About the ITLC

The Innovations in Teaching & Learning Conference began humbly in 2017 as a winter-session faculty institute on the campus of UMES. Initially open only to UMES faculty and instructional staff, we collectively agreed that the resources we create and share on a regular basis – teaching techniques, grading strategies, the practical applications of the science of learning – expand exponentially when we collaborate with colleagues from other campuses.

Thus, in 2018, the ITLC opened its doors and warmly invited colleagues from the Mid-Atlantic region to join us during a chilly January cold spell for our “Showcasing the Shore” 2-day event. At a cost of $30 for pre-conference workshops (that year: “Six Steps to Implementing Problem-Based Learning in Your Courses” and “Using Technology to Take Back My Life”), and $50 for the daylong concurrent sessions with breakfast and lunch included, we welcomed nearly 150 attendees.

In 2019, we switched the dates to June, the theme to “Make it a Beach Weekend,” and extended our range of invitations to colleagues in New England and the Midwest. Our 170 attendees that year were treated to pre-conference workshops on Internationalizing Curriculum, Assessing Learning Objectives, and Preparing Mindset Intervention Lessons; the debut of the fan-favorite potato challenge; and crab mallets in their swag bags to “hammer out” frustrations.  We kept the crabbiness light that year.

2020 was a unique challenge. Unfortunately, we had to cancel the conference that year. We didn’t have the resources, agility, or equipment to pivot to remote.

But we came back strong in May 2021 with our first-ever virtual conference. We reduced the conference fees to 0, blasted out email invitations to the farthest reaches of the country (California!), and lo and behold, we doubled our registration to nearly 300. That year we introduced a new format, replacing the pre-conference workshops with a day of plenary sessions: “How I Became a Better/Worse Teacher (or Student) Because of the Pandemic”; “Building Bridges Between Walls: Fostering Inclusion Among Socially Diverse Students”; and a Special Session with the Series Editor of Princeton University Press’s Skills for Scholars. On Day 2, we featured a presentation and conversation with two guests, the co-authors of Syllabus, who asked us to consider the genre of that oft-overlooked document that means so much and so little at the same time.

The 2022 ITLC nestled comfortably in the third week of August, giving all of us enough time to prepare for the upcoming semester and enough time to recuperate from the previous one. We had such positive feedback from 2021’s conference that we decided to keep the two-day virtual format and, hence, the free registration. We may never go back! Although we miss the energy of a room full of faculty and education experts, we can’t deny the offset of conversing with colleagues across time zones from the comfort of our respective offices or living rooms.

And now, 2023! Once again, we listened to our colleagues who asked to return to a May date. It seems we all value the chance for deep and immediate reflection at the end of a busy semester. We are delighted. Another change: we’re simplifying a bit and celebrating the tradition of the ITLC with a single-day event this year. Our focus continues to be faculty wellness and well-being, and part of our new mission is respecting our collective need for time off. We hope you spend this post-season day with us.

Take a quick moment to look at some of the highlights from previous years’ conferences and while you’re here, don’t forget to register!

Cynthia Cravens
Cynthia Cravens

Director of the Center for Teaching Excellence | Associate Professor of English
University of Maryland Eastern Shore

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