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Three Questions About Teaching and Learning

A podcast where three questions spark unlimited ways of thinking about what happens in our classrooms.

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Introducing 3QTL

3QTL podcast is a series of short interviews designed to inspire creativity and innovation in post-secondary education. Through conversations with experts from across disciplines, each season of 3QTL tackles a different, timely topic related to teaching and learning in post-secondary.


3QTL: Three Questions About Teaching and Learning is a podcast focused on innovative approaches to teaching and learning in higher education. In its first season, the podcast invites post-secondary faculty from across disciplines to share their experiences teaching and learning during COVID-19. Our guests and host, Dr. Derritt Mason, discuss how the pandemic affected their teaching philosophy, what best supported and hindered their practice during that period, and how they might describe their most successful pandemic-era classroom innovations.

Links and resources:

Original theme by Eric Xie.



3QTL podcast cover featuring a sketched speech bubble over a gradient background.

Season 1

This season, 3QTL is in conversation with post-secondary faculty from across disciplines about how the COVID-19 pandemic challenged faculty and students in extraordinary ways, while also inspiring innovation.

    Listen now

    Three questions to consider this season

    1. How did COVID prompt shifts in our fundamental values?

    2. What most supported and challenged our teaching and learning practice during COVID?

    3. How might we describe our most successful pandemic-era classroom innovations?


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    Jesse Stommel, a white man with a beard, looks straight ahead. He is inside and wearing a plaid shirt. There is a sketched speech bubble around the photo.

    Episode 1: How might we reimagine assessment?

    with Jesse Stommel

    Over the course of a 25-year teaching career, Dr. Jesse Stommel, PhD, has been interrogating the power dynamics that structure our grading and assessment practices. Every conversation about grades is also a conversation about power, he maintains, and “ungrading” might offer some possibilities for making our classrooms more inclusive, caring, and collaborative spaces. The rapid switch to online teaching during COVID-19 raised some new questions for Dr. Stommel about the state of post-secondary education, and he found himself reconsidering the very foundations of his teaching and learning practice. Join us as Dr. Stommel discusses the joys of collaboration and the problem with “pivots,” and shares some strategies for how we might reimagine grading and assessment.

    Jesse Stommel bio:

    Jesse Stommel is currently a faculty member in the Writing Program at the University of Denver. He is also co-founder of Hybrid Pedagogy: the journal of critical digital pedagogy and Digital Pedagogy Lab (2015-2021). He has a PhD from the University of Colorado Boulder. He is co-author of An Urgency of Teachers: the Work of Critical Digital Pedagogy.

    Jesse is a documentary filmmaker and teaches courses about pedagogy, film, digital studies, and composition. Jesse experiments relentlessly with learning interfaces, both digital and analog, and his research focuses on higher education pedagogy, critical digital pedagogy, and assessment. He’s got a rascal pup, Emily, a clever cat, Loki, and a badass daughter, Hazel. He’s online at jessestommel.com and on Twitter @Jessifer.


    Stommel, Jesse. 2022. Compassionate Grading Policies. Jesse Stommel’s blog. 03 January 2022. https://www.jessestommel.com/compassionate-grading-policies/ 

    Stommel, Jesse. 2023. Undoing the Grade: Why We Grade, and How to Stop. Hybrid Pedagogy Inc.

    Other resources:

    Jesse Stommel’s blog: www.jessestommel.com

    Hybrid Pedagogy: The Journal of Critical Pedagogy: https://hybridpedagogy.org/

    Sound clips:

    Laleh Behjat sitting by a window with a sketched speech bubble around the photo.

    Episode 2: How do we become creative?

    with Laleh Behjat

    How do we become creative people in the world, as both instructors and learners? For Dr. Laleh Behjat, professor of Electrical and Software Engineering at the University of Calgary’s Schulich School, creativity both necessitates and fosters courageous, caring, and collaborative approaches to teaching and learning. In our conversation, Dr. Behjat shares how she and her colleagues renewed the engineering curricula during COVID-19 and offers examples of how she cultivates community in her classrooms. Join us as Dr. Behjat describes how we might eliminate exams and draw inspiration from karate to reimagine “cheating” as a form of collaboration.

