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2021 Winter Faculty Development Conference

The 2021 Winter Conference took place December 13-15, 2021. This year’s theme was “Strategies for Engagement, Equity, and Wellness.” The agenda and schedule follow below.

Welcome to the 2021 Winter Faculty Development Conference. We’re excited you’re here!

There are a number of issues currently affecting faculty work in higher education, and we’ve chosen to address three of them during our time together this year: engagement, equity, and wellness. In addition to your individual 8–10-minute presentations on these topics, the conference will feature plenary presentations, guest-speaker breakout sessions, and small group discussions that unpack our challenges and imagine effective responses to them. The conference will conclude with group reports that offer new suggestions for student and faculty success. Based on feedback from our previous remote conferences, we have built in longer breaks between sessions (15 minutes) and a longer lunch on Monday and Tuesday (75 minutes).

  1. Each participant has been assigned a presentation spot in the agenda. When not presenting, participants will choose one of two session rooms to attend, gathering ideas and engaging in Q&A with the presenters and other attendees.
  2. There are two group discussion sessions that will be formed via Zoom breakout groups. Each will have a Faculty Center staff person who will moderate and advance the discussion.
  3. The small group session on Wednesday morning will be devoted to creating a 5-minute slide presentation for the plenary showcase that offers applications of strategies learned at the conference to improve strategies for working with students, making course innovations, and/or supporting faculty success.
  4. During the plenary showcase on Wednesday, teams will present the ideas and strategies compiled during the previous work session. We encourage teams to provide practical suggestions but also to be creative and fun in their 5-minute presentations.


  • Be sure to submit the end-of-conference deliverable through the Webcourse. It will ask you to 1) identify a course to be improved, 2) one or more goals for implementing strategies that you learned during the conference, and 3) a brief description of the modifications to the course needed to accomplish the goal(s).
  • Also, please complete the anonymous evaluation at the close of the conference.
TimeDay 1Day 2Day 3
8:30 – 9:00 a.m.Coffee and conversationCoffee and conversationCoffee and conversation
9:00 – 9:45 a.m.Opening plenaryPlenary(9:00 – 10:00 a.m.)
Breakout presentations 7
10:00 – 10:45 a.m.Breakout presentations 1Breakout presentations 3(10:15 – 11:00 a.m.)
Small group activity:
Prepare for showcase
11:00 – 11:45 a.m.Breakout presentations 2Breakout presentations 4(11:15 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.)
Showcase and closing
11:45 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.LunchLunch 
1:00 – 1:45 p.m.Guest presentationSmall group activity
2:00 – 2:45 p.m.Small group activityBreakout presentations 5
3:00 – 4:00 p.m.GEP overview plenaryBreakout presentations 6

Click on a toggle below to expand the day’s schedule:

Coffee and Conversation: 8:30 – 9:00 a.m.

At your convenience, and throughout the day, feel free to visit our “Casual Conversations” discussion post.

Opening Plenary: 9:00 – 9:45 a.m.

Faculty Wellness Initiatives at UCF

  • Erica Fissel, Department of Criminal Justice
  • Bendegul Okumus, Foodservice and Lodging Department
  • Rachel Edford, UCF Libraries

The global COVID-19 pandemic resulted in many realizing the importance of their own well-being. As such, the Faculty Wellness Committee was formed. This committee is comprised of over a dozen faculty from across campus. Moreover, efforts of this committee focus on three pillars of wellness: Physical Wellness, Mental Wellness, and Work-Life Integration. This panel will discuss how strategically designed health and wellness programs can pay off and improve employees’ mental, physical, and social life and work environment. The recent pandemic showed that wellness programs are not nice extras or strategic imperatives for workplaces and companies. There are no standard wellness programs, and they may range from simple to multi-prong programs. We aim to prepare a short and effective wellness program that includes brief mental and physical wellness tips on nutrition, outdoor community activities, comfortable office environment, while also working with campus partners to publicize existing mental health resources for faculty.

Breakout Presentations 1: 10:00 – 10:45 a.m.

Room 1

  • Garrett Arban: “Transparency and Flexibility: Adapting Our Course Policies to Meet Student Needs in the Age of COVID-19”
  • Stacey DiLiberto: “Yogic Minds In and Out of the Classroom: Incorporating Yoga Techniques in Teaching and Learning”
  • Elizabeth Horn: “Developing a Community Agreement: (re)Building Trust and Making Progress from Pain”

Room 2

  • Vicki Lavendol: “Mindfulness Practices to Support Our Students (and Ourselves)”
  • Evelin Pegoraro: “Inclusive vs. Neutral Language: Teaching Portuguese as a Gendered Language”
  • Kersten Schroeder: “Game-Based Learning as a Tool for Engagement”

Breakout Presentations 2: 11:00 – 11:45 a.m.

