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Dr. Kevin Gannon

Director of the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETL) and Professor of History at Grand View University
Kevin Gannon

If we in higher ed aren’t saying ,’What are we teaching? What are our students learning?’ and does it align with the problems we very clearly see in our world now? If we aren’t having that conversation, then we need to just get out.

Dr. Kevin Gannon

Key Interview Takeaways

Instructional Designers can contribute so much; hopefully this pivot has shown those unaware how much can be done in this field. IDs are experts in technology and pedagogy. If we are looking at what higher education is going to look like going forward, it would be foolish to not have that perspective at the table. IDs have been doing this creative problem-solving for a while.

There is momentum building to hold institutions more accountable. “Are you going to hold yourself to the values you are selling to students? Schools are asking students to make a huge investment in this precarious time and they are (and should) hold schools accountable to how they live. This will be a disruptive change.

There is a big difference between access to high speed internet and availability of high-speed internet. Access is one thing, readily available is another. Higher ed needs to be in the ‘readily available’ camp. Higher ed needs to get a little more granular about what students have for daily access and what is readily available.


Kevin Gannon serves as Director of the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETL) and Professor of History at Grand View University in Des Moines, Iowa, where he has taught since 2004. Professor Gannon is also a former program coordinator (New Student Seminar) and department chair, and his current role is a blend of administrative and faculty responsibilities.

Professor Gannon’s teaching, research, and public work (including writing) centers on critical and inclusive pedagogy; race, history, and justice; and technology and teaching. Professor Gannon writes for Vitae (a section of The Chronicle of Higher Education), and his essays on higher education have also been published in Vox and other media outlets. Professor Gannon’s book Radical Hope: A Teaching Manifesto, was published by West Virginia University press in Spring, 2020, as part of their Teaching and Learning in Higher Education series, edited by James M. Lang. He is also currently writing a textbook for the US Civil War and Reconstruction eras that’s grounded in settler-colonial theory for Routledge. In 2016, Gannon appeared in the Oscar-nominated documentary 13th, which was directed by Ava DuVernay. Professor Gannon is a speaker and consultant about a range of topics on campuses across North America; endeavoring to bring passion, humor, and interactivity to his audiences.

Professor Gannon has listed his teaching philosophy on the Teaching US History Collective website: “My teaching philosophy is simple: I don’t want to teach my students to think outside the box; I want to teach them to light the box on fire and dance on its ashes. My courses involve active learning, collaborative work (much of it digital), and as little lecture as possible. I like to think of my classes as labs, or workshops, where my students and I are collectively engaged in doing history.”