2019 Keynote Speakers

ISSOTL19 is pleased to announce this year’s keynote sessions! We have assembled them to chart an intentional sequence through the conference. The opening plenary, by Dr. Kasturi Behari-Leak, will set the stage and raise important questions about the role of SoTL in decolonization and permeating borders. Prof. Karen Robinson and her student actors will enact a performance of the Coming Out Monologues (in recognition of Atlanta Pride Week) followed by a talkback to highlight the relationship between engaged pedagogies, embodiment, empathy, and scholarship. Finally, Dr. Nancy Chick will pull threads from the conference together in her closing address, reexamining SoTL’s foundational goals through the lenses of the conference theme. Join us in Atlanta for this transformative trajectory!


Keynote Sessions

Dr. Kasturi Behari-Leak

Wednesday, October 9, 5:30 pm -7:00 pm

“I am because you are”: opening up borders for inclusion of Self and Other.

In the context of global curriculum transformation and from a global South perspective, this keynote explores the imposed and self-created borders that continue to ‘discipline’ us into reproducing scholarly processes, practices and traditions that privilege dominant forms of knowledge-making and knowing in teaching and learning. Drawing on a South African case study that explores a framework for curriculum change, the author invites the audience to embrace a social imagination that disrupts and transcends the epistemic, social and cultural borders designed to produce knowledge that is ahistorical and decontextualized. Using a social cartography/ mapping of how we thrive on neatly delineated borders that detach the known from the knower by marginalising or delegitimising knowledges of the Other, this keynote presents a theory of change geared towards a borderless, decolonised, socially just and inclusive pedagogy and scholarship.


Dr. Kasturi Behari-Leak is a senior lecturer in the Centre for Higher Education Development at the University of Cape Town.  She convenes a variety of professional and academic staff development programmes for emerging and established academics to enhance their teaching. Her work focuses on exploring the interplay between structures (national, institutional, departmental and disciplinary) and culture and their influence on lecturers’ critical agency in a contested context. She is currently President of the Higher Education Learning and Teaching Association of Southern Africa (HELTASA) and serves on the National Teaching Excellence Awards Committee. She is a council member of the International Consortium of Educational Development (ICED) and serves on the advisory sub-committee for the World Universities Network (WUN). She is project leader of a national collaborative project on staff development, commissioned by the South African Department of Higher Education.  She was co-chair of the Curriculum Change Working Group, commissioned by the vice chancellor at UCT to facilitate engagements on curriculum change and decolonisation across the university.



Prof. Karen Robinson and Kennesaw State University Student Actors

Thursday, October 10, 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm

The Coming Out Monologues Project

Each year, in celebration of National Coming Out Day, the Department of Theatre and Performance Studies and the LGBTQ Resource Center at Kennesaw State University co-produce The Coming Out Monologues Project, a compilation of stories that share, through performance, the coming-out process as experienced by various members of the LGBTQ community. We seek to include coming-out stories from numerous backgrounds and perspectives, including advocates, allies, parents, friends, and persons who identify within the LGBTQ spectrum of identities.

The Coming Out Monologues Project is a nationally renowned, community-based performance project originally inspired by Eve Ensler’s Vagina Monologues. It was first produced in 2007 at University of California, Riverside under the direction of Brian Oglesby and Noel Mariano. Since that time, the project has been produced at universities across the country.

Now in its seventh year at Kennesaw State University, performances of this project have shared over seventy stories from members of the LGBTQ+ community at Kennesaw State University and beyond. We welcome stories from current students, alumni, faculty, staff, friends, and family from throughout the metro area. The process begins with the solicitation of stories in August of each year. A team of curators selects ten monologues that will be performed; and an ensemble of theatre and performance studies students brings the stories to life for audiences in the Onyx Theater on the KSU Campus; the last two years, Out Front Theatre in Atlanta has hosted a community performance as well. Each performance is followed by a talkback with the audience, where audiences and performers engaged in transformational discussions that reflect the power of live theatre to foster understanding, empathy, and love.


Karen Robinson is Professor, Artistic Director, and Assistant Chair in the Department of Theatre and Performance Studies at Kennesaw State University (KSU) where she has taught and directed theatrical productions for 20 years. She has worked professionally as a director, dramaturg, and/ manager. Her directing work includes chamber theatre, performance ethnography, contemporary and period classics, and new play development. In Atlanta, she has directed projects at Actor’s Express, Horizon Theatre, Synchronicity Theatre, the Alliance Theatre, and Georgia Shakespeare. Karen has joyfully coordinated and directed The Coming Out Monologues Project at KSU for six consecutive years. A passionate advocate for global learning and intercultural art and performance, Karen’s global projects have included tours of student productions to Morocco, China, and Germany. She is the recipient of KSU’s 2009 Award for Distinguished Teaching, a 2010 University of Georgia Board of Regents Award for Excellence in Teaching, and the 2011 KSU Distinguished Professor award. Her next directorial project is a world premiere at Atlanta’s Theatrical Outfit in October-November, 2019. Entitled Safety Net, Daryl Lisa Fazio’s poignant and uplifting play tells the story of a family grappling with the throes of the opioid epidemic in rural Alabama.


Dr. Nancy Chick

Saturday, October 12, 11:15 am -12:15 pm

SoTL as Public Scholarship

This year’s conference theme sets the stage for broad, intentional conversations that have only popped up here and there at previous conferences. It challenges some to view SoTL in new ways, and invites others to bring their backstage SoTL goals into the spotlight. This collective consideration may help us more fully realize SoTL’s potential–in part, by expanding into what Booth and Woollacott described (2017) as its “internal and external horizons.” This year’s theme also affects what the products, publications, and artifacts of SoTL might look like. As we reflect on where to go from here, we’ll consider the implications of this year’s theme for SoTL’s fundamental requirement of “going public” (Shulman, 1999; Fanghanel, 2013).


Nancy Chick (PhD, English) is Director of the Endeavor Foundation Center for Faculty Development at Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida (US). She is also editor of SoTL in Action: Illuminating Critical Moments of Practice (Stylus, 2018), co-editor of Exploring Signature Pedagogies: Approaches to Teaching Disciplinary Habits of Mind (Stylus, 2009) and Exploring More Signature Pedagogies (Stylus, 2012), and founding co-editor—with Gary Poole—of Teaching & Learning Inquiry, ISSOTL’s journal.