“Lollipop Moments,” Learning and Community at 4th Annual SI Regional Conference

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3CSN was honored to co-sponsor and collaborate on the 4th Annual Inland Empire SI Regional Conference (IESIC) held November 15 and 16, 2019.  More than 200 Supplemental Instruction (SI) educators gathered at Mt. San Jacinto College for the lively 2-day conference.  SI leaders, tutors, faculty and coordinators from 30 different colleges and universities enjoyed the opportunity to learn, share ideas, and network.  SI Conference organizers Rebecca Moon-Stone, 3CSN Coordinator, Janice Levasseur, Coordinator of Supplemental Instruction, Mt. San Jacinto College, James Graham, Coordinator of Supplemental Instruction, CSU San Bernardino, Kathalena Rios, Supplemental Instruction Specialist, Mt. San Jacinto College, Maricruz Macz, Director of Supplemental Instruction, CSU San Marcos, and Arezoo Marashi, Coordinator of Supplemental Instruction, Norco College, were thrilled to welcome over 150 newcomers to the annual conference.   

This year there were two pre-conference sessions– a Faculty Awareness Training, facilitated by Dr. Julie Collins, Director of UMKC Academic Support and Mentoring and Executive Director of International Center for Supplemental Instruction, and an SI Leader Summit facilitated by International Center for Supplemental Instruction Certified Trainers Jessica Elam, UMKC Campus SI Coordinator, and Heather Miller, UMKC Tutoring Center Coordinator. 

Each day began with an inspiring keynote address.  Dr. Carrie Tate-Meyer, Director of Career Services, Mt. San Jacinto College, delivered the first powerful message about being willing to take risks.  She reminded us that “Failure comes with the chance to innovate.”  In addition, she encouraging participants to step outside their comfort zones to recognize their personal impact on others and to see themselves as leaders, sharing Drew Dudley’s TEDx Talk, “Leading with Lollipops” as a powerful example.

On Saturday morning, Dr. Albert Cruz, author, business owner, and instructor, San Diego Mesa College, shared his lifelong journey of success and failure.  His story of leaving his life and profitable business in Hong Kong to come to the United States, starting at the bottom and successfully investing in education and savings, impressed the crowd.  Watch his TEDx Talk, “Becoming Who You Want to Be” here.

Each speaker’s story of personal growth emphasized the critical importance of life-long learning, taking risks, overcoming obstacles and persistence.  Both helped to reinforce the positive, and often life-changing, impact we can have on others. Together, they set the stage for a productive professional learning experience for conference attendees. 

An extensive range of breakout sessions, developed and delivered by SI leaders and coordinators, engaged attendees in a stimulating two days of learning.   More than 30 different sessions, including poster sessions during the lunch break, represented a range of disciplines and SI interests. Session topics included digital and online SI experiences, growing campus SI programs, SI structures and staffing, SI activities (across and within disciplines), social and emotional aspects of learners and learning via supplemental instruction.

The conference concluded with the awarding of three competitive scholarships to SI leaders.  Spirited competition was also in play as prizes were awarded to conference-goers who jockeyed to share their big conference “takeaways.” Many of these centered around appreciation and growth as educators as well as the sense of community that was strengthened and deeply felt.  One participant noted that he was shy and afraid to talk with others at first, but the experience at the conference opened him up and gave him a true feeling of belonging.

A final surprise announcement about the future of this SI Conference received a roaring endorsement: The Inland Empire Conference will be transitioning to incorporate the entire West Coast!  We can’t wait for next year’s conference!  In the meantime, if you’re looking for more learning assistance sharing, networking, and learning opportunities, join us for Tutor Expo in northern and southern California in Spring 2020. Click on the links above to register and reserve your space!

View images from the event here:

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