News for Pennsyslvania Libraries

This is part of a series of Session Notes from grantees who have received Professional Development grants. Each grantee will share their professional development experience and include tips and other resources from the workshop or class.  Grantees had their choice of an article for the Compendium, a webinar or a podcast. This project was made possible by the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

Paula Smith

Paula Smith

by Paula Smith,
Penn State Abington

On Friday, June 3, 2016 I attended the Bucks County Community College conference, Faculty of the Future . This conference was  a good faculty development and networking opportunity. Not only was I able to attend sessions useful to me, but I also met with colleagues from other institutions to share ideas and research interests.

The conference opened with keynote speaker, Dr. Peggy Van Meter, Associate Professor of Education and Professor-in-Charge, Educational Psychology program from Penn State University. Dr. Van Meter discussed student comprehension of visual representations of content and the connections (or lack thereof) students are able to make between the textual content and the visual depictions. She reported that students able to make the connections between text and visual (graphs, diagrams, etc.) content gain a higher quality of content knowledge than those who have a more difficult time making those connections. She suggested that faculty make efforts to help students draw those connections more clearly to improve their understanding of a topic presented to them.

After the keynote I attended a session facilitated by Jean Shumway and Sherry Neely from Butler County Community College. The session entitled, Collaborative Efforts as a Means to Excellence in Education highlighted collaboration between faculty and a librarian on an evidence-based practice curriculum for their Nursing program. Along with useful information on formulating clinical questions, the presenters also provided time for the session attendees to share information about their own programs and collaborative experiences. One takeaway from the session interaction was information about a faculty information literacy workshop hosted by the Bucks County Community College library, of which faculty in the session raved about.

The second session I attended was a presentation about High Impact Practices (HIPS) by faculty from the Queensborough Community College. The two practices highlighted were their Common Read program and participation in the CUNYCapOne Innovation Challenge. Using the book, Picking Cotton: Our Memoir of Injustice and Redemption, faculty came together to successfully plan and implement a campus community program across disciplines, including Criminal Justice, Nursing, and English among others. The presentation on the CUNYCapOne Innovation Challenge outlined an entrepreneurial program that provided students an opportunity to compete against other community colleges for funding to develop a product they designed. Many of the ideas from the Common Read presentation were helpful for thinking about my institution’s program (

During lunch I met with an administrator from Community College of Philadelphia, during which we discussed the various diversity initiatives at her institution. She was scheduled to present during the afternoon sessions however since I planned to attend a different session, felt lucky to learn over lunch about the programs occurring at CCP.

Although the afternoon session I planned to attend on underrepresented first-generation students was cancelled, the open time gave me an opportunity to meet with Dr. Kimberly Young from the University of South Carolina. She had also planned to attend the same session. While we were waiting to see whether the speaker would show up we entered into a discussion about first-generation students at our institutions and an upcoming project that I am developing to examine the challenges and adjustments these students make when entering their college career.

Overall, attending this conference was fruitful and enlightening. The conference is small, inexpensive and permits plenty of space for engaging with other faculty at relatively nearby institutions.