Focus on Teaching and Technology Conference (FTTC)

The Focus on Teaching and Technology Conference offers an ensemble of keynote addresses, faculty innovations during concurrent sessions, technology workshops, and vendor exhibits. The conference program has evolved over the years to reflect emerging trends in technology applications in higher education and developing shared expertise in online teaching experiences and strategies. Click here for more information.


Spring Forum on Teaching

Every spring, the Center for Teaching and Learning offers a one-day conference on teaching and learning open only to UMSL faculty and staff. It is designed to highlight some of the innovative and respected teaching happening here at our university and to bring in external parties that may inspire and help with educational projects.

Spring Forum 2023: From Equity Talk to Equity Walk

January 27th, 2023

Keynote Speaker : Dr. Tia Brown McNair

Photo of Dr. Tia Brown McNair

Dr. Tia Brown McNair is the Vice President in the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Student Success and Executive Director for the Truth, Racial Healing, and Transformation (TRHT) Campus Centers at the American Association of Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) in Washington, DC. She oversees both funded projects and AAC&U’s continuing programs on equity, inclusive excellence, high-impact practices, and student success. McNair directs AAC&U’s Summer Institutes on High-Impact Practices and Student Success, and TRHT Campus Centers and serves as the project director for several AAC&U initiatives, including the development of a TRHT-focused campus climate toolkit. She is the lead author of From Equity Talk to Equity Walk: Expanding Practitioner Knowledge for Racial Justice in Higher Education (January 2020) and Becoming a Student-Ready College: A New Culture of Leadership for Student Success (July 2016 and August 2022 Second edition).

Keynote Address:  From Equity Talk to Equity Walk: Our Shared Responsibility for Equity-Minded Sense-Making that Advances Student Success

Time: 9:15 AM-10:15 AM 

Description: What are promising strategies for engaging in equity-minded sense-making that embraces learner-centered approaches that support student success and advance equity? This discussion will highlight key principles outlined in the book From Equity Talk to Equity Walk, with a goal of providing equity-conscious, practical guidance on how to design and implement effective teaching and learning strategies that are asset-based and establish more culturally responsive campus cultures that support higher levels of student learning and engagement.

Workshop Facilitator: Dr. Mary-Ann Winkelmes


Dr. Winkelmes is the Founder, Director, and Principal Investigator of the Transparency in Learning and Teaching in Higher Education project (TILT Higher Ed), which promotes direct conversation between teachers and students about methods of teaching and learning and helps faculty to use education practices grounded in evidence about students' learning shared across institutions and countries. The impact of this project on students' learning and persistence in college has been the focus of Winkelmes's publications in the National Teaching and Learning Forum, Project Information Literacy, the National Education Association's Higher Education Advocate, AAC&U's Liberal Education, and Peer Review, and additional book chapters and peer reviewed articles as well as the book Transparent Design in Higher Education Teaching and Leadership. Her work to improve higher education learning and teaching, especially for historically underserved students, has been recognized nationally by the Chronicle of Higher Education and with the POD Network's Robert J. Menges Award for Outstanding Research in Education Development.

Workshop 1: Transparent Instruction: A Small Change to Promote Equitable Student Success

Time: 10:30 AM -11:30 AM

Transparent instruction involves direct communication among teachers and students about teaching and learning methods. A national study by the AAC&U and subsequent research has identified transparent instruction as an equitable teaching intervention that significantly enhances students' success, with greater gains for historically underserved students, including those who are the first in their families to attend college or from low-income or underrepresented racial or ethnic groups. [Winkelmes et al, Peer Review, Spring 2016]. Transparent instruction has also enhanced students' persistence and retention rates [Gianoutsos and Winkelmes 2016; Winkelmes et al. 2019]. Participants in this session will review research on Transparency in Learning and Teaching (TILT) and analyze an example assignment from one of the TILT research studies before and after it was revised to be more transparent. They will leave with concise strategies and tools to support small changes for greater transparency in their teaching or collaborative work. 

Workshop 2: TILTing Your Own Assignments/Projects to Increase Equity in Student Success

Time: 1:15 PM - 2:15 PM

This session allows instructors and staff to practice applying transparent instruction to their own teaching or collaborative work. It is not necessary to bring any sample drafts. Dr. Winkelmes will guide us through a collaborative, 5-step process that offers a brief, hands-on experience in applying the TILT Framework for transparent instruction. Participants will leave with a draft plan for a student assignment or staff work project and a greater readiness to TILT. 


Numerous additional Breakout sessions to choose from, see the full list of sessions on the Spring Forum website.


Teaching Assistant Academy (TAA)

Offered annually, The Teaching Assistant Academy (TAA) is a day-long professional development conference for all Graduate Teaching Assistants and Graduate Instructors. The Academy provides resource and development opportunities for teaching assistants across all disciplines. Specialized sessions address the needs of GTA's and GI's for surviving and thriving in graduate school and for successful teaching and learning. The Academy is also a great venue to connect with other new and returning Graduate Assistants.


TAA 2020 Schedule