The Alpha Beta Pi Chapter held their 10th Annual Teaching and Learning Expo at Mercyhurst University on November 7, 2015. This is the chapter’s major professional development event; the chapter has won awards in the professional development category in both 2013 and 2014 for their success with this event. This year’s Expo entitled, “Teach like a Champion” incorporated tips and tricks on classroom management strategies.
Although our Expo takes place in November, we start planning months ahead of time. Preparation for our event begins in late March and we continue to work on the event until a week after the actual date of the Expo. The first step to creating a program similar to our Teaching and Learning Expo is to establish a date. We have consistently scheduled our Expo for the first weekend in November, as the weather is still decent and it works well for our University schedule in conjunction with the presenters. Next, it is important to choose a topic that is relevant to students’ interests. We choose our topic based upon the feedback forms from the prior year that the participants fill out previous to leaving the Expo.
Following that, we carefully review possible keynote speakers that embody our theme of that year and have a good amount of energy to help kick start our event. Our 2015 keynote speakers were Alan Karns and Gleck Williams, the field placement director and assistant director at Mercyhurst University who were the epitome of our vision for keynote speakers. During their presentation, “We Teach, What’s Your Superpower?”, our recital hall was filled with positive energy. Fellow students were motivated and were able to fill their teacher toolboxes with tips and strategies.
Next on our to-do list, is to find speakers for the three general sessions. Each of our session is 50 minutes long followed by a 10 minute break in between. We look for speakers with diverse backgrounds, concentrations and experiences to fulfill a variety of needs and also to embody our education department’s tagline, “Teach. Anyone. Anywhere.” In addition to teachers, we welcome principals, administrators, professors, and researchers that have made an impact in education to speak at our event. In 2015, we had 14 presenters with diverse backgrounds present at our event.
After securing speakers, we talk to the necessary school personnel in order to reserve classrooms, the recital hall, and order refreshments for the event. After these fundamental tasks are completed, the hardcore preparation begins. The Alpha Beta Pi chapter counselors are in constant communication with the speakers discussing biography information, the topic/title of their presentation, making the brochure for advertising, and fulfilling any necessary accommodations the speakers may have. Meanwhile, the Alpha Beta Pi chapter officers are heading committees that prepare gifts for our speakers, a packet of information for each attendee, preparing fliers for the event and registration, greeting speakers, and handing out gifts while the expo is underway.
The schedule of our day begins with registration and breakfast at 7:45 a.m. and gives participants, speakers, and faculty an opportunity to mingle before the start of the Expo. Then, everyone files into the recital hall for the Keynote address that takes place from 8:15 a.m. until 8:50 a.m. After energizing attendees and giving them a taste of what is to come, students have a moment to grab another refreshment on the way to their first session.Each student has a customized itinerary of their choosing. This allows our students to maximize their time at our Expo. At 9:50 a.m., our first session concludes and students have another opportunity to get a breakfast snack and refreshment and attend the second session. Our final session begins at 11:00 a.m. and lasts until 11:50 a.m. At the start of this final session, we encourage students to fill out the feedback forms and to drop them in a box on their way out.
Though the expo concludes at 11:50 a.m., our chapter’s president and associate counselor meet a few days after to go over the feedback forms, type up a list of general suggestions, and choose a theme for the following year to be approved by the counselor and fellow officers.
Although the expo takes a large amount of time, dedication and commitment from our KDP chapter, reading feedback forms from students and being at an event with so much energy makes every moment invested into expo preparation completely worth it!
Co-author Kaleigh Ruggiero is a senior at Mercyhurst University and currently the president of the Alpha Beta Pi chapter. Jessica Pepe is a graduate student at Mercyhurst University and currently the associate counselor for the Alpha Beta Pi chapter.