2022 Eportfolio Forum Keynote Presenters

2022 Eportfolio Forum

(Dual delivery)

Intersecting life and learning

26-27 October 2022

University of Melbourne [Kulin nation] and Online

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Opening Keynote Speakers:

Cathy N. Davidson, Senior Advisor on Transformation to the Chancellor, The City University of New York (CUNY)

Christina Katopodis, Associate Director of Transformative Learning in the Humanities, CUNY

From the New College Classroom to Everything Else

How do we make the transition from the hierarchical, inequitable, output-driven academy we inherited from the nineteenth century to a higher education that empowers all students to be their own best selves, modeling a more democratic, flourishing, and just society?  How do we make this transition in our own teaching? What about in our methods for grading and evaluation? In this interactive session, Cathy N. Davidson and Christina Katopodis, foremost innovators in higher education and authors of The New College Classroom (Harvard University Press, 2022), present what the latest science of learning tells us about inspiring, effective, and inclusive learning. They share teaching strategies that anyone can adapt easily and effectively in every field. Davidson and Katopodis provide case studies of participatory learning, ungrading, anti-racist pedagogies, and grab-and-go activities that educators around the world are using successfully every day to ensure their students’ lifelong success–and to revitalize their own commitment to a better world.


Cathy N. Davidson is the Senior Advisor on Transformation to the Chancellor of the City University of New York (CUNY), a role which includes work with all twenty-five campuses serving over 500,000 students. She is also the Founding Director of the Futures Initiative and Distinguished Professor of English, as well as the M.A. in Digital Humanities and the M.S. in Data Analysis and Visualization programs at the Graduate Center (CUNY). The author or editor of over twenty books, she has taught at a range of institutions, from community college to the Ivy League. She held two distinguished professor chairs at Duke University, where she taught for twenty-five years and also became the university’s (and the nation’s) first Vice Provost for Interdisciplinary Studies. She is cofounder and codirector of “the world’s first and oldest academic social network,” the Humanities, Arts, Science, and Technology Alliance and Collaboratory (HASTAC.org, known as “Haystack”). Founded in 2002, HASTAC has over 18,000 network members.

Cathy’s many prizewinning books include the classics Revolution and the Word: The Rise of the Novel in America and Closing: The Life and Death of an American Factory (with photographer Bill Bamberger). Most recently, she has concentrated on the science of learning in the “How We Know” Trilogy: Now You See It: How the Brain Science of Attention Will Transform the Way We Live, Work, and LearnThe New Education: How to Revolutionize the University to Prepare Students for a World in Flux; and, co-authored with Christina Katopodis, The New College Classroom (due August 2022).

Cathy has won many awards, prizes, and grants throughout her career including from the Guggenheim Foundation, ACLS, NEH, NSF, the MacArthur Foundation, and others. She is the 2016 recipient of the Ernest L. Boyer Award for “significant contributions to higher education.” She received the Educator of the Year Award (2012) from the World Technology Network and, in 2021, the Council of Colleges of Arts and Sciences presented Davidson with its annual Arts and Sciences Advocacy Award. She has served on the board of directors of Mozilla, was appointed by President Barack Obama to the National Council on the Humanities, and has twice keynoted the Nobel Prize Committee’s Forum on the Future of Learning. She lives in New York City.

Christina Katopodis, PhD, is a Postdoctoral Research Associate and the Associate Director of Transformative Learning in the Humanities, a three-year initiative at the City University of New York (CUNY) supported by the Mellon Foundation. She is the winner of the 2019 Diana Colbert Innovative Teaching Prize and the 2018 Dewey Digital Teaching Award. She has authored or co-authored articles published in ESQ: A Journal of Nineteenth-Century American Literature and CultureISLE: Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and Environment, MLA’s ProfessionHybrid PedagogyInside Higher Ed, and Times Higher Ed.

With Cathy N. Davidson, Katopodis is author of The New College Classroom (Harvard University Press, forthcoming August 30, 2022), a book that, in effect, draws from bell hooks, Audre Lorde, and Paolo Freire to offer practical examples and extensive research on how to actually do active, equitable, inclusive teaching in any classroom, any discipline, at any kind of university, in both introductory and specialized classes.

While Christina was a doctoral student, she co-founded and co-directed Better to Speak, an advocacy group for women and gender-nonconforming adjuncts, and she co-founded Teaching Climate Change in the Humanities, an organization the offers activist resources and reading lists that can be incorporated into any syllabus. She also managed the “Progressive Pedagogy Group” on HASTAC.org, which features a live crowd-sourced bibliography of readings about critical pedagogy. She currently serves on the boards of three professional literary associations and two of their racial justice committees.

Her book project, “Sound Ecologies: Listening to America’s Literary Vibrations from Margaret Fuller to Standing Rock,” centers environmental studies on sound, calling attention to how sounds occupy and claim territory, influencing the health and vitality of local and global soundscapes. Reading across genres, bodies, and public and private spaces, Christina reimagines common reading practices in literary studies to attend to the evolution of sound’s function in the American literary and physical landscape. 

Her website, “The Walden Soundscape,” which received the 2018 Digital Dissertation Award from the New Media Lab at CUNY, examines changing literary insights and representations of human and nonhuman sounds before and after the advent of sound recording technology. Her work has been supported by the Ralph Waldo Emerson Society and the National Science Foundation, and numerous grants from her home institution.

Read about Cathy and Christina’s book here: https://www.hup.harvard.edu/catalog.php?isbn=9780674248854&content=toc

Closing Keynote Speaker:

Gert Biesta, Professor of Public Education, Maynooth University, Ireland, Professor of Educational Theory and Pedagogy, University of Edinburgh, and Adjunct Professor, University of South Australia

How much learning does life need? Reflections on the educational question

It is often said that we live in an age of learning and that our learning should be lifelong. While this may sound positive and encouraging from one angle, closer inspection reveals that the very idea of learning is not without problems and the demand for lifelong learning may be less liberating than how it is often presented. In this presentation, Gert will explore some of the problems with learning and life in more detail. Through this, he will make a case for the importance of the educational question which, as he will argue, should be carefully distinguished from discussions about learning.


Gert Biesta is Professor of Public Education at Maynooth University, Ireland, Professor of Educational Theory and Pedagogy at the University of Edinburg, UK, and Adjunct Professor at the University of South Australia, Adelaide. He writes about educational theory and policy and the philosophy of educational and social research. He is particularly interested in the relationships between education and democracy and the public dimensions of education. Recent work has focused on  teaching, teachers, teacher education, arts education, citizenship education and religious education. Recent books include Educational Research: An Unorthodox Introduction (Bloomsbury 2020) and World-Centred Education: A View for the Present (Routledge 2021). His work has so far been published in 18 different languages.

Read about Gert’s latest book here: