SUNY Plattsburgh 2016  CTE Conference on Teaching and Learning

The conference theme is "New Directions for a New Generation."

Presentations will address the challenges in teaching posed by the many forces that shape our students' ability to be successful learners. Topics range from how to deal with the impact of technology and social media on learning, to the consequences of national educational policies such as No Child Left Behind and Common Core for student preparedness for post-secondary education. Presentations will offer insight into the conditions that give rise to the current generational context and also point us in directions to improve teaching and learning at the post-secondary level.  

Register online now!

Our conference here at the State University of New York College at Plattsburgh has developed a reputation for low-cost, high yield professional development in a friendly and collegial atmosphere, and we hope to have you join our growing community of faculty and staff committed to teaching excellence in higher education. We invite college and university faculty and professionals in all academic disciplines to join us for this exciting annual event.

  • Saturday, October 1
  • 9:00 am - 3:30 pm
  • SUNY Plattsburgh campus in Hawkins Hall 

Registration and Fees

The conference fee is $100, with a discounted fee of $50 for SUNY Plattsburgh and Clinton Community College faculty. We invite you to register now for the conference, as space is limited. Registration includes entrance to all sessions with lunch provided. Go to our online registration page to secure your spot.

CTE Conference Sessions 2016

8:30, Registration                                                                                                                   

Main Doors, Hawkins Hall

Opening, 9:00-10:00                                                                                                              

Welcome and Address, Dr. Becky Kasper, Director, Center for Teaching Excellence

• Presentation, SUNY Plattsburgh Student Committee on Teaching Excellence


Session 1, 10:00-11:00                                                                                                          
Use of Positive Psychology to Enhance the Undergraduate Academic Experience
Paul Olsen, St. Michael's College, Assistant Professor (Business Administration)
Undergraduate business internships have been widely studied. Students believe completing an internship will help them in the job market. While that may be true, the challenge for Business educators is how can we make the course that accompanies the internship a meaningful one? The use of positive psychology and related strengths based movement may be one answer. Positive psychology focuses on what’s right with an individual as opposed to what’s wrong, emphasizing happiness and strengths. Students use StrengthsFinder to identify and develop strengths at their internship. As evidenced by the feedback from students and internship supervisors, the use of positive psychology appears to enhance the experiences of the undergraduate business intern.
Disrupting the Classroom: Subversive Pedagogy in the Undergraduate 
and Graduate Classroom

Shawna Mefferd-Kelty, SUNY Plattsburgh, Associate Professor (Theatre)
Emily Daniels, SUNY Plattsburgh, Assistant Professor (Teacher Education)

How do we help our student to think critically in the classroom? Drs Daniels and Mefferd-Kelty will discuss their philosophical and practical strategies of disruptive pedagogy that help reconstruct the classroom in terms of power, gender, and praxis, placing ownership and agency in the hands of our students.
Overcoming Obstacles to Online Learning
Tracey Caponera, SUNY Delhi, Assistant Professor (Hospitality)
Paula Rardon, SUNY Delhi, Assistant Professor (Business)
Participants will engage in beneficial discussion and activities related to obstacles of online learning. Discussions and activities will be geared toward uncovering common obstacles and helping faculty develop their own personalized strategies to assist students in overcoming those obstacles. Multiple strategies will be offered to assist in maximizing online student learning and engagement, increasing and promoting student interaction, and ultimately improve the pass/completion rate of online courses at colleges and universities.
High Quality Ignorance, or Awareness of Lack of Knowledge, Begets 
a Curious, Questioning, Problem-Posing Disposition: Shaping the Critical-Conscious Mind of 
College Students

Maureen Squires, SUNY Plattsburgh, Associate Professor (Teacher Education)
Today’s college students are arriving on campus without the necessary skills and dispositions to be successful (Gabriel, 2008).  In additional to critical thinking, creativity, and continual learning, a disposition of high quality ignorance is required.  High quality ignorance means acknowledging that human beings do not possess all knowledge, that knowledge is infinite, and that pursuing knowledge is a perpetual act.  Instructional strategies to promote high quality ignorance will be discussed.

Session 2, 11:15-12:15                                                                                                          

Incorporating Research Methods throughout the Social Sciences Curriculum: Finding New Ways to Provide Students with Critical Thinking and Problem-Solving Skills
Stephen DiDomenico, SUNY Plattsburgh, Assistant Professor (Communication Studies)
Lauren Eastwood, SUNY Plattsburgh, Professor and Chair (Sociology)

This session explores techniques for incorporating practical lessons about research methods into social science curricula. We argue, via examples from our own disciplines, that having students think concretely about the process of conducting research opens up opportunities to analyze the social world in a critical manner that can be fruitful in terms of developing problem solving, critical thinking, and communication skills.

Respect Counts: Intentional Learning in the Classroom for Emerging Writers
Carole Lillis, Keuka College, Assistant Professor (English)

As many instructors in post secondary education are discovering, students are coming to college under prepared for the rigors of college learning, especially in regard to writing skills. At Keuka College, a first year writing instructor redesigned the Developmental Writing Course to not only address deficiencies, but to provide the at-risk student population with the foundation needed to succeed in the entire writing sequence of the College, thus providing them with a true success opportunity.

