Our Conference Theme:
Students as Partners in Innovation
Increasingly colleges and universities are being asked to serve as centers of innovation, where new ideas in areas such as medicine, technology, and the arts are born and incubated. At the same time, we expect these institutions to prepare students for a world in which change is a given and creativity a requirement, and where the ability to participate actively in the knowledge economy may spell the difference between career success or failure. Given these two imperatives, can faculty and students become collaborators in innovation? And what teaching practices help or hinder that potential partnership?
These questions lie at the heart of this year’s IUT conference theme. The term “innovation” clearly covers a wide spectrum of activities, ranging from the arts to scientific discovery to political and social change. Active learning and innovative pedagogy are clearly important tools for preparing students in all these domains, encouraging students to become potential partners in discovery rather than simply remain passive recipients of accumulated knowledge.
Innovative student-faculty partnerships are not without their challenges. Students do not always welcome the uncertainties of open-ended exploration, while faculty are at times reluctant to engage with students as collaborators and as evaluators of quality. Exploring the obstacles to partnership is thus as important a part of our theme.
The University of Ljubljana provides an ideal setting for this year’s IUT conference. Slovenia’s institutions of higher learning have played a key role in a variety of new departures in which innovation has been key. The promise of improving teaching excellence thus has a special resonance for the new Slovenia. We hope you will join us in this beautiful capital for what promises to be an exciting conference.
Six sub-themes underlie the overall conference topic:
- Fostering student engagement
- Faculty-student projects as a key to innovation
- Students as assessors of learning and evaluators of quality
- Obstacles to classroom innovation
- Technology’s potential to enhance innovation
- Research on student-faculty partnerships