January 19, 2007

Education alliance to host conference

by Chase Goble

CARBONDALE, Ill. — The Southern Illinois PreK-20 Education Alliance, a coalition of educational institutions, businesses and community groups, will host a conference titled, "Closing the Gap."

Set for March 23, the conference includes formal presentations, panel discussions and poster presentations on practical strategies for enhancing educational achievement. It is set for 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at John A. Logan College in Carterville.

Elementary, high school, college and university faculty and future teachers will have an opportunity to attend a variety of workshops and breakout sessions throughout the day. Strategies and techniques for all educators from pre-K through college will be presented.

The keynote speaker is Ronald Berk, emeritus professor at John Hopkins University, who will address "Humor as an Instructional Defibrillator." This presentation uses humor as a systematic teaching tool in the classroom and demonstrates how it can bring students and course content to life. Berk's humor techniques draw on the theory of multiple intelligences, including emotional intelligences, and the research from cognitive/neuropsychology, education, commercial advertising, humor, and communications.

As Berk states, this presentation "boldly goes where no academician has gone before, maybe." Berk served as assistant dean for teaching from 1997 to 2003 and has served 30 years at John Hopkins; 11 years in the Division of Education and 19 years in the School of Nursing. He has published nine books including "Professors Are from Mars, Students Are from Snickers®". For more information on Berk, visit his Web site at www.ronberk.com.

Fees for the event are $40, including lunch, and $10 for students. To register or for more information, contact the Southern Illinois University Carbondale Division of Continuing Education at 618/536-7751 or visit www.dce.siu.edu