The 2023 Teaching and Learning Conference (University System of Georgia)

It is unbelievable to me that Erica and I should visit Athens and fail to take even one picture for the entire trip. Perhaps this is owed to Erica coming down with COVID right around our arrival to the Hotel. (To be fair, I did not feel 100%, either, though my symptoms weren't as devastating as hers. That, and she tested positive for COVID upon returning home and I did not.)

She managed to visit the botanical gardens and a few other places on her list. We missed the Iron and Wine concert. And we had dinner with her parents (who live 1hr away) the night of our arrival at The South, which was fantastic.

On to the conference. The USG sponsors this conference, which includes 45 minute workshops, 10-minute talks, and three-minute lightning talks. Participants can choose the format most fitting for their energy levels/interests.

The venue was amazing. It was an old and distinguished conference center with giant ballrooms and smaller conference rooms. And it was directly across the street from our hotel.

The Classic Center (from their website)

It was neat to hear from other faculty at fellow USG schools--to see what they are up to at Kennesaw, Georgia Southern, Fort Valley, and so forth. I attended a few workshops and one of the lightning rounds. (The lightning round was disappointing.) I had wanted to stay longer and attend more workshops, but Erica was not doing well and I had to get her home to bed.

I conducted a workshop with colleague Dorene Medlin. We presented some of our research on chronic absenteeism. The workshop was very well attended. We could hardly believe it. Standing room only. An important topic, we found. 

We didn't get through all of it, but I feel like we shared enough to make an important contribution to those who attended. Here is a link to our workshop powerpoint presentation. Here is the handout we made. The hardest part was transitioning from one group discussion to the next: we couldn't get everybody's attention! It was a good problem to have, I felt.

Dorene and I the day of our workshop

During the conference I brought copies of the discount flier to my new book, which is about supporting student autonomy in college. If ever there was a good opportunity to do some marketing, I felt that this was the place. I handed out maybe 15 fliers, but I felt like a conceited salesperson. I don't think I'll ever do this again. If somebody brings it up, I will share the flier. But creating opportunities to do so seemed disingenuous. It put too much emphasis on me and too little on others. That is not in support of the faculty my work is supposed to be about.


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