We're on campus and in person for the 2022-2023 school year!  Masks are encouraged for everyone in our buildings (as they likely are in yours), but we are determined to negotiate a way to continue to offer you some nice pastries and coffee before and during our morning seminars.  We will also have hand cleanser and extra masks for anyone requesting them.

In direct response to your requests, we have striven to make the Pro Dev series BETTER THAN EVER!

For the 2022-23 year, we’re continuing to expand our horizons, adding seminars in Biology, Linguistics, examining the war in Ukraine, bringing back favorites in Literature, Ethics, and the essentials in Anti-Racism and Social Equity.  ALL will be presented with the passion and intellectual rigor you expect from our Professional Development Series.

We have also improved and streamlined the registration process for the 2022-23 Series.Fewer links, fewer page jumps, a simpler registration form, and a simple fee schedule of $100 per seminar seat-—no more price tiers!

Register Online

 For more information, please contact the Coordinator of the series, Tim Scherman at t-scherman@neiu.edu or our Office Administrator Hilary Jirka at h-jirka2@neiu.edu.

Individual Tuition

All seminars are offered at a flat rate of $100 per seat, both for individuals and for cohorts of attendees from a school or institution.

Group Tuition

For departments, schools, or districts: If you have a large (20+) group interested in a single seminar or want to request a specially-drafted seminar for your group please contact the Coordinator, Tim Scherman at t-scherman@neiu.edu or Office Administrator Hilary Jirka at h-jirka2@neiu.edu to discuss logistics and pricing, on a case-by-case basis.

Register Now

2022-23 Seminar Offerings

Friday, sept. 16, 2022, 9 a.m.-noon

Serious Clowning

Shakespeare created two kinds of comic characters: the clown and the fool. In this seminar we will explore the way his drama uses these comic creations for serious purposes. From A Midsummer Night’s Dream to Twelfth Night, from Henry IV, Parts 1 & 2 to Hamlet, humor and its instrument, wit, serve as tactics for exploring the deepest issues in these plays. Through selected readings from the above-mentioned works as well as secondary materials we will try to open new perspectives on these familiar characters for use in the classroom.

Bradley Greenburg, English Department

Friday, sept. 23, 2022, 9 a.m.-noon

The Search for the “Good” Story: Exploring the Relationship between Aesthetic Values and Making “Other” Lives Matter

As teachers of literature, we are asked to expose students to the “great” works of literary and cultural history while also facing increasing pressures and a sense of responsibility to “diversify” the works we teach and create a more inclusive curriculum.  A tension often exists between these two charges, as if there is a canon of great works and then a body of works whose function is primarily to serve the purpose of making the curriculum more representative of our population.  What criteria have been used to elevate literary works to canonical status? We will explore ways in our discussion that these sets of criteria exclude works by women writers, writers of color, working-class writers, and gay and lesbian writers; and by extension we will explore ways the development of aesthetic criteria play a role in larger socio-cultural processes that devalue the lives of particular constituencies in our nation, that make other lives matter less. We will explore ways we might need to re-conceptualize aesthetic values in culturally-specific ways to create a brave space for working through the teaching challenges we face.

Timothy Libretti, CAS/English Department

Friday, sept. 30, 2022, 9 a.m.-noon

Biological Rhythms: Hands-On Activity for the Classroom

Circadian rhythms provide a great centralized model system to explore many major aspects of biology. These rhythms are also easily measured and quantified in the classroom providing students with an excellent opportunity for data analysis, critical thinking, and self reflection. There is also a growing body of knowledge demonstrating the central role that these rhythms play in the maintenance of internal homeostasis and proper health. By understanding the biological basis of these rhythms and how alterations in the circadian system can lead to various disease states, students will gain a better understanding of human health and well-being.  We'll cover how to use these data in the classroom to highlight major biological concepts such as evolution, the flow of genetic information within a biological system, genetic heritability and variation, and human health and disease. Teachers will leave with an activity that can be brought directly into the classroom to engage students in active learning and data analysis.

Aaron Schirmer, Biology Department

Friday, Oct. 7, 2022, 9 a.m.-noon

Teaching the War in Ukraine

The Russian attack on Ukraine has led to the largest, most destructive war in Europe since 1945.  What are the long- and short-term causes of the war?  Why has it been so brutal?  How has the war changed the world economy?  What are the implications of the war for refugees and human rights?  These are among the key questions this seminar will address.  We will use perspectives from history, politics, economics, and international law to situate the war in global perspective.  Printed and digital sources useful as instructional material will be included; since the Ukraine war is, perhaps, the first war fully captured on cell phone images and social media, we will examine printed, visual and textual sources useful in teaching the subject.

