When You Plan for Fun Activities but Just Keep Talking

Last week, I attended the Building Bridges conference in Spokane, Washington. The conference is regional, always located in the Pacific Northwest states, and it brought a variety of people in the education landscape to the beautiful downtown area of Spokane. I had never seen the Spokane Falls or the beautiful Centennial Trail that covers about 50 miles along the Spokane river.  One afternoon I took a nice run along the river and ran around the Gonzaga University campus for a bit.

The conference had good attendance and the venue was beautiful.

I tried out a new presentation about ways we may better engage faculty in development opportunities as educators.Conference Website banner

Here is the website I used as a presentation. No PowerPoints allowed for me these days. I figure I am the presentation, and I can make the website do all the work I need for visuals. As usual, I shook the hands of all who entered the session and joked about the Harry Nilsson playing in the background. There were about 30 attendees and I had some good activities for them to complete during the session. Sadly, I never got to them.

I had in mind an active session, but I got caught up in explaining the ideas I was presenting. As a presenter, it is an interesting thing to have grand plans that are instantly recognized as impossible. I knew after about ten minutes that I had too many damn things to say and I was going to choose telling them stuff rather than to have them do stuff.

I told them as much. At least I was honest about my plan and my choice to follow a new path. No one seemed too upset. Some of the things I shared were kinds catchy and fun, and I did ask if people had questions a number of times during the session. There was some interaction and some participants did do the activities I had prepared. Generally, the message I had was received.


Without going into much detail, I tried to share some of the professional development activities I have been involved in that were variations on the hour-long workshop, a PDF file, or website with some information on it. You can see those listed along the top navigation on the presentation website listed above. Essentially, trying to find formats, timeframes, and content that fit together in a way that make them things faculty want to do. That is tricky.

I got good feedback from some participants saying that they may use some of the ideas expressed in the future. I suppose that is a win!

I struggled with the room set up as usual. I almost got the nerve up to move the tables into a large horseshoe, but wimped out.


I met some really good people from all over the PNW and hope to be able to attend the event again next year.