The Annual Faculty Convocation is a college-wide event featuring keynote presentations, guest speakers of special interest, or discussion groups/workshops related to the education of artists and designers. The event is designed to welcome all returning and new faculty to campus, to provide updates on major developments at Otis over the summer, to offer a compelling presentation program to start the academic year, and to celebrate Otis' current recipients of Teaching Excellence Awards.
The 2015 Convocation featured Otis’ new President, Bruce W. Ferguson, who welcomed the Faculty with opening remarks. Provost Randall Lavender followed with remarks and the introduction of the keynote speaker. Richard Louv, award-winning author, journalist, and commentator, spoke about his recent book, The Nature Principle: Reconnecting with Life in a Virtual Age and national bestseller Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature-Deficit Disorder. Louv’s work brings to our attention the lack of nature in the lives of today’s wired generation, and the theme of his presentation at Otis was: "Hybrid Minds: Technology and Nature." Louv's often-cited phrase, "nature-deficit disorder," served an apt metaphor for one of Otis' longstanding discussions—that of its relative making focus, along with its attention to fostering students' critical thinking and technical skills. The annual Teaching Excellence Awards Celebration recognizing Otis Faculty achievements followed the keynote presentation. Associate Provost for Assessment and Accreditation Debra Ballard and Provost Lavender then launched Otis’ 3-year WASC and NASAD reaccreditation cycles, and outlined for the Faculty the plan for successfully completing and learning from assessment practices, self-study, and upcoming site visits.
The 2014 Convocation featured Interim President Kerry Walk and Acting Provost Randall Lavender, who updated the academic community on current matters, and introduced keynote speaker Dr. Mark Milliron, award-winning education leader, author, speaker, and consultant. Dr. Milliron was Deputy Director of Postsecondary Improvement with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. He has published numerous chapters, articles, and blogs on best practices in higher education, including contributions to such leading publications as Chronicle of Higher Education, American College Testing (ACT) Foundation, and American Journal of Distance Education, and serves on numerous corporate, nonprofit, and education boards and advisory groups, including the Global Online Academy, the Journal for Teaching and Learning with Technology, and the Institute for the Study of Knowledge Management in Education (ISKME), the parent organization of the Big Ideas Fest.
The 2013 Convocation featured renowned psychological researcher Dr. Jean Twenge, author of Generation Me: Why Today's Young Americans Are More Confident, Assertive, Entitled—and More Miserable Than Ever Before. The book uses data from 1.3 million young people to show the real differences among generations on self-esteem, individualism, anxiety, sexuality, and other characteristics. Dr. Twenge will use her research to discuss teaching today's college students. Her presentation will be followed by a panel discussion and Q&A featuring Chair of Fine Arts, Meg Cranston, Associate Professor of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Heather Joseph-Witham, Adjunct Associate Professor of Liberal Arts and Sciences and Foundation, Rob Spruijt, and Assistant Vice President for Student Success/Dean of Student Affairs, Laura Kiralla.
The 2012 Convocation featured keynote speaker John Tagg, whose groundbreaking book, The Learning Paradigm College, defines a paradigm shift happening in higher education today that places more importance on learning outcomes and less on the quantity of instruction, and emphasizes results more than formal processes. As Tagg explained, the Instruction Paradigm that has dominated higher education for so long attends to courses, while the Learning Paradigm attends to students. Chair of Liberal Studies, Debra Ballard, shared thoughts, discoveries, and reflections from her own teaching and program administrative experiences, extensive reading in the areas of pedagogy and best teaching practices, and formal training in assessment for higher education.
The 2011 Convocation examined the theme of Creativity from three perspectives: research, practice, and teaching application. Renowned creativity researcher Mark A. Runco discussed phases of creativity and talent development. Inspiring advertising leader Will Travis shared insights into creativity through a branding and interactive design lens. And Otis faculty member Linda Hudson shared the innovative Foundation and upper division design course, Creative Practices and Responses.
The 2010 Convocation focused on issues of sustainability in art and design education. Keynote speaker Nathan Shedroff, author of numerous books on sustainable art/design practices, including Design is the Problem: The Future of Design Must be Sustainable, is Chair of the graduate program in Design Strategy at California College of the Arts. Independent currator Patricia Watts shared the work of several unusual and influential artists working in an environmentally-conscious way. And Chair of Fashion Design, Rosemary Brantley, revealed how the teaching of sustainable practices has been embedded in that program's curriculum.
The 2009 Convocation featured artist Bill Viola, a pioneer in the medium of video art who is internationally recognized as one of today's leading artists, and Susan Metros, Associate Vice Provost for Technology Enhanced Learning and Deputy Chief Information Officer at the University of Southern California. The presentations were facilitated by Chair of Communication Arts and Graduate Graphic Design, Kali Nikitas.