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Bonni Stachowiak

2023 Plenary Speaker

Plenary Speech: Unlocking Our Imagination: Fostering Student Learning Through Curiosity + Wonder

When it comes to pedagogy, our sometimes-limited imagination can hinder our attempts to facilitate learning and engage students. This talk will explore how creative educators from around the world are igniting their creativity and heightening student learning. Approaches drawn from cognitive psychology, will be discussed. Finally, the importance of our collective care and empathy will be stressed. Bonni has produced over 440 episodes of the Teaching in Higher Ed podcast and takes inspiration from the world-class educators she has had the honor of speaking to weekly over the past nine years.


  1. Explore the ways curiosity and wonder heighten learning.

  2. Identify three approaches to use to ignite students' curiosity

  3. Discuss ways to extend our collective imagination

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Bonni Stachowiak gets the privilege of speaking with exceptional educators on a weekly basis, as the host of the Teaching in Higher Ed podcast. Since 2014, her podcast has provided a space to explore the art and science of being more effective at facilitating learning. Teaching in Higher Ed also explores how to improve our productivity, so faculty can have more peace in our lives, and be even more present for our students. 


Bonni is the Dean of Teaching and Learning at Vanguard University of Southern California and a Professor of Business and Management. She’s been teaching in-person, blended, and online courses throughout her entire career in higher education.


Bonni and her husband, Dave, are parents to two curious kids, who regularly shape their perspectives on teaching and learning.

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Todd Zakrajsek

2023 Plenary Speaker

Plenary Speech:
Quick and Easy Strategies Faculty Can Use to Improve Student Learning

Research in educational and cognitive psychology demonstrates that when it comes to student learning, how we teach is often just as important as what we teach. Although not anyone’s goal, it is possible to teach in ways that make learning difficult. The good news is that it is also possible to teach in ways that make learning easier. In this session we will look at evidence-based strategies to improve student learning. The best part is that the strategies presented will require little to no effort to employ, may be immediately put into practice, and hold the potential to effectively improve student learning in every course, regardless of discipline.

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