The AAEEBL Western Conference
February 28-March 1, 2011, Westminster College, Salt Lake City, UT
From Peter Ingle, Westminster College, Salt Lake City, Utah
The AAEEBL (Association for Authentic, Experiential, Evidence- Based Learning) Western Region eportfolio conference was held at Westminster College in Salt Lake City, Utah on February 28 and March 1, 2011. The conference, the first annual conference for the western United States, was an opportunity for a number of educational institutions to show case the work of their faculty and for everyone to engage in discussions on important issues related to portfolio use. Over 100 participants from 16 different educational organizations gathered on the Westminster campus for the 2 days.
Monday began with Trent Batson, Executive Director of AAEEBL, laid out some of the important issues facing institutions and the use of portfolios. Breakout sessions from Westminster College and Salt Lake Community College gave participants lots to think about in terms of the development of portfolios and their use at each institution. Helen Barrett, world renowned expert on portfolios, provided a keynote with multiple examples of the way portfolio development is being influenced by new mobile devices. Everyone left that with lots to think about. The afternoon breakout sessions from numerous institutions allowed participants to chose the topic that was most interesting to their situation. We finished up the day with a delightful reception where participants shared thoughts on the days event.
Tuesday was focused on discussing important issues in portfolio use. The first was a panel discussion lead by Dave Doty (superintendent of the Canyons School District), Jodie Scoffield (student from Westminster College), Joel Bauman (Admissions Director at Westminster College) and Sid Krommenhoek (from zinch.com). Panelists gave everyone lots to think about as they broke in to tables of 8 to discuss how and why portfolios might be used for admissions to higher education. The second panel, Mike Caldwell (Director of the Career Center at Westminster College), Michelle MacDonald (HR Director at the Stein Erikson Lodge), Debbie Hardy (IHC) and Pearl Wright (Energy Solutions) discussed whether portfolios will be a useful part of the application process for employment. Again the group engaged in thoughtful discussion of the issues. The day wrapped up with Terry Rhodes (AAC&U Vice President for Curriculum and Assessment) presenting all the activities going on around researching and implementing portfolios in higher education. Participants left the conference with new ideas and much to think about. A few participants gathered to have a first discussion about what the Western Region group would like to achieve and next steps for sharing resources. Plans were made to gather materials on the AAEEBL website. Westminster College is pleased to announce that it will be hosting the second annual conference in 2012.