New England Faculty Development Consortium

Upcoming Conferences

NEFDC Conference

Authentic Learning – Developing Students as Independent Thinkers

2023 Spring Workshop Series

Registration is now open for the first in the NEFDC’s series of spring workshops offered. We will begin with a pair of complementary workshops followed by two others. Each will extend our 2022-2023 theme of authentic learning. Below are descriptions of each.

Each event will begin with a community-building activity in either cohort groups or thematic groups, giving members the opportunity to connect and share with colleagues.

Cost of Spring Workshop Series and Registration Links
February 10
(Two Workshops)
March 3 Workshop May 23 Workshop
Member $40 $30 $30
Non-Member $55 $45 $45
Registration is closed Registration is closed Registration is closed

May 23 Workshop, 12:00 PM – 2:00 PM

Unsettling Assumptive Worlds Through Shifting Perspectives: Approaches to Reflective Practice in Teaching and Learning

  • Presenter: Dana Grossman Leeman, Tufts University
  • Registration is closed

Abstract: Reflection can lead to the shifting of one’s assumptive world and the adoption of new perspectives and ways of knowing. If we facilitate authentic learning activities in our classrooms and faculty development sessions, but do not take time to reflect, we are far less able to evolve knowledge, skill, self-awareness, and attunement to our learners and colleagues.

In this session, we will participate in two reflective activities that ask us to consider some phenomenon from multiple perspectives. By transcending our own point of view, in community with others, we can gain insight into the narratives and meaning making systems that we have constructed to order and apprehend our lives and the world, and our concomitant actions and feelings. As we share two teachable moments, we share stories and consider these images from multiple perspectives while elucidating the ways in which are own world views, positionalities and social identities shape the way we see, interact with, and make sense of the phenomena we encounter and how this applies to the teaching and learning we facilitate in, professional contexts, and our lives as human beings.

Participants will leave this workshop with the knowledge of why reflection is important, how to integrate it into classroom teaching and educational development endeavors, and the impact that this deep internal work can have on classroom cultures and interpersonal relationships.

Dana Grossman LeemanDana Grossman Leeman earned her Master of Social Work from Boston University in 1989 and her PhD in Clinical Social Work from Simmons University in 2004. She was on the faculty of Simmons University School of Social Work from 1998 until 2020. During which she created the Social Work with Groups curriculum, the Certificate in Advanced Group Work, and was the inaugural program director for the online MSW program. In 2016 she became the Associate Dean for Online education, and in 2018 she was appointed as the inaugural Provost’s Faculty Fellow for Online Education. In 2020 she joined the Center for the Enhancement of Learning and Teaching at Tufts University as the Senior Associate Director for Authentic and Engaged Learning.

February 10 Workshops: Authentic Learning Through Ungrading

We are delighted to offer a pair of complementary workshops for our first event. These first two workshops in the series will focus on using self-reflection to ungrade our classes and using ungrading to reimagine assessment for equity.

  • February 10, 2023
  • 12:00 PM – 3:00 PM
  • Registration is closed

Workshop 1  on February 10: Using Self-Reflection to Ungrade Our Classes and Develop Independent Thinking


Far too often students associate learning with getting good grades. But what happens when you remove the focus on grading and shift it to self-reflection, instructor and peer feedback? Research shows that when students are graded they tend to think less deeply, avoid taking risks, and lose interest in the learning itself (Kohn, 2006). In this session, you will learn how to use self-reflection tools and ungrading practices to increase the quality of student thinking and learning and provide more equitable and inclusive learning experiences (Schinske & Turner, 2014). This session will showcase practical strategies for implementing ungrading and self-reflection tools (e.g., Google Slides eBooks, Google Forms, journaling, and multimodal choice boards) into college classes to develop students as independent thinkers. Appropriate for faculty across diverse disciplines and at different stages of thinking about ungrading, this workshop will also give participants the opportunity to design their own self-reflection tool and ungrading approaches for use in their classes.


Torrey TrustTorrey Trust, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor of Learning Technology in the Department of Teacher Education and Curriculum Studies in the College of Education at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Her scholarship and teaching focus on how technology shapes educator and student learning.


In 2018, Dr. Trust was selected as one of five recipients worldwide for the ISTE Making IT Happen Award, which “honors outstanding educators and leaders who demonstrate extraordinary commitment, leadership, courage, and persistence in improving digital learning opportunities for students.”

Colleen KuusinenColleen Kuusinen is a Lecturer in the Center for Teaching and Learning at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She works closely with faculty across campus to support classroom and course assessment, inclusive teaching, and the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL).


Colleen’s areas of scholarly expertise include teacher motivation, assessment, and survey design. An alumna of the University of Michigan and the University of California, Berkeley, she counts her most transformational learning experiences as teaching middle school in Oakland, California and living abroad in Spain. Previously, Colleen was Assistant Director for SoTL and Senior Liaison for Faculty Development in the Engineering Education Transformations Institute at the University of Georgia.

Workshop 2 on February 10: The Ungraded Classroom: How to Reimagine Assessment for Equity


This session invites participants to reconsider and reimagine both assessment practices as well as course design in order to encourage a more equitable and authentic learning experience. The ungraded classroom encourages students to participate in setting the standards within the classroom and to think independently about what they are learning, why they are learning, and how their own lived experiences outside of the classroom can help shape their journey. Students are encouraged to think more intrinsically about their motivations and engage with the course material more meaningfully. If we want to encourage our students to think independently and to develop their own interests in any given subject, then we need to shift our focus away from metrics and recenter our attention on learning. Ultimately, the ungraded classroom helps to redefine success by divesting from a capitalistic definition of worth.


