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Faculty/staff conference focuses on preparing students for workplace

by UofL Today last modified Jan 26, 2011 01:19 PM

Workplace readiness is the topic of this year's Celebration of Teaching and Learning, an annual, all-day conference the Delphi Center for Teaching and Learning organizes for faculty and staff.

This year's event will be Friday, Feb. 11, 8 a.m.-4:45 p.m. at the Founders Union Building on Shelby Campus at ShelbyHurst.

The topic is timely, said Marie Kendall Brown, assistant director for teaching and learning at the Delphi Center.

"Findings from a recent study, described in the Jan. 18 'Chronicle of Higher Education' suggest  that for many students four years of undergraduate classes make little difference in their ability to synthesize knowledge and put complex ideas on paper," Brown said. "This is a sobering finding with deep implications for students' ability to be successful in the workplace."

This year's conference, "From College to Career: Developing Generation NeXt," she said, will provide attendees with "a better understanding of students, especially their needs and challenges, and how we as educators can be more effective interacting with them, educating them, and preparing them for successful and productive lives post-college."

The event also "is also a unique opportunity to network with colleagues across disciplinary boundaries and to strengthen the university's culture relative to teaching excellence."

Highlights include:

  • Keynote speaker Mark Taylor, a national expert with 25 years experience in higher education, including teaching and directing the office responsible for many student services at Arkansas State University. He also has consulted with and provided training for businesses, colleges and professional organizations. Conference attendees, Brown said, should take some time to familiarize themselves with Taylor's article, "Teaching Generation Next: A Pedagogy for Today's Learners."
  • Panel discussions with employers, faculty, alumni and career services representatives
  • Harry Pickens, educational facilitator, UofL faculty member, and special assistant to the provost for new initiatives.

"We've specifically asked (Pickens) to create an afternoon interactive session that engages participants in critical reflection about the ideas and insights they gather throughout the day," Brown said, noting that his session will be designed to allow attendees to take the new ideas they have encountered and create a practical action plan for integrating them in their work with students.

The lunch program includes a screening of the annual "Faculty Favorite Awards" video.

Before the conference, Taylor will give two talks on Thursday, Feb. 10.

  • UnderstandingToday's Learners: Meet Generation NeXt, 8:30 a.m.-10:30 a.m., Room 139, Shumaker Research Building, Belknap Campus.
  • Teaching for Lasting Change: A Pedagogy of Formation for the Health Professions, noon-1 p.m., Room 130, School of Dentistry, Health Sciences Center

The Celebration of Teaching and Learning is free, but registration is required. Both pre-conference sessions also require registration.

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