This interview in the Scholarship to Practice Series originally aired on June 24, 2021 as part of the University Innovation Alliance’s Innovating Together Podcast, appearing live on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. The transcript of this podcast episode is intended to serve as a guide to the entire conversation, and we encourage you to listen to this podcast episode. You can also access our summary, along with helpful links and audio from this episode.
In the work that I do I define student-centered practices and pedagogy based in the motivational framework called self-determination theory. And what that means is that we focus on three basic psychological needs. If I can really boil it down to what I do to define student-centered pedagogy is to focus on students’ needs and the three are: autonomy, competence and relatedness.
Welcome to Innovating Together podcast produced by the University Innovation Alliance. This is the podcast for busy people in higher education who are looking for the best ideas, inspiration, and leaders to help you improve student success. I’m your host, Bridget Burns.
Welcome. Today we’re having an episode of Scholarship to Practice. And as an administrator, I don’t know about you, but for me I’ve been part of far too many conversations where I hear things like "if only we knew" or "I wonder if," and later on I find out that for most of those topics, there’s actually relevant research that we could have been drawing upon that already existed. Too often, limited time capacity or even academic writing can get in the way. At the UIA, we know that we need to bridge that gap between scholarship and practice if we’re going to stand a chance to improve student success. We all need to be working together leveraging research in the field and identifying where we need more research to support greater innovation in higher ed.
So this show is designed to help bridge that gap by elevating relevant research we all could be using in our daily lives in a short and conversational format. Welcome to Scholarship to Practice.
I’m Dr. Derrick Tillman-Kelly with the University Innovation Alliance, and I’m delighted to co-host this episode of Scholarship to Practice. And so, today we’re joined by Dr. Chantal Levesque-Bristol of Purdue University. Dr. Chantal leads Purdue’s Center for Instructional Excellence and has a primary interest in teaching and learning, motivation, educational psychology, faculty development, and institutional change, all with the lens of student-centered pedagogy. So Dr. Levesque-Bristol, welcome to Scholarship to Practice.
Thank you so much, Bridget and Derrick. I’m so happy to be here for the opportunity. This is great.
Well, we’re delighted to have you, and we always start with just kind of a conversational, person on the street you run into. How do you introduce yourself if it was to either a family member or someone in an elevator so that people understand kind of where you sit in the world, the kinds of things that you research and when people should try and call you?
Yeah, well, that’s a great question, and I try to keep it simple when I talk to people about what I do, because it’s so complex to try to understand motivation. But what I try to tell people is that I research motivation. That’s my research area. And most of the applications are in the domain of education. And what we do is that I work with instructors, whether they’re faculty – tenured-track faculty – or graduate students, and really help them create environments that are positive for students, engaging and what I call autonomy-supportive.
And what that means is that the faculty then create these environments that help all students be more productive, more engaged. But also, be happier and have higher well-being as they’re engaging into this educational process. And that’s what I do with my team at Purdue. This is what I’ve done all throughout my career with my research, and we’ve worked with hundreds of instructors implementing these strategies into their courses to help all students.
That’s great, Chantal. And so, we know that a lot of your work, as I mentioned in your introduction, focuses on being student-centered. And I think in the work that Bridget and I do, most people think that their work is student-centered. What questions do you think one should consider to determine if they’re actually student-centered versus they think about students?
Yeah, great question. So in the work that I do, I define student-centered practices and pedagogy based in the motivational framework called self-determination theory. And what that means is that we focus on three basic psychological needs. If I can really boil it down to what I do to define student-centered pedagogy is to focus on students’ needs. And the three are: autonomy, competence, and relatedness.
And that’s how we know – that’s the questions that we ask literally to the students in surveys but also through observation. And those are the questions we ask the faculty and the instructors that we work with when we’re asking them to think about student-centered pedagogy.
So I want to just spend a little bit of time defining what these terms mean, because we hear a lot about competence in higher education. This one is pretty obvious, and I think that often we focus too much on competence to the exclusion of the other two. But competence is about building mastery and skills, what we kind of do in education naturally. Right? That’s what we go to, we think about.
