General Information

The theme of this year’s retreat is “Bringing Out the Best in Our Students.” We pride ourselves on having a diverse student population. In our fall 2015 entering cohort of students, over 50% are in the top decile, 17% identified as underrepresented students, 20.5% first generation students. Campus-wide, we have a record 3,151 new international students and 1640 students registered to receive academic support services from Disability Resources and Educational Services (DRES). On our webpage is our promise “to provide our undergraduate students with truly transformative education experiences. Whether these experiences take place in the classroom, in the surrounding community or around the globe, our students leave this campus with the skills, knowledge and the drive to become leaders in their fields and to lead lives of impact in the world." Can we meet the challenges of our diverse student population, while maximizing teaching and learning opportunities in which we can bring out the best in our students?

We are pleased to have Dr. Sheryl Burgstahler, our 2016 Faculty Retreat plenary speaker, to lead us in this discussion. She is the founder and director of the DO-IT (Disabilities, Opportunities, Internetworking, and Technology) Center and affiliate professor in the College of Education at the University of Washington. She is the editor of the book Universal Design in Higher Education: From Principles to Practice PI and Co-PI of many grants from the National Science Foundation. She has presented at national and international conferences that focus on universal design of distance learning, websites and multimedia, computer labs, instruction, student services, and other applications in education. Dr. Burgstahler will present the practice of universal design, an approach where educational products and environments are welcoming, accessible and supportive for all students to succeed.

The retreat will offer interactive activities and video vignettes to learn what our colleagues are doing and to explore new activities to implement. In addition, a number of our exemplary teachers will be demonstrating their strategies in a teaching simulation. And, we are honored to have Dr. Mats Selen, Physics professor and this year’s U.S. Professor of the Year, speak during the lunch hour. This award is given to outstanding undergraduate instructors who excel in teaching and have positively influenced the lives and careers of students. We will hear about his passion and excitement towards teaching and the success his students have achieved.

Goals of the Retreat

The goals for the Annual Faculty Retreat are to build on our collective knowledge about teaching and learning, to share innovative ideas and approaches, and to promote partnerships within and beyond the campus community.


This Retreat is co-sponsored by the Office of the Provost and the Center for Innovation in Teaching & Learning.

Special Acknowledgement to the Faculty Retreat Committee:
Michel Bellini, Cheelan Bo-Linn, Eric Snodgrass, Amy Woods, Robert Baird, Shelly Schmidt, and Joseph Minarik