Past SEIs

 Thinking about attending SEI, but not sure?
Read about the experience from past participants!

Feedback from SEI 2019 Participants

SEI 2019 Group Photo

“I really enjoyed SEI, even more than I had expected. I have used some of the concepts that I learned at my institution already. Thanks so much for all of your hard work. It was a great experience.”

“SEI is exactly what I needed. I can now speak the language of repositories and suggest projects based on what I learned at SEI. Even when the topics were over my head I hung in with a positive attitude. I know that when I need to learn a technical aspect of VRCs, I can locate the information, SEI gave me resources.”

“Overall I really enjoyed SEI most of the presentations were on topics unfamiliar to me but presented in understandable ways.”

“Overall, the whole week was quite WONDERFUL!! I learned a lot from the lectures that were helpful to me (digitization and repositories), and the conversations had during meals and breaks were enlightening.”

“You all did an amazing job. Thank you!”

Feedback from SEI 2018 Participants

“I loved my experience at SEI. I felt I was able to keep up with the material although I am still a student learning a lot of what this means. I was not expecting the curriculum to align so much with my education but in the context of visual resources and image management. On more than one occasion material popped up that I was already aware of but didn’t completely understand. The instructors and attendees did such a wonderful job providing more clarity in a way I could apply it professionally. I walked away with a lot of answers, more direct questions I can ask myself about my future, and great people I can add to my network pool. Definitely an unforgettable experience with informational resources I will use for many years to come.”

“On the whole, I found the level of complexity in the topics to be very well balanced for my knowledge and experience. And, although by the end of the week, I was quite tired — I would have been disappointed had the content been less challenging.”

“I found all of the sessions to be very valuable either for my current work or for my future work.”

“The instructors/hosts/everyone was very friendly. I enjoyed the small group. The group photo was a nice touch. Thank you for everything. I could tell a lot of effort and time was put into this.”

Feedback from SEI 2017 Participants


“All of the instructors were very insightful and brought a level of accessibility to the topics which was great.”

“I liked the conversational format of SEI. People felt like they could speak up if they had a question but also to add information from their own experiences to help others in attendance. The teachers were all really open to having a dialogue. The many real-world examples shown were also helpful.”

I loved the ‘Let’s Get Practical’ sessions at the end of each day. It was nice to have 1-2 hours at the end of each day to ask questions and kind of informally talk about how we could apply each presentation/session to what we do every day. I liked that we started off by discussing things casually and then moved into prepared case studies.” 

“Everyone who came to SEI had a great open mind and attitude to learn so the discussions were poignant and productive. The format of the discussion also helped break down some formality and helped us realized this is not a normal teacher-student situation, we are all colleagues.” 

“I liked that the instructors taught through experience rather than just texts. It was refreshing to have some practical- and experience-based teaching. When learning difficult concepts like copyright it was great to have experts using things which were relatable to my work and use.” 

“I especially loved the first workshop day. I learned so much about copyright that I had not known prior. Truly a helpful conference that I cannot wait to share.”

“I think many people could benefit from learning about the topics discussed. These things are a bit difficult to grasp, but once you are in a group environment with people from different backgrounds in a similar field, you all seem to understand things better.”

“If you’re the digital person in a library you’re usually the lone wolf; this experience was great because you got to meet so many people in the same boat and be instructed by people that had been through what we’re trying to learn to do.” 

The workshop was a great program, and I enjoyed the ability to talk with other professionals working in the field. New perspectives and networking.” 

“I thought overall the program was great and I really liked the fact that the co-chairs got involved whenever they thought they could help a situation along with regard to discussion.” 

Feedback from other former participants

“Through the generous support of a Kress Foundation scholarship, I had the privilege of attending SEI while I was pursuing my MLS. SEI provided me with a supportive and accessible environment to ask questions, connect with new colleagues from around the country, and learn about the many career possibilities in visual resource management as well as within the greater LIS field. I gained a lot of clarity around my own interests, and was able to hone in on the areas of specialization that I further wanted to pursue.”

“It was great! Well-organized, information-packed, with amazing instructors. Well worth my time and money.”

“I thought SEI was an extremely valuable experience for me. I had been fretting about going digital for a long time. This really helped to put things in context. It also made me realize that I actually knew more than I thought I did, which was a confidence builder. I am now working with my ITS on a small-scale digital project and applying what I’ve learned. Many thanks to everyone involved.”

