The three-day event, held from May 31 to June 2, brought together 203 faculty, staff, and administrators from various disciplines and institutions.
Attendees were treated to an array of engaging presentations, workshops, and networking opportunities, centered around the theme “Pathways to the Future: Exploring the Intersection of Learning, Work, and Community.” With three tracks provided over the course of the conference, participants learned from various speakers about digital badging, first-year experiences, and mentoring.
Each day of the conference began with the opportunity to hear from three plenary speakers: La’Tonya Rease Miles, an expert on the first-generation college experience, American novelist and university professor John Gardner, and Associate Vice President for Academic Innovation Olukemi Sawyerr all emphasized the importance of fostering a culture of innovation within academic institutions.
“The AI faculty and staff summer conference was very invigorating. It was wonderful to see so many colleagues from CPP and other campuses engaged in the sessions. I was inspired to see the passion of faculty and staff for the success of students!” said Sawyerr.
Throughout the conference, participants had the opportunity to attend a wide array of engaging workshops and presentations facilitated by experts in educational technology, instructional design, and pedagogical innovation. These sessions covered diverse topics such as digital badging and its many benefits to students and how mentoring contributes to various student-related outcomes including their academic success and career readiness. Attendees left each session equipped with practical tools and strategies that they could implement in their own classrooms and institutions.
In addition to the workshops and sessions, panel discussions featuring accomplished educators and administrators provided a platform for thought-provoking conversations on key issues in higher education. Panels shared the experiences of first-year and transfer students at Cal Poly Pomona and faculty members discussed their experience mentoring diverse student populations. Collaborative sessions, structured as group activities and brainstorming sessions, enabled attendees to exchange ideas, share best practices, and explore potential collaborations with colleagues from diverse disciplines.
This past Faculty and Staff Summer Conference hosted by the Office of Academic Innovation exceeded all expectations and participants said it left them feeling invigorated, empowered, and armed with invaluable strategies to foster innovation in their respective roles. With the conference occurring annually, the hope is that it serves as a platform to showcase an impressive array of approaches, tools, and strategies designed to enhance teaching and learning in today’s digital era. More opportunities for staff and faculty to engage in will occur at the upcoming Winter Institute coming January 2024.