Spring Perspectives on Teaching Conference


Spring Perspectives on Teaching:
May 9 & 10, 2022

Day 1: Monday May 9, 2022 from 11:00am - 3:00pm
Day 2: Tuesday May 10, 2022 from 1:00pm - 3:30pm

Brief Overview: Spring Perspectives 2022 will offer participants an opportunity to explore strategies for assessment and Universal Design for Learning (UDL). The conference will be offered over two days and highlight keynotes from Dr. Jesse Stommel (University of Denver) on May 9th and Dr. Jeff Preston (King’s University College) on May 10th. The conference will also feature a student panel, interactive workshops, and a faculty showcase. We are also pleased to host an information session on the “Indigenous Learning Bundles” project with Dr. Candace Brunette-Debassige (Teaching Fellow, Western, Faculty of Education).


Day 1: Monday May 9, 2022 (11:00am - 3:00pm)

Welcoming Remarks - 11:00am to 11:15am 

Jeffrey Hutter, Acting Vice-Provost (Academic Programs)
Aisha Haque, Director, Centre for Teaching and Learning

Keynote Day 1 - 11:15am to 12:15pm

Jesse Stommel

Ungrading and Alternative Assessment

Dr. Jesse Stommel, Assistant Professor (Teaching), University of Denver
Moderator: Aisha Haque, Director, Centre for Teaching and Learning

“Ungrading" means raising an eyebrow at grades as a systemic practice, distinct from simply not grading. The word is a present participle, an ongoing process, not a static set of practices. Too many of our approaches to grades treat students like they’re interchangeable and fail to recognize their complexity. Can we imagine flexible approaches to assessment, pedagogies which center intrinsic more than extrinsic motivation, encouraging and supporting learning, rather than policing behavior? We have to design for the least privileged, most marginalized students, the ones more likely to have felt isolated even before the pandemic: disabled students, chronically-ill students, Black students, international students, queer students, those facing housing and food-insecurity, etc. We need to write policies, imagine new ways forward, for students already struggling, already facing exclusion. In this presentation, we'll examine the foundations for our pedagogical approaches, consider the history of grades, examine the bias inherent in many of our standardized systems, and explore methods and approaches for designing assessments that push back against traditional notions of grading.

Dr. Jesse Stommel's Biography

Jesse Stommel, Ph.D., is a faculty member in the Writing Program at University of Denver. He is co-founder of Digital Pedagogy Lab and Hybrid Pedagogy: the journal of critical digital pedagogy, and he earned his Ph.D. from University of Colorado Boulder. Stommel is co-author of An Urgency of Teachers: The Work of Critical Digital Pedagogy, co-editor of Disrupting the Digital Humanities, and co-editor of Critical Digital Pedagogy: a Collection.

An award-winning teacher, Stommel has taught undergraduate and graduate students at large research institutions, liberal arts colleges, and a community college, as well as non-traditional adult students and teachers at all levels of education. He has taught face-to-face, hybrid, online, and several MOOCs, including a Coursera MOOC with over 25,000 students from 161 countries. He is best known for his work as a champion of teachers and students in higher education, and he is an affiliate of the Hope Center for College, Community, and Justice founded by Sara Goldrick-Rab, Ph.D. to support #RealCollege students.

Stommel is a documentary filmmaker and teaches courses about pedagogy, film, and new media. He experiments relentlessly with learning interfaces, both digital and analog, and his research focuses on higher education pedagogy, critical digital pedagogy, and assessment. Stommel was most previously a faculty member at University of Wisconsin-Madison. He has a rascal pup, Emily, a clever cat, Loki, and a badass daughter, Hazel.

Break - 12:15PM to 1:00PM

Panel - 1:00pm to 2:00pm

Students’ Perspectives on Assessment

Moderator: Mike Atkinson, Associate Professor, Psychology and Teaching Fellow, Centre for Teaching and Learning
Student Panelists:
Shania Adam, Health Sciences
Emmanuel Akanbi, Medical Sciences
Gratiana Chen, Neuroscience
Charlotte Lilley, Music
Michaela Yarmol-Matusiak, American Studies

In this session, a panel of undergraduate students will share examples of effective and engaging assessment practices they have experienced at Western as well as practices that have been less successful in supporting their learning. They will also discuss how assessment practices can support academic integrity and student well-being and share their experiences with impactful feedback and alternative forms of assessment.

Session - 2:00PM to 3:00 PM

Sharing our gifts: An Indigenous-led curriculum response at Western University

Candace Brunette-Debassige, Assistant Professor, Education and Teaching Fellow, Centre for Teaching and Learning
Sara Mai Chitty, Curriculum & Pedagogy Advisor, Indigenous Initiatives

This session will introduce participants to a new Indigenous curriculum project at Western University entitled Maatookiiying gaa-miinigoowiziying, or Sharing Our Gifts led by teaching fellow and scholar, Candace Brunette-Debassige in collaboration with the Office of Indigenous Initiatives and Centre for Teaching and Learning. This unique project aims to collaboratively advance the respectful and ethical inclusion of Indigenous ways of knowing in the university classroom through the creation of a digital repository of Indigenous resources available for use by Western University instructors across disciplines. The session will provide background on the vision and purpose of the project, share snippets of digital offerings available in 2022-23, and outline processes for Western instructors to engage in the project over the next year.


