Conference Sessions

33rd Annual TASS Conference

March 19-22, 2023


Concurrent Sessions

Concurrent sessions will be added to this listing after each round of review and upon acceptance by the proposal review committee for presentation. Check back periodically for updated concurrent sessions

Sessions for 2023: Sessions are in alphabetical order by last name of each presenter. Where there is more than one presenter, the session is listed by the presenter's name appearing first on the proposal.

  • What Are We Doing Before a Student Enrolls?: A Glimpse Into NYU’s Opportunity Programs Pre-First Year Experience
    Presenter: Natalie Aleman
    New York University
    Learning Objectives: In this session, participants will (1) learn best practices for constructing a pre-first year support program for historically underserved students, (2) discuss methods of inquiry, engagement, and innovation within a residential and/or remote environment, (3) determine actionable steps for building support mechanisms at participants’ respective institutions. Relevance & Purpose: NYU's Opportunity Programs provide a means for historically underserved, low-income students from New York state to obtain admission to NYU. Students receive holistic academic and financial support to assist with transitioning into NYU prior to their first year, navigating the institution whilst enrolled, and connecting with an alumni community post-graduation. The presenters will provide a glimpse into the OP Scholar experience with particular focus on the six–week introductory non-credit summer academic program in the summer prior to enrollment in the first year. The presenters will also overview financial assistance, counseling, tutoring, seminars, community building, and resources available to OP Scholars throughout their tenure at the institution. This session will offer practices, methods, and approaches, in addition to interactive dialogue and action planning for practitioners to apply concepts to their home institutions. Structure: Introductions Overview of Opportunity Programs Purpose of OP Program Populations Served Six week pre-first year program overview Academic Support & Counseling Financial Support Community Building Virtual vs. Residential Experience Data & Conclusions Reflection Exercise Action Planning

  • Using Student Journey Mapping for Comprehensive Program Development
    Presenter: Ashleigh Harding
    Truman State University
    As higher education professionals, we are constantly creating and working to improve programs and transitional processes for our students. When Truman State University’s advising office was tasked with improving and streamlining the transitional process from admission to advising and registration for online graduate students, the system needed an overhaul. By using the Student Journey Mapping method, our institution was able to bring stakeholders to the table from eight different departments across campus, all the way up to the Vice President for Student Engagement, Enrollment and Marketing. This process broke down silos between these departments and centered the student experience in our decision making. By doing so, we centralized the needs of our graduate student learners, a population that challenged how we approach their unique needs since they fell outside of the “traditional student” framework our institution is accustomed to. This process has allowed us to streamline communication with students, simplify their registration process, and now allows us to focus our efforts on enriching this transitional experience rather than becoming bogged down by administrative setbacks. This presentation will provide an overview of Truman’s implementation of Student Journey Mapping, along with a guide on how attendees can implement this system in their own institutions, centers, and departments. Approaches could be in program development, improving current program processes, or simply mapping out institutional processes for transparency with campus stakeholders. The Student Journey Mapping process is continuous and cyclical, which makes it a welcome tool within higher education as we constantly seek to develop, expand, and improve student experiences.

  • Inspiring Student Confidence in Communicating: Managing Speaking Anxiety
    Presenter: Kimberly Kilpatrick
    University of Texas at El Paso
    “According to most studies, the number one fear of people is public speaking. Number two is death. Death is number two! This means, to the average person, if you go to a funeral, you’re better off in the casket than doing the eulogy.” Jerry Seinfeld Though this quote from Jerry Seinfeld focuses on public speaking specifically, anxiety in communication can occur in a variety of situations. The focus of the conversation for this session will be on helping our students manage communication anxiety. By encouraging our students to develop strong communication skills---and learning to effectively manage any communication anxiety they may have---we can empower them to be more confident in expressing themselves in public speaking, in small groups, in class discussions, or in a virtual format. Recognizing that speaking anxiety can affect one’s ability to communicate effectively in various situations---and providing our students with useful tips in coping with it--- can be helpful in not only alleviating stress but improving overall communication confidence. Students are often asked to present or share information in class---as an actual speech, within a small group, or as part of a class discussion (in person or virtually). Students must contend with communication anxiety (it is an issue for most of us); it varies in type and degree for each person. Helping our students understand that having communication anxiety is natural for most people, particularly in a public setting such as a classroom, can be quite valuable and relatable. Rather than just jumping into a discussion or a speaking assignment, if we first acknowledge the hurdle speaking anxiety can present---then provide tools to our students on how to effectively manage it---we can potentially inspire greater self-confidence and, overall, more productive and effective student communication.

