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Conference on faculty development coming to UNG in March

SFIDC speakers
Dr. Lori Gooding and Dr. Jeffery Galle will be the plenary speakers at the Southern Regional Faculty and Instructional Development Consortium's 43rd annual conference, which will be held on UNG's Dahlonega Campus

Dr. Rebecca Johnston has a multitude of reasons to look forward to the Southern Regional Faculty and Instructional Development Consortium's (SRFIDC) 43rd annual conference on the University of North Georgia's (UNG) Dahlonega Campus.

She is passionate about helping faculty with their professional development and, as conference chairwoman, she has weaved music into both the schedule and theme of the 2019 event. The theme is "Creating Harmony: Bridges Between Teaching and Research."

Johnston serves as assistant director for UNG's Center for Teaching, Learning, and Leadership (CTLL), associate department head of music and coordinator of music education.

Live music ensembles from UNG also will perform during the three-day event, which runs March 6-8. Registration is available on the SRFIDC website.

Dr. Mary Carney, director of the CTLL at UNG, said hosting the event provides an important service for the region.

"SRFIDC has been a meeting place for new and seasoned faculty and staff who support the ongoing professional development of faculty in higher education," she said. "Having our colleagues from across the region attend this conference at UNG allows us to demonstrate our dedication to holistic and professional enrichment of our faculty."

Dr. Irene Kokkala, director of Distance Education & Technology Integration (DETI) at UNG and co-chairwoman of the conference, has been attending SRFIDC conferences for almost 20 years and has served as the group's treasurer since 2006. She recalls her initial impressions of people bringing workshops to share with other faculty development professionals and appreciates that the consortium maintains that helpful approach.

"It is a rich world of resources that we openly share," Kokkala said.

A range of officials will provide talks to help with professional development of attendees. Registration is available at the SRFIDC website and for walk-ins. The cost is $125 per person, with no partial cost for attending only one day or two days.

One of the plenary session talks will be given by Dr. Jeffery Galle, associate vice chancellor for academic affairs at the University System of Georgia (USG). Scheduled for March 6, his talk is titled "A Pedagogical Network: The Potential for Faculty Development at Scale." Galle has written several books about major USG initiatives and effective teaching.

Dr. Lori Gooding, assistant professor of music therapy at Florida State University, will give the March 7 plenary session talk. She will discuss the role of music in faculty development.

Johnston said some of the other topics on the schedule include servant leadership and gratitude research.

Dr. Bonita Jacobs, UNG president; Dr. Andy Novobilski, associate provost for research and engagement and chief research officer at UNG; and Dr. Chaudron Gille, interim provost and senior vice president for academic affairs at UNG, will deliver remarks of welcome at the faculty development conference.

SRFIDC includes between 20 and 30 member schools, and between 30 and 50 people usually attend the annual SRFIDC conference. Kokkala said the consortium maintains an expertise list in case any members need help with a particular topic during the year.

"That's what I love about this," Kokkala said. "We support each other."

Carney said students are the ultimate beneficiaries of the group.

"SRFIDC seeks to enrich higher education and student lives through working with the professors who design and offer courses and extracurricular opportunities," Carney said. "Students spend more time in classes than in any other official university experience, so SRFIDC seeks to offer fresh ideas and confirm the value of current ideas on how to create what L. Dee Fink calls 'significant learning."

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