Gateway to Learning Educator Workshops





June 5-9, 2017
Teaching Trauma: Historical and Contemporary Perceptions of Slavery, the Holocaust, and the A-Bomb
Instructors Julie Ault, Wesley Sasaki-Uemura, and Noel Voeltz

Taking three important, but culturally and temporally different situations—slavery in the United States, the Holocaust in Europe, and the A-bomb in Japan—we seek to familiarize teachers with how these events came to be, how the respective societies have dealt with their aftermath, and finally, how they are depicted in the United States today. Ultimately, we endeavor to relate contemporary, American perceptions of these events with their respective historical contexts. American Slavery remains one of the most traumatic and problematic periods in the history of the United States with reverberating legacies of race and discrimination that continue to plague the nation. Nazi Germany and the Holocaust are often invoked as the epitome of evil without fully comprehending the longstanding prejudices, the immediate importance of World War II, or how the Jewish and German communities have confronted the past since. The A-bomb in Japan highlights issues surrounding survivors, the continued testing of nuclear bombs in the Pacific, and US and Asian interests during the Cold War. Although seemingly disparate, these three case studies have become shorthand for trauma in the media today, and our goal is to demystify them.


June 12-16, 2017
Aspects of the Renaissance and the Transformation of European Society, 1300-1650
Instructor: Ginger Smoak


This workshop will focus on the aspects of the Renaissance that transformed Western thought and European society.  Beginning in 1300 with the “calamitous fourteenth century” we will discuss the events that led to this paradigm shift and a desire to recapture the “Golden Age” of classical Greece and Rome to recover the texts, ideas, political structures, and social mores in order to “remake” their own worlds.  In order to do that, the Humanists went ad fontes, ‘to the source,’ of knowledge by using Greco-Roman philosophical, scientific, political and legal manuscripts to create the Intellectual Renaissance.  “Father of Humanism” Francesco Petrarch attempted to reconcile his own Catholic faith with this new focus on the human worth, dignity and power and Civic Humanist Cosimo d’Medici used his knowledge of the “humane studies,” as well as his money and political power, to fulfill his obligation to his community of Florence. In addition to the Intellectual Renaissance this workshop will discuss the other aspects of the Renaissance in the states of Italy and in the larger European landscape, including political, artistic, social, scientific and religious.

June 26-30, 2017
Contemporary China workshop
Instructors: TBD

In a rapidly changing international environment, interest in China has grown dramatically. Yet, there is much that remains unknown about its people and government. Faculty from the University of Utah and Brigham Young University will seek to expand our knowledge of contemporary Chinese society, politics, literature, art, and environment.  Their lectures will offer a foundation for informed opinion about the evolving role of China in the world. 

literary classics 
July 17-21, 2017
Literary Classics III
Professor Vincent Cheng, Dept. of English


This class—like the Literary Classics seminar offered in summer 2015 and the Literary Classics II seminar in summer 2016--will once again be team-taught by University of Utah English faculty, and is aimed at Utah high school English teachers. The seminar will focus on important literary texts frequently taught in high school English classes--to help educators become more knowledgeable about particular authors and texts they may be likely (or may wish) to teach, and to give them more knowledge and tools (and models) for teaching these topics in their own classes. Texts to be discussed this time around might include works by Shakespeare, Woolf, Thoreau, Joyce, Auden, Hardy, Le Guin, Wilde, and others.
**Participation in previous two Literary Classics workshops is not required.**

Latin Lit 
July 25-28, 2017
Teaching Latin America through Award winning Children’s Literature
Instructor: Katrina Dillon, K-12 Program Coordinator, Latin American & Iberian Institute, University of New Mexico
**Please note this is a 4-day workshop.  Class will be held 8am-4pm Tuesday-Friday.**

This workshop will introduce participants to award winning titles in children’s literature that focus on themes within Latin American Studies such as history, non-fiction and the experiences of Latinas/os in the United States.  Resources and strategies on how to incorporate these award winning titles into the classroom will also be explored.  Highlighted titles will include recipients of the Americas Award, Tomas Rivera Mexican-American Children’s Book Award and the Pura Belpre Medal.  Participants will also have the opportunity to develop lesson plans and strategize how to implement Latin American children’s literature into their curriculum.

 This workshop is sponsored by the Center for Latin American Studies at the University of Utah, a member of the Consortium of Latin American Studies Program and a Title VI grant recipient and National Resource Center for Latin American Studies.

Media Workshop 
July 31-August 4, 2017

Critical Approaches to Media and Popular Culture
Professor Natasha Seegert, Dept. of Communication
This course provides educators with an opportunity to engage with contemporary issues through popular culture. Specifically, we will examine foundational topics in cultural and media theory which can be used to critically interrogate how popular culture and media shape our contemporary world. Topics include environmental issues, popular representations of gender and race, and the evolution of relationships in the digital era. Texts will include short readings by media and cultural studies scholars, a short story by E.M. Forster, episodes from the critically acclaimed television show Black Mirror, and the films Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Wall-E. In addition, the class will take an off-site field trip to City Creek Canyon and City Creek Shopping Center. This seminar-style class will engage in critical discussion surrounding a variety of questions such as:

  • How does technology shape our relationship with and perception of the world?
  • How do popular culture and digital media result in alienation and disconnect?
  • How can popular culture and digital media provide opportunities for hope and healing?
  • How can these theories and texts be applied in educators’ classrooms? 


Workshops are held daily Monday-Friday from 9:00am-3:30pm except where noted. Fees for each teacher are $80/workshop and include use of university facilities, faculty course development and instruction, books, materials, and lunches. Registration fees are non-refundable. Participants who wish to receive academic credit through University Continuing Education (up to 3 credits/workshop) pay an additional $50 administrative fee. Upon workshop completion, teachers fill out evaluations and offer suggestions for future workshops. A strict attendance policy is enforced for those taking workshops for credit. 



Working in consultation with teachers, administrators, and university faculty members, we solicit and develop potential topics in the fall months and then post them for registration early in the new year. We select faculty members to teach specific workshops based on their familiarity with current scholarship and innovative technologies, instructional skills, capabilities for developing curriculum and lesson plans for primary and secondary educational students, and approachability.  We cap enrollment at thirty participants per workshop to ensure individualized attention, small-group activities, and hands-on experience.

Established in 1990, our Gateway to Learning Educator Workshops offer K-12 Utah teachers rigorous, affordable professional development opportunities and continuing education courses at the University of Utah. Under the direction of nationally recognized University of Utah faculty members, teachers attend week-long summer workshops to explore current scholarship on academic subjects, new pedagogical methods, curriculum development, and innovative classroom technologies. Workshops seek to help Utah teachers meet state and federal mandates for professional development and continuing education; to create connections between faculty members and K-12 teachers; to build an intellectual community of teachers throughout the state; to enhance content knowledge and instructional methods for Utah teachers; to energize teacher and student engagement in the classroom; and to improve academic performance statewide for K-12 students.

For a list of previous Gateway to Learning Workshops topics, click here

For all other inquiries, please contact Beth James, Associate Director at

Last Updated: 6/4/17