MAIC offers unique opportunity to showcase work and research
Each spring, faculty members from Millikin University come together to discuss ways of advancing Performance Learning by sharing their expertise, research and knowledge with one another at the Millikin Academic Interdisciplinary Conference (MAIC) . This year's conference, the 8th annual, was hosted on March 22.
Dr. Joyce Bezdicek, associate professor in the School of Education and chair of the MAIC Committee, looks forward to the conference each year.
"MAIC is an extremely unique opportunity for faculty around campus to inform others of their work and research," Bezdicek said. "Without this opportunity many faculty's work would be going unnoticed."
Presentations from faculty members were held in ADM-Scovill Hall throughout the morning. The focus of this year's conference was Global Citizenship & Local Voices.
"Democratic citizenship is part of Millikin's mission statement, and we wanted faculty to have the opportunity to discuss and highlight faculty's work within this idea," Bezdicek said. "We need to talk about why it's important for us to be members of a greater community and this was the perfect occasion to do so."
Among the 12 various presentations, Dr. Jo Carter, associate professor of nursing, and Julie Standerfer, instructor of nursing, spoke on a semester-long project that students in the School of Nursing work on during their senior year. With partners like Crossing Healthcare, a nonprofit health care entity that provides services for those underserved, nursing students find the support they need to complete their projects. As part of the project, students work in groups to come up with a marketing plan to inform community members of various health issues in Macon County. Students must analyze health issues in the community, choose an issue to focus on and design different strategies to reach the group by targeting specific issues.
"The goal is to find out what motivates a change and help move the population towards healthier behaviors," said Standerfer.
Another presentation included Dr. Denice Love, assistant professor of education, and Brandy Barter-Storm, a lecturer for the English Language Center (ELC), who spoke on a joint project that their students do each fall. Barter-Storm's international students she works with in the ELC are paired up with Love's education students. Each group is given the task to create a presentation that discusses the differences between America's education system and the respective international student country's education system.
"The goal is to teach one another about their different educational experiences," Love said. "This joint project helps the students gain a deeper cultural understanding and gain a greater global perspective."
One of the last presentations of the morning was a panel of students that touched on how their campus work is a great resource for internationalization and inclusivity. International students Delphine Iragena from Tanzania, Gabriel Gil from Venezuela, and Elysia Han from South Korea were on the panel as well as domestic students Angela Arnold, a first-year music major from Huntingtown, Md., and Athena Pajer, a sophomore English literature major from Lovington, Ill. The students offered insights into their jobs through the Center for International Education, and how their jobs help bridge the gap between international and domestic students.
"Working at the Center for International Education gives myself and other students a look into the cultural differences in education. I love having the chance to help new international students adapt to their new surroundings since I was in their place just a few years ago," said Gabriel Gil.
The keynote speaker at the conference was Dr. Xóchitl Bada, an associate professor in the Latin American and Latino Studies Program at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She is the author of "Mexican Hometown Associations in Chicagoacán: From the Local to Transnational Civic Engagement" and will be a fellow at the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin in 2019-2020. Bada's work specializes in immigrant rights and migrant issues.
"We were delighted to have her share her perspectives and give the faculty different ideas to think about in their discipline," Bezdicek said.
A new aspect that was added to the MAIC this year was a "Local Voices" panel that concluded the events of the conference.
The panel was moderated by Dr. Eduardo Cabrera, professor of Spanish and chair of the Department of Modern Languages, and featured Millikin's Dr. Julio Enriquez-Ornelas, assistant professor of Spanish, and Luis Peralta, adjunct faculty member, as well as Anh Ha Ho from the East Central Illinois Refugee Mutual Assistance Center, Lucia Maldonado, Latino liaison from Urbana School District #116, Timothy Flavin from the Mi Raza Community Center in Arcola, Ill., and Kiara Vega from the Immigration Project. Participants of the panel spoke on the issues of immigration and refugees specifically within Illinois.
"It was so great to hear different stories, experiences, and challenges that arise within these issues," Bezdicek said. "Realizing why these challenges arise and what we can do to combat them is extremely important."