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Gateway to Learning Educator Workshops

Spring 2021 Workshops - REGISTER NOW!

March 27, 2021, 9am-12pm
Funie Hsu, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of American Studies, San Jose State University

The Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 was the first national piece of legislation that put restrictions on immigration to the United States based on national origin and its impact is still relevant today.  This workshop will explore the context of the Chinese Exclusion Act, including its various renewals through the 20th century, related measures to exclude Asians more broadly, and the eventual repeal of the Chinese Exclusion Act in 1943.  This workshop will also investigate the ongoing relationship between China and the U.S. throughout this period, including the push and pull factors that drove Chinese immigration in the 19th century. 

This workshop will be of particular interest to teachers of U.S. History, Utah History and social studies to add depth and breadth on China when teaching about westward expansion, manifest destiny and the completion of the transcontinental railroad.


April 17, 2021, 9am-12pm
Tiago J. Fernandes Maranhão, Ph.D.
Visiting Professor in History at Tougaloo College (HBCU)
Jackson, MS 

 Whether it’s the 2016 Summer Olympics held in Rio de Janeiro, the populist rise of Brazil’s current president, or the fires raging in the Amazon, Brazil is part of our collective psyche.  But how much do we know about the fifth largest country in the world? This introduction to Brazil will explore the colonial period, the imperial period, and contemporary Brazil; with discussions grounded in ethnic diversity, race relations, gender as well as political and economic movements. 

Teachers of World History and Geography will benefit from a focus on this survey course that explores the largest country in Latin America with the world’s 9th largest economy.  Teachers of U.S. History will also benefit from the opportunity to do comparative studies between the United States and Brazil, particularly in regard to histories of slavery, colonization, race relations, and nation building.




Cherice Montgomery, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Spanish Pedagogy, Brigham Young University

June 15, 2021

 Transforming textbook content into meaningful, motivating, multisensory learning experiences can be a real challenge!  It can be even harder to integrate language, content, and culture in ways that develop literacy skills!  This workshop is designed to help K-12 Portuguese immersion teachers learn to:

  1.  Embed culturally authentic texts and interactive reading strategies into lessons
  2. Engage learners with academic content using stories, simulations, and STEM activities
  3. Examine how scaffolding strategies and formative assessment techniques can improve learners’ performance

 PLEASE NOTE: Portions of this workshop will take place in Brazilian Portuguese, participants are expected to have an advanced proficiency in Brazilian Portuguese in order to fully participate in this workshop. 

Professor Natalie Stillman-Webb, Department of Writing and Rhetoric Studies

June 16, 2021

Whether fully online, hybrid, or face-to-face, learning is increasingly taking place in digital environments. Over several decades, research on online learning has found that outcomes are improved when students perceive themselves as part of a learning community. This workshop will examine methods for fostering learning community and student engagement through teaching, social, and cognitive presence. We will engage with theories of teaching and learning with technology, including the Community of Inquiry theoretical framework. We will also discuss best practices in online instructional design, including strategies for encouraging student interaction, eliciting critical thinking, and ensuring digital equity and accessibility. Participants will have an opportunity to draw on these strategies as they create activities and assignments for their own classes.

Professor Karen Marsh, Department of Linguistics

June 22, 2021

This course is designed to build intercultural competence for you and your students. You will participate in a number of activities that will explore personal biases and cultures. Topics include culture shock, stages of intercultural sensitivity, ethnorelativity, global learning, and assessment. Participants will be creating objectives, activities, and assessments for their respective environments and we will spend some time together working on those activities so they meet core objectives. This course is highly interactive so expect to participate and reflect on your own learning as you are designing activities for your students. 

