The President’s Series on Teaching Excellence

President's Series on Teaching ExcellenceGreat Universities have Great Teachers and the University of Connecticut is blessed with more than its fair share.  The President’s series on Teaching Excellence is designed to provide a forum to facilitate discussion and reflection on the journey from good teaching to great teaching.  Come join your faculty and staff colleagues for a lively and engaging discussion as we explore the essence of being a great teacher.

Past Speakers

2015 Speaker: Sam Pickering (English)

In December of 2014, Professor Emeritus Dr. Sam Pickering gave the inaugural address for the University of Connecticut’s President’s Series on Teaching Excellence. His lecture, ‘From My Side of the Desk’ was given to a full audience of faculty and graduate students and introductory remarks were given by President Susan Herbst.

2016 Speaker: Shareen Hertel (Political Science)

In April of 2016, the second annual address in this series “Made to Care: Creating Community in the Classroom” was given by Associate Professor of Political Science & Human Rights, Shareen Hertel. Dr. Hertel holds a joint appointment with the Department of Political Science and the Human Rights Institute at UConn. Her research focuses on changes in transnational human rights advocacy, with a focus on labor and economic rights issues. 

2017 Speaker: Mitch Green (Philosophy)

In the third annual address, “Channeling Your Inner Dweeb: How to (Re)Connect to Your Intellectual Passion and Inspire Your Students,” Mitch Green advocated for connecting (or reconnecting) to the point in your intellectual career when you found yourself fascinated by the field in which you now teach. Why did it seem so interesting and what did you want to know more about? You can then use that epiphanic moment to inspire your students to appreciate why they should be no less obsessed with your field. As a case study he used his own geeky fascination with the varieties of meaning and ambiguity in language to explain techniques he found useful in provoking student interest in philosophy.

2018 Speaker: Ronald Beghetto (Educational Psychology)

In the spring of 2018 the President’s Series on Teaching Excellence featured Ron Beghetto presenting a talk on “What if? Creating a Space for Possibility Thinking in the University Classroom”. Ron is a professor in Educational Psychology  and a Graduate Program Coordinator for the Cognition, Instruction, Learning, & Technology Program in the Neag School of Education. He is an internationally recognized expert on creative thought and action in educational settings and his research focuses on promoting creativity in everyday teaching, learning, and leadership practices.

2019 Speaker: Regina Barreca (English)

The 2019 President’s Series on Teaching Excellence featured Gina Barreca’s talk entitled “Why teaching matters, or why I never turn my back on a class.” As Gina explains, “students do not have to make you happy; that’s not their job. You don’t need to make them happy; that’s not your job. Their job is to understand what you’re teaching them and your job is to know precisely why they need to know what you’re teaching them. You’re the authority not because you’re in control of the situation, but because you can provide what they’ll need to carry with them for the rest of their lives. Educating students is about more than just giving them information. It’s about providing context, perspective and illumination.” Gina is a professor in English and an Engagement Fellow at UConn. She is a well-known author of numerous books.