The 24th AIIAS IRC: “Strengthening Mindsets, Skill Sets, and Value Sets” in a Unique Town and Gown Collaboration

AIIAS was filled with participants of the 24th AIIAS International Research Conference (IRC) on November 14-16, 2023. The conference became a platform for intellectual discussions and networking centered around the theme “Mindsets, Skill Sets, and Value Sets.”


In a unique initiative, the conference also catered to 310 participants comprised of experts, scholars, and government professionals working in the business, education, and public health sectors of Silang, the local municipality where AIIAS is located. AIIAS’s commitment to community engagement paved the way for discussions and new opportunities for expanding research within Silang, with plans for future projects aimed at benefiting the local community. Through this collaboration of “town and gown,” a term referring to the interaction of a higher education institution and its surrounding municipality, IRC showcased AIIAS’s dedication to connecting with and serving the immediate community.


“We are launching this series here because we believe that AIIAS needs to partner with the local community here. It is not just research and theory building that we do in our classrooms and in a conference like this, but we also connect to people around here for the betterment of the world around us,” remarked Kenneth Swansi, dean of the graduate school.


The AIIAS Graduate School also unveiled several new collaborations with the local community:


  • AIIAS-Silang Partnership launched the Collaborative Partnership in Community Development (CPCD), a program that equips the Silang citizens with knowledge, values, and skills in business, education, and public health. The partnership builds a resource-sharing network and organizes programs that inspire growth and development in the municipality.
  • The launch of the “Quantitative Series” in January 2024 highlights monthly seminars and workshops for research enthusiasts. This series creates a platform for scholars to delve into various aspects of quantitative and qualitative methodologies such as research design, data analysis, developing questionnaires, using software, using more complex strategies, structural equation modeling, and qualitative research methodologies. The series will be open to sister institutions, research enthusiasts, and students who want to network and collaborate on research projects.
  • AIIAS is now a certified Continuing Professional Development (CPD) provider for Filipinos who are required to accomplish CPD credits to renew their professional licenses. The Professional Regulation Commission of the Republic of the Philippines has awarded AIIAS the Certified CPD Provider status (Accreditation No. PTR-2023-442), allowing AIIAS to provide recognized CPD units during conferences and training seminars in education, business, and public health. This gives AIIAS the advantage of being a professionally qualified license provider in the Philippines.

“We hope that these relationships will be a mutual benefit to the town of Silang and also to AIIAS,” said AIIAS President Ginger Ketting-Weller as she celebrated the institution’s dedication to strengthening the relationship with Silang and fostering mutual benefits with the local community.


Throughout the three-day event, conference attendees actively participated in mind-stimulating discussions. Plenary, seminar, and concurrent sessions featured research presentations by AIIAS professors, scholars, and other experts from various universities. The sessions covered numerous research concepts dedicated to nurturing mindsets, fostering skills, upholding values, and gaining in-depth understanding of research methodologies. They addressed topics from effective teaching strategies for transformative learning, to practical workshops on reversing heart disease and diabetes. Additional sessions focused on understanding organizational resilience, practicing ethical considerations, and enhancing professional performance.


To ensure that all aspects were covered, the conference featured three keynote speakers, each sharing topics from the three-part title of the conference.


Sendra Gunawan, MSME, Group Managing Director of Incasi Raya Group and Gunas Investa Group of Companies in Indonesia was invited to present his keynote address from the business perspective. Titled “Navigating Business Vision in a Christian Perspective,” Gunawan’s keynote expanded traditional boundaries. He offered real-world success stories to motivate participants toward innovative thinking, and to encourage his audience to engage in entrepreneurship. His examples highlighted the vast potential for individuals who think outside the box. Additionally, he added that the business world can be navigable by believers as long as they are trained and exposed to thrive in the business world.


AIIAS President Ginger Ketting-Weller, PhD, gave the keynote address for an audience mostly made up of educators, titled “Mindsets and Interpersonal Professionalism in the Academic Community and Workplace: Affording the Luxury of Integrity.” Ketting-Weller explored the transformative effect of having a growth mindset, urging attendees to view challenges as opportunities for learning and exhibiting persistence. Ketting-Weller encouraged attendees to actively contribute to the workplace, accept feedback, promote teamwork, and foster an environment of continuous improvement. Elaborating on the idea that one is a constantly evolving work in progress, she stated that those who make the effort to develop their intelligence and skills will be more likely to achieve success compared to someone who doesn’t seek ways to grow and improve. She urged her listeners to embody empathy, integrity, and forgiveness for nurturing interpersonal relationships in the workplace.


On the third day, conference participants received valuable health insights from Anna Nelson, DrPH, CHES, associate professor and senior director of the Doctor of Public Health program of the Loma Linda University’s School of Public Health. In Nelson’s keynote, titled “Triumphs of the Past for a Healthier Tomorrow,” she stressed the vital role of public health workers and the need for interdisciplinary collaboration. She cautioned against believing misinformation about health care, urging the importance of source verification before forwarding information in the digital age where social media use is abundant. Nelson also shared insights from the Blue Zones project, showcasing people living in communities that promote lifestyle for longevity. She advocated for collaborative efforts to address global health challenges. Finally, she encouraged scholars to translate research evidence into action for the benefit of the broader community through health education and promotion.


In summary, the conference encouraged participants to align their personal goals with God’s calling. The members of the concluding panel discussion agreed that it is imperative to have the right mindset. They encouraged the production of fruitful outcomes by acquiring the right skill sets and strategies—such as intentionality and resilience. Attendees were encouraged to overcome challenges by cultivating an attitude of open-mindedness, adaptability, innovation, and collaboration.

— Sharnie Love Zamora, AIIAS Assistant for Institutional Writing


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