    Laleh Behjat bio:

    Dr. Laleh Behjat, PhD, is a professor in the Department of Electrical and Software Engineering at the Schulich School of Engineering, University of Calgary and the NSERC Chair for Women in Science and Engineering - Prairies. Her research focuses on developing mathematical techniques and software tools for automating the design of digital integrated circuits. Dr. Behjat acted as an academic advisor for Google Technical Development Guide and was a member of Google’s Council on Computer Science Education.


    Fink, L. Dee. “A Self-Directed Guide to Designing Courses for Significant Learning.” Office of Teaching & Learning - University of Denver. Accessed September 26, 2023. https://otl.du.edu/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/Taxonomy_of_Significant_Learning.pdf.

    Loiro, Carina, Hélio Castro, Paulo Ávila, Maria Manuela Cruz-Cunha, Goran D. Putnik, and Luís Ferreira. 2019. “Agile Project Management: A Communicational Workflow Proposal.” Procedia Computer Science 164: 485–90. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.procs.2019.12.210.

    Raharjo, Teguh, and Betty Purwandari. 2020. “Agile Project Management Challenges and Mapping Solutions: A Systematic Literature Review.” In Proceedings of the 3rd International Conference on Software Engineering and Information Management, 123–29. New York: Association for Computing Machinery. https://doi.org/10.1145/3378936.3378949.

    Other resources:

    Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, NSERC: https://www.nserc-crsng.gc.ca/index_eng.asp

    NSERC Chair for Women in Science and Engineering (Prairies), WISE Planet Project: https://www.ucalgary.ca/wise-planet

    Sound clips:

    Alan Martino, a brown man in a cap standing outside with his arms crossed.

    Episode 3: Can we think differently about time?

    with Alan Santinele Martino

    What do Mariah Carey, arts-based student feedback, and the Disability Studies concept of “crip time” have in common? They all played integral roles in Dr. Alan Santinele Martino’s approach to teaching and learning during the most challenging moments of the COVID-19 pandemic. An assistant professor in the Department of Community Health Sciences at the University of Calgary, Dr. Martino is currently researching the intimate lives of LGBTQ2S+ disabled people in Alberta, and he brings this Disability Studies lens to our conversation. While we aimed to survive the pandemic, Dr. Martino points out, we also had a unique opportunity to consider how embracing “crip time” and interdependency might help us, as a community of teachers and learners, navigate difficult moments. Join us as Dr. Martino highlights the vital importance of disability justice, the value of vulnerability, and what it means to feel “Mariah Carey fabulous” in the classroom.

    Alan Martino bio:

    Dr. Alan Martino (he/him) is a faculty member in the Community Rehabilitation and Disability Studies program in the Department of Community Health Sciences at the University of Calgary. His main research interests are in critical disability studies, gender and sexualities; feminist and critical disability studies theories; qualitative and community-based research (particularly participatory and inclusive research methodologies). Dr. Martino is the former co-lead for the Sociology of Disability Research Cluster at the Canadian Sociological Association, and the current co-lead for the emerging Disability and Intimate Citizenship Research and Advocacy Hub.


    Kafer, Alison. 2013. Feminist Queer Crip. Bloomington, In: Indiana University Press

    McRuer, Robert. 2006. Crip Theory: Cultural Signs of Queerness and Disability. Cultural Front Series. New York: New York University Press.

    Sandahl, Carrie. 2003. “Queering the Crip or Cripping the Queer? Intersections of Queer and Crip Identities in Solo Autobiographical Performance.” Gay and Lesbian Quarterly. 9.1-2 (2003): 25-56.

    Other resources:

    Alan Santinele Martino’s website: https://www.alanmartino.com/

    Disability & Sexuality Lab: https://www.disabilitysexualitylab.com/

    Sound clips:

    Adela Kincaid, a light-skinned woman wearing a blue knit hat with long brown hair, standing outside and smiling.

    Episode 4: What is student-centered teaching and learning?

    with Adela Kincaid

    Our social lives and community-driven projects were significantly affected during the pandemic, and it became especially difficult to organize innovative teaching and learning experiences within such a context. Our guest this episode, Dr. Adela Kincaid, has much to say about some of these challenges. An assistant professor in the University of Calgary's International Indigenous Studies Program, Dr. Kincaid has collaborated with students and community partners—including Indigenous Elders and knowledge-keepers—on some inspiring, student-centered teaching and learning initiatives. Join us for a conversation about land-based learning, student-led conferences, experiential learning, and the service-driven approach to community engagement that Dr. Kincaid pursues in her classes.

    Adela Kincaid bio:

    Dr. Adela Tesarek Kincaid is an assistant professor (teaching) in the International Indigenous Studies program at the University of the Calgary. As a settler scholar, her passion is working with Indigenous communities and organizations as well as with NGOs. Adela is interested in community collaborations that create experiential learning opportunities for Indigenous and non-Indigenous students that honour land-based learning, our animal relatives, and Indigenous ways of knowing, doing, being, and connecting.


    Kincaid, A.T., Dueck, H.J., & Perehudoff, L. 2020. “Internship-based collaborative applied research model: Linking academic research projects, rural NGOs, sustainability, philanthropy, and funding.” The PhiLanthropic. Year 2: 42-47.

    Kincaid, A.T., Brulotte, M., Livingstone, S., & Brar, J. 2021. “Ways of doing, knowing, connecting and being.” Canadian Philanthropic Partnership Research Network.

    Kincaid, A.T., Livingstone, S., Li, G., Adeladan, H., Obiar, N., Kumar, S., Tirmizi, S., Anderson, M., & Hunt, I. 2022. “Towards reconciliation: Philanthropy, animal-human relationships, and community-engaged learning.” Canadian Philanthropic Partnership Research Network.

    Sound clips:

    Cate Denial, a white woman with red hair and glasses, smiles outside with a brick building in the background.

    Episode 5: What is a pedagogy of kindness?

    with Cate Denial

    Justice, believing students, and believing in students: according to Dr. Cate Denial, these are the three pillars of “a pedagogy of kindness,” an approach to teaching and learning that centers care for ourselves, as instructors, and care for our students. Dr. Denial, the Bright Distinguished Professor of American History and Director of the Bright Institute at Knox College, Illinois, is also the Primary Investigator of “Care in the Academy,” a Mellon Foundation-funded project examining pedagogies, communities, and practices of care in the academy after COVID-19. Kindness, Dr. Denial stresses, must include reconciliation, forgiveness, and accountability, and it should be distinguished from “niceness.”

    Join us as Dr. Denial generously details what a pedagogy of kindness might look like in practice, from paying careful attention to the language of our syllabi, to reconsidering our assessment practices, to providing students with fidget toys in online classes.

    Cate Denial bio: 

    Cate Denial is the Bright Distinguished Professor of American History and Director of the Bright Institute at Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois. A 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 sits on the board of Commonplace: A Journal of Early American Life. Cate’s new book, A Pedagogy of Kindness, will be published by the University of Oklahoma Press in July 2024. 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). From 2022-2023, Cate was the PI on a $150,000 grant awarded to Knox College by the Mellon Foundation, bringing together thirty-six participants from across higher education in the United States to explore “Pedagogies, Communities, and Practices of Care in the Academy After COVID-19.”


    Denial, C. (forthcoming). A Pedagogy of Kindness. The University of Oklahoma Press.