  • Design Thinking: Classroom Applications
    Presenter: Z. Z. Lehmberg
    Northern Michigan University
    This presentation guides participants in turning their hopes and fears into action plans through a Design Thinking process. The presenter will also share her experience applying Design Thinking in her teaching and guiding students to own their education and engage with learning. Design Thinking originated in the development of psychological studies on creativity in the 1940s. Then in the later 20th and early 21st centuries, the concept became popular in the business world, when companies such as Apple incorporated Design Thinking in creating and producing their products. Presently, in education, Design Thinking came to mean student responsibility for engaged learning. This presentation introduces Design Thinking by leading participants through a series of Design Thinking steps. Participants will be asked to participate in divergent and convergent thinking and they will be encouraged to challenge best practices in their respective fields. In the end, it is the presenter’s hope that participants will return to their institutions with action plans to refine and implement.

  • Professors and Persistence: Challenges and Road to Recovery
    Presenter: Bindu Ranaut
    Broward College
    The purpose of this presentation is to outline the strategies that will help professors and educators be more understanding of their students when they are going through difficult times and how to engage ghosting students. To foster a more compassionate environment where students do not feel distant, disengaged, or uncared for by school and professors, this presentation discusses what additional training and resources should be given to the professors. The way a student is treated has an impact on whether they remain interested in the class or university, and it also affects the dropout rate. With the pandemic-induced school closures, academic normalcy remains out of reach for many students, educators, and parents. Colleges and universities have faced severe staff shortages, high absenteeism rates, and quarantines. Furthermore, students and educators continue to face mental health issues, increased rates of violence and misbehavior, and concerns about lost instructional time. This has given rise to disengagement and student ghosting. Ghosting occurs when students stop participating in a course, either physically or virtually, without informing the instructor or giving a valid reason. Interestingly, students do not disappear suddenly, but they do show some signs of disengagement before they start ghosting. Therefore, it is crucial to understand the causes of student disengagement from the classroom, how to spot it, and how to act before they start disappearing altogether. Relationships between instructors and students are central to teaching and learning. Compassion, flexibility, and communication are essential in these testing times.

  • Utilizing Manipulatives to Build Respect, Appreciation and Celebration of Diversity in a First-Year Education Course
    Presenter: Caitlin Riegel
    Niagara University
    First year education students may take a course entitled Equity, Diversity & inclusion which introduces prospective teachers to the issues of respect, appreciation and celebration of diversity in the educational setting. The course examines the myths and origins of prejudice and discrimination. Prospective teachers explore student-responsive strategies (in a constructivist environment) to enhance learning for students with cultural, ethnic, gender, racial, physical, and mental differences. With the knowledge that issues related to diversity often plat a role in students academic success, an activity was developed to take place within the first week of classes that used manipulatives (i.e., clay models) as an example of constructivist practice to highlight the class diversity, open up a dialog regarding the topic as it pertains to the freshmen students within the class, and discuss best practices for valuing the diversity of their own future students. Students were tasked with using colored clay to mold an item of importance to them. The presentation will highlight how student diversity was ever-present throughout the activity; artistic ability, item selection, prospective of representing their item, and specific use of colored clay to mold their items all demonstrate student diversity before conversations surrounding diversity even begin. Images of these items will be shared to demonstrate the varied approaches. Planned discussion points will be shared with audience members. Additionally, unplanned divergent discussions that resulted surrounding community building, freshman relationships with peers in their programs, and the importance of positive feedback will be shared. Future intentions to incorporate the activity into other courses, as well as activity modifications related to item selection will also be shared. TASS attendees will leave with a best practice model of an activity that builds respect, appreciation and celebration of diversity in an educational setting to help navigate student diversity.

