2023 Symposium on Teaching and Learning

May 15, 2023 | 9:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m. | In-person (SFU Vancouver Campus) and Online

A day of connection, conversation and learning about inclusive teaching at the downtown campus.

Thank you to all who made this year's Symposium a success!



9:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m. | In-person (SFU Vancouver Campus) and Online

Room 1900 (Fletcher Challenge Theatre), Harbour Centre, SFU Vancouver

Inclusive Education for Civic Engagement

Bryan Dewsbury, Florida International University

In this talk we discuss a reimagination of education where all students, regardless of background engage in an experience that prepares them for full democratic participation. In this vein we transcend mere inclusive practices to dream about the kind of society we can be when inclusion is assumed. We will use the example of an introductory STEM course, historically viewed as content-focused experience, to model what civic preparation would look like and its associated possibilities.


About the speaker

Bryan Dewsbury is an Associate Professor of Biology at Florida International University where he also is an Associate Director of the STEM Transformation Institute. He received his Bachelors degree in Biology from Morehouse College in Atlanta, GA, and his Masters and PhD in Biology from Florida International University in Miami, FL. He is the Principal Investigator of the Science Education And Society (SEAS) program, where his team conducts research on the social context of education. He is a Fellow of the John N. Gardner Institute and the RIOS (Racially-Just Inclusive Open Science) institute.

He conducts faculty development and support for institutions interested in transforming their educational practices pertaining to creating inclusive environments and in this regard has worked with over 100 institutions across North America, United Kingdom and West Africa. He is a co-author on the upcoming book 'Norton's Guide to Equity-Minded Teaching' and author of the upcoming book 'What then shall I teach? - Rethinking equity in higher education'. He is the founder of the National Science Foundation (NSF) funded Deep Teaching Residency, a national workshop aimed at supporting faculty in transforming their classroom to more meaningfully incorporate inclusive practices. Bryan is originally from the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago and proudly still calls the twin island republic home.

Website: Bryan Dewsbury, Florida International University

12:00 p.m.–1:15 p.m. | In-person (SFU Vancouver Campus)

Rooms 10-20-30 Concourse Level, Wosk Conference Centre, SFU Vancouver


Roundtable discussions of belonging and Inclusion in learning environments

Complimentary lunch will be provided.

1:15 p.m.–2:30 p.m. | Concurrent Sessions In-person (SFU Vancouver Campus) and Online

Rooms 10-20-30 Concourse Level, Wosk Conference Centre, SFU Vancouver



Teaching Neurodiverse Learners

Elina Birmingham, SFU Department of Education and Director, Autism in Education Lab

In this session, instructors will be introduced to the concepts, strategies, and important considerations for meaningful inclusion of neurodivergent learners in postsecondary courses.  Participants will have the opportunity to (1) gain insight into the challenges and strengths of neurodivergent learners, (2) hear from the Centre for Accessible Learning regarding their role in providing accommodations, and (3) learn from students with lived experiences of neurodiversity about their learning experiences.

Additional Presenter: Ron Snitz, Centre for Accessible Learning; Alana Pace; Shana Harrison

About the speaker

Elina Birmingham's overarching goal of her research is to better understand and support children, youth and adults on the Autism Spectrum.  My lab leads five main programs of research:  creating smart technology using artificial intelligence to support autistic children, youth and adults who experience decreased sound tolerance (sound sensitivity project);  incorporating the perspectives of autistic individuals in research and supporting neurodiversity; improving the university experience of autistic SFU students through the Autism Mentorship Initiative; exploring how autistic individuals visually attend to and interpret information in their environments (eye tracking & social attention research); and examining how facial expression production and interpretation may contribute to difficulties in social interactions between autistic and neurotypical individuals.  I am joining many others in the field of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) research that have started making a concerted effort to incorporate the voices of autistic individuals in the research process, as well as using identity-first language and neurodiversity perspectives.  I work closely with SFU's Autism and Developmental Disabilities Lab towards these goals.  In addition to autism research, I conduct basic research to understand mechanisms of attention and perception in neurotypical populations.

Website: Elina Birmingham, SFU Department of Education and Director, Autism in Education Lab

Building Capacity for Anti-Racist Pedagogy at SFU

Join us for a conversation with SFU faculty who are creating more equitable and inclusive learning environments using principles of anti-racist pedagogy. Instructors will share specific ways they have applied principles of equity, diversity, inclusion, and anti-racist teaching into their classrooms, collaborative work, teaching inquiry projects, and departmental cultures in a variety of disciplines.

