The conference is the seventh edition of the Lilly Arctic Institute on Innovations & Excellence in Teaching and marks the first time the organization has visited Kodiak.
“We want to get some of this training and education out of the urban centers,” said Larry Roberts, director of the institute.
The Lilly Institute is part of a 30-year-old nationwide network of education conferences. In Alaska, the program is less than a decade old. It meets in Fairbanks during odd-numbered years and at a rural University of Alaska campus in even-numbered years.
The conferences typically operate on three tracks: distance education, health and behavioral education, and adult learning and teaching. In Kodiak, the conference’s sessions have attracted educators from Outside as well as Alaskans and teachers at Kodiak College. Roberts said he estimates the conference is about 50 percent local.
“These are people who believe in authentic teaching and learning,” he said.
One of the umbrella goals of the conference is sharing ideas for translating classroom lessons into practical ones. To do that, the conference incorporates Native and non-Native Elders.
“When the Elders are with us, we find we’re more effective,” Roberts said. “They embody reflection.”
Barbara Olsen, president of Kodiak College, said bringing the conference to Kodiak involved a nine-month effort by staff.
“If the conference comes to you, then everyone gets to participate,” she said.
Olsen said that makes it cheaper as a learning experience than sending faculty off-island to attend conferences in the Lower 48. Having a local conference also allows Kodiak faculty to present their ideas to other educators.
“If my faculty are developed, happy and satisfied, then my students are, too,” she said. “It’s a beautiful opportunity.”
Contact Mirror editor James Brooks at email@example.com.