Maya Grodman is the IB’s University Relations Administrator at the IB Global Centre in Bethesda, MD, USA. She also an IB graduate of Collège du Léman International School in Geneva, Switzerland.
It seems there is no rest for the IB – Marie and I are still running on the high that is attending conferences back to back. Last week’s blog post was about our time at the Overseas Association of College Admissions Counseling, and the beginning of the IB Conference of the Americas (or the ARC, Annual Regional Conference). Things have only gotten more exciting as the days of the ARC passed by, and the ultimate week of conferences came to a close with the first ever IB Higher Education Summit on Access – check out next week’s blog post for more about that!
The 2014 ARC was the largest IB event in history, with over 1,700 attendees. It was held in Washington, D.C. at the Washington Hilton, allowing participants to explore the monuments and embassies in the USA’s capital.
The University Relations team at the IB supported eleven sessions; they were led by members of the College and University Relations Committee (CURC), members of our IB team, and other colleagues in universities and secondary schools across the Americas. The attendance of all of the sessions put together was over 450 people – we were thrilled to have such numerous and enthusiastic participants! Here are some of the highlights:
- Marketing your IB Students and Program
- Discussed the application process, things universities are looking for, things counselors can do to work with universities to market their students and program.
- Questions about how counselors can coordinators can discuss the IB with potential future students and parents – perhaps this will be its own session next year.
- IBA, US and Canada University Recognition Update
- Participants were interested in the nature of our work.
- There were plenty of questions and concerns that we were happy to address, and we were excited to talk about the initiatives we are taking to encourage dialog among our stakeholders (like this blog!).
- How to Apply to Canada, the UK and Europe
- Panel covered many perspectives, educating participants about the different application processes.
- There were many questions about each of the three regions; perhaps we’ll propose three separate sessions next year.
- El Arte de Presentar a Nuestros Alumnos
- Similar to the Marketing your IB Students and Program session, but in Spanish.
- Once again, there were a lot of questions about how to talk to parents about the IB.
- Under Fire
- A chance for participants to ask questions and raise concerns – anything and everything!
- So much fun! It got a little heated, but in a good way – it shows that we all care about these issues.
- A big point that was made is that we need to understand that the percentage of IB students getting 7s is a percentage of a specific population, not all students. It’s the top percentage of the top percentage, a self-selecting group.
- Predicted Results/Unpredictable Outcomes
- It was exciting to take a discussion we’ve been having as a small group for months to a larger group of people, so we could gain valuable insight.
- Interesting to see how the issue of anticipated grades has different implications based on the selectivity of the institution.
- Admissions Case Studies
- Presenters taught everyone how to read files. Participants read three applications, and had to decide to admit one, waitlist one, and deny one.
- People had very different reactions to the students, and it was interesting to see how we came to decisions together.
- A fascinating experience! Very helpful, especially for high school counselors and coordinators who had never done that before.
- Supporting Underserved Students
- A complex issue that the IB is really focusing on (more on this in next week’s blog post…).
- Great to have secondary school, university, and NACAC perspectives.
- Just the tip of the iceberg!
Shannon Gundy presents at the Supporting Underserved Students session
- Global and Regional Recognition – Updates and Resources
- An update about recognition in the UK, and the Higher Education Symposium coming up in Hong Kong in October 2014.
- Discussed the IB Student Registry, which will be launched this fall.
- Relaciones Universitarias – Iniciativas en las Americas
- An engaged audience to the IB University Recognition update in Spanish!
- IB Students and First-Year University Performance
- Andrew Arida presented data from the University of British Columbia’s extensive research, revealing incredibly useful information about how IB students have gone on to perform in university
- Great to get beyond the anecdotal and look at the really detailed facts and figures. Changed the discussion to be informed by data analysis.
I’d like to extend a big thank you to all of our colleagues who presented these sessions: Andrew Arida, Jim Bock, Bob Bouressa, Kirk Brennan, Paul Campbell, Shannon Gundy, Angela Hopkins, Kim Johnston, Pam Joos, Mike Leshner, Sara Leven, James Minter, Rosa Moreno-Zutautas, Panetha Ott, Bob Poole, Paul Sanders, Teresa Smiley, Brian Spittle, Marie Vivas, Debra von Bargen, Eddie West, Amy Woolf, David Zutautas. Your hard work to put together these sessions is greatly appreciated!
Another aspect of the ARC that I particularly enjoyed was the keynote speakers. Each day began with a general session, and all of the keynote speakers challenged the attendees to view something we already know in a completely different way. I was impressed with each speaker, especially Alan November.
Alan November is an international leader in education technology, and in his presentation, he showed us how we can be using technology to better teach and learn. But it wasn’t an IT lesson by any means – the world of technology is incredibly nuanced, and you have to know not only how to do things but what the implications are of the things that you’re doing. Did you know that if two people do the same Google search on two different computers at the same time, the results are different? Google tracks what you look at and what you like, and will show you results tailored to you. This has a vital impact on the way we each gain knowledge, and is one of the many practical and vital things I learned from Alan November’s session.
Rev. Dr. Joan Campbell was another keynote speaker, who spoke during the closing session on Sunday. All week, we attended sessions about the ways of knowing – what do we know? How do we know what we know? But Dr. Campbell closed the conference by asking us, “is the knowing all?” We can know things all we want, but it’s what we do with what we know that matters.
I left the conference inspired to not only continue seeking knowledge, but create real positive change. We all need to take the things we know and use them to help others, whether it’s supporting those who are underserved, advocating for those who cannot advocate for themselves, educating those without other means of learning, or anything else we can think of to make this world a better place to be.
I’m so grateful that I had the opportunity to attend the ARC and learn from all of the people around me. I hope that each of you gets the chance to attend a future conference, as it is a truly special place to be. We’ll see you at the 2015 IB Conference of the Americas in Chicago!