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"To support learning and technology in education through communication, collaboration, and innovation while developing and sustaining a community of practice".


The SLATE Mission


Established in the Spring of 2002, SLATE is now entering its third decade as a community of practice. SLATE was originally created from the concept that all institutions that are deploying and/or currently using technology and Web-based components to enhance their teaching and learning activities, have the same questions, the same challenges, and the need for the same solutions. By drawing together the expertise of the people involved in the entire academic experience and those designing, supporting, and using these applications, a broader, more accessible, and dynamic support system could be established. The members of SLATE are not about the institutions, but rather about the people that represent their institutions at meetings, events, conferences, and the community of practice, at-large. The respected influencers and innovators on their campuses who are at the precipice of student success and faculty engagement. It is their input and involvement in the group that is a key component to the groups longevity and fulfillment of the groups mission and goals.

The first group meeting was held at the University of Chicago in May of 2002. The original core of eight institutions included; The University of Chicago, Northwestern University, Moraine Valley Community College, Joliet Junior College, Purdue University Calumet, DePaul University, Northern Illinois University, and Northeastern Illinois University. That number has grown to include, not only institutions around the Chicagoland-area and greater Midwest, but institutions across the country and has gained international recognition. Regardless of the changes and expansion the group has gone through, SLATE has always looked at the big picture of learning and teaching with technology.  From its monthly meetings, retreats, events and annual conference, SLATE has grown into a dynamic organization of practitioners, technologists, and thought leaders dedicated to advancing learning and teaching through the appropriate integration of enterprise learning technology  What coalesced within its membership over many years is thinking around supporting all students, all educators, and all learning. SLATE has steadily focused on the success of learning supported through technology, not if or when technology for learning will succeed. This optimism is a hallmark of the organization and one that its members, and participating institutions can be proud of. 


Thank you for twenty wonderful and engaging years.


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SLATE was originally created as the Midwest Blackboard Users Group, (see the article: SLATE: In the Beginning...). Recognizing that any community needs to adapt and change in order to continue to meet the needs of its members, SLATE has evolved into a very inclusive academic and professional development organization consisting of faculty, support staff, instructional designers, vendor partnerships, and even students, all using various LMS platforms, and a variety of teaching tools and applications. It continues to reach across boundaries to forge new and strengthen existing partnerships. Having a strong focus on community and networking between its members is what sets SLATE apart from other groups. SLATE is constantly working to bring people together and give our members more opportunities to get involved. 

If you would like additional information about SLATE, please contact Ken Sadowski, Executive Director.


"I walked into my first meeting with SLATE - I believe it was the second one you held - and I immediately felt like this was a group worth spending some time with. I still feel that way many years later."

"SLATE is living its mission of being an exemplar as a community of practice. Your organization has been able to build partnerships amongst specialists in our profession that not only add value to us in our daily support roles, but also enables us to see what we can be like in the future."

“I have been to a ton of conferences. We return to SLATE each year because it has had the greatest impact on changing teacher strategies towards more engaged learning experiences for students.”

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