    Denial, C. 2021. “Everyone in Higher Ed Deserves Better Than They’re Getting Right Now,” EdSurge, December 2, https://www.edsurge.com/news/2021-12-02-everyone-inhigher-ed-deserves-better-than-we-re-getting-right-now

    Denial, C. 2020. “Beginning Again: Online Pedagogy Sent My Teaching Back to Square One,” Eidolon, July 27, https://eidolon.pub/beginning-again-b61220704c43

    Denial, C. 2019. “A Pedagogy of Kindness,” in Hybrid Pedagogy, August 15. https://hybridpedagogy.org/pedagogy-of-kindness

    Kohn, A. 2011. “The case against grades.” Educational Leadership 69(3): 28-33.

    Other resources:

    Care in the Academy. Website. https://careintheacademy.substack.com/

    Denial, C. (P.I.). Ongoing. Pedagogies, Communities, and Practices of Care in the Academy after COVID-19. https://www.knox.edu/care-in-the-academy

    Sound clips:

    Jessie Loyer is standing inside a white room. She is wearing a red shirt and has long blonde hair pulled.

    Episode 6: How can we practice reciprocity?

    with Jessie Loyer

    We rarely imagine the library to be a “rowdy” space, but for Jessie Loyer, unruliness and quiet contemplation can (and should!) coexist in our libraries. Drawing from her research on Indigenous information literacy and the Cree legal concept of “wâhkôhtowin”—the imperative to know your relatives—Jessie invites us to rethink what it means to “visit” a library, both ethically and relationally. How, as instructors, are we in a reciprocal relationship with not only our students, but also with the knowledge we acquire through research and those spaces in which we conduct it? How did the sudden shift to online teaching and learning transform our abilities to “visit”? And how might centering reciprocity in our classroom practices also surface the importance of care, compassion, and—perhaps most importantly—a pedagogy of cute cats?

    Jessie Loyer bio:

    Jessie Loyer is Cree-Métis and a member of Michel First Nation. For over a decade, she was a librarian and associate professor at Mount Royal University and will step into a position with the University of Alberta in March 2024. Her research focuses on Indigenous information literacy, supporting language revitalization, and ongoing research relationships through kinship.


    Lee, D. 2008. “Aboriginal Students in Canada: A Case Study of Their Academic Information Needs and Library Use.” Journal of Library Administration 33, nos. 3–4 (2008): 259–92. https://doi.org/10.1300/J111v33n03_07. 

    Lee, D. 2011. Indigenous knowledge organization: A study of concepts, terminology, structure, and (mostly) Indigenous voices. Partnership: The Canadian Journal of Library and Information Practice and Research, 6(1): 1-33. https://doi.org/10.21083/partnership.v6i1.1427

    Loyer, J. 2018. “Indigenous Information Literacy: Nêhiyaw Kinship Enabling Self-care in Research.” In The Politics of Theory and the Practice of Critical Librarianship, edited by Karen P. Nicholson and Maura Seale, 145-156. Sacramento: Library Juice Press.

    Sound clips:

    Morgan Vanek, a white woman with long dark hair, is smiling and looking ahead with the 3QTL orange squiggle speech bubble around the photo.

    Episode 7: How do we teach and learn in a crisis?

    with Morgan Vanek

    The most challenging years of COVID lockdowns found Dr. Morgan Vanek inhabiting the role of student more often than she might have expected. As she learned to parent, drive, and cook—all during a pandemic—Dr. Vanek found herself reflecting deeply on those core values that were guiding her teaching and learning practice, while simultaneously rediscovering the value of the Humanities for helping us survive and make sense of global crises. Join us as Dr. Vanek outlines the many ways she transformed her classrooms in light of these experiences: from the implementation of “ungrading” techniques like contract and labour-based grading, to strategies for demystifying the “hidden architecture” of university courses, to centering social justice in a course focused on the traditional canon of English literature. 