Charles Steinwedel, Chair, History Department

Friday, Oct. 14, 2022, 9 a.m.-noon

Live the Día: Activating Student Funds of Knowledge Outside the Classroom

This workshop implements linguistic landscape (LL) research in ELA, EL, and FL curriculum. Beginning with an overview of LL research studies, including studies specifically relating to “schoolscapes,” this workshop will help teachers design student-centered, inquiry-based projects for the collection and analysis of authentic language use (realia) in the surrounding LL. The workshop participants will leave the workshop with projects specifically designed to make literacy practices in English and other languages in the real world relevant to their students., resulting in students’ appreciation of why and how some languages are privileged over others.

Richard Hallett, Linguistics Department

Friday, Oct. 21, 2022, 9 a.m.-noon

We Just Need More!

Thanks to social media, our students might write more than they ever did.  What they don't write very well, as a result, is anything we would call a "developed idea," or in the most old-fashioned parlance, "a paragraph."
"Long is boring.“
"No one reads anything longer than a tweet." 
"Besides, an image or meme can say it better than I can write it."

In this seminar, we will discuss the effects of this growing trend and share concrete and successful strategies for getting our students to prefer 1) verbs with MORE letters than "is," 2) sentences with MORE than a single clause, and 3) paragraphs with more than two or three   sentences. Thinking beyond mere success on the AP exam, we'll discuss how to make them want to write that much more.

Tim Scherman, Chair, English Department

Friday, Oct. 28, 2022, 9 a.m.-noon

Classrooms and Racist Language, Stereotypes, and Ideas

Many educators who teach American Studies (history, politics, literature, journalism, culture) grapple with the explicitly racist language, stereotypes, and ideas that proliferate in required content, including iconic texts and poems written by African Americans. The debate about classroom use of the n-word in particular has renewed with vigor in recent years. Is there a legitimate place in the classroom for racist slurs and ideas? Can essential context and content be taught without them? Participants in this seminar will consider diverse perspectives on handling racist slurs, stereotypes, and ideas in the classroom, weigh various methods and data, and discuss the most effective ways to teach the full content of American Studies while also prioritizing an inclusive classroom community that fosters student learning.

Kristen Over, English Department

Friday, Nov. 4, 2022, 9 a.m.-noon

Integrating the Beatles into Language, Literature, and History

Using the example of the Beatles and their language use, attendees of this workshop will engage in hands-on activities to explore new ways of using pop culture singing/lyrics to make English, language arts, and modern cultural history concepts more relevant to students, engaging the students’ curiosity mixed with learning through discovery.  We’ll also benefit from another tool with which to engage students in poetry, dialect variation, and cultural history by presenting dialects and poetry via modern pop-culture.

While the data in this seminar will all be from the Beatles, the techniques taught will be applicable to any musical/lyrical artist.  Students are inherently curious about those who speak/sing differently from themselves or from what is expected. With exploration of musical artists such as the Beatles, they can safely investigate their questions and social differences.

Karen Duchaj, Linguistics Department, 

Friday, Nov. 11, 2022, 9 a.m.-noon

Teaching International Law and War Crimes

The massacre of Ukrainian civilians by Russian soldiers in Bucha is a fresh reminder that war crimes are a continuing concern during military conflict. In this seminar participants will learn about the international laws of war, war crimes, the International Criminal Court, and perhaps most importantly, how such crimes are investigated. The purpose of the seminar, in general terms, is to help participants as they introduce their students to global issues.  More specifically, it will prepare participants to develop their own course materials for teaching European history, War history, and current events like the war going on in the Ukraine.  Participants interested in writing a unit on the war in Ukraine will want to consider Teaching the War in Ukraine (10/7/2022) as well.

Martyn de Bruyn, Political Science Department 

Friday, Jan. 27, 2023, 9 a.m.-noon

What's so small about a microaggression? Mock Spanish after Trump's "Wall"

The world of education continues to evolve in the wake of the murder of George Floyd. With the 1619 Project (now mandated curriculum in Chicago Public Schools and other districts across the country), investigative journalism tackled what mainstream public education long avoided. But even in a blue state like Illinois, popular backlash makes the contemporary moment tricky for educators who teach tomorrow’s young leaders. As of March 2022, 35 states have passed or considered legislation that restricts how or whether teachers can address racial history, examine racism as a system of oppression, or discuss racism as a contemporary social problem.

Racism is pervasive in language as well, via microaggressions which may go undetected by some audiences. Whether you teach history, social studies, language, literature, or science, this seminar offers concrete ways to engage students in robust discussion about American Studies despite the pressures of the historical moment.

Kristen Over, English Department

Denise Cloonan, Department of World Languages and Cultures

Friday, Feb. 10, 2023, 9 a.m.-noon

It’s in our DNA: Using genetic models to better understand life

Genetics is paradoxically a bedrock of our understanding of modern science, but also at its forefront. Often mystified and misunderstood by non-scientists, genetics can play important roles in our everyday lives and can even affect our personal health. While it can be used to explain many things about life on our planet, in this activity, students will gain a deeper and understanding into some specific areas including the inheritance and variation of traits, evidence of common ancestry, adaptation of traits and organisms, and environmental influences on gene expression.

