Fruitful Connections Across Regions: How a Webinar Led to New Partnerships and Improved Programs

Through 100Kin10 webinars, Dr. Lara Smetana of Loyola University Chicago was able to find other partners collaborating with local museums on teacher preparation, motivating her and her colleagues to apply for a Collaboration Grant to learn more. Dr. Smetana and a graduate assistant, Jenna Carlson Sanai, were able to travel to Washington, D.C., to meet with partners from both George Washington University and the Smithsonian Museum for Natural History. Then, in a reciprocal visit, the DC folks came to Chicago, where they learned more about Loyola University Chicago’s Cultural Institutions in Teacher Education Partnership and even attended some museum-based course field experiences. As Dr. Smetana recalled, “A number of excellent conversations were shared and we generated new ideas for Loyola and our teacher preparation program overall.”

Since then, the two partners have presented to both research and practitioner audiences at multiple conferences and continued collaborating on grant applications, along with staying in touch to share ideas on programs and research initiatives. “It’s been wonderful to have these other thought partners,” said Smetana, “I’d encourage other 100Kin10 partners to take advantage of the Collaboration Grants, as it is wonderful to be able to meet in person and experience the programming and collaboration that another organization is engaged in. We were able to have rich conversations about the successes and challenges and lessons learned and also share outside perspectives to help move our efforts forward.”