    Morgan Vanek bio:

    Morgan Vanek is an associate professor in the Department of English at the University of Calgary. Her research and teaching interests include writing about weather and climate in British literature of the long eighteenth century, early Canadian literature, and the history and philosophy of science. In 2022, she received a University of Calgary Teaching Award for Full-Time Academic Staff (Assistant Professor) as well as a Faculty of Arts Teaching Award for an Emerging Teacher.


    Blum, S. 2020. Why rating undermines student learning (and what to do instead). https://wvupressonline.com/ungrading

    Kohn, A. 2011. “The case against grades.” Educational Leadership 69(3): 28-33. https://www.alfiekohn.org/article/case-grades/

    La, H., Dyjur, P., & Bair, H. 2018. “Universal Design for Learning in Higher Education". Taylor Institute for Teaching and Learning Educational Design Unit - Guide series. https://taylorinstitute.ucalgary.ca/sites/default/files/UDL-guide_2018_05_04-final%20(1).pdf

    Lang, J.M., Dujardin, G., & Staunton, J.A. 2018. Teaching the Literature Survey Course: New Strategies for College Faculty. https://www.ubcpress.ca/teaching-the-literature-survey-course

    University of Toronto. (2023, June 29). Universal Design for Learning. Centre for Teaching Support & Innovation. https://teaching.utoronto.ca/resources/universal-design-for-learning/

    Sound clips:

    Patrina Duhaney, a smiling Black woman with glasses, and Regine King, a Black woman unsmiling looking straight ahead with arms crossed, with a squiggle illustration around their images.

    Episode 8: How might we collaborate to advance racial justice?

    with Regine King and Patrina Duhaney

    In a 3QTL first, we are delighted to feature two guests on this episode: Dr. Patrina Duhaney and Dr. Regine King, the award-winning co-developers and instructors of a University of Calgary course entitled “Afrocentric Perspectives in Social Work.” As members of their faculty’s Anti-Black Racism Task Force, which was established in 2020 following the murder of George Floyd, Dr. King and Dr. Duhaney were motivated to create a course that would familiarize students with the challenges and barriers experienced by Black people in a Canadian context. Our guests also found themselves in the difficult situation of having to launch and team-teach this course during pandemic lockdowns.

    Join us as Dr. Duhaney and Dr. King describe the social justice principles at the foundation of their approach to team teaching, their creative and collaborative assignment design, and their strategies for communicating—with each other and with their students—in a new and challenging teaching and learning scenario.


    Dr. Régine Uwibereyeho King is an associate professor in the Faculty of Social Work, University of Calgary. King has a PhD in Social Work and a master’s in counselling psychology and community development (MEd), University of Toronto. Her research interests include racial justice, cross-cultural mental health, social processes of healing, forgiveness and reconciliation, and Indigenous knowledges. Her research agenda is guided by anti-colonial, antiracist, and Black feminism perspectives. As a community-based researcher, King is a knowledge creator and translator. She has published in the areas of truth and reconciliation, intergroup dialogue, healing approaches to collective trauma, anti-Black racism, refugee mental health, transnational social work, and critical pedagogies. Her work has been acknowledged through various awards, including a 5-year position as a Research Excellence Chair (University of Calgary, 2023-2028), a Team-Teaching Award by the Taylor Institute of Teaching and Learning in 2022, and a Killam Emerging Research Leader Award in 2021. King has served on various academic committees and community advocacy groups that promote equity, antiracist work, and healthy communities, at the local, national, and international level. She is a co-founder of the Anti-Black Racism Taskforce in the Faculty of Social Work, University of Calgary, a co-founder of the Calgary African Community Collective, a member of the Presidential Taskforce on Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion at the University of Calgary, a board member of Go Make A difference (organization serving non-status Haitian in Dominican Republic), an honorary member of the Life Wounds Healing Association (Rwanda), and a former member of the Federal Cross-Cultural Round Table for the Ministry of Public Safety. She is a sought-after public speaker on issues of genocide prevention, refugee mental health, racial justice. 

