Creating Space for Learning: Reflections on TLISI 2022

TLISI attendees follow the Guided Eco ArtWalk and Discussion with Environmental Graphiti artist Alisa Singer and Pete Marra, Director of the Earth Commons.

For the first time in two years, we were able to hold our May Teaching, Learning and Innovation Summer Institute (TLISI) partially in-person as we broke bread (and wine, and ice cream) and enjoyed some glorious weather on the back patio of the Healey Family Student Center. It was a joy to see both familiar and new faces—albeit masked—of faculty, graduate students, medical educators, and the many staff and AAP who support the enterprise of learning at our university. The institute comprised two days of in-person sessions that were live streamed, as well as two days of completely virtual programming. 

Our theme was Creating Space—an intentionally open, expansive, creative phrase that we hoped would inspire a range of responses to our Call for Session Proposals. We felt this term encompassed physical, virtual, and hybrid spaces for learning; the psychological space within our classes to tend to the social, emotional, and well-being aspects of students; and a welcoming space for all learners to feel that they belong within our classrooms, in our disciplines, and at our university.

Our teaching and learning community responded to this Call by offering sessions with wide-ranging titles such as:

    • Is There Space for a New Normal?
    • Office Hours: The Forgotten Space for Teaching and Learning
    • Creating Space for Students to Heal and Become More Resilient
    • Inclusivity in Undergraduate STEM Courses: Making Space for All Learners

Colleagues from the Library, the Academic Resource Center, the Red House, UIS, the Office of Scholarly Publications, the Maker Hub, and the Prisons and Justice Initiative offered a variety of workshops, roundtable discussions, project showcases and a unique guided ArtWalk and discussion with Environmental ‘Graphiti’ artist Alisa Singer and Director of the Earth Commons, Pete Marra. Alisa Singer uses abstract images to illustrate the science behind the critical climate changes impacting our planet. The series consists of digital paintings, each derived from a chart, graph, map, word, or number relating to key facts or data about climate change. For those who weren’t able to go on the physical walk, you can explore the installation on the Earth Commons website and watch a short YouTube video about Environmental Graphiti to engage with the ideas, science and art. This walking tour complemented the many sustainability—and environmental—education sessions offered at TLISI this year, including Sustainability Pedagogy: Moving Beyond Content, Creating Space for Sustainability: Research and Engaging Learning Outside the Classroom and “Curate Your Core”: Report from a Multidisciplinary Curriculum Pilot on Climate Change.  

CNDLS staff offered some of our core workshops, such as Principles and Practices of Inclusive Pedagogy, Universal Design for Learning: Strategies to Increase Students’ Participation, and Religious and Spiritual Diversity in the Classroom. CNDLS staff also showcased some recent innovations such as the session on Designing a Zombie Apocalypse Simulation for Emergency Disaster Management Students.

If you missed TLISI this year, or want to revisit sessions you attended, members of the Georgetown community will be able to access session recordings housed within DigitalGeorgetown via the TLISI website in coming weeks. Thank you to everyone—our CNDLS and UIS colleagues who supported each in-person and virtual session, the HFSC staff who managed our physical space, the caterers who took care to individually package snacks and lunches for us, and the students, staff, and faculty who presented and participated—for celebrating the many ways we create space for ourselves and others to grow and learn together.