NIU is more than familiar with the amazing stories students tell about their engaged learning experiences with faculty.
However, this spring will introduce a new event that uncovers and recognizes the faculty perspective of collaborations with students and community partners. The first Engaged Learning, Teaching and Scholarship Conference is scheduled from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday, March 6.
Several faculty and staff will present on best practices in engaged learning, teaching and scholarship in the Holmes Student Center. All are welcome to attend; registration is open online.
“Engaging students and the local, regional, national and global community is critical to NIU’s mission,” says Renique Kersh, associate vice provost for Engaged Learning and director of the Office of Student Engagement and Experiential Learning.
“We want to celebrate the tremendous efforts by faculty and staff across the campus to create and support opportunities that lead to significant learning and community and economic impact,” Kersh adds. “We hope to inspire potential collaboration, to engage in thoughtful discussions about the future of engaged learning at NIU and to learn from one another.”
Kersh says “engaged learning” comes in many forms:
- Undergraduate research;
- Project- or problem-based learning;
- Innovative practices;
- Practical ways that community engagement, reciprocity and mutual benefits are obtained through strategic partnerships that result in positive economic or social benefits; and
- Engaged research, scholarship, creativity and artistry, in addition to engaged learning, teaching and community partnerships.
“At the crux, engaged learning as a practice puts the learner at the center,” she says. “It involves intentionality, application of knowledge and active participation.”
For students, she adds, “the results are significant learning, the ability to think more deeply and understand complex materials, and to better understand and embrace the ways that they connect with the world around them.”
Lisa Freeman, acting president of NIU, will deliver the opening remarks as well as the keynote address: “Bringing NIU’s Mission to Life through Engagement.”
Concurrent “Best Practice” sessions begin at 9:15 a.m., 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. A plenary session is scheduled from 10:45 to 11:30 a.m., and a poster session will begin at 11:45 a.m.
Participants will close the day with a discussion on “The Future of Engaged Learning at NIU.”
“We hope to learn more about the ways that faculty interpret and implement engaged learning at NIU,” Kersh says. “Engaged learning represents pedagogy, practice and scholarship that is high-impact and has long-term benefits that extend beyond the classroom and the brick-and-mortar.”
Co-sponsors of the Engaged Learning, Teaching and Scholarship Conference are the Office of Student Engagement and Experiential Learning; the Division of Outreach, Engagement and Regional Development; the Faculty Development and Instructional Design Center; the College of Business Experiential Learning Center; and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.
For more information, call (815) 753-8154 or email [email protected].