Janine Martin is a Biology adjunct faculty at Kirkwood Community College. For the last two years she has been the organizer of the Iowa Conference in Higher Education, a statewide education conference. This conference is designed to provide professional development opportunities for part-time and full-time faculty and staff who are working in the field of higher education. We contacted her to get some more information about the conference and her work. Even though this conference was a smaller event, there were a variety of interesting topics that was included.

Janine’s mission for facilitating this conference is to provide an outlet for people to learn new techniques and technologies to challenge themselves to new ideas and bring them back to the classroom. One of her big goals is to create communities in which adjunct faculty have equal opportunity to attend and present their new ideas and experiences.

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Why Iowa Conference in Higher Education:

Since this conference is more localized, the topics seems to be more interesting to the attendees. In order to increase convenience for a variety of attendees, especially adjunct faculty who might be working during the week, Janine has organized this event to take place during the weekend. Janine’s goal is to provide an opportunity for adjunct faculty to collaborate and attend the conference, without having to cancel any of their class sessions. According to Janine, this is a just-in-time professional development for faculty and adjunct instructors. This is a great opportunity for the adjunct instructors including herself to be a part of the event, not only to attend the sessions, but also to present. Janine believes presenting in a conference is a rewarding experience, that allow presenters to receives immediate feedback from the attendees.

Some of the challenges she has faced as the organizer were to market the conference externally, and to engage more volunteers in organizing this conference. She overcomes those barriers by making more connections through the different conferences that she attends. She invites people from other institutes to attend this conference and to present. Janine wants to make sure faculty, staff and adjunct instructors have the same opportunity to present at this conference.

Janine is hoping to have a more diverse group of participants in the future. Her work toward creating a community that faculty, staff and adjunct faculty can collaborate and develop in their professional area is a valuable effort. She hopes this can serve faculty and staff as a just-in-time professional development opportunity.

Please feel free to contact either of the instructional designers in KCELT to get more information about this conference or other professional development opportunities at Kirkwood Community College.

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