Innovate@ Symposium

The Innovate@ team, under the direction of Alyson Gill, Associate Provost for Instructional Innovation, invites all full-time UMass Amherst faculty to apply to our Fall 2016 Innovate@ Symposium–month-long workshops designed to put new technologies into the hands of faculty as we explore how to push the limits of the traditional classroom through instructional innovations. This program directly advances the IT Strategic Plan through innovation by giving faculty increased access to technologies in the classroom that allow for innovative teaching and active learning, and by giving faculty more of a voice in technology-related decisions. (2015-16 IT Strategic Plan, Teaching & Learning Action Items, 20)

The Innovate@ Symposium is designed to provide faculty with “hands-on” training in the latest instructional technologies while building a community of scholars who will contribute to a campus innovation think tank throughout the academic year and beyond. During the symposium faculty will explore a wide range of tools including new methods of content delivery, data visualization, peer collaboration and adaptive learning, and will engage with each other, the Innovate@ team, and different areas within IT. At the end of the symposium, the group will try out the technologies in the new experimental classroom on the 7th floor of the W.E.B. Du Bois library. Participation in the symposium will give faculty an understanding of how to use these tools, and they will agree to implement one new tool in a course during the 2016-17 academic year and will participate in an assessment of the tool with their students. Faculty will then come back together once during spring 2017 to discuss their experiences using the new tool. As symposium participants, faculty will be among the first on campus to try new tools as they come through Innovate@ as pilots. As part of an instructional innovation think tank, these faculty will have a continued impact on the direction of innovation at UMass Amherst, serving as bridges between their home departments, IT, and the campus community.

Symposia Dates

Two symposia are planned for the 2016-17 academic year. The Fall dates are Tuesdays and Thursdays in October from 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. with an hour online in the evening, and the Spring 2017 dates are Mondays and Wednesdays in February from 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. with an hour online in the evening.

Symposia Components

Attend an Innovate@ Symposium (Fall 2016 or Spring 2017)
Implement one tool from the symposium into a course during 2016-17
Participate along with students in an assessment of the efficacy of this tool
Attend a 1/2 day retreat on campus in May 2017 to discuss the impact of the tools and lessons learned
Serve as a member of a new instructional innovation think tank throughout the 2016-17 year and beyond (meeting 1-2 times throughout the year)

We are interested in bringing together a broad range of faculty who have different experience levels. These symposia are particularly suitable for faculty who are trying to solve a particular problem in their course (student engagement, retention, personalization, visualization of data). All levels of technical experience are welcome. Space is limited in each session to 15.
The application deadline for February 2017 is January 15, 2017.

Symposium Compensation

A stipend of $500 will be paid to participants to compensate them for their time commitment.

Questions about the symposia should be directed to Alyson Gill, Associate Provost for Instructional Innovation ( or Fred Zinn, Associate Director, IT (