Professor Ginger Smoak, Honors College

June 29, 2021

Beginning with the First Plague pandemic, also known as the Plague of Justinian in the 6th century, the Black Death Pandemic in the 14th century, and subsequent ones like the Influenza pandemic and of course the present Covid-19, pandemics have changed the world.  This one-credit workshop will focus on the Black Death primarily, examining causes and effects, both short and long-term, in an attempt to give historical context for how the current pandemic will affect the world.  By looking at medical, social, economic, religious, political, and military effects, we will attempt to find patterns and understand things like revolts, religious violence, and the human cost of people’s actions.  We will look also at the new scientific information about the Black Death and think about how this data might inform our present reactions to the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Scott Black, Department of English

July 6, 2021

This Workshop will explore one of the most inventive, daring, and visionary of recent American writers, Ursula K. Le Guin. Though now recognized as a central figure of American letters (her novels and stories are now being published in the canonical Library of America), for most of her career Le Guin’s works were confined to the literary ghettos of speculative fiction, science fiction, and fantasy. In those circles, however, she was hugely influential, highly respected, and beloved. (For readers of a certain age, her Earthsea books were as important as Harry Potter was for younger readers.) For Le Guin, the wider realities available to writers of sci-fi and fantasy allowed her to explore the most profound questions of human life, society, and art. Indeed, her novels and stories are philosophical fictions: intense and challenging meditations on culture and ecology, gender and sexuality, oppression and liberation, power, justice, and peace. They are also fascinating examples of the arts of narrative, experimenting with new kinds of stories and new paradigms of knowledge. But though provocative in their questions, Le Guin’s works are a pleasure to read because she is a superb writer and an exquisite stylist.

Professors Elizabeth Kronk Warner and Connor Warner, College of Law and College of Education

July 7, 2021

Following completion of this workshop, attendees will have a better understanding of the history and current status of Native Nations within the United States.  The workshop will examine Native history from tribal, state and federal governmental perspectives.  Instructors will use case studies of environmental justice in Indian country, such as the Dakota Access pipeline controversy, to explain how these issues of history and sovereignty intersect with environmental justice.  Participants should leave the workshop understanding the complexity and sophistication of indigeneity in the US, understanding the centrality of sovereignty and sustainability to Native nations, and having the competence to incorporate respectful and accurate Native content into their own curricula.

Ryan Masaaki Yokota, PhD Critical Ethnic Studies and History, DePaul University

July 12, 2021

Japanese Americans have made significant contributions to U.S. and Utah history and culture.  This workshop will explore the push factors that led Japanese immigrants to come to the United States and explore the racial obstacles that they encountered in their new home.  Additional attention will be placed on the WWII experience of the Japanese American community, with special attention placed on the Japanese American concentration camp experience in Topaz, near present day Delta, Utah.  Aspects of Japanese culture and cultural practices that thrive in the United States to this day will also be addressed.

Professor Anne Jamison, Department of English

July 13, 2021

This course is designed for middle and high school Language Arts teachers, and secondary library media specialists, and will consider the way queer stories for and by teens can be used in and around the classroom to help students find legitimation, community, and agency through 1) reading new books and 2) writing fanfiction that retells stories they already know in ways that reflect their experience and hopes for the future. The workshop will also focus on how these activities support College and Career Readiness and grade-specific standards for reading (recognizing and analyzing genre, structure, point of view, and other literary devices) and writing (presenting textual evidence, trying new approaches, research, and production and distribution). Fanfiction also lends itself to transmedia interpretation and analysis, as fan culture includes a wealth of illustration and transposition via memes, short videos, playlists, and “meta” or analytic posts to social media wherein fans take positions on characters, narrative, framing, subtext, and other literary elements, often as a means of engaging social issues

All workshops will be virtual for spring/summer 2021. Workshops will consist of:
- pre-workshop reading assignments (approximately 4-6 hours of coursework)
- required feedback posts by participants in shared document (1-3 posts per reading assignment)
- asynchronous lecture by professor (two 1.5 hour lectures posted up to two weeks before class discussion)
- synchronous class discussion (3 hours)
- final reflection paper/pedagogical assignment

Fees for each teacher are $15/workshop and include use of university facilities, faculty course development and instruction, books, and materials. REGISTRATION FEES ARE NON-REFUNDABLE. Participants who wish to receive academic credit through University Continuing Education (1 credit/workshop) will pay an additional $50 tuition fee. 

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

Additional Resources

Last Updated: 6/30/21