Message from the Outgoing Conference Director


  • Laura Lukes George Mason University



Dear 2021 ITL Conference Attendees, 

Since 2014, I have served as the director for the Innovations in Teaching and Learning (ITL) conference and have had the joy of working with so many of you over the years.  I have been consistently inspired by the teaching and learning community at Mason—the passion instructors show for supporting student learning experiences and their willingness to share teaching insights (and challenges) with others.   

Today, I write you to share an important announcement for the 2021 ITL conference. 

As you may or may not have heard, this fall, I will be joining the Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences faculty at the University of British Columbia (Vancouver, Canada) in a tenure-track Discipline-Based Education Research (DBER) position.  I will be building on and expanding my prior DBER work in the geosciences and STEM more broadly. 

I am delighted to share with you that Katie Skipper has joined the ITL team as the new 2021 ITL Conference Director.  You may already know Katie from her previous work at INTO Mason and as the Stearns Center’s Faculty Fellow for Language Diversity.   While I shall miss the energizing conversations and idea exchanges of the ITL Conference, I look forward to seeing the next iteration of innovation in the Mason community and ITL. 

If you have any questions about the conference or the Innovations in Teaching and Learning Conference Proceedings please contact and your email will be directed to the ITL Planning Team member who can best assist you.    

Thank you to all the people I have worked with over the years to make ITL happen. 

Wishing you the best, 

Laura Lukes, Ph.D. 

Author Biography

Laura Lukes, George Mason University

Laura Lukes, George Mason University

Laura is both a geologist and a geoscience education researcher.  She has served as an Assistant Director for Teaching Excellence Stearns Center and ITL Conference Director (2014-2021). Her research focuses on how learning environments, teaching practices, and beliefs influence the strategies and tactics students use to manage their own learning in classroom settings (self-regulated models of learning). Laura is an award-winning educator who has experience teaching in a variety of settings (university, community college, K-12, informal, in the field, in person, online) and class sizes (6-95). She also has experience collaborating with faculty and providing training for graduate students in how to incorporate active learning methods into their classrooms.

Prior to joining the Stearns Center in June 2014, she served as an Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellow at the National Science Foundation (NSF) in the Office of Polar Programs. During this time, she served as Director of the Joint Science Education Project (JSEP), an internationally-collaborative field science research experience on the Greenland ice sheet for students and teachers from Greenland, Denmark, and the US. Laura continues to be an active leader in the national and international geoscience education communities. She served as President of the Geoscience Education Research Division (GER) of the National Association of Geoscience Teachers (NAGT) and the chair of the Education Committee of the Geological Society of America (GSA). She received the 2017 Biggs Award for Earth Science Teaching from the Geological Society of America.  

She has served as the ITL Conference Director from 2014-2021.





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