Jan. 22, 2018

Within the ever-changing world of academics, an exchange of information among educators is vital. With Storm Lake's residential campus, 16 locations across Iowa, online degrees, and graduate programs, it's important that curriculum aligns and each faculty member has the tools they need to prepare students for success, regardless of their location or age. From curriculum changes to information technology updates, new and returning faculty look forward to coming together to become even better educators underneath one name – Buena Vista University.

Dr. Jill Rhea, Dean of Online, Site, and Graduate Programs, said that some online instructors even travel to Storm Lake from out of state. “We have a great dinner with the President and typically a keynote speaker the night before, then get to work the next day with several sessions led mostly by Storm Lake campus faculty and staff,” she says. Site instructors choose between sessions that focus on information to expand learning opportunities for instructors and their students, inspiration to renew their passion for teaching and learning, and ideas to create a dynamic learning environment.

“BVU does take into account the varying needs of its students; but what's most important is the feeling that everyone connected with BVU is focused on the success of each student.”

Gary Keplinger

For the instructors, who care deeply about their students and value the insights of BVU faculty in Storm Lake, this is a chance to collaborate with their colleagues. Gary Keplinger, longtime BVU Creston instructor, says, “I love the Adjunct Faculty Conference, especially the breakout sessions which offer a variety of opportunities which I really appreciate. And, of course, I love just being able to talk and share ideas with other adjuncts and administration.”

One session was led by Casey Baker, assistant professor of education, which focused on exploring the various ways to incorporate journaling into coursework to enhance student and instructor understanding and self-reflection. Dr. Robbie Ludy, professor of education and Dr. Amy Barth, assistant professor of education, provided a review of the purpose and scope of travel courses for Storm Lake students, as well as examined potential interest among site-based students and explored issues related to implementation. Faculty also learned more about navigating other BVU technology, the expanded interlibrary loan system, and resources such as Office 365 and Canvas, an online portal used to interact with students.

Keplinger says, “BVU does take into account the varying needs of its students; but what's most important is the feeling that everyone connected with BVU is focused on the success of each student. I see this at our site, in my dealings with other sites each day thanks to Blackboard Collaborate (web conferencing platform), and am reminded of it when I come to the Adjunct Faculty Conference.”