Conference participant speaking during keynote address.

On Thursday, June 6, 2024, the Undergraduate Transition Seminars program welcomed over 110 attendees to the GT 1000 and GT 2000 Instructor Training Conference at the Georgia Tech Global Learning Center. The attendees included new and returning instructors, presenters, campus partners, and administrators, who gathered to strengthen the instructional community through networking, training, and relationship building. This annual full-day, conference-style training event prepares and energizes the instructional team to actively engage incoming first-yer and transfer students in the coming summer, fall, and spring terms.

Dr. Luoluo Hong giving the Keynote Address at the conference
Dr. Luoluo Hong, Vice President for Student Engagement and Well-being, presenting the keynote address.

This year, the instructional community grew from around 120 instructors to over 135, with additional GT 1000 and GT 2000 sections added to expand access across campus. For academic year 2024-25, the goal is to increase section offerings of GT 1000 by 22% and GT 2000 by 50% to accommodate growing classes of incoming Yellow Jackets and amplify the seminars’ impact.

The event began with opening remarks by Dr. Chris Reaves, Assistant Vice Provost of Undergraduate Education and Executive Director of Experiential and Engaged Learning and a keynote address by Dr. Luoluo Hong, Vice President for Student Engagement and Well-being, who discussed the link between belonging, well-being, and academic success. The Undergraduate Transition Seminar Associate Director, Dr. Catherine Thomas, and Program and Operations Manager, Jacquée Williams, then provided program updates and shared plans for new program messaging campaigns, effectively incorporating peer facilitators, and instructor professional development. 

Dr. Karen Franklin speaking during the breakout sessions.
Dr. Karen Franklin speaks on Nurturing Belonging: Inclusive Teaching Strategies that Support Students’ Transition to College

During the day, instructors attended sessions focused on course planning, inclusivity and well-being, pedagogical approaches, and strategies for instructor and student success. Presenters represented offices and initiatives from across campus, including, LEAD, iGniTe, the Career Center, the Center for Teaching & Learning, the Wellness Empowerment Center, Undergraduate Research, Faculty Development for Sustainability Education Initiatives, GT Library, and the Center for 21st Century Universities, to name a few. Attendees selected among multiple breakout sessions throughout the conference, with many remarking on the options available to them. Instructors also connected with campus partners during lunch to learn more about the opportunities available to students on campus and offices that support instructional staff.

Conference participants engaging at the resource fair.
Attendees participating in the campus partners resource fair. 

The conference ended with a relaxation-promoting tapping activity led by Mitsuko Ito, Academic Program Coordinator for the VIP Program and Well-being Activator for the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering and a guided closing reflection by Dr. Catherine Thomas. Instructors left the conference with ideas on how to better foster belonging and well-being in the classroom and how to intentionally enhance their course sections with various pedagogical resources and methods. The Undergraduate Transition Seminars team is looking forward to a great year of supporting students’ transition to Tech and facilitating their growth and holistic success.