The University of Arkansas Pine Bluff will host its 19th annual Mary E. Benjamin Educational Access Conference on Wednesday, April 18, through Thursday, April 19, in the H.O. Clemmons Arena of the Kenneth L. Johnson Sr. HPER Complex.

The University of Arkansas Pine Bluff will host its 19th annual Mary E. Benjamin Educational Access Conference on Wednesday, April 18, through Thursday, April 19, in the H.O. Clemmons Arena of the Kenneth L. Johnson Sr. HPER Complex.

This year’s theme is “Problem-Based Learning: Challenges, Components, Benefits.”

The conference will begin at 8 a.m. on Wednesday with registration followed by a plenary session and concurrent workshops. It is co-sponsored by the Arkansas Department of Higher Education and UAPB.

Plenary speakers include: Stephen A. Bernhardt, University of Delaware English Department professor and Kirkpatrick chair in writing; Shane Broadway, Arkansas Department of Higher Education interim director; and Tom Kimbrell, Arkansas Department of Education commissioner; and Richard Milner IV, Vanderbilt University Teaching and Learning Department associate professor of education (3:30 p.m.).

Steven Zipkes, Manor New Tech High School principal of Manor, Texas, will be featured as the luncheon speaker.

Thursday’s plenary session will start with a 7:15 a.m. breakfast with Zipkes followed by a plenary session with Tom Burnett, vice chairman — manager of strategic initiatives of Apple Computer Inc. in Austin, Texas.

There will be concurrent workshops on both days:

• At the reducing remediation workshop, focus will be placed on research and problem-based learning techniques that have proven to be successful at the P-16 levels. The panel of experts for this workshop includes a college professor, public school administrator, a state legislator and a community advocate for increasing basic skills of P-12 students.

• While Black males face a significant degree of challenges throughout all levels of education, the black males workshop will focus on current trends, strategies and programs that are successful in improving retention and graduation rates of black males.

• The literacy: English and reading workshop will demonstrate the use of problem-based learning techniques in English classes. Methodologies to encourage students to prepare cases based on their own digital teaching exemplars will be demonstrated along with the use of problem-based learning in rhetoric and writing.

• The interactive workshop on mathematics will allow participants the opportunity to consider the benefits of engaging students beyond rote learning. Participants will explore and discuss these benefits along with potential challenges while considering both the perspective of the student and the teacher.

• The science workshop will introduce participants to using and applying interactive online classroom tools that are freely accessible within the National Science Digital Library and BioSciNet Library Portal for Teaching and Learning in Biological Sciences databases.

• The diversity workshop is designed to engage participants in developing new perspectives on diversity. The session will view the teacher’s role in improving student achievement through partnerships with families, youth and children.

• During the student teacher roundtable, student teachers will share their knowledge of and experience with teacher quality with an emphasis on problem-based teaching and learning, Common Core standards and teacher evaluation.

The cost of registration is $85 per person with limited partial scholarships available for students. Registration forms can be obtained at www.uapb.edu/edaccess. More information is available by contacting Allyson Jackson at 575-8477 or Verma K. Jones at 575-8476.