Winter Retreat

2017 Winter Retreat with Diana Hess and Paula McAvoy

The Winter Retreat is a half day event, sponsored by UW-Madison Teaching Academy, and its partners, the Vice-Provost Office for Teaching and Learning, Office of Professional & Instructional Development, Madison Teaching and Learning Excellence Program, and DoIT Academic Technology. Right before the Spring semester starts, we meet for a morning to share ideas on teaching and learning topics that have been creating a buzz on campus. If you are interested in helping to plan or facilitate the Winter Retreat, please contact





2021: Supporting Student Mental Health in Times of Covid and beyond  Friday, February 5, 9-11am, featured undergraduate student videos of what supported them during this past year of remote instruction followed by a panel (Sarah Nolan, Director of Mental Health Services at UHS, Val Donovan, Mental Health Promotion and Suicide Prevention Specialist at UHS, Claire Barrett, Healthy Academics Specialist at UHS, and Wren Singer, Associate Vice Provost and Director of Undergraduate Advising and Career Services). View the recorded event (1h23m), read the participant guide, and watch student videos (11m).

2020: Inclusive Teaching – Gender Inclusivity Friday, January 31, 8:30-11am, DeLuca Forum, WID. Warren Scherer and Tiffany Lee from the Gender and Sexuality Campus Center led a workshop and discussion with share out and personal reflection. See agenda here.

2019: Fostering the Wisconsin Experience: Purposeful Action Friday, January 25th, 8:30am-11am, DeLuca Forum, WID.  Over 70 attended our fourth and final deeper dive considering ways to foster the elements of the Wisconsin Experience, “Purposeful Action.” Andrea Hicks spoke, based on her paper Using Community‐Based Learning to Teach Environmental Sustainability Engineering: Notes from the Classroom, then the group focused on ways to motivate and develop self-regulated learners through engagement that aligns their interests and applies their learning in the service of authentic local and world problems.

2018: Fostering the Wisconsin Experience: Empathy and Humility. January 26th, 8:30am-12pm, DeLuca Forum, Wisconsin Institute for Discovery The 2018 Winter Retreat dug into how to foster Empathy and Humility in our work and teaching. With a dynamic keynote speaker, small and large group discussions, and a panel of educators who will share examples, participants left with practical ideas on fostering empathy and humility that fit their unique positions on campus. View the Winter Retreat Agenda and Collaborative notes: 50 Ways to Foster Empathy and Humility

2017: Teaching in Divisive Times In an increasingly-polarized culture, teaching and learning are being framed as ideological actions. How do we navigate this in our course spaces? Is discussion an important part of learning? What are best practices for having discussion go well? How do we get students to prepare? This year’s Winter Retreat discussed Teaching in Divisive Times and featured the School of Education dean Diana Hess, and fellow Grawemeyer Award in Education winner Paula McAvoy, who shared why discussion of controversial topics is needed now more than ever, and how to structure them in a college classroom. In this interactive session, Diana Hess and Paula McAvoy argued that universities are important institutions for preparing people for democratic life and that classroom discussion is an essential feature of that education. Keeping democratic aims at the forefront of our teaching practice becomes even more important as our country becomes increasingly divided by ideology and partisan politics. Participants engaged in a small group discussion activity that helped them a) experience and reflect upon the features of high quality classroom discussion and b) think more deeply about the democratic aims of the university. View the event agenda here.

2016: Beyond Rate My Professors: The Future of Course and Instructor Evaluation. Thursday, January 21st from 8–1:00pm in Union South. At a time of increased accountability, universities are under pressure to build effective methods for evaluating courses and instructors and to make data available to faculty, academic planners, students, and other stakeholders. The UW Teaching Academy 2016 Winter Retreat will tackle these thorny issues. A white paper authored by David Baum and the Teaching Academy Executive Committee for developing a supplemental course evaluation system built around the established UW-Madison Essential Learning Outcomes was presented, and a panel discussed broader issues of the design, implementation, and interpretation of evaluations of student learning, including departmental course/instructor evaluations.

2015: Identifying Communities of Practice. Friday, January 16th from 8:30–noon in Union South.

2014: RELATE: Rethinking Effective Learning and Teaching Engagement. Friday, January 17th, 8:00–1:00 in Union South. Program.
2013: Learning to Notice Professor Richard Halverson, from the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis, gave a keynote on Learning to Notice in a College Classroom,  sharing strategies for constructing peer groups for ongoing teaching improvement, and using data about student learning and behaviors to inform changes in our teaching. Mr. Christopher Carlson-Dakes also gave a talk on The Peer Review Process: What’s in it for me? 2012: Using Community Service Learning to Integrate the Wisconsin Idea into Our Teaching and Learning. Wednesday, January 18, 2012 2011: Keeping academic integrity alive and well 2010: Internationalizing the Curriculum, January 14 2009: The Performance Gap at UW-Madison 2008: What’s Right in Teaching? Exercises in Appreciative Inquiry to enrich teaching and learning. 2007: The Heart of a Teacher