But we often forget about relatedness and autonomy. And relatedness, here we mean connections with people, the students with the other students, the students with the instructors, and coming out of COVID, that was clearly very important to really understand how students and people learn. So that’s clearly very important.
But also, autonomy. And this one, autonomy, needs a little bit of context. Autonomy means choices and option. It doesn’t mean doing whatever you want to do or free-for-all or chaos. I often refer to it as meaning choice, agency, options within the context. And the context is defined by the instructors, of course. There’s a topic and things that – learning outcomes you want to achieve. But within that, giving students the opportunity for choices and option is really important.
So just to go back to – you know, in education how can you really as an instructor think about am I doing this? It can take on different flavor. It can look very different in a classroom. But what we call autonomy-supportive environments – we’ll see instructors providing choices and option. And it could be in presentation topics. It could be something very simple. It could also be, would you like to express your knowledge in an exam versus a project? In some cases, it could even be that the instructors are going to allow students – invite students – to create questions for an exam which then get translated into a study guide that they will be using to study.
So, you know, in all of this, the students are very engaged. Right? It’s about listening and taking students’ perspective, which is our other concept that we look for. Asking questions and being willing to stop and really listen and take that feedback into consideration, and even change courses or change like sort of the topics that we’re covering in the course. Or the example that we’re using.
It’s allowing for exploration and experimentation instead of simply just providing the answer like a very cookbook recipe. Here’s how it works. Here are the steps. Boom, here’s the answer. It’s allowing students to explore and ask questions and not know right away. Right? When we talk about competence, also, it’s talking about are you scaffolding the learning activities that you’re providing to the students so that they can demonstrate their knowledge but also have the opportunity to try, fail, get some feedback?
So the other thing we look for is really for informational feedback. Right? So where did I go wrong? How can I improve? And what did I do well? And then giving an opportunity for students to try again and continue to learn. And all of these things that we look for really build and contribute to satisfy the basic needs of all three – autonomy, competence and relatedness. Because in doing that, the students really feel like they’re engaged in that process as they’re building their mastery and their competence. And they really feel like the instructor is coming alongside them on their journey to learning. Right? It’s not something that I have the knowledge here and let me put you to the test and you get one try. And if you fail, too bad. You’re done. But it’s you’re coming alongside in that journey.
So those are some of the examples that I can provide and things that we look for when we talk about student-centered learning.
So those are positive ways to try and move toward it, and I do agree with Derrick. Like, everyone says, "Oh, we’re student-centered. Everything we do is student-centered." But I’m just wondering if you have any tactical ways that people can know if they are not. If there are any tells. If there are any ways that someone can self-diagnose if they look at their curriculum or they might be able to, you know, see that they’ve kind of misread what they thought was student-centered.
Yeah. No, a great question. It’s almost like the dark side of education here, or the dark side of psychology. And one thing that I’d like to point out. It’s much more – it’s very difficult to be autonomy-supportive. Right? It’s simple in principle. Right? What I told you is very simple, but it’s difficult to do so because it requires more time, it requires more energy.
So the flip side of that – what is not so positive – is what I would call these controlling practices. And unfortunately, a lot of what we do in education – higher education and otherwise, even from very early on – is what I would consider controlling practices. The policies that are set up in a way that we set up our course to be more efficient, for example. In the name of efficiency or fairness. Sometimes we think it’s going to be fair or more equitable are really not fair, equitable practices. They’re controlling.
And I can give you an example from starting very early on – rewards, gold stars, awards that really pit individuals against each other and this starts very early on. Right? In K through 12. You’re compared to others. Yes, the grading systems which fall into that category of students competing for grades, especially if the grading is done on a curve. Right? And those are things that we see often. Yeah, of course, I’m assessing my students, and they get a grade at the end. But especially when we’re thinking about grades on a curve and pitting students against each other. We’re thinking of A’s as sort of a limited resource. Right? We’re competing for the A’s as if there’s a limited knowledge base. And mastery is limited when in fact it’s not.
