Senior Teaching Specialist
M.A. Creative Writing and Literature, University of Cincinnati
B.A. English Literature, Wheaton College
Curriculum and Instruction .
Room 240A PeikH
159 Pillsbury Dr SE
Tuesday & Thursday 9:30 - 10:30 a.m. and by appointment
Areas of Interest
The role of the humanities in fostering more just, sustainable ways of living and the wise use of technology in order to increase student engagement, foster diversity, and facilitate different ways of learning.
What motivates me in my work?
Stories and students inspire my teaching. I am sustained by the process of analyzing and creating narratives, from literature to students’ stories. In 2016, I launched The Changing Story: digital stories that participate in transforming teaching & learning, a multimedia eBook which I created with CEHD designer Susan Andre and Instructional Designer Thomas Nechodomu, with support from the college and the University. Digital storytelling and writing assignments paired with images provides students with opportunities to communicate their findings shaped by their experiences. The narratives we discover together through research, discourse, and fieldwork connects academic theories to shared realities. I am motivated by the power of writing and learning to transform students’ lives so that they can harness their academic skills in order to participate in positive social change in their communities.
What can students expect from me?
“Benevolent power-sharing” informs my teaching and points to students’ experiences in my classes. Together we build knowledge and learn by doing. Whether we are walking along the Mississippi River while reflecting on poetry, or giving feedback on digital story drafts about social issues, we create enduring insights gained from collaborative applied learning. Together we foster an inclusive community that bridges academic learning with our sense of wonder and creativity and vision for social justice.
Creating Identities: Learning In and Through the Arts. CI 1032 Fall 2016 –
Global Stories of Education: Young Adult Learning. CI 1124 Fall 2016 -
I have been teaching in the humanities for twenty years. As a writer, I bring my love of stories and my belief in the the need for vital communication to all of my courses.
Currently I am an Educator Fellow in the Institute on the Environment, where my teaching and learning is being rejuvenated by interactions with colleagues and IonE staff, as I develop curricula around sustainability and creativity.
I am honored that the College of Education and Human Development recognized my work through the Distinguished Teaching Award in May of 2012.
I was awarded a leave from the college to design a writing intensive, multidisciplinary freshman seminar on the resource of water. "Water, Water, Everywhere? Investigating and Protecting Our Life Source.” The seminar integrates field work, texts, film, and guest speakers from both the arts and the environmental sciences, and each student creates a digital story about a water resource topic of their choosing, which features a first person interview with a relevant expert. Through support from the college I've developed a seminar website which features the students’ digital stories.
My collaboration with colleague Catherine Solheim (Family Social Sciences) led me to the Mekong River in northern Thailand, where we interviewed community members about how their cultural traditions and ways of living are being impacted by globalization and climate change, and brought two cadres of students for learning abroad. For more information about our learning abroad course in northern Thailand, "Global Change, Environment, and Families" You can also view our digital story, "Mekong Mosaic"
The over-arching goal of my teaching and learning is to foster the role of the humanities in helping people envision more just and sustainable ways of living. I collaborate with artists, scientists, and community members to provide students with models of how people are using their academic knowledge as well as their creative passions in order to help us move toward more interdependent, environmentally sustainable societies. An example is partnering with The New York Times to bring in Pulitzer prize winning photographer Ozier Muhammad to present his photographs from his coverage of Haiti after the earthquake. For news article.
Helping students understand the diverse cultures that shape the humanities is an essential component of my teaching. I am fortunate to work at a university with a diverse population; these rich cultural traditions are vital to helping us move toward more mutually beneficial ways of living. Through funding from the University, I have traveled to New Zealand and Thailand to research sustainability initiatives by community members and the government, and I bring these experiences to life in the classroom through images and lectures.
My teaching has been transformed by my research and implementation of Innovative uses of digital media. When incorporated thoughtfully, the use of technology increases student engagement, fosters diversity, and facilitates different ways of learning.
Essay collection: World Gone Beautiful: Life Along the Rum River (2008).
Selected Fellowships, Grants and Awards
Educator Fellow, Institute on the Environment, 2017-18, University of Minnesota.
Fellow, Internationalizing Teaching and Learning Cohort Program 2013-14, 2011-2012, Global Programs & Strategy (GPS) Alliance, the Center for Teaching and Learning, Instructional Development Services, and the Office of Information Technology, University of Minnesota.
Fellow, Office of Instructional Technology (OIT) Faculty Fellows Programs, 2012-13, University of Minnesota.
Award, CEHD Distinguished Teaching Award, May 2012.
Award, CEHD P&A Professional Development Award, “The Mekong Initiative” University of Minnesota, February 2012.
Fellow, CEHD U-Lead Program Recipient, with Catherine Solheim (FSS), 2011. College of Education and Human Development, University of Minnesota.
Grant, International Travel Grant - “The Mekong Initiative” - Global Programs and Strategy Alliance – University of Minnesota, April 2011.
Grant, International Engagement Grant -“The Mekong Initiative” - College of Education and Human Development, University of Minnesota, January 2011.
Fellow, Artist Residency - Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve, 2010, University of Minnesota.
Grant, Academic Technology Project Grant- Academic Technology Services, CEHD, December 2011, August 2010, 2008, 2007.
Editorial, “Using Digital Storytelling to Transform Learning,” Inside Higher Ed, with K. Smalkoski and S. Spicer, August 16, 2017.
eBook, "The Changing Story: Digital Stories that Participate in Transforming Teaching and Learning" with S. Andre and T. Nechodomu, through fellowship with OIT and in collaboration with Academic Technology Services, CEHD, UM, launched January 4, 2016.
Digital Story, “Creating the Changing Story” with Office of Instructional Technology, Dec. 2013.
