STEM Symposium Fall 2023

Celebrating and Empowering Faculty

October 3, 2023
9:00 am - 3:30 pm
Newcomb Hall, South Meeting Room


UVA STEM faculty are invited to join their colleagues for conversation, inspiration, and ideas about equitable and inclusive teaching.

Workshop and keynote will be presented by Grenmarie Agresar, Ph.D., Biomedical Engineering and Scientific Computation.

Morning Workshop

Time Event
8:45 AM Check-in, Coffee and Pastries
9:00 AM Welcome from Brie Gertler, Vice Provost for Academic Affairs
9:10 AM

Workshop - “Equitable and Inclusive Assessment Practices in STEM Courses” led by guest facilitator Grenmarie Agresar, Ph.D.

Assistant Director for Strategic Initiatives, Center for Research on Learning & Teaching in Engineering, University of Michigan.

12:00 PM

Lunch, provided on-site

Please feel free to step outside or to stay with us in the meeting room.


Afternoon Sessions

Time Event
1:00 PM Welcome and Keynote Introduction from Christa Davis Acampora, Dean, College and Graduate School of Arts & Sciences
1:10 PM Keynote Address - “Equity and Rigor in STEM: Can We Have Both?” by guest presenter Grenmarie Agresar, Ph.D.
2:00 PM 

Innovate and Learn Together

Connect with colleagues to share innovative student learning assessment strategies used across Grounds and contribute to our collective knowledge about equitable teaching practices.

Roundtable sharing of assessment strategies and practices led by:

  • Brian Helmke, Biomedical Engineering
  • Daniel “DJ” James, Mathematics
  • Jessamyn Manson, Biology
  • Lisa Morkowchuk & Alicia Frantz, Chemistry
  • Diana Morris, Applied Mathematics
  • Chris Neu, Physics


Event concludes at 3:30pm.

If you have any questions about the 2023 STEM Symposium, please contact Shannon Mackey.

About Grenmarie Agresar, Ph.D.

Dr. Grenmarie AgresarDr. Grenmarie Agresar is Associate Director for Strategic Initiatives at the Center for Research on     Teaching and Learning in Engineering (CRLT-Engin) at the University of Michigan. She earned a B.S.E. in Aerospace Engineering in Aerospace Engineering, a Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering and Scientific Computation, and an M.A. in Education all from the University of Michigan. After 4 years as a research fellow in computational modeling of cellular systems, which included time at the University of Tübingen in Germany, she changed her focus to STEM education and has over 10 years of teaching experience. In her role at CRLT-Engin, she collaborates with administrators, departments, and individual faculty members to implement impactful pedagogical practices in engineering education. Current projects include co-designing and co-leading a faculty program on teaching Equity-Centered Engineering, a Community of Practice on Equitable Assessments, and assisting three engineering departments with curricular enhancement projects.

Descriptions of Grenmarie Agresar’s presentations

Workshop: “Equitable and Inclusive Assessment Practices in STEM Courses”

9:00 am – 1:00 pm

Assessments (whether they be exams, quizzes, homework, projects, or other assignments) affect students’ motivations and attitudes toward learning. More importantly, they ultimately determine who progresses and who is held back in courses. In this workshop, we will examine principles and practices to design assessments that more accurately measure student learning in ways that are inclusive and equitable. Participants will reflect on how their views and assumptions affect their assessment methods. They will also have the opportunity to look at examples, exchange ideas with colleagues, and apply equity-focused elements to individual assignments, as well as their overall assessment plan in their own courses. Participants are encouraged to bring a syllabus and a specific assignment/assessment to work on.


Keynote Address: "Equity and Rigor in STEM: Can We Have Both?"

1:00 pm – 2:00 pm

A persistent barrier to equity and inclusion efforts in STEM fields is the fear that we might lose “rigor” in our courses and curricula and that we may graduate students who are less competent. In this talk, we will unpack this tension, examining fundamental ideologies and some of the historical context behind it. We will also address common misconceptions about rigor and engage with growing evidence that rigorous teaching practices in STEM are, in fact, equity-focused.

Collage of photos from the stem symposium showing participants interacting, doing group activities.