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Fall 2018 Teaching Enhancement Workshop

Approaching Challenging Topics in the Classroom
August 29, 2018, Evergreen Campus



Program | Committee Members | Past Workshops


The United States is overtly and covertly polarized along lines of race, gender, socioeconomics, politics, and more. The divisive national landscape impacts both students and the classroom environment and can lead to challenging and, at times, unproductive conversations. When the student’s, or the instructor’s, views and beliefs are threatened, it is not uncommon to cease listening, assume we know what “the other” will say, and avoid mutual engagement and learning.

This Teaching Enhancement Workshop aims to equip faculty with the skills needed to manage potentially divisive dynamics in the classroom. The plenary and following breakout sessions present tactics for facilitating critical conversations on issues of sexuality and gender, race, climate change, immigration, politics, and other topics that can easily create a polarized learning climate. Workshop attendees will leave with a better understanding of how to address challenging topics in both the undergraduate and graduate classroom.

Workshop Program

8:30 a.m. Breakfast and Conversation McGuire Hall East
9 - 9:10 a.m.

Welcome and Overview

  • Cheryl Moore-Thomas, Associate Vice President for Faculty Affairs and Diversity
  • Amanda Thomas, Vice President for Academic Affairs
  • Maren Blohm, Associate Professor of Biology and Chair of the Teaching Enhancement Committee
9 - 9:45 a.m.

Plenary:Tactics for Encouraging Students to Approach Challenging Topics with an Open Mind


  • Elizabeth DahlChemistry
  • Moira Lynch, Political Science
  • Rebecca Trump, Marketing
  • Erin Richardson, Education Specialties


Running Class Discussions on Divisive Topics is Tricky. Here's One Promising Approach,The Chronicle of Higher Education, July 19, 2018.

9:45 - 9:55 a.m. Break
9:55 - 10:35 a.m. Break-Out Sessions: 1, 3, 4, and 5 *see break-out descriptions for room locations
10:45 - 11:25 a.m. Break-Out Sessions: 2, 4, 5, and 6
11:35 a.m. - 12:15 p.m. Break-Out Sessions: 1, 2, 3, and 6

Break-Out Session Descriptions

1.Throwing Like a Girl: Sports as a Model for Teaching Gender, Sexuality, and Patriarchy Across the Curriculum

Location:Maryland Hall 247

This breakout session addresses how we can introduce and frame conversations about gender and sexuality and difference and inequality across the curriculum. It suggests a common vocabulary and introduces the topic of sport as a vehicle for engaging these issues. We have prepared resources focusing on softball and baseball for faculty in STEM and the humanities, social sciences, education and business to engage students in critically examining the ways in which sport is gendered.


  • Amanda Konradi (Sociology)
  • Patrick Brugh (Modern Languages and Literatures)


2.Climate Change Across the Curriculum: Don't Let Denial Get You Down

Location: Maryland Hall 243

In this breakout session we’ll explore and discuss strategies for including climate change in nearly any course. The session will include examples of how climate change was incorporated into various non-science courses at Loyola. We’ll also discuss how to deal with skeptical students and the difference between skeptic and denier when it comes to the issue of climate change.


  • Session 2: Elizabeth Dahl (Chemistry) and Bernadette Roche (Biology)
  • Session3: Elizabeth Dahl (Chemistry), Terre Ryan (Writing), and Randy Jones (Physics)


3.Name it, Frame it, Explain it: Applying a Racial Equity Lens in the Classroom

Location: Maryland Hall 242

This breakout session provides an introduction to framing conversations with a racial equity lens. The session includes interdisciplinary teaching modules on structural and institutional racism; a self-assessment toolkit for curriculum development; and strategies for advancing equity and inclusion in the classroom.


  • Elizabeth Kennedy (Information Systems, Law and Operations)


4.A Fair Hearing for the Immigrant: Practical Insights for Approaching the Topic of Immigration in the Classroom

Location: Maryland Hall 241

This breakout session explores how we can introduce and frame conversations regarding immigration, particularly in light of the rise of nativism in the United States. Some attention will be given to Catholic Social Teaching on the issue.


  • Daniel Castillo (Theology)


5.Levels of Racism in the Academic Classroom and How to Begin to Dismantle Them

Location: Sellinger Hall 223

In this breakout session participants will explore and discuss strategies for identifying and dismantling forms of racism in the academic classroom. The session will include examples of how racism has been incorporated into the academic setting at Loyola. Participants will move from identification to strategies to dismantle practices which negatively impact ALL Loyola students. This is not an introductory course. Participants should have some understanding of racism in academic settings and be comfortable with terms such as marginalization, racism, white privilege, and white supremacy.


  • Adell Cothorne (Teacher Education)


6.To Self-Disclose or To Not Self-Disclose? A Dialogue about Politics in the Classroom

Location: Sellinger Hall 221

In this breakout session, participants will be encouraged to discuss their thoughts and opinions on whether or not there is room in the classroom for political discourse. There will be discussion around both student and professor self-disclosure around political affiliation and beliefs. Participants should have a goal during this breakout session of developing their own informed opinions about this topic based on personal reflection and interactive discussion.


  • Cara Jacobson (Psychology)


*Visit the STEAM Team table in McGuire Hall Atrium throughout the workshop for information on STEAM Team.

The STEAM (Striving To End Ableist Mindsets) Team aims to educate our campus about the impact of ableism on our community and society. Team speakers are members of Delta Alpha Pi (DAPi) Honor Society, Active Minds, Disability is Diversity, and other students connected to Disability Support Services. STEAM Team speakers are trained to speak to their peers about their disability and discuss ways they have been impacted by ableism. Discussions would likely also include information about ableist language, visible and invisible identities, and awareness of ability privilege. Please contact Megan Henry atmmhenry@loyola.eduor 410-617-5137 to learn more!

McGuire Hall Atrium
12:15 p.m. Lunch and Conversation
McGuire Hall East

Other Afternoon Offerings

Accessify Your Syllabus - Sellinger Hall 004
1:30 - 2:30 p.m.

In this interactive workshop, you will learn to assess, modify, and evaluate the accessibility of one of your course syllabi. You will walk away with an accessible syllabus and a better understanding of barriers to accessibility for your students. You are asked to bring a laptop and an electronic syllabus with you.

Moodle: The Most Frequently Asked Questions (drop-in session) - Sellinger Hall 223
1:30 - 2:30 p.m.

This one-hour session goes over some of the most common Moodle questions that we get at The Office of Digital Teaching & Learning. Moodle provides a wealth of tools to be able to post readings, administer assignments, and create other interactive course materials. Topics covered include uploading files to your course, creating a basic assignment, accessing student activity reports, taking attendance and more.

Please note: a laptop is required for this session!

Wellness and Meeting Student Needs - Sellinger Hall 221
1:30 - 2:30 p.m.

Come learn more about the office of student support and wellness promotion and the resources that are available. This session will go over the 8 major areas of wellness that students can receive help with, physical, social, emotional, spiritual, educational, multi-cultural, professional, and environmental, and how this assistance is designed to support the "Generation Z" student.

More information about the Wellness and Meeting Student Needs session

Baltimore Community Orientation by Shuttle (sponsored by CCSJ)
2:30 - 4 p.m. (Depart from Govantowne Farmer's Market at 5104 York Road)

Join your colleagues in discovering our great city, including our nearest neighbors and Loyola's presence throughout Baltimore. Especially good for newer faculty and also those who want to commit to engaging our city. RSVP withKristen Fisher.

Teaching Enhancement Committee

Members, 2018-19

  • Chair: Maren Blohm (Biology) 
  • Rebecca Trump (Marketing) 
  • Rebekah Eklund (Theology)
  • Patricia Kanashiro (International Business)
  • Derek Kendig (Biology)
  • Jill Snodgrass (Pastoral Counseling) 
  • Cheryl Moore-Thomas (Education Specialties /Academic Affairs), ex officio

Past Teaching Enhancement Workshops

January 2018: High-Impact Teaching Practices Using Digital Pedagogy

August 2017: Student-Driven Learning and High-Impact Learning Practices

January 2017: Evidence-Based Teaching Practices

August 2016: Race in the College Classroom

January 2016: Modes of Engagement

August 2015: Inclusive Teaching and Loyola's Diversifying Student Body

January 2015: The Jesuit Mission, In Action

August 2014: Beyond Words: The Power of Nonverbal Communication in Teaching