In this message, I’d like to continue in the spirit of my first message by sharing some highlights of what’s been happening in the organization over the past few months. If you have questions or comments about any of the below, I hope you’ll reach out to me or any other members of the Executive Committee.

It’s hard to believe my term as POD Network President is already one-third over. In my first four months, I’ve had the pleasure of welcoming new colleagues to the field at the Institute for New Educational Developers, joined our international colleagues for the annual meeting of the International Consortium for Educational Development (ICED) Council, and talked about the future of POD with Lindsay Dokoupolous for the Centering Centers podcast. I’ve worked with the Executive and Core Committees to start tackling our priorities for the year ahead and have been thrilled to see POD’s new Executive Director, Danielle Gabriel, already begin to steer our organization in positive new directions.

In this message, I’d like to continue in the spirit of my first message by sharing some highlights of what’s been happening in the organization over the past few months. If you have questions or comments about any of the below, I hope you’ll reach out to me or any other members of the Executive Committee.

Annual Conferences Coming Soon

POD’s conference team has been hard at work organizing the final details for our fall conferences, and I’m looking forward to seeing many of you online and in Pittsburgh. I’m particularly eager to hear from our keynote speaker, Lorgia García Peña, whose book Community as Rebellion has been an important influence on my own approach to educational development. Please note that the early bird deadline to register is fast approaching on October 15, so register now if you haven’t already. 

Photo of Dr. Lorgia García Peña
2023 Keynote Speaker, Dr. Lorgia García Peña

For those of you attending in Pittsburgh, please take a moment to review POD’s Health Precautions Policy, in particular our strong encouragement to stay up-to-date on your vaccinations and to mask in public conference spaces. Such precautions will enable more of our colleagues to attend and allow for a more inclusive and accessible conference overall. Please note that rapid tests will not be distributed to participants this year, but they will be available for those who develop symptoms. 

A New Chapter for To Improve the Academy

Not everyone may be aware that we made a significant step forward last year to support the growth of POD’s journal, To Improve the Academy (TIA). In order to ensure TIA’s editorial independence, we shifted oversight of the journal out of the Scholarship Committee and established a separate governance structure for the journal headed by TIA’s Editorial Team and Board. Committed to a developmental approach to academic publishing, the journal has made it a priority to encourage a greater diversity of voices and approaches to knowledge production in its submissions. 

Derisa Grant recently had to step down as one of TIA’s Editors-in-Chief, so I’d like to take a moment to thank her for her leadership of the journal. Derisa was instrumental in launching TIA’s shift to accept queries as a way to provide feedback to authors earlier in the submission process and also collaborated with the Scholarship Committee to pilot the Academic Writing Scholars program, which provides guidance to writers from identity groups and/or institutions that are historically underrepresented in educational development scholarship. I’m incredibly grateful for all that Derisa has done for the POD Network. 

TIA continues under the leadership of our other Editor-in-Chief, Marina Smitherman, and I look forward to seeing Marina put her stamp on TIA’s mission to bring diverse and innovative scholarly work to our field. In addition, Lindsay Wheeler has graciously agreed to continue her service to POD and TIA by serving in a newly-created Managing Editor role. 

Other Strategic Initiatives

The Executive and Core Committees, in collaboration with the Executive Director and POD Office, have been working diligently this summer to further a number of strategic initiatives for the organization. Most recently, Core and Exec have:

  • Approved updates to POD’s fiscal policies to allow us to be more intentional about how we invest POD’s revenue in the organization;
  • Established an ad hoc charged with reviewing and revising POD’s ethical guidelines;
  • Approved three new Special Interest Groups (SIGs) – AI in Education, Arts & Humanities, and Accessibility & Disability – as well as a new Disabled Affinity Group;
  • Partnered with Quantum Thinking on the second iteration of their Leading Academic Change national survey of Centers for Teaching & Learning; and
  • Recruited a grant writing team from our membership to develop POD’s proposal to the IDEA fund.

In addition, the Executive Director has been focusing her time on:

  • Launching the Needs-Based Financial Assistance pilot program to support more members’ attendance at the 2023 conferences; 
  • Strengthening POD’s partnerships with peer organizations and expanding the range of sponsors contributing to the annual conference;
  • Proposing an expansion to POD’s Non-Discrimination and Anti-Harassment policy as well as a new Care, Civility, and Accountability policy; and
  • Overseeing an internship project researching how the literature on disability justice, feminist ethics of care, and belonging can inform POD’s approach to operationalizing its DEI commitments.

In the coming months, Exec and Core will be working on a number of projects. They will be discussing possible adjustments to POD’s annual conference structure so that it better aligns with member needs as well as our goals for accessibility, affordability, sustainability, and fiscal responsibility. In addition, they will be working with a consultant to continue refining POD’s anti-racist leadership strategy; discussing how the current legislative climate for higher education is impacting our members and the field more generally; and developing guidelines to improve transparency and communication between Core and POD’s operational committees, affinity groups, and SIGs.

I look forward to sharing updates with you about these and other initiatives we’ll be working on this year. And I hope to see you either online or in Pittsburgh in November!


Stacy Grooters, PhD
President, POD Network
Executive Director, Center for Teaching Excellence, Boston College