Tutor Development Conference – Fall 2023

Join us in Gordon Commons on Sunday, September 17, for the fall 2023 UW–Madison Tutor Development Conference

The UW–Madison Tutor Development Conference is held each semester by the Learning Support Committee as a free professional development event open to tutors and mentors from participating campus tutoring centers.

The conference aims to provide training and support in topics relating to tutoring, student support and well-being, and creating inclusive educational environments.

The fall 2023 conference will be held at the Gordon Dining and Conference Center from 11:15 a.m. to 2:40 p.m.

Please contact ACTS staff with any accessibility questions or accommodation requests.

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Link to Conference App -Laptop Accessible


Graphic for the Tutor Development Conference with campus imagery inside geometric shapes
  • Date: Sunday, Sept. 17, 2023
  • Time: 11:15 a.m. – 2:40 p.m.
  • Location: Gordon Dining and Conference Center, 770 W. Dayton St.
  • Sponsor: Learning Support Committee
  • Contact: acts@cdo.wisc.edu

Conference Agenda

Time Session Room
11:15 -11:45 am Check-in, lunch Symphony
11:45 am – 12 pm Welcome, overview and land acknowledgment Symphony
12:00 – 12:50 pm Keynote – Making it Stick, Peter Brown Symphony
1:00 -1:45 pm Breakout Sessions – Round 1

  • Making it Stick
  • Motivational Interviewing
  • Building Community in the First 3 Weeks




1:45 – 1:55 pm Break
1:55 – 2:40 pm Breakout Sessions – Round 2

  • Implicit Bias Workshop
  • Student Tutor Panel
  • Faculty Panel




2:40 – 3:00pm Unit Meetings

  • Academic Coaching to Thrive & Succeed (ACTS)
  • University Housing
  • Undergraduate Learning Center (ULC)





Peter Brown is lead author of Make it Stick, The Science of Successful Learning, written with co-authors Henry Roediger and Mark McDaniel, who are cognitive psychologists at Washington University in St. Louis.

Make it Stick, a best-seller published by Harvard University Press, has been translated into 17 foreign languages, and earned an avid following among centers for teaching excellence at colleges and universities, by military trainers, and many others.

James Lang, in The Chronicle of Higher Education, called Make it Stick “the single best work I have encountered on recent findings about the human brain and how we learn.”


Peter made his living as a management consultant and took up writing books as a second career. Make it Stick is his fifth book, and his first foray into writing about science. He lives with his wife Ellen in St. Paul.

Emily Dickmann designs, organizes, and co-facilitates training for the advising community as the Director for Training and Community Development in UW-Madison’s Office of Undergraduate Advising (OUA), a position she has held since 2014. She chairs the Advising Training and Development Team (ATDT) and is active in several other cross-campus learning communities. Before joining the OUA staff, Emily worked as an Assistant Director, academic, and career advisor with the Cross-College Advising Service and Career Exploration Center. She holds a MS in Counseling from UW-Whitewater and a BA in English from UW-Madison.

This workshop will encourage students to identify their social identities and reflect on the various ways those identities become visible or more keenly felt at different times. We will also reflect on how those social identities impact how we interact in our tutoring sessions.

Leah is the Bridge Program Director for the College of Engineering. She strives to help all students succeed in their chosen fields. Leah has been teaching math for over 20 years and continues to find new ways to help students understand. In her free time she enjoys spending time with her husband and two daughters camping and hiking. She also enjoys crochet and taking her mostly well-behaved dog to the dog park or on walks.

Tracii is the new Math Learning Center Director.  She has been teaching across the college mathematics curriculum for over 25 years and especially enjoys helping students to find joy and success in their mathematical endeavors.  Tracii is also excited to share her love for fun mathematics topics (like Fractals!) with students of all ages.  Having moved to Madison from western Colorado in July with her husband, three teenage boys, two dogs, and two cats, Tracii and her family are looking forward to exploring all that Madison has to offer!

Are you a new tutor? Join this session to hear from experienced tutors from across campus as they share advice and ideas for engaging with students, structuring tutoring sessions, responding to challenging questions, and navigating relationships with faculty.