Room 1

  • Pamela Baker: “‘But How Does This Relate to My Major?’: Using Reflection in GEP Courses to Promote Metacognition and Connect Learning between UCF Student Experiences”
  • Martha Garcia: “The Limitless Wellness of Teaching and Learning: Approaching Balance through Consistency and Attainability”
  • Arthur Huang: “10 strategies to Increase Students’ Motivation and Engagement: A Case Study of the Smart Travel and Tourism Course”

Room 2

  • Humberto Lopez Castillo: “Imagination Is the Limit: Promoting Student Creativity to Deliver Effective Health Messages Targeting Diverse Audiences”
  • Richard Plate: “Tips for Simultaneous Face-to-Face and Zoom Class Sessions”
  • Denver Severt: “What Is on Your Mind (WIOYM)?”

Lunch On Your Own: 11:45 – 1:00 p.m.


Guest Presentations: 1:00 – 1:45 p.m.

Easing Conversations about Academic Misconduct

Having a conversation with a student about suspected academic misconduct can be difficult and uncomfortable for both the student and the instructor. Learn strategies based on emotional intelligence to facilitate these conversations. These strategies are based on training UCF Police Department officers utilize in their daily interactions with the public.

  • Lori Dunlop-Pyle, Mathematics

Strategies for Reducing Disability Accommodations

The need for disability-related accommodations is dictated more by the design of a course than a student’s specific disability. This session will explore potential ways to reduce disability accommodations through different course design. Such strategies may benefit all students in the course. Time will also be dedicated for general discussion on this topic and challenges with facilitating disability-related accommodations.

  • Adam Meyer, Student Accessibility Services

Small Group Activity: 2:00 – 2:45 p.m.

Moderators: Patty Farless, Christine Hanlon, Michael Strawser, Chrissy Cruz, Will Dorner, Arianna Davis, Eric Main

This is a time to explore implications of the issues raised earlier in the day during the plenary, individual presentations, and guest presentations.  You may also elaborate on issues discussed in the supplemental resources.

GEP Overview Plenary: 3:00 – 4:00 p.m.

How can faculty use an integrative approach to engage students in general education courses and beyond? What are ways to get students interested in courses outside of their major?  Hear and interact with presentations by faculty leaders from the Integrative General Education Program as they discuss developments this semester, provide classroom and assessment best practices, and share ongoing challenges and strategies to answer the question from students – “Why do I have to take this class?”

Each presenter will have 5 minutes; we’ll reserve the balance of the time for Q&A and feedback.


  • Wayne Bowen, Interim Associate Dean, College of Undergraduate Studies
  • Annabelle Conroy,  School of Politics, Security, and International Affairs (GEP Faculty Fellow)
  • Amy Darty, History (GEP Faculty Fellow)
  • Brandy Dieterle, Writing and Rhetoric (Faculty Co-Lead, Communication)
  • Jeanine Viau, Philosophy (Faculty Co-Lead, Cultural Interactions)
  • Alicia Duffy, History (Faculty Co-Lead, Cultural Interactions)
  • Lana Williams, Anthropology (Faculty Co-Lead, Interpretation and Evaluation)
  • Bo Chen, Physics (Faculty Co-Lead, Knowledge Application)
  • Lori Dunlop-Pyle, Mathematics (Faculty Co-Lead, Problem Solving)

Coffee and Conversation: 8:30 – 9:00 a.m.

At your convenience, and throughout the day, feel free to visit our “Casual Conversations” discussion post.

Plenary: 9:00 – 9:45 a.m.

Incorporating Social Justice into the Curriculum

Given that health disparities and social inequality persist in America, it is incumbent on us, as educators, to identify ways in which our teaching perpetuates stereotypes and implicit bias. This workshop will introduce the theoretical background and evidence around improving the equity focus in our post-secondary education and extending it outside of traditional courses. We will discuss ways to weave concepts of social and racial equity in new subject matter. We will take participants through a number of cases that will allow them to engage directly with the content and reflect on their own teaching, content, and slides and eliminate bias and stereotypes that may exist.

  • Tracy Macintosh
    Associate Dean of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion; Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine
    UCF College of Medicine

Breakout Presentations 3: 10:00 – 10:45 a.m.

Room 1

  • Matthieu Baudelet: “New Approaches to Engage Chemistry Students in a Microscopy Course”
  • Shahram Ghiasinejad: “Undergraduate Research as a Way of Addressing Engagement and Equity”
  • Susan Jardaneh: “Empowering through Design: Using Pressbooks to Navigate Accessibility, UDL and UDI”

Room 2

  • Matthew Maddex: “Creative Activism: Engaging the Students Voice One Bubble at a Time”
  • Chudamani Poudyal: “Interactive Teaching with Collaborative Learning”
  • Valeriya Shapoval: “A Sense of Security and Stability in the Online Teaching Environment During the Pandemic”

Breakout presentations 4: 11:00 – 11:45 a.m.

