Summer Summit Brings IT Experts to Cal Poly Pomona

wastc small While many Cal Poly Pomona students were enjoying the first week of summer break, faculty from California high schools, community colleges and universities gathered at the College of Business Administration for the WASTC Cisco West Coast Academy Conference.

WASTC, short for Western Academy Support and Training Center, is an organization focused on informing educators on the latest in all things computing. A week full of events, festivities started with a three-day pre-conference June 15-17 and was followed by a main event packed with 24 seminars to choose from each day.

Although the gathering of educators that offered breakout sessions like, “Add Value to Your IT-E Course” and “Teaching Cloud Concepts” hasn’t always called Cal Poly Pomona home, its brief history with the university and its College of Business Administration has been a fruitful relationship thus far.

“I became involved with the [WASTC] about three years ago through some training they were doing,” Cal Poly Pomona Computer Information Systems professor Dr. Ron Pike says. “They needed a venue to host the training to allow to grow it and make it bigger. I really thought it would be a great thing for four-year universities to participate so we hashed the plan for this conference which is now in the second year we’ve been doing it.”

Given the WASTC Cisco West Coast Academy Conference moniker, it should come as no surprise that Cisco was one of the most visible companies reaching out to teachers during the two-day event. Friday morning’s key note speaker was Dr. Lance Ford, an educational technology advocate for the networking company.  He was preceded by Thursday’s key note presenter, Dr. Tracey Wilen, another technology guru with ties to the San Jose Company.

“As part of the strategy group for higher education I would go out on behalf of Cisco to talk about the impact of technology on education,” Wilen says. “My research is on how technology changes society, education and careers. Through that research I have published 11 books, numerous papers and continually blog about these subjects.”

Drawing attendees from all over California as well as parts of Arizona and Nevada, the conference was also open to educators without ties to a Cisco Academy. Pike says this type of an event helps provide a pathway for students so they can move through the high school systems to community college and eventually a four-year university in an integrated experience that would help them prepare for the workforce.

“The College of Business Administration always likes to be able to facilitate the collaboration of educators toward the common goal of improving students’ education experience,” interim dean Dr. Cheryl Wyrick echoed. And with that type of groundwork set, don’t be shocked to see the WASTC Cisco West Coast Academy Conference back for a third year.