In the past several weeks, education learning conferences, presentations and collaborative summits have had Kirtland reps traveling to locations near and far, including Boston, Chattanooga, Chicago, East Lansing and Traverse City. Regardless of the event, the common goal is to identify cutting-edge educational trends and practices that ultimately benefit student learning and success in the classroom.
Trends in Occupational Studies Conference Traverse City
One of our most engaged conference attendees is science instructor and committed active-learning facilitator, Jen Sieszputowski. Following last week’s Trends conference, a conference for Michigan Community College educators, Jen had this to share, “Every educational conference I have attended has been a great learning opportunity and experience. Not only do I have the chance to share with others the innovative things we are doing at Kirtland, but I always leave feeling inspired, energized and ready to incorporate new ideas. Being able to submerse myself in the cumulative knowledge and successful experiences of others has resulted in professional growth which has not only improved my teaching but helped me to realize what is possible.”
Campus Compact 2012 Presidents Leadership Summit Chattanooga, TN
President Thomas Quinn and Interim Associate Dean Dr. Nick Holton were invited to this national conference to lead a 75-minute session on the topic Developing Vital, Vibrant and Healthy Communities through Democratic Partnerships and Civic Engagement. This session explored how aligning these initiatives strengthens rural institutions’ and communities’ ability to create sustainable change. Because of our ongoing commitment to Service Learning, long-standing community partnerships with organizations such as the River House Shelter in Grayling, MI, and unique rural location, Kirtland is well respected and considered a leader in collaborating, developing and maintaining these critical relationships with a goal of creating civic engagement and economic development throughout our surrounding communities.
Academic Quality Improvement Program (AQIP)
The Higher Learning Commission (HLC) is an independent corporation that accredits degree-granting post-secondary educational institutions and Kirtland Community College participates in ongoing review and compliance programs to maintain our accreditation status. Earlier this month, eight Kirtland employees attended an AQIP strategy forum in Chicago with representatives from the HLC and several other post-secondary institutions.
There are many great quality improvement projects happening across campus. However, as a college, Kirtland lacks a structured process and toolkit that can be used to strengthen quality improvement projects, document results and recognize completed action projects. Each accreditation portfolio requires a minimum of three action projects. With Kirtland’s commitment to identifying and implementing a new process and toolkit, there will be more action projects to choose from and opportunities throughout the college to participate in continuous quality improvement and grow stronger as a result. Our AQIP group will be developing the process and toolkit over the next five months and outcomes will be reported out as projects are completed and assessed.
Association of Community College Trustees Annual Leadership Congress
Over 1,700 community college trustees, presidents and national and state leaders gathered at the Association of Community College Trustees (ACCT) 43rd Annual ACCT Leadership Congress. Board Trustee Jack Kramer and President Quinn represented Kirtland Community College, participating in forums focusing on three primary themes at this year’s conference: student success, college completion and the economic future of America, especially the vital role community colleges play in rebuilding the economy. “Minimum wage is not a living wage,” said ACCT Chair Jean Torgeson. “Community and technical colleges make it possible for Americans to earn living wages – an especially urgent need in today’s economy.” Clearly the programs offered at Kirtland – and the dedication to expanding and refining existing programs – serve as evidence to our commitment to provide quality career education opportunities.
Michigan Community College Association’s Student Success Summit
East Lansing, MI
In September, several Kirtland staffers attended the MCCA Student Success Summit, an event featuring national expertise and emerging best practices from Michigan community colleges. With a goal of focusing on issues related to student access and success, community colleges attendees assemble teams of up to 12 staff members made up of faculty, administration, institutional research staff, and student service representatives. While at the summit, these teams focus on teaching and learning practices and how to apply the newest techniques in order to deliver relevant, innovative instruction so students gain the skills they need to be successful in their careers.