Room 1

  • Martha Brenckle: “Making Meaning that Matters: Integrating Cultural Competencies into Cultural Rhetoric”
  • Enrique Guerra-Pujol: “Teaching Tiger King”
  • Erica Kight: “Rebuilding a Sense of Community in the UCF Knightly News Student Newsroom in a ‘New Normal’”

Room 2

  • Amanda Main: “Creating Intentional Classroom Community for Engagement, Equity, and Wellness”
  • Emily Proulx: “Writing a “Letter to your Reader”:Using Cover Letters to Encourage Reflection and Revision”
  • Nick Shrubsole: “Empathy, Compassion and Student Engagement: What We Should Have Already Known Before the Pandemic”

Lunch On Your Own: 11:45 – 1:00 p.m.


Small Group Activity: 1:00 – 1:45 p.m.

Moderators: Patty Farless, Christine Hanlon, Michael Strawser, Chrissy Cruz, Will Dorner, Arianna Davis, Eric Main

This is a time to explore implications of the issues raised earlier today during the plenary, individual presentations, and yesterday’s GEP session. You may also elaborate on issues discussed in the supplemental resources.

Breakout Presentations 5: 2:00 – 2:45 p.m.

Room 1

  • Gregg Buckingham: “Selected Student engagement activity within the School of Public Administration”
  • Sally Hastings: “COVID-19 and its Impact on Student and Faculty Well-Being as Seen Through ‘Mental Load'”
  • Murat Kizildag: “Students as Shareholders”

Room 2

  • Barry Mauer: “Promoting Undergraduate Research during the Pandemic”
  • Cesar Rivera: “Incorporating Digital Storytelling in Culinary Labs: Lessons Learned in the Pandemic”
  • Sandra Sousa: “Are Professors Becoming Psychologists? – Strategies for Student Engagement and Wellness”

Breakout Presentations 6: 3:00 – 4:00 p.m.

Room 1

  • Maria Busch: “Meditation: Developing Mind/Body Wellness for Student Success in School and Life”
  • Alicia Hawthorne: “Fostering Student Engagement, Inclusion, and Stress Management through Course Modifications”
  • Ronnie Korosec: “Turning a Crisis into an Opportunity: How Harnessing the Challenges of the Pandemic Can Lead to Greater Success In the Classroom and Beyond”
  • Grace White: “An adaptation of Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR): Strategies for Increasing Wellness in the COVID Era”

Room 2

  • Daniel McConnell: “Achieving Equity Through Affordable Instructional Materials”
  • Debra Ross: “Engaging Students through a Group Approach to Research Methods”
  • Daniel Stephens: “Including Real-Time Zoom Meetings in Asynchronous Online Courses to Alleviate Anxiety and Uncertainty in Students Who are Not Normally Online Students”
  • Jackie Woerner: “The Practical Significance of Statistical Significance: Engaging Social Science Majors in Statistics Courses to Promote Scientific Literacy and Equity”

Coffee and Conversation: 8:30 – 9:00 a.m.

At your convenience, and throughout the day, feel free to visit our “Casual Conversations” discussion post.

Breakout Presentations 7: 9:00 – 10:00 a.m.

Room 1

  • Ilenia Colon Mendoza: “Easily Adoptable Art History Strategies for Diversity, Motivation, and Wellness”
  • Peggy Hill: “Using Game Theory to Prepare and Engage Nursing Students in Meaningful Learning”
  • Megan Lambert: “Implementing Progress and Wellness Check-Ins”
  • Chia-Yuan Yu: “Enhancing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion through Service-Learning”

Room 2

  • Reid Oetjen: “Helping Students Understand, Embrace, and Navigate a Multi-Generational Workforce”
  • Erin Saitta: “Creation of a Professional Development Intervention for International GTAs Assigned to Active Learning Classrooms”
  • Trudian Trail-Constant: “Permission Granted: How to Reduce Faculty Stress and Anxiety when Facilitating Online Courses by Empowering Students”

Small Group Activity—Prepare for Showcase: 10:15 – 11:00 a.m.

In preparation for the final showcase at 11:15, participants will be divided into teams of 5 or 6 to create a 5-minute team slide presentation that combines your unique applications, reflections, strategies, and remaining questions regarding the conference themes. We encourage teams to provide practical suggestions but also to be creative and fun in their 5-minute presentations. Teams will decide how to apportion the speaking time.

Showcase and Closing: 11:15 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Reminder: Don’t forget to submit your implementation plan and complete our conference satisfaction survey.