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​​​​The Nine Things We Wish We Knew Before We Started Teaching​

Broadcast Date: April 22, 2022 

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​Webinar Summary​

Most graduate school and early-career experiences in the sciences focus almost exclusively on research productivity. However, those efforts are only one facet of what a successful academic career demands.  Graduate students, post-docs, and newly-minted faculty members are often ​expected to begin developing a dynamic program that balances research with grantsmanship, outreach, and (especially) teaching. However, many new academics are immediately confronted with the uncomfortable realization that they are unprepared for the undergraduate classroom. To address this reality, four pedagogical experts will share nine suggestions for new instructors to consider as they develop their pedagogical philosophies and approaches based on A) evidence-based practices for teaching and learning, B) classroom management and curriculum design, and C) balancing rigorous and impartial instruction with student emotional well-being. The content and discussions that arise from this webinar will inform educators at all career stages. Still, they will focus on early-career academics developing their voice and presence in the classroom.

What attendees can expect:

  • This session will introduce common issues confronting new (and experienced) undergraduate course instructors.
  • At the end of this session, attendees will gain new perspectives on the realities of the college classroom.
  • Attendees will be able to immediately integrate the perspectives from this webinar into their current and future classes.​


Dr. Monica Lewandowski
Assistant Professor, Department of Plant Pathology, Ohio State

Dr. Monica Lewandowski leads an engaging teaching and outreach program in plant pathology and related disciplines.  Her responsibilities include teaching and academic programs (Graduate and Undergraduate), including graduate admissions, graduate and undergraduate recruiting, academic data reporting; summer internship coordinator; internal and external communications; education outreach; website content.  She is the grad program coordinator for the Plant Pathology MS/Ph.D. program and the Master in Plant Health Management in addition to an undergraduate advisor.

Monica's areas of interest include science, agriculture, education, outreach, and communications. She is also the incoming Director of the American Phytopathological Society's Office of Education.

Trey Conatser
Associate Director, Center for the Enhancement of Learning and Teaching, University of Kentucky

Trey Conaster came to CELT from the Ohio State University, where, among other roles, he served as the graduate associate director of the Digital Media and Composition (DMAC) Institute. His research and teaching focus on texts, markup language, digital scholarly editing, and digital humanities pedagogy; he is the director of the Breckinridge Correspondence and Digital Texts Project at UK. At CELT, Trey collaborates with faculty or larger campus groups on issues related to student engagement and success, technology use, inclusivity and equity, course design, and more. In his role as CELT's Associate Director, he is eager to support a culture of innovative teaching, inclusive learning, and instructional support. Off-campus, Trey practices hot yoga and completed a vinyasa teacher training program in 2016. When he thinks about teaching and learning, he often comes back to Cavafy's "Ithaka."


Dr. Jill Abney
Assistant Director of Presentation, Center for the Enhancement of Learning and Teaching, University of Kentucky

Dr. Jill Abney leads the Presentation U tutoring center and works as a faculty instructional consultant at CELT. She provides support and training for students and faculty seeking to create meaningful learning opportunities through peer-to-peer tutoring and active learning methods. Jill is a British historian and former high school history teacher whose research and interests include gender and social power, rhetoric, and inclusive forms of pedagogy. She received her Ph.D. in history from the University of Kentucky in 2016. Before joining CELT, Jill worked at the University of Southern Mississippi as an Assistant Teaching Professor of History and the Coordinator for Social Studies

Dr. Lou Hirsch
Assistant Professor, Department of Plant Pathology, University of Kentucky

Outside of instruction and undergraduate program administration, Lou’s focus is providing effective science outreach to the community and K-12 school districts throughout Kentucky. Lou is specifically interested in helping science teachers introduce plant pathology research into their classes, and tailor their curricula to the Next Generation Science Standards.  Lou has hosted workshops and symposia with local K-12 science teachers and researchers at regional universities to help structure successful collaborations between educators.  His outreach work is aimed toward improving the quality and dynamism of science education in the Commonwealth and improving the broader impacts of research conducted at the University of Licensure.​