Todd Zakrajsek, Executive Director Center for Faculty Excellence

Todd Zakrajsek, Executive Director
Center for Faculty Excellence
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Overcoming Apathy and Creating Excitement in the Classroom
What can instructors do to facilitate learning when they encounter students who seem uninterested
and even apathetic toward course content and assignments? Part of the responsibility for learning
belongs to students, but as faculty, we can find new ways to motivate, inspire, and maybe even cajole
students to learn. This workshop will demonstrate and explain how instructors can make classroom
learning, perhaps one of the most artificial learning settings, a more meaningful experience for
students. The presenter uses theories of learning and motivation as a basis for creating strategies to
increase student engagement in course content and class sessions. Participants will have an opportunity
to try out and experience first-hand some of these techniques. Topics covered in this session include a
discussion of active learning, motivation, collaborative learning, metacognition, learning theory, and
interpersonal communication.
Length: I have presented on this topic in sessions ranging from 45 minutes to two full days.
Target Audiences: Faculty, graduate teaching assistants, and faculty developers
Keywords: engaged learning, student motivation, learning theory, apathy
Evaluations (I will dig through and find some evaluations. Following are one set from a workshop I did
recently….these are representative to the feedback I get at each session):
This was a fabulous learning experience. I’ve taught for 33 years; others in the room were
brand new. It applies to all levels of experience and all disciplines.
I was inspired
Todd did an excellent job! Engaging, entertaining and really useful (practical) suggestions
I found your examples of studies & personal experience very applicable. Thanks.
Come back again!
Excellent presenter – loved the humor and was NEVER offended!
Todd was fun, intelligent, engaging. I’ll never forget the date 1879.
Thanks a lot for coming to Canada. Glad we could offer you some warmth (smile)
Good job! Great speaker
Short Bio:
Todd Zakrajsek is the Executive Director of the Center for Faculty Excellence at University of North
Carolina at Chapel Hill. He was previously the Inaugural Director of the Faculty Center for Innovative
Teaching at Central Michigan University and the founding Director of the Center for Teaching and
Learning at Southern Oregon University, where he also taught in the psychology department as a
tenured associate professor in the psychology department. Todd also directs the Lilly Conference on
Teaching and Learning at Traverse City, Michigan, and the International Conference on Improving
University Teaching. Dr. Zakrajsek received his Ph.D. in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from Ohio
University. He has published and presented widely on the topic of student learning, including workshops
and conference keynote addresses in over 30 states and 4 countries in the past several years.
Short List of Presentations
Michigan State University
Pepperdine University
University of Louisville
Clemson University
Loma Linda University
Rochester Institute of Technology
Tacoma Community College
University of Alaska - Fairbanks
Iona College
Tri-County Technical College
Sample of Keynote/Pleanary Addresses given: Lilly Conference on College and University Teaching,
Oxford Ohio; Teaching Professor Conference, Atlanta Georgia; American Society of Microbiology, New
Orleans, Louisiana; American Mathematical Association for Two-year Colleges, Portland Oregon;
International Improving University Teaching, Växjö, Sweden.
Contact: Todd Zakrajsek, 919-966-4838,