Keynote Speaker

Claire Howell Major, Ph.D.

Professor of Higher Education
University of Alabama

Claire Howell Major is Professor of Higher Education at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Major has extensive teaching experience in higher education. Early in her career, working as a Teaching Assistant and then adjunct faculty member, she taught more than forty sections of developmental studies English, freshman composition, and sophomore literature. During this time, she taught across institutional types, including at a large urban community college, a two-year historically black college and university, a two-year technical institution, a public 4-year institution, and a large research institution. After completing her PhD, she worked as director of a center for teaching, focused specifically on problem-based learning, at a small private four-year religious institution. Her work there involved helping faculty across the university integrate innovative teaching methods into their courses. Now at the University of Alabama, she teaches masters and doctoral level courses in the Higher Education Administration program. She most often teaches courses on college teaching, technology in higher education, and reading research in the field of higher education.

Major’s research interests are in the areas of faculty work, pedagogical approaches, technology for teaching, and online learning. She also focuses on issues of higher education in popular culture and higher education as a field of study. She typically draws on qualitative methods to answer her research questions. She has authored and co-authored several books, including Learning Assessment Techniques: A Handbook for College Faculty (with Elizabeth Barkley published by Jossey-Bass), Online learning: A guide to theory, research, and practice (published by Johns Hopkins University Press), and Collaborative learning techniques: A handbook for college faculty (second education, with Elizabeth Barkley and Pat Cross, published by Jossey-Bass). She has also published books on qualitative research methods. Major also publishes her work in leading education journals, such as Teachers College Record, The Journal of Higher Education, and Research in Higher Education, and Higher Education. She presents her work at national and international conferences.

Major’s professional service also focuses on teaching and learning in higher education. She has created new programs for her college, including an Executive EdD in higher education administration and a Graduate Certificate in College Teaching. She has chaired more than 26 dissertations, has co-chaired an additional 17, and has served on countless committees. She has served on her College’s Assessment Committee, and as an Education Consultant for the College of Community Health Service. She also has served as a mentor for the University of Alabama’s Tide Together mentoring program, which is designed to help doctoral students from underrepresented populations such as first-generation students, students of color, or women in the STEM disciplines acquire the skills they for success in their future careers.

Major holds a Ph.D. in Higher Education from The University of Georgia, an M.A. in English from The University of Alabama at Birmingham, and a B.A. from University of South Alabama.


Breakout Session Speakers

Abby Bigg

CERTI Coordinator
Missouri S&T

Abby Bigg is the Coordinator for the Center for Educational Research and Teaching Innovation at Missouri University of Science and Technology. She supports the teaching arm of the Center for Advancing Faculty Excellence at S&T, which promotes faculty success from “hire to retire”. Abby grew up on Kodiak Island, Alaska and enjoys distance running, food science, baking and card-making.

Mike Dombroski

Instructional Technology Specialist
Cottey College

Mike Dombroski is an instructional technology specialist at Cottey College in Nevada, MO. His interests include VR/AR, formative and summative assessment, interactions of people and technology, and exploring educational uses of technology devices. In his spare time he enjoys biking, cooking, reading, and experimenting with technology.

Mark Gallardo

The S&T Store


Ben Gwynne

Senior School Manager

Ben Gwynne formerly taught middle school English and now works for an education technology company called EVERFI, which creates online curriculum resources for schools at no cost. Last school year, Ben helped over 450 schools in Missouri gain access to curriculum resources that align with state/national standards. He trains teachers, provides them support throughout the year, and shares data with school/district administrators on the qualitative and quantitative impact of EVERFI’s resources.

Diane Hagni

Center for Advancing Faculty Excellence (CAFE)
Missouri S&T

Diane Hagni was the coordinator for the Center for Educational Research and Teaching Innovation (CERTI) at Missouri University of Science and Technology from 2010-2017. She currently works as administrative assistant in the Center for Advancing Faculty Excellence (CAFE), a new center on campus, which has as its mission to provide professional development to faculty from “hire to retire” in the areas of teaching and pedagogy, research and scholarship, and service and leadership.

Victoria Hagni

Instructional Developer
Missouri S&T

Victoria Hagni is an instructional developer in Educational Technology at Missouri S&T.  She specializes in video production and working with instructors to create engaging video content for their courses.  She absolutely loves the art world, the process of creating, and different forms of storytelling. 

Malcolm Hays

Instructional Technologist
Missouri S&T

Malcolm Hays is an instructional technologist for Missouri S&T. This means he is responsible for supporting a large variety of tools to support faculty teaching practices. This includes clickers, the learning management system, online proctoring, video production, and much, much more. Malcolm has also been a key organizer of the TLT conferences at Missouri S&T for over ten years.

Dr. Keeta Holmes

Director of Innovation Learning & Design
University of Missouri-St. Louis


Laurie Myers

Lecturer of Arts, Language, & Philosophy
Missouri S&T

Laurie Myers has had the ultimate privilege of teaching art education and journalism to a wide span of ages of students for almost 30 years. The importance of creative, unique ideas has never been greater. Laurie believe by equipping our students with the Design Thinking Process and Mindset, they can amplify their ideas and increase their impact. STEM to STEAM adds art to
the acronym which easily allows and encourages natural creativity and problem-solving. We are currently a visually, globally, connected society. With opportunities for creativity, hands-on collaboration, and empathetic research, we can empower our students to make a difference in our world.