Ditching the Textbook: Taking on a Textbook Free Challenge and Winning
Wendy Johnston, SUNY Adirondack, Assistant Professor (Political Science)
This interactive session will provide background information on the techniques and resources utilized for a textbook free course. Session participants will participate in a roundtable discussion on the benefits and pitfalls of such an approach and can expect to leave with a “tool kit” to ditch the text in their own course and discipline.

Insights from First Year Experimental Seminars
Becky Kasper, SUNY Plattsburgh, Director (Center for Teaching Excellence)
Since 2013, a group of SUNY Plattsburgh faculty have been teaching seminars restricted to first year students. These courses have been General Education, Humanities courses designed to challenge incoming students and to provide them with an environment where pedagogical practices are specifically designed to help them develop as disciplined and autonomous critical thinkers who can responsibly engage the local and global world. This session will offer attendees the opportunity to engage with first term faculty concerning what we have learned about this generation of students and what pedagogical techniques are best suited for teaching them.

Lunch, 12:15-1:15                                                                                                                  

Warren Ballroom, Angell College Center

Session 3, 1:15-2:15                                                                                                             

DIY Textbooks (and More!): Using Open Educational Resources to Maximize Student Engagement
Malina Thiede, SUNY Plattsburgh, Reference & Instruction Librarian
Are your students burned out from passivity in the classroom and tapped out financially from paying too much for one-size-fits-all textbooks that they rarely read? Open Educational Resources (OERs) can help by providing low-cost, customizable learning resources. Instructors can also use OERs to create innovative activities that support active learning. This interactive session will cover some of the basics of finding and using OERs followed by a workshop on creating assignments for student-generated OERs.

It Is What It Is: How Mindfulness Practices Can Help Faculty Cope with the Emotional Toll of Teaching Generation Z
Jessamyn Neuhaus, SUNY Plattsburgh, Professor (US History)
Elin O'Hara-Gonya, SUNY Plattsburgh, Associate Librarian

Our session will start with a brief introduction to mindfulness and a quick overview of ways it has been utilized by college instructors to both increase their efficacy in the classroom as well as improve their own well-being.  The workshop portion of the session will ask participants to identify what specific challenges they’ve encountered in the classroom that appear to be common to Generation Z students.   Together we’ll brainstorm some “new scripts”—from frustration to mindful awareness—and discuss specific ways this could create the opportunities for pedagogical innovations or revisions. 

SUNY Common Problems Pedagogy Project
The CPP Project is a new initiative, supported by a generous SUNY grant, to create new interdisciplinary, team-taught courses on four SUNY campuses over the next several years. In this session, faculty from the four SUNY campuses, Cortland, Oneonta, Oswego, and Plattsburgh, will discuss their progress and challenges creating and teaching their own CPP courses. All are welcome to attend.
A common problem pedagogy is a form of applied or experiential learning that has elements of problem-solving, service learning, inquiry-based learning, interdisciplinarity, teamwork, teamwork, civic engagement, and other proven pedagogies. The pedagogy integrates these learning practices in service to a real-world problem, tied to a community partner, that is of common interest to faculty and students from different disciplines.  

Session 4, 2:30-3:30                                                                                                               

Promoting Grit for Student Success in the 21st Century
Kerri Zappala-Piemme, SUNY Adirondack, Assistant Professor (Educational Leadership)

Participants will discuss the latest research and effective practice for promoting grit in learning environments and increasing student performance.  Attendees will be provided with resources and strategies that they can implement in their work with students.  Participants will be engaged throughout the presentation. Discussion and interaction will allow participants to examine their practices, collaborate and share their ideas on how they can design instructional practices to promote grit. 
Experiencing the Flipped Classroom: What Is Needed for a Quality Learning E

Michele Messenger, University at Buffalo, Online Instructional Designer (Center for Educational Innovation)
This presentation will model the flipped classroom in its delivery.  Results and survey instruments from my qualitative modified delphi study for my PhD in Instructional Design for Online Learning will be shared. An online learning environment will be created and tasks can be shared with those planning to attend the presentation. This will allow for some of the pre-work to be done before the “class” or face to face presentation. 
Teaching Cross-Cultural Digital Thinking in General Education: Borges and the 

Margaret (Malia) Spofford Xavier, Keuka College, Assistant Professor (Spanish)
This interactive presentation will discuss a General Education course on Latin American literature, part of a project that seeks to integrate digital technology across the curriculum. Cross-cultural literature can constitute a powerful platform for students to expand their understanding of a globalized digital society and to inspire computational thinking. The presentation will focus on how the short stories of Argentine writer Jorge Luis Borges (1896-1986) catalyzed digital thinking among diverse students.

Closing, 3:30                          

Conference wrap-up and raffle

Contact Information

For more information about the Center for Teaching Excellence, please contact:

Becky Kasper, Ph.D., Director
SUNY Plattsburgh
301 Feinberg Library, Plattsburgh, NY 12901
Phone: (518) 564-3043
Fax: (518) 564-5100