Conference Reflections

Sarah Z Johnson

Reflection Title: What is TYCA-MW?

I’m Sarah Z Johnson, your new Chair, and I’m excited to be one of the people steering this ship for a while.

I want to start by congratulating Renee Rule and her entire team at Ivy Tech. Our conference last October in Indianapolis was amazing—research that challenged my assumptions, colleagues that encouraged my creativity, ideas that inspired me to make changes in my classes the very next week. That’s what TYCA Midwest does for me. Every time.

At our executive committee meeting before the conference started, we had a discussion about what TYCA Midwest is, what it should be. Is TYCA Midwest just a conference? Or is it something more than that? Many volunteer professional organizations struggle with this question of what their members want and need from their participation.

So after thinking about it for a while, here’s what I’ve come up with. If TYCA Midwest were just a conference, that would be enough. Already the organizers of our next gathering in Akron are putting together a great conference. Fun theme, great facilities…even bowling!

But TYCA Midwest is more than just the conference. It’s the people. People who are just like you—engaged, hard-working, and trying our damnedest to keep current and relevant, even under a load of papers and institutional responsibilities. Sometimes we meet and connect just once, and sometimes there are gaps of years in between that feel like nothing once we connect again. TYCA Midwest is special that way.

And we’re working on ways to expand that chance to connect. This spring, look for a new way to participate in TYCA Midwest—to get that fall conference charge right when you need it, at the *end* of the school year. We’ll be putting together a web series to go live this May. Sessions will be written, hosted, and presented by Midwest members. Keep an eye out here for details on how to propose for one of these May Webseries sessions.

We can’t wait to see you next October in Akron, but we hope you connect with us sooner! Some of us got to get together again with Midwest colleagues at the first ever TYCA National conference this month. Anyone wanting to connect in other ways can send in a teaching tip or a session write-up to the Midwest Messenger or participate in the upcoming May Webseries. There are lots of ways to make the community that is TYCA Midwest work for you!