    Dr. Patrina Duhaney is an activist scholar whose research grapples with issues related to race, racism, victimization, and criminalization and is informed by critical race theory, critical race feminism and anti-Black racism. Dr. Duhaney has played a pivotal role in advocating for change in micro, mezzo, and macro levels. She is actively involved in various initiatives within the Faculty of Social Work, broader university, and communities to center Black experiences and perspectives and confront anti-Black racism. These include leading the Anti-Black Racism Task Force in the Faculty of Social Work, collaborating with organizations such as the Calgary Police Service, National Judicial Institute, participating in various government of Canada initiatives (e.g., IRCA Assessor), and advising funders and training institutions.


    Baeten, M., & Simons, M. 2014. Student teachers’ team teaching: Models, effects, and conditions for implementation. Teaching and Teacher Education, 41, 92-110. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tate.2014.03.010

    Dei, S. G. 1994. Afrocentricity: A cornerstone of pedagogy. Anthropology & Education Quarterly, 25(1), 3-28.

    Freire, P. 2000. Pedagogy of the oppressed. Continuum.

    hooks, B. 2010. Teaching critical thinking. Routledge. 

    Jemal, A. D. 2016. Transformative consciousness: Conceptualization, scale development and testing [Unpublished doctoral dissertation]. Rutgers University.

    Manca, A. 2020. Awakening critical consciousness in general practice teaching: Towards a philosophy of praxis [Unpublished doctoral dissertation]. Queen’s University Belfast.

    Minett-Smith, C., & Davis, C. L. 2020. Widening the discourse on team-teaching in higher education. Teaching in Higher Education, 25(5), 579–594. 

    Montenegro, A. 2017. Understanding the concept of student agentic engagement for learning. Colombian Applied Linguistics Journal, 19(1), 117-128. http://dx.doi.org/10.14483/calj.v19n1.10472

    Reeve, J. 2012. A self-determination theory perspective on student engagement. In S. L. Christenson, A. L. Reschly, & C. Wylie (Eds.), Handbook of research on student engagement (pp. 149–172). Springer US.

    Reeve, J. 2013. How students create motivationally supportive learning environments for themselves: The concept of agentic engagement. Journal of Educational Psychology, 105(3), 579–595.

    Raymond, F. 2011. The use of self: The essence of professional education. Oxford University Press. 

    Thiong'o, N-w. 1986. Decolonising the mind. The politics of language in African Literature. James Currey.

    Wang, M-T., & Degol, J. 2014. Staying engaged: Knowledge and research needs in student engagement. Child Development Perspectives, 8(3), 137–143.

    Bryan Dewsbury, a Black man wearing a bow tie, smiles with nature behind him.

    Episode 9: What motivates students to be their best selves?

    with Bryan Dewsbury

    For Dr. Bryan Dewsbury, equity-minded, inclusive, or humanist teaching means distinguishing teaching students from teaching subject matter. The humanity of students, in other words, is prioritized over course content, and their lived experiences become vital to how the classroom operates.

    In our conversation, Dr. Dewsbury describes how he confronted the challenges of teaching online during COVID lockdowns, while also highlighting the many dimensions of his approach to humanist teaching. He explains, for example, how restructuring “office hours” as “student hours” can deepen student learning; how the principles of PhD qualifying exams might help us design open-book undergraduate exams; and he offers other possibilities for inviting students to become thoughtful, engaged citizens.


    Bryan Dewsbury is an Associate Professor of Biology at Florida International University (FIU). He is the Principal Investigator of the Science Education and Society (SEAS) research program, which blends research on the social context of teaching and learning, faculty development of inclusive practices, and programming in the cultivation of equity in education. He is an Associate Director of the STEM Transformational Institute, where he directs the Division of Transformative Education. He is also a Fellow with the John N. Gardner Institute where he assists institutions of higher education cultivate best practices in inclusive education. He is the creator and executive producer of the Massive Open Online Course called Inclusive Teaching. He is a co-editor of the book The Norton Guide to Equity-Minded Teaching. He has led faculty development workshops in over 150 institutions across North America, Europe and Western Africa. Dewsbury grew up in Trinidad and Tobago and immigrated to the United States in 1999. He received a BS in biology from Morehouse College and an MS and PhD in Biology from FIU.