Christina BeaubienChristina Beaubien (she/her/ella/la) received her MA from St. Louis University in Madrid, Spain and holds a PhD in Hispanic Linguistics and Literatures from the University of Massachusetts Amherst.


Christina is currently an Assistant Professor of Hispanic Studies at Westfield State University where she enjoys teaching all levels of Spanish-language as well as advanced courses in literary, film, and cultural analysis. As a first-gen, she strongly believes in redefining success via ungraded pedagogy within the classroom so as to encourage both critical thinking and agency amongst all of her students.

Jess StephensJess Stephens (she/her) received her BS from Butler University and holds a MS in Biology from Auburn University and a PhD in Plant Biology from University of Georgia.


Before starting as an Assistant Professor in Biology at Westfield State University (WSU), she taught at the University of Georgia and was a Visiting Assistant Professor at Salve Regina University. At WSU, she teaches Evolution, General Biology I, Environmental Science for non-majors, Writing in Biology, and advises students in research. She is also part of a multi-institutional collaboration examining the experiences of LGBTQ+ individuals in STEM. Jess is passionate about the role of feedback in learning and uses the ungrading pedagogy to increase student motivation and use of feedback in the classroom.

Eric Parness photoEric Parness is a theater director, teacher, and producer. He is a graduate of Brandeis University (BA) and Brooklyn College (MFA) and a member of the Lincoln Center Theater’s Directors Lab.


As the Artistic Director of Resonance Ensemble, he has produced 20 new plays and classics, worked extensively as a director Off-Broadway for companies such as Jean Cocteau Repertory, State of Play Production, Oberon Theatre Ensemble, Boomerang Theatre, and Vital Theatre Company. He has directed regionally with the Blumenthal Performing Arts in Charlotte, NC, Curtain Call Theatre in Latham, NY, and The Home Made Theater in Saratoga Springs, NY, as well as educational theater for Marymount Manhattan College, Brooklyn College, Marist College, Stern College, Brandeis University and Dean College.

March 3 Workshop, 12:00 PM – 2:00 PM

Accomplices in the Classroom: Social Justice- and Anti-Racism-Informed Teaching

  • Presenters: Katie R. Place, Quinnipiac; Adrienne Wallace, Grand Valley State University; Nneka Logan, Virginia Tech; Luke Capizzo, University of Missouri
  • Registration is closed

Abstract: Social justice in higher education has evolved to mean creating teaching and learning environments that support all students equitably and seeking to address potential gaps among students based on race-ethnicity, gender identity, religion, ability, or learning potential. Yet, to discuss social justice in higher education we first must face racism within the academy. Reflecting the theme of Authentic Learning and Developing Students as Independent Thinkers, this session explores the concept of “accompliceship” (e.g. Clemons, 2017; Edwards, 2021; Powell & Kelly, 2017) as a more robust and action-oriented alternative to allyship in the classroom. Accompliceship holds that educators cannot simply adopt a series of emancipatory or social justice minded ideas or behaviors. Instead, it calls for educators to take on anti-racist and social justice-informed teaching at the intersections of learning, reflection, self-assessment, and doing, centering perspectives, voices, needs, and goals consistent with anti-racist, inclusive pedagogy (Edwards, 2021). Accomplices and co-conspirators in the classroom are those actively engaged in doing the work to destroy forms of systemic oppression and create new spaces and solutions centered on equity and justice (Edwards, 2021; Roy, 2018). In this session, therefore, we will guide attendees through the process of a) learning foundational concepts about accompliceship, social justice, and racism, b) hearing facilitator stories of how they worked to develop a sense of accompliceship at their respective universities, c) see examples of accompliceship-informed class activities and assignments, and d) engage in personal discussion and work toward development of accompliceship-informed activities or spaces of their own.

Call for proposals is closed.

Authentic learning opportunities often take place in the form of what the AAC&U terms “high impact practices“. These practices are based on evidence of significant educational benefits for students who participate in them – including and especially those from demographic groups historically underserved by higher education. They take many different forms, depending on learner characteristics and on institutional priorities and contexts. (Adapted from: Authentic Learning | Teaching & Learning Resource Hub, UNH)

The facilitator(s) (up to 3) will receive a $500 honorarium following the workshop and free registration for the spring series. We would especially appreciate submissions from presenters who can connect how the teaching practice they are focusing on in their workshop contributes to increased equity for historically marginalized students, and who can speak to participants from a wide range of institutions with differing missions and student populations.

We invite proposals focused on this year’s theme such as, but not limited to:

  • Experiential learning
  • Project based learning
  • Problem based learning
  • ePortfolios
  • Service Learning
  • Civic Engagement
  • Community engaged learning
  • Student Research
  • Reflection for learning
  • Global learning

Important notes before you submit your proposal:

  • These workshops will be held on Zoom, and therefore will require strong online design and facilitation skills. 
  • Proposals should clearly explain how the topic connects to the 2022-2023 theme, anticipated learning outcomes, how learners will be engaged in the session, and the underlying research base. 
  • You will be asked in your proposal submission to share a link to a 3 – 5 minute video snapshot of your workshop.
  • Facilitators should have practical and clear learning and skills outcomes, and be based within an area in which you have expertise.
  • Workshops should be designed as opportunities for participants to learn how to design authentic learning experiences for their students, not to learn about your program per se.
  • While you may express your preference for a specific date, we may assign you the date that makes the most sense for sequencing the workshops, so please mark all of them on your calendar.