The University of Wisconsin System
Office of Professional and Instructional Development (OPID)
2013 Spring Conference
“The Value of Inquiry into Student Learning in the 21st Century”
April 18-19, 2013

The Value of Inquiry into Student Learning in the 21st century”, the University of Wisconsin System Office of Professional and Instructional Development Spring Conference on Teaching and Learning will be held on April 18-19, 2013, at the Madison Concourse Hotel in Madison, WI.   The Conference is being co-sponsored by OPID and the UW System Office of the Senior Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs.

The 2013 OPID Spring Conference will bring together over 200 faculty and staff across many disciplines to demonstrate the UW System’s commitment to excellence in teaching and student learning.   The conference will provide a forum to recognize, acknowledge, and share the expertise of faculty and academic staff who excel at teaching, value learning, and are committed to sharing their experience, knowledge, practice, and scholarship with colleagues.  The intentional relationships among teaching, learning, and making excellence inclusive will be a foundation of this event.

The OPID Spring Conference will feature the following keynote presentations:

For the past fifteen years or so, many of us in Wisconsin have found that placing inquiry at the center of our work – with our students, in our own professional development and even for our programs and institutions – has helped us make significant progress as teachers, faculty and staff developers, and campus citizens. Whether we’ve called this the scholarship of teaching and learning, used specific frameworks for inquiry such as Threshold concepts, Lesson Study, or Signature Pedagogies, or favored the longer description of “advancing the practice of teaching through scholarly inquiry into student learning,” the perspective and processes of inquiry have transformed programs and improved classrooms across the UW System. 

In this plenary session, I’d like to highlight a few of the lessons we (or at least I) have learned by valuing inquiry: the importance of listening to and watching students learn; the essential role of our own reflections on teaching and learning; and the critical importance of asking good questions in all aspects of our work. I will draw liberally an proudly from the work of our colleagues throughout the system. Finally, I’ll provide some suggestions for continuing the work, in particular, through collaborative inquiry.

This address uses the psychologist’s toolbox to understand why certain schools and workplaces cause students to underperform relative to their potential and what interventions combat underperformance.   Environments like work or school can trigger stereotype threat for students from under-represented groups – an added stress from the possibility of being seen through the lens of negative stereotypes, rather than being accepted equally as individuals. The cumulative toll of contending with such threat, repeatedly and over long periods of time, can threaten students’ sense that they can meet the demands of the environment. Performance and health can suffer as a consequence. This framework helps to explain intergroup disparities across a wide range of outcomes, including education (e.g., gender and racial achievement gaps) and health (e.g., racial health disparities) that have tended to be studied in isolation. This framework also provides concrete strategies for interventions. psychological interventions that target stress associated with stereotypes and bias can, when well-timed and supported by environmental structures, help buffer students against the cumulative costs of stereotype threat.




In collaboration with the Learning Technology Development Council (LTDC), plenary workshops and concurrent sessions by faculty and staff across the University of Wisconsin System and the 2012/13 Wisconsin Teaching Fellows and Scholars will be offered in the following categories:

We invite faculty, administrators and staff in higher education to join us for two days to participate in rich dialogue where student learning is at the center of the conversation. A full program of all sessions will be available online and sent to you shortly. 

Registration for this event has closed. Please contact with questions.

The room block at the Concourse is full. You may need to shop around to find a hotel which offers the state rate.

Thank you, and we look forward to a great conference!


La Vonne J. Cornell-Swanson
Director, OPID