September 20, 2014  

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Educators Connect Conference set for March 4 at Southern Miss

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The fourth annual Educators Connect conference, formerly LEC Connects, will offer sessions highlighting resources for innovative teaching strategies. This year’s conference will be held Tuesday, March 4, 2014 from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Thad Cochran Center on The University of Southern Mississippi’s Hattiesburg campus.

The event is free and open to educators at universities, colleges, community colleges and K-12 professionals, as well as graduate and undergraduate students.

Sponsored by the Learning Enhancement Center (LEC) at Southern Miss, this complimentary conference will feature resources to enable educators to experience, communicate and collaborate with others while exploring effective teaching and learning strategies. Break-out sessions will focus on topics such as online courses, active learning environments, digital story-telling, and teaching problem-solving skills.

Dr. Saundra McGuire, director emerita of the Center for Academic Success and retired assistant vice chancellor and professor of chemistry at Louisiana State University, will deliver the morning keynote address.  She spent 11 years at Cornell University, where she received the coveted Clark Distinguished Teaching Award, and in November 2007 the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring (PAESMEM) was presented to her in a White House Oval Office Ceremony.

Dr. McGuire has worked with university faculty and students to increase their understanding of the application of cognitive science and learning theory to studying science and other disciplines. Her other interests include improving learning strategies; reform of pre-college science and college science teaching methods; and increasing the number of minority students interested in and prepared to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Dr. Michael Wesch, an associate professor and Coffman Chair for Distinguished Teaching Scholars at Kansas State University, and the 2008 CASE/Carnegie U.S. Professor of the year for Doctoral and Research Universities, will deliver the luncheon keynote address. He is a cultural anthropologist exploring the effects of new media on society and culture. 

After two years studying the implications of writing on a remote indigenous culture in the rain forest of Papua New Guinea, Dr. Wesch has turned his attention to the effects of social media and digital technology on global society. His videos on culture, technology, education and information have been viewed by millions, translated in more than 15 languages, and are frequently featured at international film festivals and major academic conferences worldwide.

“I am glad the Learning Enhancement Center has taken the initiative to create and host the conference. It’s nice to be able to share what I am working on in my classes with other faculty and staff, and to learn about their ideas,” said Southern Miss assistant professor of fashion merchandising Dr. Gallayanee Yaoyuneyong, a 2012 conference presenter. 

“Beyond that, the conference is exciting because of the diverse group of educators it attracts,” she said. “I’m thrilled to get the opportunity to interact with so many educators who are striving to improve their teaching and to pursue life-long learning."

The conference will include breakfast and lunch. Educators wishing to participate can register at http://www.usm.edu/educators-connect. For more information, contact Amanda Cascio at 601.266.5938 or email amanda.cascio@usm.edu.