“Since I am new to the profession, this was an exceptional way to get acquainted with the issues facing the profession. I would look forward to an advanced program with more detailed programs (advanced cataloging, etc.).”

“I want to thank you for the great SEI. I am grateful that the VRA/ARLIS makes this opportunity available. The speakers were awesome and the JMU campus is lovely. Thanks for organizing the material in the binder. As a current student, though much of it was over my head, I learned a lot… It is also helpful just to hear the questions and problems that “those in the know” are dealing with. I hope to attend again in the future when I have something to apply this information to.”

Testimonials from Alums

I attended SEI as a student in 2005 and twelve years later I am the senior co-chair. I think that speaks volumes about the program. Back then Digital Preservation was not part of the curriculum. Today it is the foundation of so much of what we do. I have thoroughly enjoyed being involved with the evolution of our field and look forward to sharing my experiences with students.”

Nicole Finzer, SEI 2005 Participant and SEI 2018 Senior Co-Chair
Digital Curation Librarian, Northwestern University

“SEI was a very rewarding experience, even for a “seasoned” librarian like myself. The comprehensive curriculum and knowledgeable instructors recharged my professional battery while providing me with a renewed sense of confidence in a work environment of ever-evolving challenges and responsibilities. I recommend SEI to anyone seeking a thorough and up-to-date understanding of visual resource management. Best wishes for another successful SEI!”

Steven Kowalik, SEI 2013 Participant
Art and Visual Resources Librarian
Hunter College

moloneysmall“I was fortunate enough to be a part of the inaugural SEI class of 2004 at Duke University.  My position in the museum was to chart unknown territory and create best practices for the increasingly important work of the museum; creating and managing digital surrogates of art from our permanent collection.  SEI gave me the tools to do that and so much more.  From that week countless conversations and meetings have come about, thousands of digital images have been shared, and a better understanding of our institutional strategy has been established. My former supervisor, a long-time member of ARLIS, insisted that I attend this session because of the professional respect he had for the planning and implementation team. He felt that they would hand me the tools I needed to get the job done and establish a career-long network of mentors and helpers that would guide me and he was absolutely right! If you need help with project management, SEI is the place for you.”

Katherine Moloney, SEI 2004 Participant
Teaching Resources Coordinator
Amon Carter Museum of American Art

“SEI was an amazing experience that has influenced my work jenKnieschin the present and will continue to do so in the future. I learned from specialists that understood participants’ technological, managerial, and institutional issues. Instructors incorporated hands-on training that was usable and authoritative. The entire institute went swiftly, smoothly and was jam-packed with events that included trips to local cultural institutions, which made networking fun and easy. I am looking forward to attending SEI again, in order to refresh my knowledge with the most up-to-date information about all the subjects covered by SEI: cataloguing, image editing, transitioning skills, project planning, strategic planning, new social media platforms and applications, and intellectual property concerns.”

Jennifer Kniesch, SEI 2011 Participant
Visual Resources Librarian
Art and Art History Department
Dickinson College

“I attended SEI soon after starting in my first VR position. It provided an incredible opportunity to refresh and update my skills, hearing about current best practices from respected professionals and doing hands-on activities with peers. I returned with a long list of things I could put in place right away and an even longer list to keep in mind for the future.”

Bridget Madden, SEI 2013 Participant
Associate Director
Visual Resources Center
University of Chicago

AdrianaStephenson“I cannot reiterate how important the Summer Educational Institute (SEI) was to my career during my first year as a visual resources curator.  Transitioning from a traditional art history background into the world of visual resources was both demanding and challenging as I found myself required to build an entirely new foundation of specialized knowledge and training.  The SEI coursework proved to be exactly what I needed: the perfect balance of theoretical framework, practical application, and open communication between like-minded individuals.  A year later I realize that the benefits of SEI are more than just building solid technical skills and increasing professional development, it’s about forging relationships with other professionals who are generous, thoughtful, and motivating.  I took so much away from my first SEI experience its no wonder that I’m thrilled to be attending again this year.”

Adrianna Stephenson, SEI 2011 Participant
Head, Visual Resources Library
Southern Methodist University
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