CNM Faculty Conference Offers Impressive Program

July 16, 2015

One of the nation’s leading experts on student engagement and retention will be the keynote speaker for what’s believed to be the most comprehensive and ambitious professional development event for faculty that’s ever been hosted by CNM.

The First Annual Conference on Teaching and Learning at CNM will be held on Oct. 19 from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Albuquerque Convention Center, with 62 breakout sessions held throughout the day. The event will begin with a continental breakfast at 8 a.m., followed by the keynote address from Dr. Vincent Tinto, a distinguished professor at Syracuse University and a renowned expert on student engagement and retention, especially related to low-income and underserved populations.

“Unless there was an event that predates my 21 years here, I don’t believe anything like this, on this scale, has ever been tried here,” said John Wright, a full-time faculty member in the School of Adult & General Education and a co-chair for CNM’s Cooperative for Teaching & Learning (CTL), which is organizing the event. “We just wanted to provide a means for faculty to come together and share with each other what they know and what they do. We were surprised by the number of proposals we received. It was beyond our expectations.”

There will be 79 presenters or facilitators for the 62 breakout sessions, most of whom are CNM faculty members. Here’s a small sampling of the breakout sessions: “Transforming Teaching: Moving Toward an Active Classroom,” “What Students Want from Their Instructors,” “Universal Design: Strategies for the Classroom,” “Web Enhancing Your Traditional Class,” “Engendering Ethos in Student Writing: A Professional and Academic Trajectory to Move Them Forward,” and “Dream On? Reflections on the Past, Present and Future of Faculty Scholarship at CNM.”

“We didn’t really pursue a theme for this conference, but student engagement and retention emerged as the popular topics,” Wright said. “What people here are interested in is striving to make what we do in the classroom more effective and better. From assessment to working with special needs students to diversity issues to teaching technology or distance learning, we received proposals that cover all of these areas. The breadth of the program speaks well of not only CNM faculty, but everybody connected to student learning and student success at CNM.”

The keynote speaker, Dr. Tinto, is a distinguished professor in the School of Education at Syracuse. He has written extensively on student retention and engagement, and has consulted widely with two- and four-year institutions of higher education and federal and state agencies. “He’s a huge name in (student retention and engagement),” Wright said. 

Wright said that the CTL hopes the conference is well-received by faculty and will continue as an annual event.

“The CTL has been looking at different ways to engage faculty and offer them more professional development opportunities,” Wright said. “I hope everybody who attends the conference will find something of value that they can take back to their classroom and back to their everyday work at CNM.

“Our hope is that everybody involved finds enough value in it to keep this going in the years ahead. Our hope is that this will be something that faculty put on their calendar as something they want to participate in every year.”

This CTL-sponsored event is one of many efforts by the CTL to provide CNM faculty with professional development opportunities. Any CNM faculty member unfamiliar with the CTL should contact their CTL representative. For more information, visit

The First Annual Conference on Teaching and Learning at CNM received some funding support from CNM Connect.