Tonya Waller, EdD
Dr. Tonya Waller is the Director of the University of Kansas GEAR UP Topeka program, currently operating in Topeka Public Schools in Topeka, Kansas. Dr. Waller has served as an educator and youth advocate for over 25 years, having served as a classroom teacher for 10 years prior to her 17-year tenure with GEAR UP. She is a tireless advocate for social justice, with research interests in urban education, and Culturally Relevant and Responsive pedagogy. In addition to her role with GEAR UP Topeka, Dr. Waller also teaches UNIV101 for first-generation freshman college students at the University of Kansas.
They Don't Care How Much You Know Unless They Know How Much You Care
In-Person Session
As educators, we must be able to connect with students. Using a research-validated framework, we will examine the importance of relationship-building in engaging students academically and socially. Participants will (1) discuss the value of personal connections as a precursor to relationship development; (2) explore concepts of mentoring as an impetus for academic and personal success; and (3) develop a list of best practices for academic and social engagement with students.

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