But those, especially like in STEM. If we’re thinking about STEM disciplines – very competitive disciplines where the grading process and the competition for those A’s and those high grades really create these instances where students don’t want to collaborate. They don’t want to engage in those student-centered practices because it’s like, well, "If I collaborate with you, I might help you understand something and then you might do better on a test and get my A."
So other examples that are things that we do naturally or sometimes to be efficient or rigorous are also controlling. So heavy workload, heavy homework load in the sense of being rigorous and the course is hard, and we associate hard with learning when in fact it’s not necessarily associated with learning. Points off for lateness or very strict attendance policy, for example, are – failure. Right? You fail if you provide a wrong answer.
We already talked about that with no opportunity for rewriting your work or redoing your work. I mean how often even in our practices do we need to collaborate with others or look up the information or not get it right the first time. Right? And we think it’s normal. We develop. We continue to learn. But someone in higher education, in certain fields especially, it’s like, "No, you didn’t get it right the first time. Therefore, you’re not moving on, or it has a big impact on your grade." So all of these could be considered controlling.
But other things as well is that sometimes we implement or we try to implement practices that are considered student-centered like group work, for example. And we do it poorly. Or we do it without really thinking about why we’re doing the group work.
And a caveat for all this and for all these practices, is that we really need to connect it to the learning outcomes. The instructors really need to be able to ask themselves a question of, "Why am I doing this? What is it that I would like my students to be able to know, do, and appreciate?" and write these into specific learning outcomes that then your activities are connected to.
So a bad way of doing group work, for example, is you have an instructor who may think, "Hey, I’ve heard about group work and active learning strategies, and student-centered is really important. So today I’m going to do group work." So they walk into the classroom and tell their students, "Get together, you, you, you. Now form a group and talk about the material or the content." And that can be perceived as very controlling, because if you have students who are more introverts, for example, they may not be able to think very clearly on the spot. Others might, but some may not. That’s not a very good question, either. Right? Just talk about the material.
So if you don’t think about your questions and how those are connected to your learning outcomes and what you’re trying to accomplish with that particular activity, you’re going to miss the mark. Right? And that’s going to be perceived as something that’s – the students are going to wonder, "Why are we doing this? What’s the assignment? I don’t understand." And then, for some, it’s difficult to work in an environment with other people that they don’t know. So if you’ve not prepared the group to work together, and asked them questions – and sometimes the wrong questions – they’re not comfortable sharing with others yet. Or they may be afraid of saying something wrong or making a mistake. So you have to really build toward those student-centered activities.
But in a nutshell, Bridget, to kind of go back to the question of what are we – what do we do wrong sometimes, is that often the things that we don’t even think about that are sort of the building blocks of education and how we structure our courses can be perceived as controlling. And we really need to reflect on these practices in a student-centered environment.
That’s super helpful, and as someone who earned a biology degree in undergrad, grading on a curve was a thing that happened. And it’s interesting because I do – I can remember some of the feeling that you talked about.
And so, I’m going to pivot us just a little bit. Because in all of the examples you provided, both positive and negative, there felt like there needed to be an intentionality in the way that folks do this work. And so, when I hear you talking about student-centered pedagogy, it’s clear that we want this because it might increase student success. The interesting part, though, is the ways that you talked about it suggested to me that there might be a particular benefit for marginalized or minoritized student populations. And so, I’m wondering if you can articulate any examples that might not feel like teaching but that would demonstrate a student-centered mindset or not, for example.
Yeah. Great question, Derrick, and I really like that you’re using the word mindset. I think that’s critical because it’s really about a mindset shift. You know, ultimately, even when our work is perceived to be about course transformation, we’re changing these courses to be more student-centered, the transformation really occurs in the instructors as well where there’s a transformation, there’s a mind shift that applies not only for the course that they’re teaching but for all that they do that is considered teaching whether it’s in the classroom or outside of the classroom.
So it is outside of just the idea of teaching. Right? So many of these practices – these mindset shifts – can be seen as outside of teaching. And yet, the research shows that these practices, when done well – these student-centered practices – are beneficial for all students but even more so for marginalized populations and minoritized students. And here I’m thinking about this very broadly.