About the Faculty Panelists

Anushay Malik is primarily a labor historian with a geographical focus on South Asia. Her teaching and research interests focus on labor movements with particular attention to the space of the city and the way in which it affects worker organization and possibilities. This idea, of possibilities, underlies most of her work and was the main focus of her PhD dissertation that explored how expansive political imaginations, made possible by the end of WWII and decolonization, made workers in Pakistan think that a revolution was possible. She spent some time as a research fellow at the International Institute of Social History in Amsterdam working on a comparative project exploring how Partition in 1947 impacted the labor networks of Bangladeshi, Pakistani and Indian sea faring workers. She moved back to Pakistan in 2014 and joined LUMS (Lahore University of Management Services) as an Assistant Professor where She have been teaching courses on global histories of migration, nationalism in South Asia, labour and urban history and Pakistani history.

Website: Anushay Malik, Visiting Faculty, Department of History

Mark Lechner is a molecular biologist with a research background in human cancer and developmental biology. Dr. Lechner received his B.S. in Microbiology from the University of Notre Dame and conducted his Ph.D. dissertation at the University of Chicago on how certain human viruses such as HPV lead to cancer. His subsequent research efforts were aimed at understanding the mechanisms that control early embryonic development and how genetic errors or environmental factors alter that process and lead to disease. He has special interest in the field of epigenetics, where the interaction between genes and the environment takes place. In 2001, Dr. Lechner was appointed as faculty in the Department of Bioscience & Biotechnology at Drexel University in Philadelphia as an Assistant Professor where he led teaching and research efforts until he joined the Faculty of Health Science at SFU in 2008.

Website: Mark Lechner, University Lecturer and Academic Integrity Advisor, Faculty of Health Sciences

Ouldooz Baghban Karimi, is currently a Lecturer at the School of Computing Science, where she teaches systems and networking courses and conducts research on data, systems, and networks.  After receiving her PhD degree, she joined the networking industry and experienced working in a startup (Cyan) and acquisition by a well-known industry player (Ciena). She started industry involvement by building products, and then moved to solution architecture and integration to run proof-of-concepts(PoC), introducing network virtualization at the edge to international telecommunication providers in Asia, Europe, North America, and South America. She is passionate about computing science education and facilitating progress towards equity, justice, and fair access in the computing science discipline, and through computing science in society. She is active in taking opportunities to serve the community towards diversity and inclusion. She is currently the chair of the Diversity Committee at the School of Computing Science, president of Academic Women at Simon Fraser University, and Diversity and Inclusion Chair at ACM MMSys2023

Website: Ouldooz Baghban Karimi, Lecturer, School of Computing Science

Genevieve LeBaron is Professor and Director, School of Public Policy, at Simon Fraser University's Vancouver campus.

Her award-winning research investigates the business of forced labour in global supply chains and the effectiveness of government, industry, and worker-led strategies to combat it.  Her latest books are Combatting Modern Slavery: Why Labour Governance is Failing and What We Can Do About It (Polity Press, 2020, Winner of the Academy of Management SIM Division’s Best Book Prize) and Fighting Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking: History and Contemporary Policy (Cambridge University Press, 2021, co-edited with David W. Blight and Jessica Pliley). She is the author of over forty academic journal articles and book chapters (her list of publications is here).

LeBaron is Co-Principal Investigator of Re:Structure Lab, a research and policy Lab based across SFU School of Public Policy, Stanford and Yale Universities. 

Website: Genevieve LeBaron, Director and Professor, School of Public Policy

Nicky Didicher (she/elle) is a settler of British and German ancestry born on the territory of the Nipissing First Nation Anishinaabe, covered by the Robinson Huron and Upper Canada treaties. She teaches a wide variety of courses in English literature, and used the HRJ to help her redesign her 300-level children's literature course. She is known for courses with flexible and experimental grading schemes, for finding ways to make student work matter beyond the course, and for having students do mindfulness, dance, sing, and recite poetry in class.

Website: Nicky Didicher, University Lecturer, Department of English

Poem for HRJ by Nicky Didicher

Walking is how the journey starts, and how it goes.
When I was small, I learned to walk quickly, to keep up with
Those whose legs were longer.
In my eyes, my life was full of fear... of bullies, nightmares, teasing classmates,
Of dad's paycheque not lasting 'til September, of
Not being able to tie my shoes,
     not being able to hit the baseball,
           not being able to jump the hurdle.
But I didn't walk in fear. I walked as a protected white child,
In small-town Canada where almost everyone was white:
Noticed, believed, inevitably thought cute.

As I grew older, I lived a similarly safe life below the poverty line,
Never really homeless, enough money for bad food.
I got this job, aged forty-two, and knew myself lucky,
Lucky to escape the sessional pool,
     Lucky to have a love for teaching,
           Lucky to be able to do that teaching well.

But I didn't really know how lucky I'd already been,
To get the scholarships and TAships and degrees,
To feel safe in all those basement suites,
To feel a value in myself in all those years.