Dr. Dan Reardon

Associate Professor of English & Technical Communication
Missouri S&T

Dan Reardon is Associate Professor of English at Missouri S&T, where he is the director of composition and departmental advisor.  Dan teaches Science Fiction and Fantasy Literature at Missouri S&T, and is developing a new course on digital game studies.  He has published in higher education and digital games journals.

Elizabeth Reardon

Professional & Continuing Education
Missouri S&T

Beth Reardon works at Missouri S&T Global Learning working in a variety of areas. With over twenty-five years in software programming, data warehousing, and graphic interface design, Beth’s experience in IT informs her work in educational delivery methods.

Dale Sanders

Senior Associate Director of Campus Retail
University Stores


Dr. Jillian Schmidt

Assistant Teaching Professor of Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering
Missouri S&T

Dr. Jillian Schmidt is an Assistant Teaching Professor in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Missouri University of Science and Technology. She teaches primarily first and second-year engineering design courses, and her research interests include team dynamics and incorporation of technology in project based courses.

Dr. Michelle Schwartze

Assistant Teaching Professor of Teacher Education and Certification
Missouri S&T

Michelle Schwartze is currently an Assistant Teaching Professor in the Teacher Education Program at Missouri S & T. She works with the Elementary Education preservice teachers. Prior to that Michelle taught middle school mathematics and science for 13 years and graduated from Illinois State University with her Doctor of Education in Curriculum and Instruction. She loves finding the latest and best teaching and learning technologies so she can pass them on to the future teachers that she works with every day.

Lauren Schweiss



Dr. Kathleen Sheppard

Associate Professor of History & Political Science
Missouri S&T

Dr. Kathleen Sheppard is Associate Professor in the Department of History and Political Science at Missouri S&T.  Her interest in the scholarship of teaching and learning is in digital tools for effective student learning. She works with software like Wikipedia, 3dGamelab, and Twine to engage students in the process of learning through real transactional activities and gamification.  She is a historian of science and studies the history of women in Egyptology.

Dr. B.J. Shrestha

Associate Teaching Professor of Electrical & Computer Engineering
Missouri S&T

Dr. B.J. Shrestha has been teaching various courses since 1996 to the present at the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Missouri University of Science and Technology. Striving for excellence in teaching by way of incorporating innovative approaches is his passion. At the same time, he is very interested and always striving to encourage students to take up the field of science, engineering, technology, and mathematics.

Outside of Educational innovation research, his discipline-based research interest are in the field of image processing, specifically as applied to skin cancer diagnosis, neutron and photon transport, Monte Carlo Simulations.

Previously, he presented a talk on “Building Expectations” in the Teaching and Learning Technology (TLT) Conference during (March 12-13, 2015) Conference, on “Learning to Learn” (TLT) Conference during (March 17-18, 2016) Conference, and on “Striving for Excellence in Teaching Circuit” (TLT) Conference, last year (March 16-17, 2017).

Amy Skyles

Instructional Designer
Missouri S&T

Amy Skyles is an instructional designer at Missouri S&T. She also teaches as an adjunct instructor at East Central College and facilitates a massive open online course (MOOC) on the Canvas Network. She holds a BS in Biological Sciences from Missouri S&T and a Master’s of Education from Drury University. Skyles is also certified as an online educator by the University of Missouri, Columbia (Mizzou Online). Currently, Skyles is a doctoral student at the University of Missouri St. Louis with a research focus on academic integrity in the STEM classroom. She has been in the field of education since 2003 as a junior high school teacher, adjunct instructor for multiple institutions, and instructional designer.

Dr. Jeff Thomas

Associate Teaching Professor of Civil, Architectural, & Environmental Engineering
Missouri S&T

Dr. Jeff Thomas has taught engineering classes at Missouri S&T for over 20 years. He experiments with teaching methods and educational media. People from all over the world spend tens of thousands of hours per year interacting with his online resources.

Roger Weaver

Scholarly Communications Librarian
Missouri S&T

Roger Weaver is currently the Scholarly Communications Librarian for the Missouri University of Science and Technology where he works with faculty and students in the areas of copyright, scholarly publishing, and research data managements. Roger lectures frequently on campus, regionally, and nationally about Scholarly Communications issues.

Allen White

Director of the Center for Online Teaching and Learning
Bacone College

Allen White is in his 15th year in the faculty at Bacone College, teaching Computer Science and upper level Business Mathematics. In 2014, he was challenged by administration to lead the newly developed Center for Online Teaching & Learning. Since that time, he has developed significant expertise in online education. He has presented at the International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education, at the Oklahoma Distance Learning Association, at Quality Matters and was an invited presenter at the Association for Computing Machinery conference for gender equality in computing. He is a QM Certified Course Reviewer, Coordinator and Training Facilitator. In addition, he is heavily involved in the Yes We Must Coalition.

Barb Wilkins

Instructional Designer
Missouri S&T

Barb Wilkins is an instructional designer in Educational Technology at Missouri S&T.  She has a BA in History and a MS for Teachers in Mathematics.  Involved in education since 1999, Barb has taught both history and mathematics in secondary schools, both in the classroom and online.  She has also taught for a number of local colleges and universities, including the S&T Department of Mathematics.  In her role as instructional designer, Barb works with faculty across the S&T campus to develop curriculum, authentic assessment, and ensure course alignment, using research based best practices.

david Wilson

Course Material Manager
The S&T Store