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Critical Thinking Unmasked:

How to Infuse It into a Discipline-Based Course

2018 Bay to Bay Learning Symposium

February 9, 2018

USFSP University Student Center

Featured Sessions

John MedinaKeynote Address – Morning Session: John Medina, Ph.D.

Dr. John J. Medina, a developmental molecular biologist. Dr. Medina has a lifelong fascination with how the mind reacts to and organizes information. He is the author of the New York Times bestseller ” Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home, and School ” — a provocative book that takes on the way our schools and work environments are designed.

He holds joint faculty appointments at the University of Washington, in the department of bioengineering, and at Seattle Pacific University, where he is the director of the Brain Center for Applied Learning Research. His teaching recognitions include the University of Washington’s College of Engineering Outstanding Faculty of the Year; the Merrell Dow/Continuing Medical Education National Teacher of the Year; and, twice, the Bioengineering Student Association Teacher of the Year. Professor Medina has been a consultant to the Education Commission of the States and a regular speaker on the relationship between the cognitive neurosciences and education. With a lifelong fascination with how the mind reacts to and organizes information, Professor Medina is a leading advocate for brain research and its potential application to real-world problems.

The ability to think critically has never been more important. In an age of fake news and alternative facts, the ability to analyze information to make informed decisions is imperative. Dr. Medina’s talk will focus on the neuroscience behind critical thinking and provide insights into the way our brain works and processes information.

Linda Nilson

Critical Thinking Workshop – Afternoon Session: Linda Nilson, Ph.D.

Critical thinking (CT) is a deeply misunderstood cognitive skill set, and faculty sometimes think they are teaching it when they are not. The CT literature does little to clarify what CT involves because it is abstract, fragmented into several independent perspectives, and thin on research about the effectiveness of concrete teaching methods. This workshop leads you out of the CT thicket. It distills reliable, practical, and easy-to-follow course design, assessment, and pedagogical principles from a synthesis of the various perspectives. Working from examples relevant to your type of discipline, you will learn how to formulate CT-related student learning outcomes and consider how to sequence your outcomes into a “map” of your students’ learning process. You will also learn how to extend these outcomes into assessments, including objective test items and student-constructed assignments, and design learning activities that will help your students achieve your CT outcomes.

A half-day workshop will be presented by Dr. Linda Nilson who has written extensively about teaching and learning, assessment, faculty evaluation, and faculty development in higher education. Linda is founding Director of the Office of Teaching Effectiveness and Innovation (OTEI) at Clemson University in South Carolina and author of Teaching at Its Best: A Research-Based Resource for College Instructors, now in its third edition (Jossey Bass, 2010) and The Graphic Syllabus and the Outcomes Map: Communicating Your Course (Jossey Bass, 2007). She has also published many articles and book chapters on university teaching and academic careers and conducts faculty workshops at institutions and conferences across the U.S. and internationally. In addition, she has been a regular presenter at the Lilly South Conference on College Teaching for many years. Before coming to Clemson, Dr. Nilson directed the teaching centers at Vanderbilt University and the University of California, Riverside and was a faculty member in the sociology department at UCLA. She received her M.S. and Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, as a National Science Foundation Fellow and her B.A. in sociology from the University of California, Berkeley, where she was elected in Phi Beta Kappa. Book signing following event during the reception.

Symposium Facilitator

Phil WagnerPhillip Wagner, Ph.D.

Dr. Phillip Wagner is the Core Curriculum Coordinator, Chief Morale Officer, and an Instructor in the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee. As a teacher, researcher, and administrator, Phillip is passionately committed to creating safe, inclusive, and creative learning spaces for all.

Program Agenda

The event will include:

  • Keynote Session
  • Catered Lunch
  • Critical Thinking Workshop
  • Book Signing
  • Technology Petting Zoo
  • Faculty Reception

Registration Now Open

To register for the Bay to Bay Learning Symposium contact David Brodosi at or 727-873-4126.

2017 Event Summary

Teaching and Learning for the Workplace of Tomorrow

USFSP held its second annual Bay-to-Bay Learning Symposium on Feb 9, 2017. The symposium focused on how our faculty can better prepare our graduates for the workplace of tomorrow. The full-day event featured two dynamic speakers who addressed the challenges our students face once they forray into the world of work.

Dr. Mark Pezzo, the chair of USFSP’s psychology department, kicked-off the symposium by setting the stage for the day’s topic. He highlighted Gov. Rick Scott’s Ready, Set, Work challenge to all state universities to fully employ all of their graduates from their top two majors, which includes psychology. Mark discussed how the psychology department was meeting this challenge head-on with a plan of action that included feedback from the community and an agile strategy to implement that feedback.

Dr. Phil Wagner followed with an insightful presentation full of audience participation. Each table had a broad cross-section of stakeholders that including faculty, members of the business community and students who worked as a team on a sample course. Team members collaborated to create innovative active learning assignments that featured the key skills employers are searching for in their new candidates; critical thinking, communication, and collaboration. This novel approach kept everyone fully engaged and demonstrated how active learning can work in any class, regardless of discipline.

The symposium closed on a high note with Seth Mattison. Seth is an expert in near-term workforce trends and offered a broad perspective of the work climate and how it is currently evolving. Seth built on the concepts that Phil introduced by providing key insights from his business clients from Microsoft to Disney. Supporting his new book, The War at Work, Seth illustrated the tension between traditional hierarchy structures in the corporate world, juxtaposed against a new perspective of an interconnected web where information flows in any direction, not just from the top down.

The Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning (CITL) and Online Learning and Instructional Technology Services (OLITS) would like to sincerely thank all those who attended. This was a collaborative effort which could not have been done without the support of the Nelson Poynter Memorial Library and its staff, and the supportive administration of USFSP.

We will see you all next year for our 3rd Annual Bay-to-Bay Learning Symposium on February 10, 2018!! Stay tuned to this website for details.

2016 Event Summary

Creating a Culture of Growth, Change, and Innovation

The inaugural Bay to Bay Distance Learning Symposium was hosted on the USFSP Campus on February 12, 2016. The event sought to inspire discussion and exploration of the roles that Faculty, Staff and Students play with regards to growth, change and innovation and the future of technology enhanced teaching and learning at USF.

Featured Faculty Speakers from the USF community included Dr. Steve Diasio, Dr. Casey Frechette, Dr. Judithanne Scourfield-McLauchlan, and Dr. Phillip Wagner. Each speaker shared strategies and personal experiences with online learning; in addition to challenging attendees to explore their part in this growing field.

The Keynote Speaker, Sir Ken Robinson, engaged the audience in the consideration of the challenges and opportunities presented when creativity and technology intersect in the online teaching and learning environment.

The event continues to inspire conversations that will lead to a more engaging experience for all individuals involved in online learning at USF.

Please view the short documentary below that captures the energy and ideas from the event. This video was created by Dr. Casey Frechette and students from the Digital Journalism and Design program at USFSP.

Thank you to all who joined us for this special event. Stay tuned for details on the future of Bay to Bay!

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