I’ll give you an example that I think will resonate that I hear often – you know, faculty bring to the work that we do and they work with us. They’ll have very strict attendance. It’s kind of like they’re closing the door. Right? If you’re late to the classroom, well, the door will be closed. Don’t enter because this will be really distracting to other students, and it’s not fair. You were not there on time. So again, there’s these issues of fairness or it’s distracting me as an instructor so the door will be closed.
And to me, that’s an example of a very controlling practice that can actually – it’s not really tied to learning outcomes. So when I hear that I ask the faculty, “So why is this a practice, and how is this tied to your learning outcome?” Because if it’s not, then I invite the faculty to really think about changing that practice if you can’t connect it to an outcome. If you could, then we have a different conversation. But if it can’t be connected to learning outcome, then to me it’s like why are you doing this? Because, you know, closing the door – you may have students who are, let’s say, needing a friend to drive them to school. Right? They don’t have a way to get to school. And their ride didn’t show up that day. Or their car broke down. Right? If you’re thinking about students who may not have high social economic status, for example.
Or you are a single mother and the day care was closed today and the sitter can’t come, but you figured it out and you made an effort to get to class, but you’re ten minutes late, and then suddenly that opportunity to learn with others where really you would think that’s where the learning outcomes are going to be met – through assessment and activity – is really taken away from you because you were late.
And then I ask, “When were we late the last time for a meeting or an event?” Right? We do this all the time whether it’s on Zoom or – I mean that it found, it happened. We just, the time in COVID. We were late for Zoom meetings although we didn’t have to go anywhere because we could just do that one thing. We were late and somehow after you graduate, you can simply apologize and say, “Sorry I was late for the meeting. What did I miss?” Right? "So let’s jump into the conversation." So, to me, making this a difference, you know, before graduation while you’re going through school trying to do all these hard things that are often more difficult for minoritized and marginalized students, and that can affect them disproportionately.
So again, focusing on the learning outcomes in group work is another good example of this sort of closing the door effect. Sometimes it’s a little door, and sometimes it’s just a sort of metaphorical door. But there’s other practices like this that are very difficult for some students. Right? Group work is not something that all students are comfortable with. You have to prepare them, and it has to be connected to a learning outcomes. Or speaking up in class may be very difficult for some students, especially in a large classroom.
So those are really the kinds of things that we need to think about that are beyond the teaching practices per se. Sometimes it’s just, how do we set up our syllabus? What is the message in the syllabus? Is that an invitation to learn, or is the syllabus reading more like a contract – a 20-page contract – with all of the things that could go wrong and all of the things that you should not be doing, when learning should be exciting and fun really, ultimately? And that’s really what student-centered practice is trying to kind of bring back. Bring the students’ perspective so that all students can succeed.
That’s super helpful. So I want to talk about mythology in pedagogy. There seems to be – not only does it seem like everyone talks about that they are a student-centered teacher and then they will often describe certain practices as being student-centered, but you’re letting us know we’re not and there’s actually a lot more precision to how you actually can move in that direction. But I’m wondering, like, if there are any myths about student-centered learning that folks should be aware of. I know that you and I had talked in passing about active learning and I thought – I was really struck by what you had to say there. But could you share just one myth that you think people need to understand about student-centered learning relative to that?
Yeah. You know, you mentioned active learning in the context of student-centered learning, and quite often the two are equated or talked about in the same paragraph. And it’s not that that is wrong. Right? Often student-centered practices are active learning. But you see a lot of sort of confusion in the literature. Right? Sometimes active learning practices are associated with higher levels of performance, and other research will show that certain active learning practices like group work did not lead to higher levels of performance.
And in the model that I’m thinking about when I’m thinking about student-centered practices as meeting the basic psychological needs of autonomy, competence, and relatedness, is that active learning – and that’s the myth there – is that active learning does not mean activity. It does not mean chaos in the classroom. Right? That’s not how I would think or diagnose a classroom as being student-centered. If I walk into the classroom and the classroom is loud and there’s activity, it’s not necessarily active learning, because it may not necessarily be student-centered and meet the basic psychological needs of autonomy, competence, and relatedness.
