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Bryn Mawr Partners on Tech

A new partnership with Bryn Mawr aims to continue support of faculty in the classroom and provide more opportunity for fostering innovative, technology-centered teaching techniques. The women’s liberal arts college joins with SNC to offer the respective schools’ teaching conferences on alternating years, starting with Bryn Mawr’s Blending Learning in the Liberal Arts Conference on May 20-21, 2020. St. Norbert’s next T3 (Transformative Teaching & Technology) will follow in May 2021.

The collaboration sprouted from a growing relationship between Krissy Lukens (Academic Technology) and Bryn Mawr’s CIO Gina Siesing and director of libraries Constance A. Jones. The conversation began after Lukens presented at the Pennsylvania school’s Liberal Arts Conference with Reid Riggle (Education). Last fall, Lukens approached Siesing with this idea: offer the twin conferences in a way that faculty could more easily engage in dialogue and learn from models of well-designed, technology-centric classroom techniques shared by their peers.

“With these conferences, we’re trying to model what we’re advocating for in the classroom, which is innovative teaching strategies that use technology in some creative way to elevate learning,” Lukens explains. “But with our conferences being back to back, it became difficult for us to participate in theirs and vice versa.”

Siesing stresses that this partnership between two similarly established and well-regarded conferences gives a sustainable path forward: “It means that our conference planning teams are enriched and strengthened by working together each year to shape these programs for our cohorts of national (and sometimes international!) conference participants.”

“Our two institutions share a commitment to unique and empowering forms of liberal arts education; for Bryn Mawr, cultivating a community of passionate, joyful learners; and for St. Norbert, similarly cultivating a love of lifelong learning inspired by excellent teaching,” Siesing continues. “For Bryn Mawr, this means equipping our students with powerful tools that enable graduates to lift up others as they make a meaningful difference in the world, just as for St. Norbert this means equipping students to serve humanity and care for all.” 

SNC President Brian Bruess ’90 agrees: “Collaborating with Bryn Mawr is a beautiful reflection of the deep commitment our faculty and staff have to offer an increasingly more sophisticated and effective learning experience as well as our steadfast belief in the power of strategic partnerships.”

On their off years, both institutions plan to promote the other’s conference and utilize budgets previously reserved for hosting to facilitate faculty presentations.

Lukens also sees a future in which both institutions have faculty working together virtually in the classroom: “Sometimes you need that first face-to-face meeting to really connect and see what the possibilities could be over long distance.”

Full-Spectrum Learning at SNC, a T3 sponsor, plans to fund up to eight $1,000 travel grants for those presenting at this year’s Blended Learning Conference.

March 17, 2020