WHO

The Sisu Advantage is governed by an independent Board of Directors, comprised of:

  • A former county corrections officer
  • A family physician (M.D.) and lead administrator at a major medical facility
  • Two clinical psychologists (both Ph.D.s)
  • Three university faculty (Ph.D.s or Ed.D.s), each with extensive K-12 school experience.

As a nonprofit organization, the Board serves without financial remuneration. In addition to individual directors, several academicians and other working professionals have devoted time and energy to the organization in a variety of capacities. Currently there are no paid employees, but two individuals were instrumental to creating the organizations, hold titles, have devoted their fulltime efforts to a successful launch, and anticipate eventual employment in their respective roles.

Jerry Platt

Executive Director

Dr. Platt is Visiting Professor of Global Communication at Akita International University (AIU), in Japan, and Professor Emeritus of Finance at San Francisco State University SFSU). He previously held the Senecal Chair at the University of Redlands (UoR), and served as dean of the business schools at both SFSU and UoR. He holds a doctorate in Public Administration, and a post-doctorate degree in Statistical Computing from Stanford University.

Bryce Platt

Director of Technology

Bryce Platt is a graduate of Gustavus Adolphus College, where he also was employed at the campus Information Technology unit. While earning his graduate degree in Global Communication, Bryce taught undergraduate classes in computing and served an internship at for an organization that offered academic conferences. At their request he accelerated his studies and upon graduation was hired fulltime as Manager of Technology and Operations. In that capacity he developed the design and implementation for much of their technological infrastructure and operating processes.

WHY

The Sisu Advantage is the creation of a small group of academics dedicated to the belief that, much in the spirit of the childhood song Dem Dry Bones (“shin bone connected to the…”), most academics function within departmental silos, whereas most intellectual inquiries can and do benefit from awareness of developments in other, sometimes even seemingly unrelated, disciplines. To address this perceived inefficiency in the academic marketplace, we have developed a series of annual conferences intended to be both interdisciplinary and multicultural. Each of the three founders at Sisu Advantage has several years of experience as advisors, infrastructure designers, or chairs of academic conferences similar in spirit to those offered by Sisu Advantage, but delivered at faraway venues in Asia and Europe.

Therefore, they reasoned, there should be a market for such events in their large and diverse home state of California, with a population of 37 million. The state has approximately 2 million full-time college students, out of 15 million nationally. It features the model system for higher education, with its 10-campus University of California System, the 23-campus California State University System, and the 113-campus Community College System. It also is home to a diverse array of private colleges and universities, as well as teachers in more than 1,000 school systems serving 6 million students (K-12). What most faculty at these institutions lack are sufficient time and funding to attend and contribute at as many peer-reviewed academic events as they want or need to maintain and grow their intellectual capital. The number of academic conferences hosted in the state is far less than the 2:15 ratio implied by student enrollments, and very few of those are both peer-reviewed and interdisciplinary. Of course, teachers and faculty in nearby states are similarly disadvantaged with regard to access, and educators from anywhere are welcome to attend and participate in any Sisu Advantage event.

WHAT

Sisu conferences differ from most academic conferences in at least seven ways:

  1. Two conferences with overlapping interests are paired under one roof, and registrants to one are welcome to also attend sessions of the other. All submitted papers undergo an external, double-blind peer-review process.
  2. Unlike specialty conferences that tend to go deep but narrow, Sisu encourages participants to take a broader perspective, to “climb the summit” for a wider view that crosses imaginary bounds to glean insights.
  3. Whereas most academic conferences rotate venues annually to compete by location, all Pacific Conferences offered by Sisu are held at upscale, accessible facilities in California. If it is cost-effective for you to attend a particular Pacific Conference, it likely will be for other ones, in other years.
  4. To support the development and transformation of graduate students to productive practitioners, all Sisu conferences offer reduced fees and dedicated tracks devoted to student presentations of their research.
  5. To encourage and promote professional development, all Sisu conferences include a workshop that introduces and demonstrates relevant, recent implementations of freely available open-source software.
  6. Sisu conferences are supplemented and supported by the Sisu Musings blog, the Sisu Snapshot newsletter, Sisu Proceedings and Sisu Journals.
  7. Whereas most academic conferences expand to accommodate all acceptable proposals, an understandable temptation given that per unit variable costs are low, we strictly limit the number of concurrent sessions. This policy reduces the likelihood that multiple sessions you want to attend are held concurrently, as well as the likelihood of poorly-attended sessions.