Defining, promoting, and implementing an agenda for visual literacy is a central part of Tara Mayer's scholarly agenda at UBC. She has done so by organizing a synposium on teaching through material culture, by driving the development of a new digital tool for Interactive Image Annotation in and beyond the classroom, or by providing new, hands-on research opportunities for undergraduate students in local museum collections.
She is also engaged in a project that examines student responses to historical controversies. The question of how to best address controversy is especially acute for History instructors, since so much of the human past is conflictual and because students often feel personally invested in particular historical narratives about their nations, origins, religions, entitlements, or plights. Her project explores these issues and how to evaluate different approaches through a pilot study on teaching the Partition of India.