So we talked about group work, for example. That could be a good example. I could walk into a classroom and see group work, but if I assume automatically that that’s active learning, I may be mistaken because active learning to me really needs to come from the activity sort of within. Right? The reflection that the students are doing – there’s activity in the engagement. Right? And that can be very quiet. It can be a very – it’s a very personal experience.
So you can find active learning in very large classrooms. And that’s when sometimes technology as a tool becomes important. So you can think about a 500-level classroom and an instructor asking some very good questions connected to the learning outcomes. Often, very difficult questions. Questions you may not have the answers to. Or nobody has the answers to. And then the students will be using let’s say, a student response system like clickers, or at Purdue we have what we call hot seats. Sort of a back-channel conversation, instant messaging type of thing where you can comment and like others’ comments. And reflect in this way, and it could be very quiet but there’s active learning going on.
So I think one of the myths is that active learning is not activity. It’s not chaos. Right? So that’s sometimes a misconception in that active learning can look very different. It can be happening in large lectures. It can be happening in small classrooms. It can look like group work but it can also look like something very quiet. And it can be some very simple strategies as well. Right? I’m thinking about – I think fair share, which you can do with the use of technology in a large classroom. Pose a question. Have every student think about their answer to that question. Maybe jot something down or use the clicker system to post a comment. Then pair it with maybe the person right next to you. It doesn’t need to be in group. Pair with the person next to you and discuss this answer, for example.
Or it could be also a minute paper. Right? At the end of class, really reflect on what’s still difficult for you to understand and what is clear now from the session that we’ve been through. But it could also be – active learning could also be very complex. It can be very complex strategies like team-based learning, for example. Or something at Purdue that was done actually was very clever – takes a lot of time. You talked about time for student-centered practices. But he actually used this idea of taking a test, making some mistakes and having the opportunity to re-work a problem that you missed. And you call it concept point recovery or CPR. I think it’s just beautifully clever. Right?
So you’re saving the person from this [unintelligible 00:26:16] but giving them another chance, and really what’s very interesting here is that he actually has the student meet with them face to face to actually explain the – select one answer that they got wrong and they can recover their points, but they have to go and meet with him at his office hours with [unintelligible 00:26:39] that relatedness and explain to him that concept. And it’s been – we have lots of research on it. It’s been extremely powerful. So it can be very complex and time-intensive but it doesn’t have to be to build that connection and relatedness.
We have a live user, Ron, LinkedIn. Loving all the practical examples revealing that not everyone is really student-centered. They make the point of what’s worse is sometimes policies at the institution are the opposite of student-centered that are present. So wondering if you wanted to comment on that. If there are any particular policies that for you are kind of like, "Oof, we’ve got to get rid of that," or even a question that an administrator could ask themselves that would help them understand whether they’re really student-centered?
Right. And that’s a great point and absolutely correct. And I think for certain departments – and Derrick you mentioned STEM discipline, like your degree in biology, right? – where grading on a curve is almost like a practice that is just accepted.
And that is one that in my work at the university, I ask questions often and I push hard on. Because you think about this as a policy or just the grade that you need to be able to enter a certain major. And that is a policy at a certain institution or for a certain department. And then it just – you know, for students, let’s say, that were not as prepared or did not have the opportunity to go high school where they had AP credit or that opportunity, they may get in, but then they’re starting kind of behind the start line. Because if you’ve got to compete for those A’s that are perceived to be limited, you’re already behind trying to catch up, which then is kind of a losing proposition.
So I think that one is one that I’m trying to affect now. But there’s a lot of things with the questions that I ask on the admission form, for example, that may be putting some students in some very uncomfortable positions. Right? And you think about the climate that the institution that then, from even just filling out the form for entrance, is perceived to be a controlling practice. So there’s lots of those. Unfortunately, our system has been built to be efficient but not really student-centered. So there’s lots of work to do. That’s the good news. Right? There’s lots of work to do.
And your work has shown that it’s actually possible to make a change. So Derrick, you want to go ahead?