We will cover some human inherited diseases and learn how to research these conditions in modern online databases. Finally, we will introduce participants via hands on activities to the model organism, yeast, which was used to find some of the first cancer related genes in humans. Participants will leave the workshop with the knowledge, background, and instructions to conduct a simple yeast experiment with their students that will demonstrate the important influence of inheritance and environment on genetic phenotype.

Thomas Campbell, Biology Department

Friday, feb. 17, 2023, 9 a.m.-noon

Service Learning in the Classroom: Social Equity and Other Societal Issues

What is Service Learning?  This is an educational approach where students take concepts learned in the classroom and incorporate them into volunteer/service activities to deepen their understanding of what’s being taught.  As a result of service learning, students learn more about the community and themselves while fulfilling a need in the community and meeting classroom or degree requirements--and students in any discipline can participate.

Teachers taking this seminar will be instructed in the benefits of service-learning for high-school students in the academic and professional development in different classes as they prepare for the workforce ("career-readiness") and advanced educational pursuits.  teachers consider ways to use service learning opportunities for enhanced discussions and applied learning outcomes related to social equity, inclusivity, and student engagement in the classroom.

Lisa Hollis-Sawyer and Amanda Dykema-Engblade, Psychology Department

Friday, feb. 24, 2023, 9 a.m.-noon

Reading as Collaboration, Collaboration as Pedagogy

Is there a way to invite students into a collaborative, creative-critical conversation with you, with texts, and with each other–and thus allow for a more empowered sense of their own writerly voices?

This seminar is co-led by Ridgewood High School English teacher/NEIU MA Alum Amanda Patano and NEIU English Department Creative Writing Instructor Olivia Cronk. Patano and Cronk worked together in two graduate courses (Ekphrastic Practices and Critical Writing for Creative Writers) as student and teacher. Here, they present a framework for reading practices as collaboration (between reader and writer) and collaboration as pedagogy (between student(s), teacher(s), texts’ authors–and beyond). Likewise the seminar is a space for discussion and collaboration amongst and between all participants.

The seminar material includes texts for consideration as models or frameworks, writing games, and individual work towards a radical embrace of collaboration with and between students in all types of writing classes.

Olivia Cronk, English Department 

Amanda Patano, English Department, Ridgewood High School

Friday, mar. 10, 2023, 9 a.m.-noon

Class and Supremacist Thought in U.S. Culture: Exploring the De-Valuation of Lives in American Literature, Culture, and Political Economy

Since its inception, the United States, while perhaps aspiring to be “a more perfect union” has been a highly stratified society that has valued some lives over others, to the point of even engaging in the extermination of some populations. Even into this modern era, the U.S. has refused to pass an Equal Rights Amendment to grant women’s equal rights a constitutional basis. Even so, sexual and racial inequity are the subject of some  redress in U.S. politics. The division of U.S. society into a hierarchy of classes, however, not only receives much less (if any) attention, it is often justified, even while it undergirds in many ways the nation’s supremacist cultural value system that values some lives more than others. The institution of U.S. literature has played a role in normalizing and indeed celebrating classed society, working hand in hand with an economic system that generates a system of valuation that sees some lives as mattering more than other—and some not at all. This seminar will take us on a journey through U.S. literary history, charting its classed cultural dimensions that underwrite and ratify supremacist thinking in America as well as our economic value system. We will also explore countercurrents in U.S. literary and cultural history that present alternative class cultural perspectives and value systems.

Timothy Libretti, CAS/English Department

Friday, mar. 31, 2023, 9 a.m.-noon

Supporting English Language Learners in the Higher Education Classroom

Meeting the expectations in the college classroom for students who are English language learners requires unique strategies on the part of the instructor. In this session, we discuss the challenges the academic setting presents on ELLs and how these expectations may impact and be interconnected with students’ ability to listen, read, and write in the academic setting. The impact on instructor practices on students’ social emotional learning (SEL) and the importance of an instructor’s cultural competence will also be addressed. Participants will leave with specific strategies they can use to support their learners.

Ulugbek (Bek) Nurmukhamedov, Senyung Lee, and Gina Wells, TESOL
u-nurmukhamedov@neiu.edus-lee65@neiu.edu, g-wells@neiu.edu

Friday, April 7, 2023, 9 a.m.-noon

Teaching Ethics

This seminar will address some of the issues involved in teaching moral theory in the  high school classroom. We will discuss lessons learned in the field and then examine a few moral theories from the history of ethics.  In our discussion, we will apply these theories to two modern topics---animal rights and designer babies.

Hour 1---Lessons from the high school and college classroom

Hour 2---A few moral theories. We will discuss ways to teach Utilitarianism, Kantian Deontology, Aristotelian Virtue Ethics, and Feminist  Ethics.

Hour 3---Application of these theories to the ethics of our treatment of food animals and the ethics of producing designer babies.

Daniel Milsky, Philosophy Department