Essay and Art, “Secret Knowledge: Cedar Bog Lake” Ecological Reflections Art Exhibit, Long Term Ecological Reflections (LTER), National Science Foundation (NSF), Arlington, VA, February 2013.
eChapter, "The River in the Classroom: Digital Storytelling that Fosters Community, Deepens Engagement, and Cultivates Global Awareness." Cultivating Change in the Academy: 50+ Stories from the Digital Frontlines at the University of Minnesota in 2012.
Review, "In the Land of Ashes: Rachel Cusk." Books & Culture, Carol Stream, Illinois, Sept/Oct 2012.
Essay with Images, The Gazing House: Research at the Reserve, Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve, East Bethel, University of Minnesota, October 2011.
Essay with Images, Secret Knowledge: Cedar Bog Lake, Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve, East Bethel, University of Minnesota, July 2011.
World Gone Beautiful: Life Along the Rum River. Cathedral Hill Press 2008.
Shouts and Whispers: Twenty-One Writers Speak about Their Writing and Their Faith. Edited by Jennifer L. Holberg. Eerdmans 2007. Buturian's interview with Kathleen Norris.
"Visual Narratives about Environmental Justice," 2019 Sustainability Education Summit. Institute on the Environment, University of Minnesota. February 1, 2019.
“Digital Story Creation as Transformative Learning for UM Undergrads” Diversity Dialogue Series. Department of Curriculum and Instruction, UM College of Education & Human Development. With students Lydia Vejar and Bao Hnia Xiong. Feb. 9, 2018.
“Crossing Cultures: Respecting the Sacred and Honoring Holy Sites” Nobel Peace Prize Forum High Level Dialogue, Augsburg University. Invited delegate with Juthamas Rajchaprasit (HADF Thailand). September 13, 2017.
“Celebrating and Empowering Your Professional Voice and Personal Vision in Teaching: Digital Storytelling as a Tool to Amplify the Experience and Voices of You and Your Students”, NEXT Network for Excellence in Teaching (C&I), Minneapolis, Minnesota. November 11, 2016.
“Storytelling for STEAM Educators” with P. O’Reilly. MEA Minnesota Education Association, Minneapolis, Oct 21, 2016.
“A Digital Storytelling Course: An All Inclusive Resource for K-College Faculty who want to develop Digital Storytelling Activities in their Courses”. With C. Reilly, S. Spicer, G. Steinke, P. McCauley. MN 2016 E-Learning Summit. MCTC, Minneapolis, MN. July 28, 2016.
“The Changing Story: adaptations for diverse learning environments” MN 2016 eLearning Summit, MCTC, Minneapolis, MN, July 28, 2016.
“Combinatory learning: storymaking, social justice and power-sharing in The Changing Story” C&I Research Committee, Curriculum & Instruction Department, CEHD, April 12, 2016.
“The Changing Story – Digital Storytelling for Transformative Teaching & Learning” CEHD Saturday Scholars, CEHD Alumni Society, Minneapolis, Minnesota, November 7, 2015.
“Place-based Learning in the Margins: Local-Global Perspective” Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) National Conference, Workshop at Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve, with Sustainability Minor UM and Will Steger Institute, East Bethel, Minnesota, October 28, 2015.
"Crossing Boundaries to Create a Learning Mosaic that Fosters Cross-Cultural Understanding" With Catherine Solheim (FSoS) and Susan Andre (CEHD), Internationalizing the Curriculum and Campus Conference, Global Programs and Strategy Alliance, University of Minnesota, April 11, 2014.
"Digital Storytelling: From Process to Product" With Pete McCauley, videographer, CEHD, Professional Association for Computer Training (PACT), Golden Valley, MN, December 13, 2013.
"Digital Storytelling that Fosters Engagement and Knowledge in First Year Students" With Mike Stebleton, annual First Year Experience Conference, Orlando, February 22, 2013.
"Enhancing Learning in a Hybrid Literature Course with Online Technologies" With Alison Link, PsTL Technology Fellow/Graduate Student, Minnesota Association for Developmental Education MNADE, Walker, MN, September 27, 2012.
"Digital Media: Giving Voice to Students and Fostering Global Learning" With Catherine Solheim, (FSoS), 28th Annual Conference on Distance Teaching & Learning, University of Wisconsin, Madison, August 8, 2012.
"Integrating Sustainability Themes in Teaching and Learning" Sustainability Across the Curriculum: Workshop for Faculty, Institute on the Environment, Institute for Advanced Studies, Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve, East Bethel, MN, June 7-8, 2012.
"Digital Storytelling as Global Development Learner Tool“ With Catherine Solheim (FSS), Internationalizing the Curriculum and Campus Conference, Global Programs Strategy Alliance, University of Minnesota, March 2012.
“The Mekong Initiative: Using Digital Stories to Connect Communities through Water” With Catherine Solheim (FSS), College of Education and Human Development, University of Minnesota, December 10, 2011.
“Digital Storytelling and Internationalizing Teaching and Learning” With Cristina Lopez (OIT), Global Programs and Strategy Alliance and Learning Abroad Center, University of Minnesota, November 4, 20112
"Integrating Digital Media into Teaching and Learning: Best Practices and the Benefits of Collaboration," Presented with Scott Spicer, Smart Learning Commons, Office of Instructional Technology, June 2010.
“Creating a Culturally Inclusive Classroom – From Pedagogy to Practice,” Co-facilitator Ilene Alexandar - Center for Teaching and Learning, Co-sponsored by College of Food, Agricultural, and Natural Resource Sciences and College of Biological Sciences Curriculum Revision Guidelines Task Force, January 2010.
“Water for Peace: An Iraqi-US Partnership,” College of Education and Human Development, Office of International Programs, Muslim Peacemakers Team, Iraqi and American Reconciliation Project, September 2009.