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Excellence and Expertise

‘Common goal’ on display at Original Lilly Conference

Miami University hosts event for 41st year

Excellence and Expertise

‘Common goal’ on display at Original Lilly Conference

For more than 40 years, Miami University has been a place for educators from across the country to come together to present evidence-based research on effective teaching and share a passion for helping college students learn.

Approximately 400 participants from 53 different institutions will gather Nov. 17-19 at Armstrong Student Center for the  Original Lilly Conference on College Teaching. The event features workshops, plenary sessions, concurrent sessions, and more over three days.

“The conference welcomes everyone from all disciplines of college teaching who have a common interest in helping students learn well,” said Gregg Wentzell of Miami’s  Center for Teaching Excellence and the director of the Original Lilly Conference. “The focus is on effective teaching. Participants can compare ideas and see what they have in common.”

The conference has become a pre-Thanksgiving tradition at Miami. This is the 41st year the university has hosted the event.

Wentzell estimated 175-200 members of Miami’s faculty will attend this year's conference.

“It’s an invaluable experience, especially for Miami faculty who have the opportunity to come to a prestigious, well-established conference in their own backyard,” Wentzell said. “Many attendees return year after year. The benefits for their own teaching, their departments, and their campuses can be numerous.

Plenary speakers for 2022 include Thomas A. Angelo of the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill Eshelman School (retired); Guy A. Boysen of McKendree University; Rita Kumar of the University of Cincinnati; James M. Lang of Assumption University; and Brenda G. Refaei of the University of Cincinnati Blue Ash College.

Learning at the Lilly Conference doesn’t stop with the sessions or speakers. Participants gather, socialize, and compare notes, both with members from their own institutions and from other colleges and universities.  

“It’s a very friendly, very supportive group of attendees,” Wentzell said. “We’re all in this together to help students learn, to teach the most effectively, and do our best work as academics. We all have that common goal.”

Since the conference is held on Miami’s campus, attendees are able to interact with Miami students, who serve as session chairs and drive shuttle vans.

Wentzell said hosting the Lilly Conference is a feather in the cap for the university.

“It’s one of the oldest and best known,” he said. “We still consider Miami to be the leader and the trendsetter in terms of having a conference of this type.

“We’re proud that we’ve been able to do this for 41 years. We hear all the time how valuable an experience it is in terms of giving attendees fresh ideas, reenergizing them, and keeping them going for the next year.”