Portland Community College | Portland, Oregon Portland Community College

Pacific Northwest Great Teaching Seminar

COVID-19 update

The 2021 Seminar is canceled. The 2022 Seminar is planned for June 19-23, 2022. Registration will open in August.

June 19-23, 2022

Vista House in the Columbia River GorgeThe Pacific Northwest Great Teaching Seminar (PNWGTS) is a response to the belief that the best teaching ideas, innovations, and strategies come from within our own ranks. The experts at this seminar are peers who practice the art of teaching every day like you. As community college teachers, we often work in isolation. Our schedules are different from those of our colleagues and our days are spent inside classrooms and small offices. We often don’t have an opportunity to discuss the great ideas, daily successes, problems, helpful practices, and teaching techniques that make up our professional lives. In a relaxed environment, the seminar provides a wonderful chance to share ideas and to hear what works well for other teachers.

Our site

Menucha Retreat and Conference CenterThe Menucha Retreat and Conference Center is nestled among the towering trees of the Columbia River Gorge Scenic Area. Menucha lies 25 miles east of Portland, near the small city of Corbett. The main lodge, where you will be staying, is spectacular. Perhaps our site’s greatest attraction is its surrounding 100 acres of property, which include fabulous Gorge views, hiking trails, a tennis and basketball court, a swimming pool, and a volleyball court. Participants share rooms and eat family-style. Information about the retreat location is available at menucha.org.

Our purpose
  • To share educational innovations and problems in a relaxed and open setting.
  • To enhance classroom techniques to improve learning and engage students.
  • To venture beyond individual disciplines. To benefit from the teaching experiences of colleagues from other fields.
  • To stimulate the exchange of information and ideas among community colleges.
  • To celebrate good teaching and renew our commitment to education.
Who will be there?

Group of people at a past SeminarWe welcome anyone searching for new ideas that will enhance teaching and learning. Over the past 30 years, more than 1,000 alumni representing virtually every discipline have come to the seminar from community colleges in Alaska, Arizona, California, Canada, China, Colorado, Florida, Guam, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Texas, Utah, Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. See past participant testimonials.

We ask that you not bring dependents to the Seminar because facilities are not available for them on or near the site. Further, living closely with the other Seminar participants is quite important because some of the best dialogue occurs during unscheduled times.

What’s the schedule like?

The conference begins on Sunday with check-in time at 3pm and ends Thursday after lunch. Our schedule is carefully planned, but intentionally flexible, beginning with small group discussions of the brief “innovation” and “problem” papers brought by all participants. You should expect to attend sessions each day and most evenings, but you will also have plenty of time for informal discussions and relaxation.

Seminar schedule

40 professional improvement hours – download the schedule

  • Sunday
    • 3-4:30pm: Arrival, check in settle in
    • 4:30pm: Conference begins, work on pre-dinner tasks
    • 6pm: Dinner
    • 7pm: Meet in Great Hall
      • Bring Problem and Innovation Papers, introductions, overview of the Seminar, Menucha facilities, and nearby attractions
  • Monday
    • 8am: Breakfast (note – meals are at the same time each day except for Tuesday dinner)
    • 9am: Meet in the Great Hall
      • Innovation Papers
    • 12 noon: Lunch
    • 1pm: Meet in the Great Hall
      • Innovation Papers (new groups)
    • 3:30pm: Recreation time
    • 6pm: Dinner
    • 7pm: Meet in the Great Hall
      • General session
  • Tuesday
    • 8am: Breakfast
    • 9am: Meet in the Great Hall
      • Problem Papers
    • 12 noon: Lunch
    • 1pm: Meet in the Great Hall
      • Brief general session, then excursions, hikes, shopping, exploring, sports, napping, etc.
    • 7pm: Late dinner
    • 8pm: Meet in the Great Hall
      • General session
  • Wednesday
    • 8am: Breakfast
    • 9am: Meet in the Great Hall
      • General session
    • 12 noon: Lunch
    • 1pm: Meet in the Great Hall
      • General session
    • 3:30pm: Recreation time
    • 6pm: Dinner
    • 7pm: Meet in the Great Hall
      • General session
  • Thursday
    • 8am: Breakfast
    • 9am: Meet in the Great Hall
      • General session, closing activities
    • 12 noon: Lunch
    • 1pm: Farewells, hugs, etc.
Cost

The cost of the conference is $800 before March 1 and $900 up until May 21 (when registration closes). This includes registration, lodging, meals, and all other expenses except transportation. Enrollment is limited to the first 35 persons who apply. The seminar usually fills before the May 21 deadline, so we urge you to make your reservation early.

Logistics
  • Ride-sharing services (Uber, Lyft) can provide transportation to and from the Portland Airport and train station.
  • Special dietary requests, including vegetarian meals, may be accommodated with prior notification.
  • Wireless access is available.
  • If you require ADA accommodations, please email us directly to discuss.
  • There is a small country grocery market half a mile from Menucha; the next biggest town is Troutdale, OR.
Great Teaching Seminar Facilitators
  • Jan Woodcock, Director – Psychology instructor, emerita at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon.
  • Allison Gross – English and Writing instructor, Portland Community College in Portland, Oregon.
  • April Ann Fong – Biology and Environmental Science instructor at Portland Community College in Portland, Oregon.
  • Karen Paez – Dean of Instruction of Sylvania Campus of Portland Community College in Portland, Oregon.
  • Roger Davis – Humanities instructor, Red Deer College in Red Deer, Alberta, Canada.