  • Jihyun Hwang is a senior majoring in Biochemistry and has tutored Chemistry 344 and 345.
  • Ashley Pince is a junior majoring in Economics with a certificate in Education Policy Studies and has tutored Math 112, 113, and 114.
  • Owen Brown is a sophomore majoring in Mechanical Engineering and has tutored Chemistry 103.
  • Preston Wong is a graduate student studying Economics and has tutored study and learning skills with the McBurney Disability Resource Center.
  • Clark Cantrall is a graduate student in the College of Engineering pursuing a master of science in Aerospace Engineering. He is currently tutoring math courses with the ACTS office. He has tutored for the Undergraduate Learning Center.
What are faculty doing with students to engage with students and be inclusive in the classroom? What are some best approaches to approach that relationship? Hear from a panel of experienced faculty and instructors, followed by a Q&A.
Panel speakers:

Andrew Lokuta, Ph.D. Teaching Faculty III, Department of Kinesiology, School of Education 

Andrew is an instructor in the large enrollment human physiology courses on this campus (now 1200 students per year). He received his Bachelor of Science in Biology from Saint Francis University (Loretto, PA) in 1988 and his PhD in Biochemistry from the University of Maryland Medical School in 1993.  Andrew came to UW-Madison in July 1994 as a PostDoctoral Research Fellow in the Laboratory of Hector Valdivia. After completing a series of successful research projects that explored controversial topics in cardiovascular physiology and heart failure, he transitioned to full-time teaching in 2001.   

Juanita Diaz, Learning Center Coordinator for Zoo/Bio 101, Department of Integrative Biology
My name is Juanita Diaz and I use she/they pronouns. I am the Learning Center Coordinator for Zoo/Bio 101 and am housed in the Integrative Biology department. I grew up in a tiny, rural town in Central New York and did my undergrad at the State University of New York (SUNY) at Oswego. I received a B.S. in Zoology, with minors in Biocultural Anthropology and Geology, in 2016, then came to UW-Madison for the Integrative Biology Ph.D. program. Throughout undergrad, I worked in a paleoecology lab and did paleontology and geochemistry research. I completely switched fields when I started my Ph.D., and studied evolutionary genomics, focused on a species of copepod (a type of zooplankton) in the Baltic Sea. After 6 years, I decided that I no longer wanted to pursue a PhD and graduated with a M.S. in Integrative Biology in December 2022. One major reason I left the PhD program was that I want to focus on teaching and student support instead of research. I began my current position with Zoo/Bio 101 in January 2023, and I do administrative work and coordinate the learning center (smaller group/individual student support). More broadly, I am interested in making science more accessible and inclusive. I also strive to help students improve their understanding of and confidence with scientific concepts – both to help with the class and as the students continue interacting with science and technology after they finish the class.
Sharon L Thoma – Teaching Professor, Department of Integrative Biology
I am a Teaching Professor in the Integrative Biology Department.  I am the chair of Biology/Zoology 101 and teach in the course each semester.  I also work with the Bradley Learning Community where I teach a roundtable class in the fall and a spring semester class called Nature Fix.  I developed and taught a seminar course for first-generation STEM freshman the past two fall semesters.  My most recent project has been to develop a study abroad course in Iceland, where we will study biology, ecology, and geology; the course should be offered in Summer 2024.
I grew up on a farm in northeast Iowa.  I have a B.S. in Biology from Iowa State University (where I was a first-gen college student) and a Ph.D. in Botany from Michigan State University.  I have been living in Madison for many years, most of them involved in higher education. I love teaching and interacting with students, and am always looking for new ways to connect with students and to improve my courses.
My hobbies include traveling, reading, sewing, weight-lifting, and hiking.  This summer I completed hiking the Ice Age Trail (1127 miles).  I love spending time in nature, and last year became a certified forest-bathing guide.  This fall semester, I will be working with interested students on a nature-based well being plan to help alleviate stress.

New to tutoring? Join this session to discuss and share strategies for creating a comfortable learning environment. Facilitators will share ideas for encouraging students to ask questions and engage in active learning. 


RongXian Yang

My name is RongXian Yang and you can call me Happy! Currently, I am a junior studying Actuarial Science and Risk Management. And this is my second year with the Math Learning Center. Feel free to ask me any questions!

Isaac Barnhill 

I’m Isaac Barnhill, a recent graduate from UW with degrees in physics, astronomy, and math. I have tutored in the Physics Learning Center for three years, and I’m always looking to improve my teaching! Outside of the classroom, I enjoy biking, hiking, and cross-country skiing.

Conference Organizing Committee

The UW–Madison Tutor Development Conference is organized and presented by members of the Learning Support Committee, which is made up of academic support professionals from the following programs:

Academic Coaching to Thrive & Succeed

Center for Academic Excellence

Center for the First-Year Experience

College of Engineering

Department of Chemistry

Department of Mathematics

Department of Physics

Greater University Tutoring Service (GUTS)

University Housing