The Unbounded Classroom: A Symposium on Teaching, Learning and Research for Democratic Participation

November 03, 2021


November 3rd, 4th, and 5th

9:00 am - 12:00 pm (Pacific time)

On-line via Zoom


This symposium hosted scholars and education practitioners who are deeply committed to university learning, teaching, and research that articulates, strengthens, and sustains democratic principles and practices in education. Panelists reflected on the concept of the “unbounded classroom”, and the implications of expansive and consequential approaches to university teaching and to the activation of knowledge for a democratic society. The symposium connected over 100 university scholars and practitioners on the cutting edge of pedagogical invention, revision, elaboration, and disruption in higher learning.

This series of roundtable discussions took place over three half-days with a core group of invited scholars and practitioners from diverse disciplines all sharing an interest in, and commitment to university teaching that engages and guides students in democratic participation. These interests include curricular design, pedagogical purposes and goals, pedagogical skill and efficacy, and broad structural/institutional support for the achievement of the goals of democratic education.  

Students, academics, and practitioners with an interest in democratic education attended as audience members to engage with the panelists, share knowledge, and deepen the conversation.

Program Outline

Wednesday, November 3rd, 9:00 am - 12:00 pm PDT

Topic #1: Democracy and University: Why University Teaching and Learning Matters to Democracy

  • Panelists: Genevieve Fuji-Johnson, Tony Penikett, Christina Parker
  • Moderator: Brenda Morrison

Topic #2: Innovations in the Unbounded Classroom: Course Design, Pedagogic Methods, Evaluation, and Critical Hope

  • Panelists: Martin Laba, Bettina von Lieres, Timothy Shaffer
  • Moderator: Joanna Ashworth

Thursday, November 4th, 9:00 am - 12:00 pm PDT

Topic #3: Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Democratic Participation: Making the Connections

  • Panelists: Paola Ardiles, June Francis, Sume Ndumbe-Eyoh
  • Moderator: Bee Brigidi

Topic #4: Experiential Democracy: Community-Engaged Research and the University as Bridge Builder

  • Panelists: Brenda Morrison, Stuart Poyntz, Kari Grain
  • Moderator: Am Johal

Friday, November 5th, 9:00 am - 12:00 pm PDT

Topic #5: Truth and Reconciliation: Disrupting the Colonial Project inside Academia and Beyond

  • Panelists: Mary Drinkwater, Cliff Atleo, Jessie Williams
  • Moderator: Brenda Morrison

Knowledge synthesis