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Morrow Lecture at WIU to be Held Virtually April 12

April 2, 2021

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MACOMB, IL – Anoka-Ramsey Community College Dean Rebecca Krystyniak will deliver the virtual 2021 Morrow Lecture from 5-6 p.m. Monday, April 12.

Her lecture, titled 'The Learning Assistant Program in STEM – An Effective Model of Facilitating Student Learning to Close the Opportunity Gap," will be delivered virtually at, in addition to a series of accompanying workshops, which will be running on April 13th throughout the day can be access by signing up for them via

Krystyniak is the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Academic Dean at Anoka-Ramsey Community College in Coon Rapids, MN. She received her bachelor's degree in chemistry from Carthage College, her master's degree in analytical chemistry and her doctoral degree in chemistry education from the University of Northern Colorado. She has also completed post-doctoral work at the University of California, Berkeley.

Prior to working at Anoka-Ramsey, Krystyniak started her career in higher education in 1997, teaching at Aims Community College in Greeley, CO, and at California State University – East Bay. She also served as a chemistry faculty member at St. Cloud State University, including two years as the chemistry department chair, and championed the Teacher Preparation Initiative, the Ignite Center at SCSU, and served as director.

The Learning Assistant Program was developed in the early 2000s at the University of Colorado at Boulder to improve student retention and to attract high performing students in the STEM disciplines into careers in education. The program has since expanded to more than 20 programs at Boulder, and at more than 50 campuses nationwide.

Krystyniak is an experienced STEM educator, with a specialty in chemistry, who has overseen the introduction of Learning Assistants to support program growth in the sciences, social sciences, and humanities at St. Cloud State, and at Anoka-Ramsey. She will provide an interactive introduction to the Learning Assistant model, with a focus on how to implement it in a variety of programs, and adapting to the constraints faced by those programs and institutions.

Other workshops planned as part of Krystyniak's lecture include:

• Tuesday, April 13

- 10-11:30 a.m. – "Transforming Your Course with Learning Assistants (LAs)," will focus on providing faculty and academic support staff with the resources and motivation to use LAs in transforming classrooms into active learning environments that close the opportunity gap.

- 1-1:50 p.m. – "Starting, Scaling, and Sustaining an LA program" will focus on providing administrators and academic support staff with the motivation and strategies for introducing and scaling up an LA program in academic units.

- 2-2:45 p.m. – "Learning Assistant Panel" – students who have worked as LAs at the Quad Cities and Macomb campuses will describe their experiences.

- 3:30-4:30 p.m. – "Coffee with Becky" is a chance to follow up with Krystyniak in an informal chat session.

The Roger and Jean Morrow Distinguished Lecture is funded through an endowment in honor of Roger M. Morrow, the first head of the WIU Department of Physics, and his wife, Jean, who was one of the University's first female faculty members in the WIU Department of Biological Sciences. The lecture is hosted by the WIU Department of Physics.

For more information about the WIU Department of Physics, visit

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