What is Lighthouse?
Been to a major conference lately? Did you have time to breathe, reflect, and digest the barrage of brilliant ideas that flew at you? While large conferences are exhilarating in many ways, they can also be overwhelming. In 2013, the idea for a different type conference germinated and took root at Ferris State University, and the idea came to fruition in the form of Lighthouse Symposium. Instead of going big, Lighthouse aimed for something smaller, practical, and collegial. The symposium focused on select areas instead of spreading thin over wide-ranging topics. So in keeping with the pragmatic Ferris spirit, Lighthouse focused on providing sessions that were more workshop-style—practical. The symposium was framed around these core features: an applied focus on key themes, collegial workshops, networking opportunities, and a global gathering of colleagues from near and far who could bring wide-ranging experiences.
Benefits of Lighthouse
A subsidiary goal of the Lighthouse Symposium was to provide a cost-effective professional development for the faculty at Ferris. It was much more economical to invite two or three well-known presenters in the field to our campus than to sponsor a group of our faculty members to go to a regional conference. We further enriched the experience by inviting colleagues from around Michigan and from our international partner schools. This collaboration additionally has led to developing partnerships with local and international institutions—providing us another platform for our globalization efforts on campus.