AFC Plenary Presentations

Morning Plenary

Thursday, January 12

9:30 AM – 10:20 AM


What Is Effective Instruction and How Does It Improve the Student experience?

Presenter: Seth Gershenson (Professor, SPA-Public Administration & Policy)

In this plenary session, professor Seth Gershenson will discuss his research on representation, expectations, and grading practices in the K-12 teaching force, and implications of his work in understanding student sense of belonging and retention in higher education.
Much of Professor Gershenson’s research seeks to measure and understand teacher effectiveness. His work is largely concentrated in the K-12 context, though the findings and policy implications are generally valid in higher education as well. One specific focus of his work, which is the topic of his recent book entitled Teacher Diversity and Student Success, is the mounting evidence that access to a diverse and representative teaching force benefits a variety of students on a variety of outcomes. This is true at every level of education, from kindergarten to law school, and implies that diversity is one dimension of the quality of a teaching force that should be valued alongside others like experience, pedagogical training, and so on. Related work on the importance of high expectations and grading standards, and racial biases in teachers’ expectations, have similar implications for how we hire, retain, and train teachers. Finally, his research on the causes and consequences of student absences in the K-12 setting have many parallels to attendance and retention issues in higher education.

Lunch Plenary Presentation

Friday, January 13

12:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.

(In-person or Livestream)

A Focus on Student Retention: Creating Generative Communities That Nurture Sense of Belonging

Moderator: Amanda Taylor (Assistant Vice President of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, Office of Campus Life)
Panelists: Corbin Campbell (Associate Dean of Academic Affairs and Associate Professor, School of Education), TaLisa Carter (Assistant Professor, SPA-Justice, Law & Criminology), Noemí Enchautegui-de-Jesús (Senior Professorial Lecturer, CAS-Psychology), Thomas Kohn (Professorial Lecturer, KSB-Management) & Brandon Weiss (Professor, Washington College of Law)

Numerous studies have shown that a student’s sense of belonging is driven by meaningful interactions with peers, staff, and faculty. How can faculty and staff be even more focused on this important goal while also maintaining their own wellness and making progress towards their career goals? This lunchtime plenary will feature faculty from across AU schools and colleges discussing ways they’ve intentionally created generative spaces for such interactions and relationship-building opportunities that are sustaining for all involved