Yet more thoughts on professional development

People listening to presentation
People listening to presentation

After four weeks of conferences I read a piece about getting more out of them.  Fife (2018) recommends attending a session unrelated to your job (p. 1).  Though I have enjoyed the recent conferences, the advice has me thinking about future events.

Normally I choose sessions based on relevance to my work.  Doing so narrows my choices, when there are many good sessions.  It’s also an ethical use of USM’s professional development funds.  At my next conference, though, I could set aside one session strictly for me and the others “for the team,” as Fife puts it (2018, p. 1).  I’d emerge with fresher ideas as a result.

Likewise I could propose a conference session based on an interest.  At the very least I would gain presentation experience.

Of course personal interest and job relevance are not mutually exclusive.  My session choices usually involve both factors.  Still, we can consider the role each one plays in our planning.

The Scholarship as Conversation frame (Association of College & Research Libraries, 2016) mentions how learners “seek out conversations taking place in their research area” (Dispositions subsection).  We do well to consider why we choose particular conversations–including conference sessions.


Association of College & Research Libraries. (2016). Framework for information literacy for higher education. Retrieved from ACRL website:

Fife, D. (2018, June). Hot takes and conference tips. LearningExchange, 34(4), pp. 1, 7

Image Credit: (CC0 license), from Pexels

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