2024 Conference Keynote Talks

Learn more about the nationally renowned experts scheduled to speak at the upcoming Advising Network Conference.

"Loving Learning, But Maybe Not Schoolishness" - Susan D. Blum



In this talk, Susan D Blum introduces the idea of “schoolishness,” contrasting the sometimes-painful and sometimes-failed learning that occurs in school with the learning that may happen more readily outside school. Centered around contrasts between “alienation” and “authenticity,” the talk includes Blum’s ethnographic research on students’ learning in and out of school, suggesting some less-schoolish practices that many educators are enacting, and ways students may be encouraged to embrace the adventure of learning.

Susan D. Blum is a professor of anthropology at the University of Notre Dame. Her work has roamed around the fields of cultural, linguistic, and psychological anthropology, in the context of China but most recently in the quest to understand the nature of institutional education. She is the author of a trilogy about education: Schoolishness: Alienated Education and the Quest for Authentic, Joyful Learning, which will be published in May 2024; "I Love Learning; I Hate School": An Anthropology of College (2016); and My Word! Plagiarism and College Culture (2009), all published by Cornell University Press, and is the editor of the collection Ungrading: Why Rating Students Undermines Learning (and What to Do Instead) (West Virginia University Press, 2020). She has taught at a range of institutions of higher education for thirty-five years, and at Notre Dame since 2000.

"Learner-Centered Advising: The Role of Attention (and Distraction)" - James M. Lang

The model of advising-as-teaching offers a productive way to understand the important role that advisors play in a student's learning journey. Marc Lowenstein and others have emphasized that this model centers the learner just as excellent teaching does. But the arguments that have been made on behalf of this model have left out an essential feature of good teaching: the cultivation and support of attention. No learning happens without attention, whether in the classroom or in the advising space. In this session, we will consider how advisors can apply some attention-based teaching strategies that inform good teaching practice as they work with their advisees.
James M. Lang is a Professor of Practice at the Kaneb Center for Teaching Excellence at the University of Notre Dame, and an Emeritus Professor of English at Assumption University in Worcester, MA. He is the author of six books, the most recent of which are Distracted: Why Students Can’t Focus and What You Can Do About It, Small Teaching: Everyday Lessons from the Science of Learning, and Cheating Lessons: Learning from Academic Dishonesty. A sought-after speaker, he has given talks and workshops on teaching in higher education at more than two hundred colleges, universities, and schools in the U.S. and abroad, and consulted for the United Nations on the development of teaching materials in ethics and integrity for college faculty. He writes a regular column on teaching and learning for The Chronicle of Higher Education, and co-edits a book series on teaching and learning for the University of Oklahoma Press.