Greetings from Pittsburgh and the 2013 POD Conference

Picture of Pittsburgh

Greetings from Pittsburgh!

The 38th Annual POD Conference starts this week, so it seems like a good time to post my first President’s Blog on the website (but I also hope to use it to communicate what’s going on in POD throughout the year).

Pre-conference workshops start tomorrow, and the conference itself starts Thursday, but many of your POD colleagues are already in Pittsburgh.  Our fabulous conference team–Victoria Bhavsar, Patty Payette, Allison Boye, and Jake Glover—are in the William Penn Omni putting the last minute touches on a year’s worth of work.  The Core Committee (POD’s Board of Directors) will meet tomorrow and Thursday to do the business that keeps POD running.  And of course, our Executive Director Hoag Holmgren is here, there, and everywhere making sure everything goes off without a hitch.

Whether or not you are coming to Pittsburgh, this is a week in which all POD members can come together–as the conference title suggests–to connect, to risk, and to learn.

To those who are not attending the conference, we hope you can still be part of the shared experience of this week.  To this end, we have set up a Twitter hashtag,  #POD13, where we hope to have a lively back channel.  POD Tweeters will be tweeting about sessions and plenaries, so you can follow along at home.  Even if you don’t have a Twitter account, you can go to , type in #POD13 in the search bar, and follow the tweets.  Of course, if you want to join the conversation—and we hope you will—you need to have an account.

You can also access many session materials online on WikiPODia (  Presenters will be posting materials and resources before or after their sessions, so if there’s a topic that interests you, keep checking.  If you want to find sessions on a particular topic, download the program in one of several format from the conference page of the website ( or through the Guidebook app.

To those attending the conference for the first time, I want to extend to you a special welcome.  Whether you are a graduate student, a new developer, a faculty member, or in some other role, you are a valuable part of the POD community.  Each year, a significant percentage of attendees are first time participants, so you are not alone.  In fact, you are a big part of what this conference is all about.

We’ve planned many ways for you to connect to other POD members and to learn more about the conference and the work of educational development.

Many of you are registered to attend the “Getting Started: Workshop for New Faculty Developers,” which is a great introduction to faculty development.  Others may have registered for “How’s it Going: Reflecting on our Work,” which offers the chance to meet with veteran developer mentors.

You’re also all welcome to attend the Introduction to POD for First-Time POD Conference Attendees.  I’ll be there, as will other POD representatives.  It will be fun and informative, and is followed by a welcome reception and dinner.

I’d also suggest you check out the Birds of a Feather sessions in the program.  While trying to meet people in such a big group may be difficult, these sessions will bring you together with others interested in the topics you’re interested in, which can make it easier to make connections and meet kindred spirits.  (I still remember people from my BoF group at my first conference years ago.)

Excursions give you the chance to take a break from the conference while still getting to know others and to learn a little about the area.  As a Pittsburgh native, I would recommend any of the scheduled excursions.

Finally, conference meals are a place to talk and meet colleagues.  And if you’re looking for someone to eat with on Saturday night’s dinner on your own, we’ll have signup sheets for some local restaurants.

To those who are returning to the conference for the xth time, welcome back.  You’ll find all the familiar things that you love about the conference, such as fantastic sessions, great food, yoga, and of course, dancing and karaoke Friday night.  (I wonder what the conference team will sing this year?)

Don’t forget to check out some of our newer traditions as well, such as create@POD and the Sunday anchor session.  Last year, we also restarted the tradition of a Members Meeting, so be sure to come to that Friday after lunch.

If you’re looking to get more involved with POD, look over the scheduled committee meetings and feel free to drop in on one that interests you.  You’re not committing to anything by showing up, but you may find a group of people doing work that you enjoy and which could benefit from your contribution.

Here’s to a great conference, a great week, and the beginning of a new POD year.    See you soon, either online or in person.