    Artze-Vega, I., Darby, F., Dewsbury, B. and M. Imad. The Norton Guide to Equity-Minded Teaching. Norton Publishers. August 2023. E-book available at wwnorton.com

    Dewsbury, B.M., Swanson, H.J., Moseman-Valtierra, S. and Caulkins, J., 2022. Inclusive and active pedagogies reduce academic outcome gaps and improve long-term performance. Plos one, 17(6), p.e0268620.

    Dewsbury, B. and Seidel, S., 2020. Reflections and Actions for Creating an Inclusive Research Environment. Current Protocols Essential Laboratory Techniques, 21(1), p.e43.

    Dewsbury B. 2020. A chance at birth: an academic development activity to promote deep reflection on social inequities. J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. 21(1): doi:10.1128/jmbe.v21i1.2037

    MacDonald L, Dewsbury B, Marcette J. 2020. The timeliness of inclusion efforts in biology education. J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. 21(1): doi:10.1128/jmbe.v21i1.2123

    Other resources:

    Eli Review. Michigan State University. https://help.d2l.msu.edu/msu-docs/other-tools-at-msu/eli-review 

    NPR. This I Believe, website. Available here: https://www.npr.org/series/4538138/this-i-believe

    Sound clips:

    List of acronyms:

    FIU – Florida International University

    NPR – National Public Radio (USA)

    LA – Learning Assistant

    SLR - Single-lens reflex camera

    STEM – Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics

    Harper Keenan, a white man with short dark hair wearing a black t-shirt, is looking ahead and smiling with a brick wall behind him.

    Episode 10: What is queer pedagogy?

    with Harper Keenan

    We might not instinctively associate drag queens with teacher education, but for Dr. Harper Keenan, the queer imagination has tremendous potential to help us “unscript curriculum” and think about our classrooms in radically different ways. The Robert Quartermain Professor of Gender and Sexuality in Education at the University of British Columbia (UBC), Dr. Keenan has initiated an impressive array of community collaborations, including Drag Story Hour and the Trans Freedom School.

    Join us as Dr. Keenan describes the challenges (and unexpected rewards) of teaching pre-service teachers during pandemic lockdowns; the transformative power of queer, trans, and drag pedagogy; and why it feels more important than ever to celebrate queer creativity and worldmaking.


    Harper B. Keenan is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Curriculum and Pedagogy at the University of British Columbia. He currently serves as the inaugural Robert Quartermain Professor of Gender and Sexuality in Education. Dr. Keenan’s scholarship examines how adults and children relate to each other within the structures of schooling and other educational contexts. He is particularly interested in what the treatment of social and historical topics as complex and/or difficult in the education of young children might reveal about society more broadly. Dr. Keenan received a Ph.D. from the Stanford Graduate School of Education, a dual M.S.Ed. in Childhood Special and General Education from Bank Street College, and a B.A. from Eugene Lang College at The New School. His scholarship has been published in a variety of academic journals, including the Harvard Educational Review, Educational Researcher, Teachers College Record, Curriculum Inquiry, and Gender and Education. He has also written op-eds or been interviewed by popular press outlets like Teen Vogue, NPR, Reuters, NBC National News, EdWeek, and Slate. Dr. Keenan is a proud former New York City elementary school teacher. 


    Bellefontaine, M. (2024). “Danielle Smith unveils sweeping changes to Alberta’s student gender identity, sports and surgery policies.” CBC News. https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/edmonton/danielle-smith-unveils-sweeping-changes-to-alberta-s-student-gender-identity-sports-and-surgery-policies-1.7101053 

    Keenan, H.B., Hot Mess, L.M., Newbold, L., & Iskander, L. (2023). Out of the classroom & onto the runway: Queer and trans pedagogies in early childhood. In Yoon, H., Genishi, C., & Goodwin, L. (Eds.) Diversities in Early Childhood: Rethinking and Doing (2nd Edition). Routledge.

