About our Keynote Speakers


Katharyn A. May, Dean of the School of Nursing

The Mouse That Jumped the Chasm in One Leap OR How Nursing Faculty at Wisconsin Flipped the Whole School into Active Learning in a Single Bound

Katharyn May HeadshotSometimes innovation happens fast in unexpected places. The School of Nursing at Wisconsin has a long tradition of educational innovation and excellence, but faculty were challenged in their goal of adopting evidence-based pedagogy in large enrollment theoretical courses because the learning spaces weren’t actually designed for learning. However, when it became clear that the dream of a facility designed for academic nursing’s purposes was going to become a reality, nursing faculty decided not to just “flip the classroom” but “flip the school”. They set a course to test our active learning approaches and rethink learning spaces for the future, and in so doing, raised the bar for themselves, their students and perhaps for health professions education in general. The results of that bold initiative are now evident in the new home for nursing at Wisconsin – Signe Skott Cooper Hall – and in the new culture of learning that is taking hold there.

Before joining the University of Wisconsin–Madison faculty in 2001, Dean May served as professor and director of the School of Nursing at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver and as president of the Canadian Association of University Schools of Nursing—a group that steers the country's 58 colleges and schools of nursing. Earlier, she held faculty and administrative posts at the University of California, San Francisco, and Vanderbilt University. At UW–Madison, May is overseeing the construction of Signe Skott Cooper Hall, the new School of Nursing building. The School of Nursing has nationally recognized programs in pain management, patient health-seeking behaviors, and the application of information technology in health care. May says the most pressing concern driving her profession is a worldwide shortage of nurses, a situation expected to worsen in coming years. At the same time, the profession is changing and becoming more complex, putting more responsibility on schools of nursing. Dean May is an elected Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing. She earned her bachelors degree in nursing and psychology from Duke University, and the masters and doctoral degrees in nursing science from the University of California, San Francisco. Her research expertise is in the social psychological experience of pregnancy with emphasis on new fatherhood and the impacts of high-risk pregnancy on families. Currently, her research is focused on strategic leadership in nursing education.


Peter E. Doolittle, Assistant Provost for Teaching and Learning, Virginia Tech

Active Learning and Innovation: Leveraging Research, Not Rhetoric, in Pursuit of Deep and Flexible Learning

Peter Doolittle HeadshotTeaching. Learning. Change. Innovation. What is the relationship between these processes and how do we leverage them to foster deep and flexible student learning? There are a lot of ideas floating within the educational ether – some bogus, some beneficial. In order for individuals and institutions to navigate this ether effectively, we must ground our choices in established and emerging educational research. As we find ourselves in a sea of change, is it a case of “the more things change, the more they stay the same” (Karr) or “progress is impossible without change” (Shaw)? Let’s explore.

Peter Doolittle is Assistant Provost for Teaching and Learning, Executive Director of the Center for Instructional Development and Educational Research (CIDER), and Professor of Educational Psychology in the Department of Learning Sciences and Technologies at Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Virginia. His academic background includes 25 years teaching undergraduate and graduate students in public and private universities; using traditional, blended, and online formats; across several subject areas, including advanced educational psychology, cognition and instruction, constructivism and education, and college teaching. In addition, he created the International Journal of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education (IJTLHE), the Conference on Higher Education Pedagogy (CHEP), and the Mastering Flipped Classes: Building Better Learning Environments (MFC) professional development seminars.

At Virginia Tech, he was awarded the University Alumni Award for Excellence in Teaching, the Certificate of Teaching Excellence and Graduate Student Advising Award from the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences, and the Outstanding Teaching Award from the School of Education. His current research focus includes the investigation of working memory capacity and learning efficacy in multimedia learning environments. He has published more than 40 peer-reviewed articles and chapters, provided over 50 keynote and invited addresses, presented at over 100 conference presentations, and received in excess of $2 million in grants.