Keynote 2020

How Good Teaching Can Change the World

In many cases, college represents the most diverse environment our students have ever experienced. As educators, we have a unique opportunity to prepare students to be architects of and actors in a better, more inclusive world. Good teaching is at the core of this opportunity. In every discipline, we can and should enable diverse students to learn from each other, work with each other, solve problems, and envision possibilities together. If we treat students as passive recipients of information we are denying them the benefit of diverse campuses. Students who are engaged in active, engaged and collaborative learning are stretched to consider different experiences, perspectives and ideas. They build relationships that challenge stereotypes and dismantle biases. The very strategies that lead to better understanding of course content can also prompt students to learn about themselves – and about themselves in relation to others. Collectively, these are the skills students need to be full participants in a diverse, 21st century democratic society.


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Pamela E. Barnett, PhD

Pamela E. Barnett is Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at LaSalle University in Philadelphia. She is also a Fellow of The Best Teachers Institute led by Ken Bain, author of What the Best College Teachers Do. She is a passionate advocate for bringing the research on how people learn and best teaching practices to academic leadership. Dr. Barnett began her career as a professor of English and African-American studies at the University of South Carolina -Columbia where she was named an English Department Outstanding Teacher of the Year in 2003. Her book Dangerous Desire: Literature of Sexual Freedom and Sexual Violence Since the Sixties (Routledge, 2004) examines literature written in response to the liberation movement of the 1960s. Her more recent writing aims to advance diversity and inclusion in higher education. She is the author of “Discussions across Difference: Addressing the Affective Dimensions of Teaching Diverse Students about Diversity” (Teaching in Higher Education, 2011), “Unpacking the Teacher’s Invisible Knapsack: Social Identity and Privilege in Higher Education” (Liberal Education, Summer 2013) and “Not Preaching to the Choir: Techniques for Building Trust and Managing Conflict When about Teaching Race ” forthcoming in Stephen Brookfield's Teaching Race (2018). She has also written about motivation for teaching in higher education, online teaching and advancing organizational change.