Continuing to Build Community
(originally posted November 13, 2014)
Just a few short weeks ago, we completed the 2014 SLATE Conference - the 12th Annual SLATE Conference. To me, and many of my colleagues who have been there from the beginning, we are often amazed at how far we have come as a group since that first conference. I could talk about the differences in number of attendees, number of presentations, number of vendors that have participated over the years, but that is only a part of the story. It's more about the impact SLATE has had, and continues to have, in the academic community - particularly in the Midwest - that is the real story.
Of the 200 participants at this year's conference, 92 of them - almost half - were first time attendees. To me this signals that the community of practice that was first established almost thirteen-years ago, is still going strong and is still reaching the individuals and institutions that are a part of it. As one attendee stated, "There is so much to learn but I'm glad there is a community of people engaged to help with that learning." This "new generation" of academic technology professional, continues to see and understand the importance of communication, collaboration, and fostering innovation with like-minded individuals.
By increasing the number and variety of people who participate in SLATE, the community now has the opportunity to tap into a new, rich pool of talented people who will bring in new voices, experiences and approaches, and add to a deeper set of skills, ideas, and understanding. Another comment that was made, "As a first-timer to this conference and also a very young professional, this was by far the best and only conference I will continue to attend. Thank you for putting together such a wonderful experience." By continuing to make this event a positive experience for everyone, it will draw in a "wider audience" expanding the networking opportunities available, and also increasing the profile of SLATE, while building support for its mission.
It is because of all of you - your support and commitment to the SLATE community - that has given us the opportunity to be successful and sustain our momentum. Let us continue to engage, challenge, and explore together the ever-changing world of teaching and learning.
I look forward to seeing everyone at the 2015 SLATE Conference, October 21-23, 2015.