News RITG Blog

PD is for Pomona Dedication (and also Professional Development)

RITG Team Photo
RITG, pictured top row from left: Andrew Wilson, Janet Russell, Susan Pennestri; pictured bottom row from left: Amanda Rodenborn, Sanghyun Jeon, Viet Pham, Nick Weber | Image Credit: Meghna Pamula (CMC ’25) with editing by Nick Weber

It is important to keep up professionally, staying abreast with those technologies applied in teaching and scholarship so that we can support the Pomona community. We in RITG are fortunate to have funding from the College and ITS to do so. We sometimes use these funds for trainings and workshops, such as developing leadership skills or learning a new technology, but this year, we seem to be primarily focused on conferences.

RITG is a group with a range of skills and interests, and despite this, everyone sees value in attending Bucknell University’s Digital Scholarship Conference. This year’s theme is Converging Paths: Digital Scholarship, Social Justice, and Intersecting Communities as Bucknell strives to move Digital Scholarship beyond the borders of the Academy. We won’t be traveling to Lewisburg, PA where Bucknell is located and the conference is typically set. Instead, the conference is virtual—a residual impact of the COVID pandemic. This conference is a generative mix of educational technologists, librarians, faculty, researchers, students, administrators, and other practitioners, and sessions will explore topics such as data feminism, community engagement, digital archives, social justice, and public history.

Bucknell aside, our remaining professional development activities will be more targeted to our positions at the College.

Amanda Rodenborn and Nick Weber, both Instructional Technologists, will attend the EDUCAUSE Annual Conference. This most stalwart conference bills itself as “the best thinking in higher education for IT!” It is certainly one of the premier conferences and hosts activities and sessions beyond the more standard conference programming, offering eight program tracks, a lot of networking opportunities, and a massive exhibit hall of vendors.

Sanghyun Jeon, Senior Academic Technology Specialist, will attend the 47th Annual POD Network Conference and the 13th International Learning Analytics and Knowledge Conference (LAK23). The POD Network supports over 1,700 members who have an interest in educational and organizational development—specifically seeking the improvement of higher education through faculty, instructional, and organizational development. Sanghyun’s attendance at POD will be a first for ITS, and we’re eager to see what she brings back from the conference. Sanghyun is a veteran attender of the LAK conference; and with its focus on the role and impact of analytics on teaching, learning, training and development; this conference will yield useful information for several upcoming RITG projects.

Susan Pennestri, Senior Director of Digital Learning Technologies & Operations and I, in my role as Pomona’s Deputy CIO for Teaching & Learning, will attend iSSOTL, the conference of The International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning. We in RITG are interested in engaging in more SOTL activities with our Pomona College colleagues and think our membership in this organization can support us as we pursue this endeavor. Attendance at the conference will allow us to identify formal Interest Groups as well as informal contacts and to begin to lay down tracks for the future.

Viet Pham, System Administrator for High Performance Computing, already attended the Liberal Arts Research Computing Meetup at Swarthmore and will attend the International Conference for High Performance Computing, Networking, Storage, and Analysis. Viet reports that at the Swarthmore Meetup, there were several interesting discussions including whether the attending schools might create an HPC system which could be accessed by any/all the schools, the merits of on-prem vs. cloud HPC, and use of the NSF-funded XSEDE computing resource. He also enjoyed a demo of a software called Open OnDemand. Upon his return from Swarthmore, Viet began testing Open OnDemand, which will be part of the HPC cluster ITS soon launches. We can’t wait to see what Viet brings back from the International HPC conference he’ll be attending!

Andrew Wilson, Director of Research Computing & Digital Scholarship, will attend the ESRI user conference. ESRI is the global market leader in geographic information system (GIS) software, location intelligence, and mapping. Andrew collaborates with the Claremont Colleges Library on their GIS role for the consortium, and ITS maintains an ESRI license so that Andrew can work directly with Pomona staff, faculty, and students on projects involving GIS.

We’re so grateful to have these opportunities. We do report out to one another in RITG and to our ITS colleagues any interesting news gleaned from these endeavors. And we certainly bring back knowledge, skills, and technologies—as evidenced by the Meetup Viet attended—that we then integrate into our daily work supporting Pomona with technology-enhanced teaching and research. As time passes, we will consider other ways we can share out to our larger Pomona community those things we learn and think you will find useful.