Associate Dean, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Barbara Hancin-Bhatt provides leadership for undergraduate academic affairs for the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and has particular interest in international/global studies. She holds appointments in Linguistics and Global Studies, and her research expertise is in second language acquisition. Dr. Hancin-Bhatt was previously Director of Global Studies at Illinois and on the faculty at Penn State University, University of South Carolina, and University of Utah.
Associate Professor, Indiana University Bloomington
Justin Hodgson is an Associate Professor of Digital Rhetoric in the English Department at Indiana University, Director of Online First Year Composition, Founding Editor of the Journal for Undergraduate Multimedia Projects (jumpplus.net), and an Adobe Digital Literacy Thought Leader. He is a former (2014) IU Trustees’ Teaching Award winner, a current faculty fellow in IU’s Institute for Digital Arts and Humanities, and the creative mind behind Making the Jump, a video series focusing on innovations in digital higher education.
For the better part of 15 years, Dr. Hodgson’s research has explored the intersections of rhetorical studies, digital learning and digital pedagogy, play and game theory, and art and aesthetics. He has produced a variety of digital media artifacts as scholarship, published a number of articles on experimental course designs and approaches, and authored Post-Digital Rhetoric and The New Aesthetic (OSUP, March 2019), a scholarly monograph that offers a set of inventive guides for knowing, doing, and making in a post-digital culture. As an educator, Dr. Hodgson creates courses, designs workshops, and builds other learning experiences intended to extend student/participant capacities into and across digital media platforms (ranging from learning the basics of video production and image creation to more advanced nuances of digital storytelling and experience design). He is a husband and father of two, and shares various musings (with varying [in]frequency) at justinhodgson.com.
Robert Paul Malchow
Associate Professor, University of Illinois at Chicago
Robert Paul Malchow is Associate Professor in the Departments of Biological Sciences and Ophthalmology & Visual Science at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Dr. Malchow was designated as a Master Teacher by the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences at UIC in 2015 and as a Master Teaching Scholar by the UIC Center for Teaching and Learning Communities in 2015/2016, and participated in the Scholars for Teaching Excellence Faculty Fellowship Program in 2017/2018. He is a recipient of the UIC Award for Excellence in Teaching, listed as "UIC's foremost peer-reviewed teaching prize in 2010, was designated as a National Academies Education Fellow in the Life Sciences in 2009, has received three Silver Circle Teaching Awards from UIC, most recently in 2019, has been designated "Best Instructor in Biological Sciences" eight times, was recognized with an "Honoring Our Professor's Excellence" (HOPE) award four times, has been a recipient of the UIC Teaching Recognition Program Award twice, and was also given the honor of "UIC Honors College Fellow of the Year" in 2005. Dr. Malchow was also the administrative head of the UIC Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning from 2007 to 2010. Each semester, Dr. Malchow teaches Bios 110 Cells and Organisms to ~460 students, Bios 343 Animal Physiological Systems to ~200 students, Honors 201 seminars ("The Nobel Prize in Medicine / Physiology" in the fall, and "Mind, Body & Spirit: The Neuroscience of Religious Experience" in the spring), and contributes to a number of other neuroscience-related classes each semester.
Dr. Malchow's research focuses on the cellular and molecular mechanisms used by cells in the vertebrate retina to process and shape visual information. His most recent studies explore the molecular mechanisms by which glial cells in the nervous system alter neurotransmission by neurons. In addition to work conducted with undergraduate and graduate students at UIC, he has pursued research in this field of study for the past thirty summers at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Massachusetts. From 2005-2007, Dr. Malchow was a Program Director at the National Science Foundation, handling applications in the area of Animal Sensation & Movement, Computational Neuroscience, and the Science of Learning. Dr. Malchow was also a Visiting Scholar at the University of California, Berkeley in 2017. He currently serves as the Director of the Laboratory of Integrative Neuroscience (LIN) program at UIC overseeing an amalgam of faculty from Chemistry, Philosophy, Psychology and Biology responsible for teaching courses leading to the undergraduate major in Neuroscience.
Professor, Eastern Illinois University
Catherine Polydore (she/her/hers) is professor in the Department of Counseling and Higher Education. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Chemical Technology from Midwestern State University, a master’s degree in Interdisciplinary Studies with an emphasis in Environmental Toxicology and a PhD in Educational Psychology both from Texas Tech University. Polydore has taught at the k-12 level both here and abroad. Her research interests include effective teaching strategies, culturally responsive teaching, and education equity/inclusive excellence. Polydore serves as the chair of EIU’s Making Excellence Inclusive(MEI), and co-chair of EIU’s Faculty Development and Innovation center advisory committee. She has started several initiatives at EIU including the annual RISE (Reaching Inclusivity for Student Excellence) conference, RISE Chats, Lunch with the First, and First Generation Friends and Family. She has been the recipient of multiple awards, most notably 2012-2013 Outstanding Faculty Award from the Office of Minority Affairs, and the 2013, 15, 17 and 19 Achievement and Contribution Award in Teaching. She is originally from the beautiful Nature Island of the Caribbean, Dominica.
Assistant Dean, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Murillo Soranso enjoys working with new students and helping them transition into Illinois and the College of LAS. As director of first year experience, Murillo welcomes new students, coordinates LAS Liftoff, and designs two orientation courses, LAS 101 and LAS 102. Murillo holds an associate degree in computer science from the Community Colleges of Baltimore County, a bachelor’s degree in computer science from Ithaca College, and a master’s degree in higher education administration from Florida International University.