Professional Development Grant Response
It was a great pleasure to attend the 2009 PBS Technology Conference. This year was the 32nd anniversary of the premiere professional development conference for traffic, operations and engineering professionals.
The opening remarks illustrated the past year of growth and many challenges. John McCoskey is the PBS Chief Technology Officer. He said, “Our core business has changed in many ways, and technology as been the enabler of nearly every one of those changes. With our new digital infrastructure we now have many opportunities to develop and grow new and exciting ways to reach viewers and users.”
PBS is leading the way in delivering national programs non-real time. Known as the NGIS project, we not only heard about the latest stages of development, we saw the system working during a special demonstration.
We also saw presentations on how PBS is using new technology to deliver our product to more people using mobile TV and websites such as Hulu.
Speaking of product, PBS previewed some key upcoming programs and we heard from the main distributors of other PBS programming and they challenges they face in delivering high quality HD programming to us over limited satellite space.
It was also a time to network with other professionals. I met Erik Costa, a TV engineer from WKYU-TV at Western Kentucky University. He mentioned how popular their radar weather service is on their multi-cast TV channel. I spoke on how we’ve been trying to work with a radar company based out of Bloomington for live radar possibilities on our station. He sent me information on how their station does live radar and the software to do it without costing almost anything at all. It will be something I’ll be looking at very soon.
Besides the presentations, it was nice to hear other stations in big cities such as Las Vegas, having the same issues and challenges we do. We’ve come a long way since last year; it will be exciting to see where we are a year from now.
Civic Engagement Coordinator
Campus Life Division, Indiana University
Re: National Faith, Justice and Civic Learning Conference
I am pleased to report that the National Faith, Justice and Civic Learning conference was by far one of the best service-learning conferences I have attended during my time in this field. Although the number in attendance was small, the workshops and plenary speakers were rich in thought-provoking insights related to working with students engaged in service.
What I particularly enjoyed about this conference was that it helped practitioners and programmers explore ways to help students move from volunteering towards service as a way of life. Many of the speakers focused on how to do this in the context of diverse students with varying belief and value systems. Dr. Eboo Patel, who is the founder and Executive Director of the Interfaith Youth Core (and member of President Obama's Faith Advisory Council), shared the importance of moving from religious diversity to religious pluralism via interfaith service by students. Other sessions I attended explored how to facilitate reflection about the connections between local and global issues, the importance of language in helping students define meaning for themselves, and how we can help students integrate the personal and intellectual to create a wholistic learning experience.
In addition, I was pleased to have the opportunity to present on the Advocates for Community Engagement (ACE) program that I supervise out of the IU Office of ServiceLearning. Participants were intrigued by the model because of its ability to bring together students from diverse backgrounds and beliefs to learn together, grow together, and effect positive change both on campus and in the community. All in all, I am very grateful to the Bloomington Professional Council for affording me the opportunity to attend and represent IU at this conference.
Improving the Description and Characterization of Glacial Successions for Environmental and Engineering Projects
Research Hydrogeologist and DirectorCenter for Geospatial Data Analysis
Indiana Geological Survey
The course was held on June 17, 2009 at the University of Calgary campus in Calgary, Alberta and the primary instructors for the course were Tim Kemis (Ph.D., P.G.) and Dan Kelleher (M.Sc., P.G.). Kemis worked as a Quaternary geologist for the Illinois Geological Survey as well as the
Iowa Geological and Natural History Survey in addition to working more than 10 years in the environmental consulting sector. His expertise in identifying glacial depositional environments and characterizing weathering profiles within glacial sediments in addition to his exceptional understanding of current glacial processes were apparent throughout the training. Dan Kelleher has worked as a hydrogeologist and project manager in the environmental and geotechnical consulting sectors and his experience with merging meticulous field descriptions with laboratory data to properly characterize sediments for hydrologic investigations and engineering applications greatly enhanced the workshop.During the first-day lecture portion of the course, the instructors presented an overview of glacial depositional environments, primary depositionalproperties, and stratigraphy. Glacial depositional environments discussed included subglacial, supraglacial, ice-contact, glaciofluvial, and glaciolacustrine environments. The sediments resulting from each of these depositional environments were discussed in great detail, including the textures, sedimentary structures, and sorting properties of individual facies (geologic unit resulting from a particular depositional environment). Following these discussions, a secondary weathering effects (including the oxidation and fracturing of glacial sediments) were described and the knowledge that can be gleaned from these features regarding the identification of multiple glacial successions was highlighted. Following the discussions on glacial deposits and how they are formed, Dan Kelleher gave an overview of the various soil classification systems that are used to describe these sediments. The two schemes that were presented include the Unified Soil Classification Scheme (USCS) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) method. The USCS system is more commonly used by environmental consultants and engineers (the sectors primarily targeted by the course) so this system was used throughout the training. However, the instructors noted that the USCS system was initially intended for foundation investigations, and several shortfalls exist when applying the system to hydrogeological investigations. Therefore, the instructors presented a scheme that supplements the USCS with additional geologic descriptors such that properties necessary to differentiate between depositional environments and glacial successions (or stratigraphic units) can be noted in a core log. The second day of the workshop entailed visiting a site southwest of Calgary where a rotosonic drilling device was used to obtain over 100 feet of glacial sediment core. Rotosonic drilling uses high frequency vibrations to obtain continuous core samples of unconsolidated sediments. The Indiana Geological Survey has contracted rotosonic drilling for geologic mapping projects in northern Indiana and may do so again in the future; therefore, this experience directly benefited my ability to coordinate future subsurface investigations. Drilling issues discussed included the downfalls of using alternative drilling methods (e.g., auger and percussion devices), the effect of core diameter on sample quality, and the use of core catchers to retain course-grained sediments (e.g., sands and gravels). As the sediment cores were obtained with the drill rig, trainees were given an opportunity to employ the descriptive techniques taught during the lecture portion with guidance from the instructors.
Overall, this was an outstanding learning experience. Previous academic coursework in geomorphology, sedimentology, and basin analysis have given me a solid understanding of glacial sediments and landforms, but this course enhanced my knowledge of glacial processes and deposits by providing training on the field recognition and differentiation of glacial depositional environments, successions, and stratigraphic units.
Disability Services Coordinator
My BPC Professional Development Grant took me to the national conference of the Association on Higher Education and Disability in Louisville, Kentucky. The AHEAD conference brought together disability service providers from colleges and universities around the country, along with experts on disability law, representatives from government agencies, and vendors of adaptive technology and support programs for students with disabilities. The multitude of perspectives was refreshing and illuminating for me, since I have been working in relative isolation since entering the disability services field three years ago. It was especially inspiring to hear from lawyers who were involved in landmark disability rights cases that shaped the field and who helped draft regulations for the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Topics at the conference sessions ranged from particular student populations to broader campus practices. I attended sessions on the development of support groups for students with autism and Asperger’s syndrome, the management of psychiatric emergencies, and the emergence of wounded warriors from the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan as a significant group in higher education. I also attended sessions on the intersection of disabilities with academic advising and with campus diversity initiatives.
No matter what topic was under discussion, one common theme throughout the conference was the need for collaboration. It is easy, in our daily routines, to forget that there is a campus and a town beyond our small offices. The AHEAD conference woke me up to the importance of creating and fostering connections outside my office. Presentations and casual conversations throughout the week emphasized that disability service providers must work across organizational lines to achieve the goal of making accessibility a shared value practiced through every aspect of the university - instruction, technology, facilities, financial and administrative services, and student life.
Thank you, BPC, for giving me the opportunity to attend the AHEAD conference this year!