  • Using Music to Help Students Cope with Mental Health Issues Experienced During COVID-19
    Presenters: Sarah Satterfield, Lori Witkowich
    College of Central Florida
    The purpose of this 45-minute session is to explore how music was and can be used to cope with mental health issues and feelings of social isolation experienced during COVID-19. This topic is of particular relevance, timeliness, and importance to the TASS audience as many in the educational community have been tasked with helping students work through the psychological ramifications of the pandemic as they return to the classroom. To achieve the goal of the session, Dr. Sarah Satterfield, Senior Professor of Music and Humanities at the College of Central Florida (CF), will share a PowerPoint summarizing studies conducted by Alberto Cabendo-Mas (Uses and Perceptions of Music in Times of COVID-19, Frontiers in Psychology) and Naomi Ziv (Music and COVID-19: Changes in Uses and Emotional Reaction to Music Under Stay-at-Home Restrictions, Psychology of Music). These studies explore how the music industry was impacted by COVID-19, including changes in music listening behaviors, new modalities of disseminating music, compositions directly inspired by COVID-19, and lives lost. Lori Witkowich, Associate Professor of Communications, Director of the Teaching and Learning Institution, and certified yoga instructor, will then lead a series of interactive activities intended to demonstrate how music can be used to reduce post-COVID anxiety. These hands-on activities will range from simple breathing exercises that can be done in the classroom or at the desk to a full-scale guided meditation with music. The session will conclude with a time for audience members to share their own experiences using music during COVID-19 and for the betterment of mental health. Combining scientific research and practical application proven successful in the classrooms of the presenters, this session will leave attendees with an understanding of how the simple tool of music can be used to help students cope with their feelings and achieve academic success.

  • How to Cultivate Growth in Readers
    Presenter: Lou Ann Sears
    University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg
    This 50-minutes, in-person session will share a 4-step path to promoting growth in reading. We can all agree that the Pandemic stunted the growth of the nation. This may or may not have negatively affected our own reading, but it certainly had negative effects on student performance. We will talk about reasons we should care about stunted growth. Not being confident that alternative solutions have been identified, I will offer four ways we can address this in our lives and in our own classrooms. Path 1 is reflection. Pausing to reflect on our own growth and our students' growth can give us context for Path 2. Path 2 refers to reading books. I will introduce two new memoirs: The Lighthouse Effect: How Ordinary People Have an Extraordinary Impact in the World by Steve Pemberton and The Other Side of Yet: Finding Light in the Midst of Darkness by Michelle Hord. Here we will reflect on what reading closely means. Path 3 will address the concept of book talks and allow us to get familiar with the two memoirs and learn how they advance growth for readers. Path 4 is cultivation. To close the session, I will share 7 powerful strategies for students/readers to employ: leaving the comfort zone, considering what they dismiss, becoming aware of lifelong learning, searching for life lessons, scooping out geography, learning some history, and appreciating philosophy. We can use these tools to cultivate growth for all.

  • Formative Assessment Activities that Engage Students and Support Success
    Presenter: Denise Wilkinson
    Virginia Wesleyan University
    As we move past the pandemic, the need to implement creative approaches to improve student learning has become increasingly important. Focusing on innovative ways to include assessment, specifically formative assessment, is one way to address student engagement and success. There are essentially two kinds of classroom assessment, summative assessment and formative assessment. Summative Assessments are conducted in increments throughout a course. Their purpose is to discover what exactly students have learned within a given instructional time frame. On the other hand, Formative Assessments allow for feedback from both instructors and students on student understanding of content and concepts and uncover any difficulties in comprehension, so that the teaching process itself may be modified as necessary. As an example, students may work toward their learning goals through practice in the classroom or by completing low stakes graded assignments, either of which fosters student motivation and supports student learning in a low-stress environment. This presentation will focus on several formative assessment activities that may be implemented in any classroom to offer feedback for both students and instructors and foster student engagement. A few of the activities that will be demonstrated include: classroom quiz games via Kahoot, an online game platform, to offer practice and feedback on test review content or Flip assignments; Jamboard reflection activities which utilize Jamboard (an interactive whiteboard) for student reflection and feedback on a relevant course topic or as a test review; and Kami, an online document annotation and markup tool accessible to the entire class, to provide a venue for students to practice problems and gain feedback. These activities may be incorporated into a course as no-stakes or low-stakes graded assignments. The presenter will conclude by sharing student feedback specifically about these activities. Session participants can expect to engage in an activity that utilizes at least one of the activities presented to gain a clearer understanding of its usefulness as a formative assessment tool. Resources: Bhat, B. A., & Bhat, G. J. (2019). Formative and summative evaluation techniques for improvement of learning process. European Journal of Business & Social Sciences, 7(5), 776-785. Durga, M. V., & Kumar, M. C. B. (2020). Formative and Summative Assessment for Learning: A Review. J. Res. Sch. Prof. Engl. Lang. Teach, 20, 2456-8104. Garrison, C., & Ehringhaus, M. (2007). Formative and summative assessments in the classroom.