. Renn, PhD, is the Mildred B. Erickson Distinguished Professor of Higher, Adult, and Lifelong Education and serves as Associate Dean of Undergraduate Studies for Student Success Research at Michigan State University. With her background in student affairs administration and commitment to equitable opportunities and outcomes, Dr. Renn’s focuses her research on the learning, development, and success of minoritized students in higher education. She is author or co-author of nine books about higher education, including Student Development in College: Theory, Research, and Practice and College Students in the United States: Characteristics, Experiences, and Outcomes. She is Michigan State University’s Liaison to the University Innovation Alliance and co-Principal Investigator on several grants related to increasing success for low-income and underrepresented students.


Contact the Center

If you are interested in hearing more about the conference, would like to submit a proposal or have any questions, please contact the Center for Teaching and Learning Innovation