    Keenan, H.B. (2022). Methodology as pedagogy: Trans lives, social science, and the possibilities of educational research. Educational Researcher, 51(5), 307-314. 

    Keenan, H.B. & Suárez, M. (2022). Theories & methods for transgender studies in educational research. In Suárez, M. & Mangin, M. (Eds), Transgender Studies in K-12 Education: Mapping an Agenda for Research and Practice. Harvard Education Press.

    Keenan, H.B. (2021). Keep yourself alive: Welcoming the next generation of queer and trans educators. Bank Street Occasional Papers Series. (available open access; free to the public).

    Keenan, H.B. & Hot Mess, L.M. (2021). Drag pedagogy: The playful practice of queer imagination in early childhood. Curriculum Inquiry. Published online, January 2021: https://doi.org/10.1080/03626784.2020.1864621 (available open access; free to the public).

    Keenan, H.B. (2019). The Trans Educators Network: A reflection on community building and knowledge production. Teaching Education. https://doi.org/10.1080/10476210.2020.1714580

    Other resources:

    Drag Story Hour: www.dragstoryhour.org

    Trans Educators Network. https://www.transeducators.com/

    Sound clips:

    Our Team

    Derritt Mason smiles in a blue blazer in the Taylor Institute for Teaching and Learning.

    Dr. Derritt Mason, PhD

    Executive Producer & Host

    Derritt Mason (they/he) is an associate professor in the Department of English at the University of Calgary and an Educational Leader in Residence at the Taylor Institute for Teaching and Learning. Derritt is the author of Queer Anxieties of Young Adult Literature and Culture (2021) and their essays on teaching and learning have appeared in Pedagogy and Teaching & Learning Inquiry.

    Stacey Copeland smiles in front of a blue background and is wearing a plaid blazer.

    Dr. Stacey Copeland, PhD

    Consulting Producer

    Stacey Copeland (she/her) is an assistant professor of Cultural Heritage and Creative Industries at the University of Groningen and Co-Director of Amplify Podcast Network, a scholarly podcasting endeavour with Wilfrid Laurier University Press. She is a media producer and queer feminist researcher actively working to produce and advocate for scholarship that bridges research and creative practice. 

    Xenia Reloba de la Cruz leans on one arm and smiles in front of a white background. She is wearing a black turtleneck and black glasses.

    Xenia Reloba de la Cruz


    Xenia Reloba de la Cruz (she/her) is a Cuban journalist and editor and a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Communication, Media and Film at the University of Calgary. Her research focuses on the intersection between citizenship as a form of civic agency, digital media and feminist practices.

    Tarini Fernando smiles outside in front of a bush. She is wearing a striped t-shirt and glasses.

    Tarini Fernando


    Tarini Fernando (she/her) is a writer, podcast editor, and publisher’s representative who currently resides in Moh’kins’tsis — the Blackfoot name for the area colonially known as Calgary. She recently completed her master’s in English at the University of Calgary. You can find some of her writing online at CBC News.

    Eric Xie smiles in front of a white background wearing a black blazer and white t-shirt.

    Eric Xie

    Editor, Music Producer & Sound Designer

    Eric (he/him) was born and raised in Moh’kins’tsis. He is currently studying to be a K-12 educator and his passions include music, fashion, research, podcasts, photography, travel and staying healthy.

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    Flanagan Foundation Initiative

    This podcast is part of a 3-year initiative dedicated to catalyzing high-quality blended and online learning opportunities at the University of Calgary.

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    Educational Leaders in Residence

    The University of Calgary Educational Leaders in Residence program ignites change to advance strategic institutional teaching and learning priorities.

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