Along with several hundred other participants, Dr. Mansureh Kebritchi and nine of the eleven CEITR research fellows attended the Knowledge without Boundaries (KWB) Annual Conference in Phoenix on June 9-11. Research center chairs, fellows, research team members, faculty members, administrators and students can attend the annual KWB conference, which features events, updates, and news from each of the ten SAS research centers. The CEITR team attended with the hopes of learning more about how the centers were doing and particularly how our center is doing.
Over three days in June, we heard overviews of each of the ten research centers. I found the extent and dimension of research center work to be truly impressive. As a CEITR fellow, I listened with interest as Dr. Kebritchi explained the scope of active research and research resources available at the center website. Later in the conference, we learned more about each individual fellow's research. The CEITR fellowship studies indicated an active and diverse interest in teaching and learning in computer supported collaborative learning environments. The fellows were at varying stages from just beginning to just about to publish.
One highlight of the CEITR presentation was the unique feature of four research labs where faculty members can collaboratively develop research designs and publications. These research labs are clustered around four distinct topics (Social Media, STEM, Critical Thinking, and Diversity) Twenty four teams of faculty members participate in teams of three or four to develop research articles. The research labs are an opportunity for faculty to develop skills and publish.
A second great benefit of the research labs is the opportunity to develop community through relationships with colleagues. Several times, faculty members have explained to me that the relationships developed in the research teams are among the best experiences at SAS. The sense of community was also a memorable aspect of the KWB conference
I enjoyed seeing many old friends from SAS and meeting the research fellows from CEITR in person. Belonging to a community of practice means that members can recognize and share passion for what they do, make connections, and support one another. Participating in the KWB annual conference as a research fellow allowed me to meet and connect with the professional community of practice that is growing up in CEITR. I also learned more about where and how the CEITR contributes to the larger life of the university.
A sense of community is one intangible benefit of the CEITR center. President Tim Slottow explained some of the more tangible benefits in his Thursday night address. Over the past two years, research center members have published over 700 documents, of which 500 were peer reviewed. Slottow praised the record of publishing success and added the success of the research centers is making a positive difference in how UOP is perceived. The outcomes of the research centers have exceeded expectation. I believe that Slottow's characterization of the center successes is true both on an organizational and professional level.