Check out our update on the NEW Learn Forward with expanded resources and offerings.
Adam Cebulski, Director of Research and Strategic Initiatives and Dr. Corey Seemiller, Director of Research and Assessment, discuss Learn Forward, a new thought leadership program offered through the Office of Research and Strategic Initiatives at OrgSync.
I came to OrgSync for a new experience but I have stayed because of the opportunities to give back to the field of higher ed. As OrgSync has grown, so has our commitment to higher education. I was excited a year and a half ago when I was given the opportunity to open the Office of Research and Strategic Initiatives, which we call RSI. It was amazing earlier this year when we started to look for our next full-time staff member and had the opportunity to bring on, Dr. Corey Seemiller.
As I began my first week on the job at OrgSync, I knew I was in for an amazing experience. I was brought on to expand and enhance the initiatives around research, assessment, and learning within RSI. This is an area that OrgSync is highly committed to as a way to ensure that the technology that is created matches what students and administrators need.
Bringing on new staff are always great times to do some strategic planning, especially if on-boarding occurs between academic years. One of the first things RSI did was gather a team of people from across OrgSync to talk about the vision of where our programs and initiatives were going to go for the next year. We wanted to think of a way to provide resources to campus administrators around professional development, best practices, and research opportunities.
So, as the team sat around the table thinking about the many initiatives we could do, we developed Learn Forward. The concept comes from the idea that as we all learn, we pass our insight and wisdom forward to others to keep the learning going. That was clearly the philosophy we shared when it came to developing a learning series for professionals. As we laid out components of Learn Forward, we decided that having a theme each year would help us focus in with great depth and have an intentional framework for what we offered.
Last year we piloted a theme with our Assessment series. We hosted one assessment webinar a month over the the academic year. They were always our most popular webinars and we found people coming back each month to further develop their understanding assessment practices within student affairs. So what would be the next topic people would be interested in? What could they learn about from a theoretical level but also be able to apply to their roles on campus?
Engagement was the clear choice for the inaugural year theme because engagement is really an outcomes-oriented way of conceptualizing involvement and leadership opportunities. How do we effectively engage students? What about populations that are not engaging themselves? How might engagement tie to career readiness? How do we accurately measure engagement? We thought that professionals in higher education across the nation could help us answer those questions and share ideas for engagement strategies.
We agreed that offering four webinars a month, one focused on theory, one focused on strategies, one focused on best practices, and one focused on tools, would be the most comprehensive way to set up the Learn Forward Engagement series. This means that there are 28 webinars on different aspects of engagement throughout the year! And, anyone who listens to 14 of the 28 webinars can earn the Engagement badge, or anyone who listens to all four in a month can earn a certificate of distinction.
After each webinar, we will post a blog to discuss the webinar further, and at the end of each month, we will provide an eBook that captures the essence of the four webinars and that month’s topic. We want Learn Forward to be a comprehensive, intentional experience for professionals who want to delve deep into a particular topic.
Learn Forward is something where you can pass on your knowledge. Many of the presentations and speakers will not reference OrgSync – they’re meant to help you learn more about specific aspects of the field. We encourage you to take what you have learned from them and apply them to your campus. We’d even love to hear how you’ve implemented some of the concepts. Learn Forward will be one of the most exciting opportunities for RSI to offer to higher education.
So, as I finish my second month with OrgSync, I am proud to be a part of the forward-thinking initiatives of the organization and know that everyone at OrgSync wants to provide tools, resources, and opportunities that support engagement of all students. So, Learn Forward!