The 50 participants at the fourth-annual conference came from 13 institutions, including Oxford and six other units within Emory, Dalton State University, Georgia Perimeter College, Georgia Gwinnett College, Georgia Southern University and the University of West Georgia. Also attending were three teachers from Newton County High School's Academy of the Liberal Arts. Oxford is a community partner with the academy and has pledged support through mentoring and professional-development efforts such as IPLA.
The four-day program consisted of two two-day sessions, in which participants focused on new ideas to refresh and expand their teaching. Sessions on the use of information technology in the classroom and inquiry-guided learning were led by Oxford College faculty members and the Oxford College IT team. Special guest presenters were Larry Michaelsen, professor of management at Central Missouri University, and Ken Bain, professor of history, vice provost for instruction and director of the Research Academy for University Learning at Montclair State University. Michaelsen, who is an expert on team-based learning pedagogy and has authored several publications on the subject, led sessions on small-group learning in large classes. Bain, author of the award-winning book What the Best College Professors Do, was keynote speaker for the conference as well as leader of sessions on best practices by best teachers.
IPLA is a joint effort of Oxford's Center for Academic Excellence (CAE) and Emory's Center for Faculty Development and Excellence. The CAE was founded in 2007 to support the primary goals of Oxford's long-term strategic plan: to establish Oxford as the premier example of a liberal-arts-intensive college and to continue growing its transformative learning environment through innovative pedagogy.
"A unique and good feature of Oxford College is the high seriousness that the faculty and administration give to teaching, to pedagogy, and to student engagement," said Jeff Galle, CAE director. "The Institute for Pedagogy in the Liberal Arts embodies this value and invites the community of scholars at Emory and beyond to share their passion and expertise for teaching with us."
Attendance at IPLA 2010 was nearly double that of 2009. While growth for 2011 is not expected to be quite as dramatic, IPLA will continue to promote active and engaged learning at Oxford and Emory as well as beyond the University.