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8th Annual UNE Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETL) Everyone Symposium: Climate, AI and preparing ourselves and our student’s for the future

May 14 @ 9:00 am - 2:15 pm

Join us at UNE for an exploration of the evolving university during the Anthropocene Epoch.

Where: UNE Biddeford Campus – Leonard Hall –

When: May 14th, 2024, 9:00 a.m. – 2:15 p.m.

All staff, faculty, and administrators are welcome

Register for the CETL) Everyone Symposium here.

Featured Keynote

Bryan Alexander

Bryan Alexander is an award–winning, internationally known futurist, researcher, writer, speaker, consultant, and teacher, working in the field of higher education’s future. Bryan is currently a senior scholar at Georgetown University and teaches graduate seminars in their Learning, Design, and Technology program. Courses include the future of higher education, technology and innovation, and educational technology.

His latest book published in 2023 is called Universities on Fire: Higher Education in the Age of Climate Crisis and it is one of our book groups this spring. His previous book, published in 2020 and still very relevant today is called Academia Next: The Futures of Higher Education won the Association of Professional Futurists award.

Keynote: “AI, Climate Change and Preparing Ourselves and Our Students for the Future: A futurist perspective on higher education’s transformation”

“Where is higher education headed? As academics seek to prepare students for the world, we would do well to consider how that world might be changing. In this presentation, we explore several of the global trends reshaping colleges and universities. We start by offering an update and forecast about artificial intelligence, considering the macro picture of national policies and major computing developments, then examining how campuses are already responding to AI, before envisioning how the technology and academic responses are likely to proceed. Next, we address the climate crisis and how it impacts higher education, beginning with stresses to the physical campus and how we might redesign it. We then consider how colleges and universities respond to global warming through scholarship, teaching, and community relations. We conclude by recommending some academic actions to integrate these two trends into our work.”

Workshop: “Preparing Ourselves and Our Students for the Future: An interactive exploration of trends”

“What forces are transforming higher education? In this workshop we identify and discuss a series of evidence-based trends likely to shape the academy and the world we prepare students for. The first category includes macro-level forces from macroeconomics to demographics, geopolitics, and political-cultural attitudes, looking for traces of an emergent mid-century and the academy’s place within it. The second category explores developments within post-secondary education: enrollment on several levels and finances. A third trends group covers a range of technologies appearing rapidly and spreading through the world, from AI to social media and virtual reality. Next, we address educational technologies and their implications within our institutions. We conclude by looking at the crisis or bubble model for higher education. This session is interactive, welcoming participants’ ideas and questions.”


  • 8:45-9:15 Coffee & Refreshments
  • 9:15 President James Herbert, Opening Remarks
  • 9:30-10:30 Keynote
  • 10:30-10:45 Break
  • 10:45-12:15 Workshop led by Bryan Alexander
  • 12:15-1:00 Lunch (Book Drawing & Planetary Health Presentation)
  • 1:00-2:15 Breakout sessions

Breakout Session Options

Option A: Planetary Health Action-Oriented Microscenarios, Interactive Session (75 min)

Alethea Cariddi, Associate Director, Sustainability
Cameron Wake, Director, UNE North
Members of the Planetary Health Council, UNE

This unique session will immerse you in carefully crafted microscenarios designed to foster deep discussions on the impact of climate change and the proactive steps we can take to address it in our personal lives, community, and work. Engage with experts, collaborate with peers, and leave with a renewed commitment to make sustainable change.

Option B: Numbed Out or Fired Up: Emotion In Our Classrooms, Interactive Session (75 min)

Kimberly Simmons, Associate Professor, Sociology/Women and Gender Studies, USM

Teaching about climate change can spark avoidance, anxiety, grief, anger and even existential panic in students – and ourselves. In this workshop we will share strategies to better support our learning communities as we more openly acknowledge and navigate climate emotions. Existing curricular resources will be shared, with time to practice and reflect on what currently works well and where we each need some new tools.

Option C: Three Ways You Can Use AI as Your Course-Building Assistant, Interactive Session (75 min)

Judi Brewer, Instructional Designer, College of Professional Studies, UNE
Erik Hanson, Instructional Designer, College of Professional Studies, UNE
Renee Parker, Instructional Designer, College of Professional Studies, UNE

In this interactive session, you’ll discover how AI can revolutionize the way you design assignments and guide student learning. We’ll delve into the art of constructing effective prompts through real-world examples to generate engaging content tailored to your specific teaching goals: craft clear and compelling assignment prompts that spark student curiosity and critical thinking; develop detailed rubrics that ensure fair and consistent assessment; adapt and improve existing assignments to better align with learning outcomes. Get a sneak peek at a tutor bot you can easily replicate to provide students with 24/7 personalized support. Leave this session equipped with practical strategies and AI resources to enhance your course design and empower your students!

Option D: Riff: An AI Tool for Reflection, Quick Tip (35 min)

Jen Gennaco, DigiSpace Coordinator, Multimodal Writing Specialist, Student Academic Success Center, UNE

Reflective practice is often seen as a luxury rather than a crucial learning step, impacting students, faculty, and professionals alike. For some, the effort of reflecting deeply can be daunting, and sometimes results in simply describing experiences. What if effective reflection needed just a 10-minute guided chat, with insights summarized for later? Join us to experiment with Beta-version Riff, an AI designed by Stanford’s d.school to foster reflective practice. In our session, we will assess Riff’s value, identify areas for implementation, and discuss “first draft” uses at UNE.

Option E: ChatGPT as an Active Partner in Learning, Panel Discussion (75 min)

Alicia Williams, Associate Teaching Professor of Marine Sciences
Christine Leclerc, Teaching Professor of Psychology
John Waterman, Assistant Lecturer in Philosophy
Moderator: Marc Ebenfield, Director, CETL

Faculty from Marine Sciences, Philosophy and Psychology will present assignments in which students were asked to integrate AI into their work. In one case students used AI as a reading partner for peer-reviewed scientific research articles. In another AI is used to help students avoid confirmation bias and to promote perspective-taking. Students also taught ChatGPT the concepts of stereotype, prejudice, and discrimination and evaluated the AI output. The faculty panel will present their assignments, discuss outcomes and invite questions for additional discussion.


May 14
9:00 am - 2:15 pm
Event Category:


UNE Leonard Hall
Newtown Rd.
Biddeford, 04005 United States
+ Google Map

Do you have a faculty development event to add to the calendar? Email ctelhelp@maine.edu.

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