Day 2: Tuesday May 10, 2022 (1:00pm - 3:30pm)

Welcoming Remarks - 1:00pm to 1:05pm 

Aisha Haque, Director, Centre for Teaching and Learning

Keynote Day 2 - 1:05pm to 2:15pm

Jeff Preston

Paupers, Prognosis & Paper: Reflecting on the past, present and future of disability in Canadian classrooms

Dr. Jeffrey Preston, Assistant Professor, King's University College at Western University
Moderator: Aisha Haque, Director, Centre for Teaching and Learning

Disability has long been pathologised as a “difference” that must be located, isolated, and rectified. Within the university classroom—a space whose very roots drink from the acrid waters of ableism and cognitive supremacy—instructors, researchers and students continue to grapple with these tasks…with varying degrees of success. A hybrid exploration of research & personal experience, this presentation is centered on untangling the structural and discursive ways we disable students, in and out of the classroom.

Dr. Jeffrey Preston's Biography

Jeff Preston, Ph.D., is an assistant professor of Disability Studies at King's University College at Western University where he teaches classes on disability, popular culture and policy. A long-time advocate and motivational speaker, Jeff's work focuses on the intersection of disability, subjectivity, biopower and culture. Jeff's first book, The Fantasy of Disability, was published in 2016 by Routledge.

Break - 2:15PM to 2:30PM

Concurrent Sessions - Choose One - 2:30pm to 3:30pm

Session A
Using UDL to Overcome Challenges in Assessment

Lisa Aikman, Educational Developer Centre for Teaching and Learning


Please note: This session is limited enrollment for staff/faculty only.

Universal Design for Learning (UDL)* does not need to be overwhelming! In this workshop, we will work to identify areas where students normally struggle in common assessments so that we can target UDL-informed strategies where they are most needed. Participants will work together to evaluate and adapt strategies for building flexibility and variability into assessment. By taking the “plus one approach” to UDL (Tobin and Behling 2018), we will work to ensure course improvement remains sustainable and rewarding for both students and instructors.

Tobin, Thomas J., and Kirsten Behling. 2018. Reach Everyone, Teach Everyone : Universal Design for Learning in Higher Education / [electronic Resource]. First edition. Morgantown: West Virginia University Press.

*For an introduction to UDL strategies for assessment, click here to explore the UDL on Campus guide to assessing variable learners. Alternately, the graphic organizer of UDL guidelines available through cast.org https://udlguidelines.cast.org/

Session B
Faculty Showcase                                              

Review the Faculty Showcases here.


Join us for a Q&A discussion with Western instructors to ask questions and learn about diverse assessment types, approaches to UDL in teaching and course design, and the intersection of the two. Be sure to review their resources and videos beforehand!

Faculty Showcases include:

Anatomy -- Considerations for "lecturing" in an online, asynchronous, large class
Danielle Brewer-Deluce (Kinesiology)
Katelyn Wood (Kinesiology)

Assignment Scaffolding and Differentiating in the course A Pedagogy of Multiliteracies
Rosa Cendros Araujo (Teacher Education Office)

Redesigning undergraduate laboratories with Universal Design of Learning in mind
Oana Birceanu (Physiology and Pharmacology)
Angela Beye (Physiology and Pharmacology)
Anita Woods (Physiology and Pharmacology)

Using Students’ Self Assessed Readiness to Build Professional Competencies
Deanna Friesen (Eduation)

How to Assign 22 Textbooks for a Seminar Class and Survive!
John Hatch (Visual Arts)

Reflecting on the Assessment of Student Perceptions of Ungrading
Katherine Lawless Centre for Global Studies (Huron)
Mandy Penney (Lead Educational Developer, Digital Pedagogies and Writing Across the Curriculum; Centre for Teaching and Learning; University of Alberta)

The Climate Change Challenge: An Assessment to Promote Student Engagement and Action
Katrina Moser (Geography and Environment)
Beth Hundey (CTL and Geography and Environment)

Creating a universal assessment through WileyPlus
Anh Thi Hoai Le (Management & Organizational Studies)

Conference Information

Registration Instructions

  1. Login to Western Connect using your Western username and password.
  2. Go to the Centre for Teaching and Learning section and select Event Calendar.
  3. Search for and select the event you wish to register in. Details and a description of the program will appear.
  4. Select the Register for this Event button and follow instructions to select your sessions of interest.
  5. You will receive an automated confirmation email to your Western email account.

If you have any questions or problems registering for an event, please contact ctl@uwo.ca.


This event is open to all; however, it is designed with instructors in mind.


  • Fall Perspectives - annually in August/September
  • Spring Perspectives - annually in May

What to Expect

Offered twice a year, Perspectives on Teaching is a virtual conference designed to showcase teaching innovations at Western, and introduce instructors to best practices in student-centered instruction which can enhance the student experience. Approximately 300 faculty, graduate student instructors and staff participate in each Perspectives on Teaching conference. 

Previous Conference Programs

Visit our Youtube Channel for keynotes from past conferences.