Teaching Commons > Events > Teaching & Learning Conference > Inclusive Learning Environments (2019)

Inclusive Learning Environments (2019)

Better Together - TLCON19

DePaul University Teaching and Learning Conference

Friday, May 17th, 2019 | Lincoln Park Student Center 

All DePaul faculty and staff members were invited to participate in the annual Teaching and Learning Conference. The theme of 2019's conference, Better Together: Creating Inclusive Learning Environments, challenged us to reflect on the range of our students' diversity and how we account for it in our teaching practices as we strive to create learning communities that are both welcoming and academically challenging. 

Our keynote speaker, Michele DiPietro, together with their former colleagues from Carnegie Mellon, co-authored the critically acclaimed book How Learning Works: 7 Research-Based Principles for Smart Teaching. DiPietro is the Executive Director of the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning and a Professor of Statistics at Kennesaw State University in Marietta, Georgia. A former president of the Professional and Organizational Development (POD) Network in Higher Education and current board member of the International Consortium for Educational Development, DiPietro has presented extensively on the connection between inclusive teaching methods and evidence-based principles for effective pedagogies.

Presentations on this year's theme addressed diversity and inclusion in its many intersecting dimensions, including race and ethnicity; sex and gender; socio-economic status and prior educational attainment; religion and culture; language proficiency, nationality, and immigration status; visible and invisible disabilities, etc. Below were some example guiding questions that presentations were encouraged to address:

  • What distinguishes a welcoming learning environment from a non-welcoming one?
  • What are the benefits of creating inclusive learning environments?
  • How can attention to inclusion help to realize DePaul's Vincentian Mission?
  • How can we, as educators, create inclusive spaces for one another and our students?
  • How can the curriculum be expanded to include a diverse range of culturally and linguistically diverse perspectives?
  • How can you help your students (and your colleagues) recognize the connection between inclusion and success?

Be Social

Read participants' takeaways and connect with colleagues on Twitter using the hashtag #TLCON19.

Photos from the event are available on the Teaching Commons Facebook page.

Conference Reflection Guide

We recognize there is so much valuable information shared during conferences which can sometimes leave us feeling a little overwhelmed with how to implement what we learned into our teaching. Participants were invited to use this guide to help focus and reflect on the day.

View Guide


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Keynote Video

Keynote Abstract

Michele DiPietro

For decades, higher education literature has documented how classroom climate can be unwelcoming – chilly – for various groups of students. Evidence shows that a chilly climate adversely impacts students’ learning and performance outcomes. In this interactive keynote, Michele DiPietro used the principles of learning from their book How Learning Works: 7 Research-Based Principles for Smart Teaching as a lens of analysis, focusing on how climate can impact the major determinants of learning. Participants were invited to explore the research behind these claims, using the theories to ground discussion of classroom case studies and brainstorm ways of creating an inclusive and productive climate for all students.

More about Keynote Speaker

Prof. Michele DiPietro is the Executive Director for Faculty Development, Recognition, and the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning and a Professor in the Department of Statistics and Analytical Sciences at Kennesaw State University. They are also Chair of the Georgia Consortium of Centers for Teaching and Learning, a former President of the POD Network in Higher Education, the premiere faculty development association in North America, and a former Board Member of the International Consortium for Educational Development.

With their former Carnegie Mellon colleagues, Dr. DiPietro is a co-author of How Learning Works: 7 Research-Based Principles for Smart Teaching. The book was listed at #3 in a “Top 10 Books on Teaching” list on the Chronicle of Higher Education. Their scholarly interests include learning sciences, academic integrity, diversity and inclusion, the Millennial generation, statistics education, faculty development, and teaching in times of tragedy. They have presented hundreds of workshops and keynotes at numerous colleges and conferences, in the US and abroad, and some of their scholarship has been translated into foreign languages (Chinese, Hebrew, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Spanish, and Arabic). They won the POD Innovation award for the online consultation tool “Solve a Teaching Problem.” Their innovative course “The statistics of sexual orientation” has been featured on the Chronicle of Higher Education and several other magazines. Dr. DiPietro is the 2015 recipient of the Bob Pierleoni Spirit of POD award, the highest honor bestowed in the field of educational development for professional achievement and legacy to the field.

Sponsorship & Planning

The conference was sponsored by DePaul’s Center for Teaching and Learning with financial assistance from the Quality of Instruction Council (QIC). Key contributors to the planning of the conference included: Student Affairs, the University-Center for Writing-based Learning (UCWbL), and Faculty Council's Committee on Learning and Teaching (COLT).