An academic summer on campus

Posted 07/14/17

Summer is in full swing at Fitchburg State, and while that may mean fewer students walking the campus each day, it hasn’t slowed the pace of academic work occurring at the institution. Instead, the campus has been home to a number of conferences and gatherings that are driving academic discussions here and beyond.

In June, the campus welcomed more than 100 higher education faculty, administrators and staff from across the region for the New England Faculty Development Consortium Spring 2017 conference. Higher education faculty, administrators and staff from across New England came for a daylong exploration of topics related to theme of helping students build networks for lifelong learning.

Also in June, about 80 faculty and staff from New England institutions gathered in Hammond Hall for the summer meeting of the Massachusetts Regional Project Kaleidoscope Network, known as PKAL. The project is an initiative of the Association of American Colleges and Universities focusing on STEM faculty development in an effort to transform STEM education for undergraduates. The theme of the local gathering was “STEM students in the community,” with faculty members sharing talks and workshops highlighting innovative practices from their own classrooms. The event included a workforce panel where leaders from Massachusetts’ STEM industries discussed the skills needed for the future workforce.

The Amelia V. Gallucci-Cirio Library welcomed two conferences this summer. The annual conference of the New England Library Instruction Group brought 112 professionals to campus for a program that included a keynote address by Dartmouth College Director of Education and Outreach Laura Barrett. Barrett’s talk on “learner-centered classrooms” included discussion of engaging students with more active cognitive strategies and having them reflect on their learning. Fitchburg State staff also participated in panel discussions during the event.

Also at the library, the board of directors for the Academic and Research Collaborative met and held a member social. The group is a regional consortium of public and private libraries, and the 60 attendees discussed issues in their field and toured the university library, including the new learning commons on the first floor, the library instruction laboratory and archives.

In July, the university’s Center for Professional Studies welcomed 140 teachers from across New England and beyond for the 20th annual Advanced Placement Summer Institutes. The institutes are designed for high school teachers who will be teaching AP courses for the first time, have limited experience teaching such courses or seek to adapt or revisit their AP offerings. They support all aspects of AP courses, including methodology, curriculum, class assignments and examinations as well as strategies for teaching.

On July 14, the campus hosted the summer conference of the New England Association of Chemistry Teachers at the Robert V. and Jeanne S. Antonucci Science Complex. Keynote speakers included MIT Professor Robert Langer and Peter Trefonas from Dow Chemical Co. The scientists’ presentations were complemented by general talks and workshops from educators at local universities and high schools.

Earlier this year, the university hosted the annual conference of the New England Organization for Human Services, bringing 80 participants from two- and four-year institutions for a series of discussions that included a keynote address from Massachusetts Department of Developmental Services Commissioner Elin Howe. Also, the Massachusetts Council for International Education—an association linking the state’s public higher education institutions—met here to discuss ways to support international students through programming and services, with an immigration lawyer presenting on the impacts of changes to federal policy. The event also included discussions on ways to support international students as they navigate college life in the U.S.

 

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