Educators Connect Conference to feature innovative teaching techniques

Educators Connect Conference to feature innovative teaching techniques

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - This is a news release from USM

The fifth annual Educators Connect conference, set for Tuesday, Feb. 17 at The University of Southern Mississippi, will offer sessions highlighting innovative strategies and practical resources for educators. The 2015 conference theme, Faculty Practices for Engaging Learners, emphasizes both traditional and innovative methods that have shown potential to improve student learning outcomes.

The complimentary event will be held from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Thad Cochran Center on the Hattiesburg campus.

“We are excited to once again host an event that brings new and fresh opportunities to the classroom. This conference continues to offer faculty motivation as well as practical solutions for improving student success in higher education,” said Sheri Lyons, Learning Enhancement Center Director.

The conference will feature resources to connect faculty to explore effective teaching and learning approaches by allowing faculty members to experience, communicate and collaborate with colleagues. Breakout sessions will include strategies such as active learning, engaging students in online courses, building strong learning communities, and other instructional models.

Dr. Todd Zakrajsek, executive director of the Center for Faculty Excellence at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, will be the keynote speaker for the conference. Zakrajsek was previously the Inaugural Director of the Faculty Center for Innovative Teaching at Central Michigan University and the founding director of the Center for Teaching and Learning at Southern Oregon University, where he also served as a tenured associate professor in the psychology department.

Zakrajsek directs the Lilly Conference on Teaching and Learning at Traverse City, Mich., and the International Conference on Improving University Teaching. He received his Ph.D. in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from Ohio University and has published and presented widely on the topic of student learning, including workshops and conference keynote addresses in more than 30 states and 4 countries in the past several years. His latest book, co-authored with Dr. Terry Doyle, “The New Science of Learning: How to Learn in Harmony With Your Brain” is written to help students learn how learning occurs and how they can prepare for successful learning experiences.

The conference will include breakfast and lunch. Those wishing to participate may register and learn more at


Sheri Lyons, USM Learning Enhancement Director, "student success is so important now at all of our institutions whether it's K thru 12, community college or the university level. I think this gives everyone at the conference an opportunity to network and see who is doing what and take some of the strategies back to their own classrooms that might be most effective for helping our students be successful."


The Learning Enhancement Center offers a broad yet cohesive range of services to support the success of our constituents across all academic colleges and departments. The Learning Enhancement Center incorporates traditional services, such as faculty professional development, multimedia production, instructional design, and training along with unconventional ones, such as the Think Center and Online at Southern Miss (formerly Eagle Learning Online). To learn more, visit the LEC


About The University of Southern Mississippi

Founded in 1910, The University of Southern Mississippi is a comprehensive doctoral and research-driven university with a proud history and an eye on the future. A dual-campus university, Southern Miss serves students on campuses in Hattiesburg and Long Beach, in addition to five teaching and research sites in Mississippi and through Online at Southern Miss. Since 2006, Southern Miss students have collected seven Goldwater Scholarships, three Truman Scholarships and 10 National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships. Our Center for Undergraduate Research affords our students meaningful research opportunities, and as a proven leader in innovation, we conduct transformative research that translates into real-world solutions. As one of a select number of institutions in the nation accredited in art, dance, music and theatre, we are a haven for creativity and artistic expression. In the classroom or lab, on the playing field, or in the performance hall, we strive to have a positive impact not only on our students, but also the world around us. Further information is found at