faculty member and 7 students, all smiling, in a circle with their arms reaching toward the center and their hands stacked on top of each other's

Spring 2022 Teaching Effectiveness Institute

A Pedagogy of Kindness

Thursday, January 13, 2022
9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

by Cate Denial, Knox College

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Kindness not only has a place in higher education, but is vital to pedagogical practice, and to our well-being. The events unfolding in the world around us demand a response—our students are traumatized, navigating college in a global pandemic, responding to the continuous brutalization of BIPOC bodies and minds by a white supremacist culture, looking for safety from a world that treats their gender and sexual identities as mere whims.

We too—the faculty and staff that collaborate with those students—experience stress, fear, and trauma. A compassion that is self-reflective, accountable, generous, and just is badly needed in higher education if we are to create space in which genuine learning can take place.

This institute offers examples of what a pedagogy of kindness looks like in action, and the risks, creativity, imagination, and trust it demands. It will also provide a road map for the ways that radical kindness can transform the classroom for everyone involved in collaborating in that space.


Cate Denial is the Bright Distinguished Professor of American History, Chair of the History department, and Director of the Bright Institute at Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois. A 2018-2021 Distinguished Lecturer for the Organization of American Historians, Cate is the winner of the American Historical Association’s 2018 Eugene Asher Distinguished Teaching award, and a former member of the Digital Public Library of America‘s Educational Advisory Board.  Cate currently sits on the boards of the Western Historical Quarterly and Commonplace: A Journal of Early American Life.  Cate is at work on a new book, A Pedagogy of Kindness, under contract with West Virginia University Press.  Her historical research has examined the early nineteenth-century experience of pregnancy, childbirth and child-rearing in Upper Midwestern Ojibwe and missionary cultures, research that grew from Cate’s previous book, Making Marriage: Husbands, Wives, and the American State in Dakota and Ojibwe Country (2013). In summer 2018, Cate was an Andrew W. Mellon Fellow at the American Philosophical Society in Philadelphia, PA.

Kate Denial
Cate Denial


Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning

Registration Information

The Institute is open to NIU faculty, instructors, and SPS and Civil Service staff. Please register by the deadline so that we can ensure you have access to the technology used for the virtual Institute.

Registration Deadline: Monday, January 10, 2022. Please register online.

After you register, if you are unable to attend, please cancel your registration by Wednesday, January 12, 2022 at citl.niu.edu/myprograms.

Frequently Asked Questions

Questions? View answers to commonly asked questions below.

Who is the Teaching Effectiveness Institute designed for?
The Teaching Effectiveness Institute is typically offered every fall and spring. We invite presenters who are well-known for their expertise and experiences in higher education teaching. The Institute is geared toward those who are new to teaching as well as experienced faculty wanting to learn about new and exciting teaching topics.
What will I need to be able to participate in the online institute?

You will need a computer with speakers or headphones for the live sessions, or a smartphone (Android or iOS). You will need a webcam or microphone to share your audio or video with other participants, but this is not required. There is a text chat for discussion if you do not have a microphone built in to your computer or headphones. You will also need a reliable Internet connection. 

The institute will take place via Zoom, so it would be helpful to have Zoom installed on your computer prior to the institute.

Is there a fee for attending the Teaching Effectiveness Institute?
There is no fee for attending the Teaching Effectiveness Institute; the Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning offers the institute free of charge. However, it is expensive to provide the Institute, not to mention the time our staff devotes to planning and executing the program. The center does not receive student fees or grants to fund the Teaching Effectiveness Institute and other programs. Therefore, we would appreciate that you attend as much of the Institute as possible. If, after you register, you know that you will be unable to attend, please cancel by the deadline so that those on the waiting list can be given the opportunity to register and/or program expenses can be reduced.
Where can I park to attend the Teaching Effectiveness Institute?Updated
Because it is fully online, you may attend the Teaching Effectiveness Institute from anywhere, so you do not have to come to campus to attend. If you need to be on campus to have a reliable Internet connection, you can park in the visitor pay lot located on Carroll Avenue for a fee for the day. Alternatively, you can purchase a parking permit for the following academic year or semester from Campus Parking Services and use it to park in the parking deck located on Normal Road or any of the approved lots. For more information, visit the Campus Parking Services website. 

Be sure to follow the guidelines for returning to work on campus

Contact Us

Center for Innovative
Teaching and Learning

Phone: 815-753-0595
Email: citl@niu.edu

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