I've spent ten years now unpicking at my past,
Hearing and reading what others face, trying to
Be a better teacher,
     Be a better person,
           Be a better friend.

And so I took this extra journey, to heal from racism
To gain some tips for making classrooms anti-racist.
And I did neither!
I learned I had to pick harder at the stitches,
Walk further into self,
Then sit still and listen.
I'm still a bossy white woman,
And I like to get things done.
But I thank the people and the places that have helped me listen.
And walk more slowly.
Walking is how the journey starts, and how it goes.

Showcasing Linguistically Responsive Classrooms

How can linguistic responsiveness contribute to creating a sense of belonging and promote inclusivity in the classroom for all students? This session features SFU faculty who will showcase innovative approaches and evidence-informed strategies to foster an inclusive learning environment, celebrate linguistic diversity, and support academic success. Participants will gain practical ideas that can be applied to their teaching practices and courses.

About the Faculty Panelists

Tara Holland is a Lecturer, cross-appointed in Environmental Science and Geography, and her academic career is focused on teaching. She has taught at Bishop's University, University of Guelph, Quest University Canada, and University of British Columbia. Most recently she held a position as a Science Education Specialist at UBC. Her current research involves assessing the best teaching methods for improving student learning and engagement. She has multidisciplinary interests, and in past positions has researched climate change impacts and adaptation in natural resource sectors, human impacts on coastal environments, and forest fragmentation patterns in Canada. Tara's teaching is informed by her interdisciplinary research, and she loves to challenge students to think critically and to embrace (and enjoy!) the lifelong process of learning.

Website: Tara Holland, Lecturer, School of Environmental Science and Department of Geography

Helene Love, S.J.D. is a lecturer at Simon Fraser University’s School of Criminology. Prior to joining Simon Fraser University, Helene completed her LL.B. and LL.M. at the University of British Columbia and her S.J.D. at the University of Toronto. She worked as a litigator at Stikeman Elliott LLP, then worked in administrative and program development roles at the University of British Columbia Faculty of Law. She has published her research on evidence, ageism, and the criminal justice system in a number of peer reviewed journals including the International Journal of Evidence and Proof, the Canadian Bar Review, and the Canadian Criminal Law Review.

Website: Helene Love, Lecturer, School of Criminology

Alys D. Avalos-Rivera has worked as an English teacher educator, English for Academic Purposes instructor, and curriculum developer in Mexico, The United States, and Canada. As a teacher educator, she has conducted research on the development of foreign language teachers’ identity, focusing on novice in-service teachers. She expanded her research and teaching interests while working as an Academic English lecturer in the University of British Columbia to include the study of academic literacy development among novice writers. At Simon Fraser, her current research and pedagogical interests include novice writers’ intertextuality, the development of novice writers’ identities, and the effects of multi-modal tools on teachers’ feedback. Alys is committed to support her students in their literacy journey in an atmosphere of inclusivity and respect.

Website: Alys D. Avalos-Rivera, Continuing Lecturer, Department of English


Break - 2:30 p.m.-2:45 p.m.

Closing plenary - 2:45 p.m.-4:00 p.m. | In-person (SFU Vancouver Campus) and Online

Room 1900 (Fletcher Challenge Theatre), Harbour Centre, SFU Vancouver

Beyond Good Intentions: Strategies for Measuring Inclusive Teaching and Creating Equitable Learning Environments

Jaclyn Stewart, Professor of Teaching, Department of Chemistry and Associate Dean Academic, Faculty of Science, University of British Columbia

Inclusive educators strive to create learning environments that enable everyone to learn. However, a significant challenge in post-secondary teaching is in supporting the needs of diverse groups of learners who vary in their prior knowledge, beliefs, and learning strategies, all of which can be influenced by social identities and life experiences. Despite the importance of inclusive teaching, we often do not know if our actions are addressing learning barriers and contributing to equity and inclusion. Measuring educational equity provides a concrete indicator of whether we are opening, rather than closing, doors to future learning and careers for our students. In this talk, I will discuss the rationale for measuring educational equity and outline our approach, which includes exploring quantitative sociodemographic differences in course outcomes, perceptions of the classroom climate, and sense of belonging, as well as qualitative studies of students' experiences. Examples will draw from the work of the Canadian Consortium of Science Equity Scholars, a group of educators and researchers dedicated to enhancing equity in post-secondary science at the course level. I will generalize what we have learned to offer practical strategies for educators in any discipline.