Yeah, and I love that you end it with there’s lots of work to do. And I imagine that lots of our folks listening or watching will say, “Do I want to do all that work?” And so, I guess the question really is are the benefits for those who are willing to do the work to implement the shift towards student-centered pedagogy really worth it?
Yeah, great question. I would say absolutely. And the research really shows it not only for students, but for instructors as well. And yeah, there’s a lot of work to do. It’s hard work, difficult work. But it’s also, I would say, heart work. It’s something that – you know, being student-centered requires dedication and passion and willingness to even ask the question, and confront these practices, and ask the difficult questions, and accept that it's going to be difficult.
But yes, it’s absolutely worth it, because we see for students, you know, that when these environments are created, they do feel the satisfaction of the needs to increase. It’s really about their well-being. So autonomy, competence, relatedness will increase. Their level of self-determined motivation will also increase. And it’s important to put that in context with performance.
Sometimes, you know, controlling practices and the way that we’ve done business will lead to good grades. There will be a good number of students that will perform well and have good grades. But the psychological tax or the psychological hurt that is done by having to go through these programs with these environments that are highly controlling, that’s where we see when the basic needs are not met and the motivation is down. Like, "Performance is high but I’m depressed. I’m anxious." Motivation is down.
So we also see those benefits for the students – higher levels of well-being, lower levels of anxiety, better ability to transfer knowledge, to just engage in learning from a life-long learning perspective. But also, for the instructors. So the instructors that we work with will report that they enjoy teaching more. They enjoy their teaching practices more. They’re also able to really see how they assess or actually think about how their assessment is really more connected to learning as opposed to just like, "Today I’m giving a test." And also, they see it in their students. They see their students being more engaged. They see their students being more critical thinkers and better problem solvers when you implement those practices.
So I think absolutely. Is it easy to do? No. Do you really need to reflect and be intentional and critique your own practice? Yes, absolutely.
Great. OK, so we’re going to land the plane. I want to reference your writing, because you’ve done a lot of really groundbreaking research. Part of how we first connected with you was first in the world and your impact study in your book, Student-Centered Pedagogy in Course Transformation at Scale: Facilitating Faculty Agency to Impact Institutional Change. That is a long title but it’s a very accurate title. But you talk about transformation at scale. What’s the most important factor to achieve transformation and institutional change based on your research?
Great question. Great way to land the plane. You know, it’s really about the people, and I’m going to go back to kind of what I started with and come full circle. The innovation which I discuss in the book is that it’s about people. Focusing on human motivation, whether it’s with the faculty or the students. Right? So in the program that we do in impact – you mentioned impact – we are also student-centered, people-centered with the instructors that we work with. And that’s how we sort of enact that mindset shift. So they can then do the same thing in their coursework with their students. So it’s investing in people.
And the other myth about active learning and something else that I talk about in the book is that it’s not about technology or tools or a type of redesign which has often been a mistake, I think, in sort of the past and when we’ve tried to do this work, is that it’s not about implementing one technology or one design. Because if you do this, you can’t scale it. Because you’re going to have instructors that are going to say, "I don’t like this technology, this particular redesign, flipping my class, for example. That does not apply to my discipline. I can’t do it."
So you can’t scale and you can’t enact the institutional change, because it’s not a common thread. So focusing on the theory and human motivation and talking about those needs of autonomy, competence, and relatedness, and focusing on this and driving it this way and bringing that question constantly to the focus, that’s our commonality. Right? We’re not teaching physics or chemistry or psychology or English. We’re teaching people about these topics. And people are teaching people about these topics. So focusing on our psychological needs and the students’ psychological needs is the key for that transformation to be scalable and that transformation to be institutional. Right?
And we do the same thing if we’re talking about culture change. Or organizational change. And the work that I do has application beyond pedagogy. Right? It has applications also when you recruit faculty, when you retain faculty, when you recruit students and retain students. So that’s really the innovation. Again, a simple idea – focus on people. But very difficult to do well. Sort of like landing a plane. It’s very difficult to do well.
