The Ernst Center was abuzz with new ideas to support student success as faculty, staff and students gathered for NOVA’s first Ignite event. Held on October 24, Ignite NOVA presenters were tasked with delivering quick-fire talks about teaching and learning. Participants left energized by the discussions and were inspired to create meaningful change in their classrooms, disciplines and academic communities.
Ignite NOVA, an initiative by the Achieving the Dream core team, was established to build community and to foster connections in the classroom. Inspired by the prompt “Enlighten us, but make it quick,” Ignite events consist of eight to 16 speakers delivering talks that are limited to exactly five minutes, accompanied by 20 slides that automatically advance every 15 seconds. The challenging format forces presenters to distill complex ideas into a brief, focused talk, and gives the audience the opportunity to connect diverse perspectives on the 21st century classroom.
The first Ignite NOVA event brought together presenters, volunteers and participants from every campus to collaborate and discuss new ways to support student success. The event began with a team building activity called “The Marshmallow Challenge,” where faculty worked together to build the highest freestanding towers. The challenge was immediately followed by a TED talk explaining the purpose of the activity, data collected on the process and the benefit of using the activity in the classroom.
“When we were building our macaroni project at our table of eight, it was such a special pleasure to see all the teachers from various campuses use teamwork to meet our goal. Ignite had the much-needed quality of taking us all out of our comfort zone, both those who were in the audience as well as those on the stage. My colleagues’ Ignite talks inspired me to think deeply about what I value most as an educator and how I want my classroom to be,” said French Professor Laura Franklin (AL), a member of the Achieving the Dream core team.
The event concluded with a series of five-minute talks from faculty, staff and one student on how they support student success at NOVA. Ignite NOVA featured the following speakers: Libby Vick’s “1990-2014: The Professor Gets an Education,” Nelson Kofie’s “War for the Mind and Soul of Our Students,” Allan Edzii’s “Peer Tutoring,” S. L. Young’s “Strategies to Help Struggling Students,” John (Kinch) Kincheloe’s “Screw with their Minds,” Jenny Lopez-Ramirez’ “Ima b L8,” Stephen Clarke’s “Teaching Scholarly Patience,” Frances Villagran-Glover’s “The Accidental Dean: The Path of Student Success,” and Bob Loser’s “We Need to Think Critically, Too.”