About the speaker

Jaclyn J. Stewart is a Professor of Teaching in the Department of Chemistry and the Associate Dean Academic in the Faculty of Science at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver. She has an honours B.Sc. degree in chemistry, a M.Sc. in wood science, and a Ph.D. in educational psychology. She specializes in teaching general chemistry, organic chemistry, and science communication. Her research interests explore how students learn from feedback and STEM education equity. Her current passion is to grow a nationwide community of science educators and researchers to investigate course-level equity and identify inclusive educational practices. She was recently presented the 2022 CIC Award for Chemistry Education from the Chemical Institute of Canada.

Website: Jaclyn J. Stewart, Professor of Teaching, Department of Chemistry and Associate Dean Academic, Faculty of Science, University of British Columbia

Our goal for the symposium is to make the event accessible and welcoming for presenters and participants of all backgrounds, races, ethnicities, abilities, cultures, sexual orientations, genders, languages, ages, as well as those identifying as neurodivergent. Some things you can expect at the symposium include: microphones and virtual access to all sessions, gender neutral washrooms, dietary accommodations, and dedicated quiet rooms (Harbour Centre 1500 and Wosk Conference Centre 310 from 7:30am-5pm) for all participants to take time out of the busy conference environment.


Accessibility Information 



We have Zoom auto-captioning enabled for the presentations. For further details on Zoom and accessibility, please visit this link: https://explore.zoom.us/en/accessibility/





Wheelchair accessible washrooms can be found on the ground floor of Harbour Centre (near the Fletcher Theatre) and the concourse level (near the lunch and concurrent sessions) of the Wosk Centre for Dialogue. 


Gender neutral washrooms can be found on the ground floor of Harbour Centre (near the Fletcher Theatre HC 1900).   


Breastfeeding/Chestfeeding Spaces

Harbour Centre and the Wosk Centre for Dialogue do not have dedicated family or breastfeeding/chestfeeding spaces. However, a chair is located within the second-floor women’s bathroom of Harbour Centre.  


Service Animal Relief Area  

The nearest relief area for service animals is a 5-minute walk from both Harbour Centre and the Wosk Centre for Dialogue. 

Victory Square, 200 W Hastings St, Vancouver, BC V6B 1G8 

Service animal water bowls will be provided.


Low Sensory/Quiet Rooms  

Low Sensory/Quiet rooms will be located in both Harbour Centre and Wosk Centre for Dialogue. 

Room 1500 (Xerox Conference Room), Harbour Centre, SFU Vancouver  

Room 310 (Bentley Briefing Room), Wosk Centre for Dialogue  


Lunch and Refreshments 

Complimentary refreshments and lunch will be provided to all in-person registrants. Registrants with allergies and dietary requirements will have labelled meals set aside by the caterer (halal, gluten free, vegetarian, etc.).  


Wayfinding and Mobility Assistance   

We will have designated staff members at multiple check points within and between Harbour Centre and Wosk Centre for Dialogue. If you have any concerns about your accessibility needs being met, please reach out to us at ceeevent@sfu.ca or contact (778) 710-7245 on the day of the event. 


Scent Policy   

SFU supports a scent-free environment, as scented products can trigger health concers for some people.


How to get to SFU Vancouver Campus


Major public transit lines, the SeaBus, SkyTrain and WestCoast Express terminate at Waterfront Station, located in the historic CP Rail Station on Cordova Street, opposite Simon Fraser University at Harbour Centre. Transit schedules can be found at www.translink.ca. The Centre is also within easy walking distance of all street buses with a terminus in downtown Vancouver.  


Public parking is available at many locations near the Centre. The closest parking lot is at 400 West Cordova Street. For alternate parking locations you can use Parkopedia to see location and parking rate. 

Handy Dart 

If you have a physical, sensory, or cognitive disability and cannot use conventional public transit without assistance, you may be eligible to use HandyDART. Please register or contact Translink as soon as possible.   

Bike Storage 

Lock your bike at Harbour Centre to the left of the 515 West Hastings St. Entrance. You can also find various bike racks on the surrounding sidewalks.  


If you are lost or have trouble locating SFU Harbour Centre Fletcher Theatre or Wosk Centre for Dialogue, please reach out to Harbour Centre Security non-emergency line at (778) 782-7991. 

Videos from the 2021 Symposium

The Journey Toward Blended Design and Delivery: A Tale of Two Pedagogies

May 19, 2021 | Watch the webcast recording (Mediasite)

Supporting Learner Resilience and Mental Health Directly Within the Curriculum

May 19, 2021 | Watch the webcast recording (Mediasite)

Online and Blended Learning in Post-Pandemic Settings

May 20, 2021 | Watch the webcast recording (Mediasite)

Academic Integrity: Lessons Learned from the Pandemic

May 20, 2021 | Watch the webcast recording (Mediasite)

What Is the Right “Blend,” Anyway?

May 20, 2021 | Watch the webcast recording (Mediasite)