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Annual Conference Preview: Lessons From My Journey

Wednesday, September 20, 2017  
Posted by: Christina Mimms
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Creativity. Community. Are those hot topics on your campus? Are they part of your core values or even your mission? As the needs of students in a 21st century environment continue to evolve, schools look to meet those needs while also preserving what is important. As a leader in education, Dr. Johnnetta Cole draws upon her past to share stories and lessons with fellow educators. At our keynote address at the 2017 SAIS Annual Conference, join Dr. Cole to learn from her experiences.

“One of the things that we adults do is tell young folk what they should do. I want to avoid that. My talk will be far more inviting,” she said. “The lessons are not in some abstract form but draw on the experiences, trials, and triumphs in my own life. It will be authentic evidence of what might be helpful in serving and educating young students.”  

In this increasingly diverse, complex, and interconnected world, creativity and community are more important than ever. “The concept of community is being not only challenged but redefined. In a world that is so technology dependent, how can we create a community?” Dr. Cole asked.

Some might say that technology drives people apart while others believe it brings people together. In some cases, technology provides people with opportunities they might not otherwise enjoy. For example, students who are unable to attend a traditional school on a physical campus can earn degrees online. 

As schools re-craft their concept of community to serve 21st century students, they also must examine their priorities and determine what needs to change. It may be a time to modify curriculum or expand professional development for faculty.

While focusing a keen eye on specific aspects of curriculum or school life, schools must not neglect the big picture. “To prepare students to live a good life requires some appreciation for human creativity and the ability to express one’s own creativity,” said Dr. Cole.

Dr. Cole considers herself to be a lifelong learner. She received a Ph.D. in anthropology with a specialization in African studies from Northwestern University and has held teaching and administrative positions in anthropology, women’s studies, and African American studies at several colleges and universities. In addition to her presidency at Spelman College, she served as the president of Bennett College, giving her the distinction as the only person to hold the presidency at both of the historically black colleges for women in the United States. 


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Athletic Directors Conference
January 16-17, 2018 | Charlotte, NC
A professional development opportunity for new and experienced athletic directors from across the region.

Finance Institute
January 16-17, 2018 | Charlotte, NC
An overview of independent school finance for aspiring and early career heads of school.

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