And that makes complete sense. And we don’t want you to leave us without making sure that people can connect with you outside of this conversation, because we know they’ll have questions. They’ll want to learn more about the book. What’s the best way to get in touch?
So I am connected on LinkedIn, and the book is also linked there to my LinkedIn profile. And also, you mentioned the book, it’s published by Stylus, so that’s another way to access the work that I do. But also email works great. So firstname.lastname@example.org, and I’m also on Facebook. So other venues. So those are the ways to reach out. Thank you so much for that opportunity.
Well, we’re delighted to have had you here on the show, and thank you so much for giving us a lot to chew on in terms of thinking and rethinking how we thought we were doing in student-centered pedagogy, diagnosing when we actually have it wrong, changing perspective about some of the mythology that we need to address in our sector. So that was super helpful.
For those at home, if you would like to nominate a scholar or a topic area for future episodes of Scholarship to Practice, please comment below or reach out to myself or actually reach out to Dr. Derrick Tillman Kelly, because he’s going to be the one leading on this particular show. But thank you for being here, and we can’t wait to bring you more conversations that bridge the gap between scholarship and practice. So thank you again. Chantal, this was really wonderful.
Thank you to both of you.
Bios of Guest Luminary and Co-Hosts
Guest Luminary: Dr. Chantal Levesque-Bristol, Executive Director of the Center for Instructional Excellence at Purdue University
Dr. Chantal Levesque-Bristol, a professor of Educational Psychology, has led Purdue University's Center for Instructional Excellence (CIE) since her appointment in 2012. The CIE is part of an institutional team that comprises the Provost's Office, Teaching and Learning Technologies Unit, Institutional Assessment, the Purdue University Library and School of Information Studies, and the Evaluation and Learning Research Center. Dr. Levesque-Bristol received her B.A. in 1995 and Ph.D. in 2000, both in Social Psychology, from the University of Ottawa, Canada. She moved to Rochester, N.Y., and taught at Missouri State University before coming to Purdue. A native French speaker, she completed her course work in French and wrote her doctoral dissertation in English. Dr. Levesque-Bristol's primary areas of interest are teaching and learning, motivation, educational psychology, faculty development, and institutional change. She is the Principal Investigator on a First in the World Grant from the Department of Education.
Co-Host: Bridget Burns, Executive Director, University Innovation Alliance
Dr. Bridget Burns is the founding Executive Director of the University Innovation Alliance (UIA). For the past decade, she has advised university presidents, system chancellors, and state and federal policy leaders on strategies to expand access to higher education, address costs, and promote completion for students of all backgrounds. The UIA was developed during Bridget’s tenure as an American Council on Education (ACE) Fellowship at Arizona State University. She held multiple roles within the Oregon University System, including serving as Chief of Staff and Senior Policy Advisor, where she won the national award for innovation in higher education government relations. She was a National Associate for the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education, and has served on several statewide governing boards including ones governing higher education institutions, financial aid policy, and policy areas impacting children and families.
Co-Host: Derrick Tillman-Kelly, Director, University Innovation Alliance Fellows Program and Network Engagement
Dr. Derrick L. Tillman-Kelly serves as the Director of the UIA Fellows Program and Network Engagement for the University Innovation Alliance. He previously served in multiple roles at The Ohio State University, including as the inaugural UIA Fellow and special assistant to the director of the Center for Higher Education Enterprise. Dr. Tillman-Kelly earned his Ph.D. in educational policy and leadership with a specialization in higher education and student affairs from Ohio State; a master’s degree in higher education and student affairs from Indiana University; and a bachelor’s degree from Illinois Wesleyan University.
About Scholarship to Practice
Scholarship to Practice is an event series that happens live on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. It also becomes a podcast episode. We interview higher education scholars, researchers, and academics that distill how a practitioner or administrator could apply learning in real-time to improve student success. At the UIA, we know that we need to bridge that gap between scholarship and practice if we’re going to stand a chance of improving student success. We all need to work together leveraging research in the field and identifying where we need more research to support greater innovation in higher ed. With its short and conversational format, this show is designed to help bridge that gap by elevating the relevant research we all could be using in our daily lives.
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