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  • March 12, 2015 3:43 PM | ACHE Home Office (Administrator)

    The Call for Proposals for ACHE's 2015 Annual Conference and Meeting is now open. This year, our planning committee is seeking to broaden our roundtable presentation offerings. Too often, it seems that people are afraid to commit to a conference presentation because they don't think they have something to say, or they're nervous about standing in front of a room full of people talking for an hour, or... well, you get the picture. We say, nonsense! We ALL learn from each other at conference, and we each have ways to contribute to that learning. A roundtable may just be perfect for you!

    This week, guest contributing writer Mickey Baines of Fourth Dimension Partners shares his thoughts on what makes a strong roundtable presenter.

    Take it away, Mickey!

    Mickey BainesA roundtable discussion is one that encourages small group discussion on a specific topic. This format has been increasingly requested by the attendees of previous ACHE annual conferences. Therefore, the 2015 planning committee is attempting to generate additional proposals for sessions in this format. If you’ve considered presenting in the past, but don’t have the time develop a full presentation, or maybe expertise in a subject, the roundtable session may be your format.

    In a roundtable session, the presenter spends 10-20 minutes introducing the topic, presenting particular issues and questions she/he wants participants to consider, and hands the remainder of time over to the attendees to lead the discussion. While the presenter should be knowledgeable on the topic at-hand, she or he need not be a resident expert.

    The stand-out roundtable presenter will be a good facilitator, can interpret questions and comments, and help the participants delve and explore the topic in a way that deepens their understanding and presents opportunities for others to expand on their experiences. The presenter will be able to ask follow-up questions to participants, can keep dialogue flowing, and move from question to question continuously through the session to ensure the topic is discussed thoroughly. The presenter will repeat participant questions to ensure all members understand what is being asked, and summarize collective responses to maximize the information shared during the session.

    As the facilitator, you may choose to break the attendees into smaller groups for discussion, before bringing everyone back to a larger group to share the collective comments, questions and thoughts. The key element for success with this format is controlling the time spent in the smaller groups, allowing sufficient time for each group to share their conversation points to the entire audience. If the audience isn’t too large, you may choose to lead the discussion with all members of the audience.

    The roundtable session is one of the most interactive formats of sessions offered at the ACHE Annual Conference. Participants have not only the opportunity to learn from the presenter, but from one another, in a controlled, facilitated dialogue. We want you to join us as a roundtable presenter.

    So, what do you think? Are you ready to propose your roundtable topic

  • February 27, 2015 2:23 PM | ACHE Home Office (Administrator)
    Written by Terry Ratcliff, one of our February guest authors. Do you have a story to tell? Let us know!

    Terry Ratcliff

    Whenever I get the chance, I enjoy teaching a ‘transition’ course. Many of you probably have a similar course in your adult program. They’re intended to help ‘post-traditional’ students acclimate to their new role as working adult learners. In my previous position, I had the opportunity to teach this course to students in the first semester of their enrollment, and then also to stand on the stage at commencement and read the names of our graduates as they shook hands with the president. The growth and development I observed in our students between points A and B was amazing, and I must admit that I choked up as a few of the names crossed my lips. Watching that transformation is one of the greatest rewards for me in this profession.

    For those who know me, it comes as no surprise when I say that I like to tell a lot of stories when I teach (I like to tell a lot of stories in just about any venue!). One story that I tell early in the transition course is intended to let students know that they are not alone in their angst about returning to college. And it’s one that students actually remember. Here’s what I tell them:

    Earlier in my career, I accepted a new job that required me to relocate to a new city on my own, leaving my family behind for a few months until my kids were out of school. A friend who lived in the new city invited me to occupy an empty room in his house while I acclimated and found a permanent place to live. We had kept touch while I was in graduate school in the Southwest and he was in medical school at Yale. That relationship continued as our careers developed. We both had done well. He was recently divorced, and his three school-aged children would come spend most weekends with him. He was going through other major transitions in his life at the time, selling his medical practice and returning to graduate school to complete a counseling degree in order to pursue a new passion. During the six weeks I stayed with him, we had several conversations about major life events, adult education, and balancing professional, educational, and personal lives.

    Time went by, and I found a house and my family arrived. Fall semester was well underway when I thought of my friend and decided to give him a call. I asked him how things were going, balancing work, time with family, and school work. He told me, “You know, we talked a lot about adult students, and all the balls they have to keep juggling in addition to being in school, but I’ve gotta tell you, this is harder than Med School!!”

    So, I tell my students, “the next time you are struggling to get a paper done, juggling your daughter’s soccer game and your son’s band concert, remember: this is harder than YALE MEDICAL SCHOOL.”

    I also tell this story to new faculty during orientation and training sessions. We need to remember, our class is not necessarily the first priority for most of our students, and we need to respect that. Over the years, both students and instructors have told me about times when they were reminded of the challenges my friend shared with me, and how it has helped them deal with situations that have arisen for them.

    So, the next time you are talking to an overwhelmed adult learner or a frustrated faculty member, tell them the story of my friend and see if it helps put things in perspective for them as it has for many of my students and colleagues.


  • February 13, 2015 12:02 PM | ACHE Home Office (Administrator)

    Blogger and History educator Andrew Joseph Pegoda recently wrote about his experiences with the practice of using low-stakes assignments in the courses he teaches. In "The Unspoken Problem with Low-Stakes Assignments." Andrew writes:

    "Having at least some low-stakes (or no-stakes) assignments in college courses is touted by advocates of student success and practitioners of andragogy as essential for creating safe and productive learning environments for students. The theory goes that students are more likely to learn if it is safe to do so, safe to make mistakes and safe to do so without having an immediate and detrimental impact on the semester grade."

    He goes on to note his frustration when students then don't do the assignments at all:

    "I've recently really noticed one problem with low-risk assignments that I've never heard or seen discussed: Students realize that it is low-risk and elect not to do it because (they think!) it will not impact their grade or will do so in the most minor way."

    Andrew concludes his post by asking the question: Do you have low- or no- stakes assignments in your classes, and if so, how do you deal with students who just don't do the assignments?

    low-stakes assignments

    Click here to read the full post from Andrew and share your experiences...

  • February 06, 2015 12:12 PM | ACHE Home Office (Administrator)

    Written by Marthann Schulte, one of our February guest authors

    Marthann SchulteOne of the fathers in my neighborhood, I’ll call him “Jack,” recently returned to college.  He is pursuing his master’s degree in international relations and, because I work in higher education, he has asked me for some tricks and tips.  He last attended college over 18 years ago and was a little bit concerned about now being the “old guy” in the class.
     
    Jack’s master’s program has traditional face-to-face class meetings.  The classes are held in the late afternoon and evening to accommodate “commuter” and adult students.  Most of the students in the program are non-traditional, working adults with families.  However, it seems like the professors, administrative offices, and overall expectations of the college personnel are still in the “traditional” mindset.
     
    For example, Jack asked me during the Fall 2014 semester if it was normal for college professors to have office hours.  When I said, “Yes, that is normally a requirement for any faculty member,” Jack said, “Well, then why don’t they require a professor who teaches night classes have some office hours after 5 pm?  I can’t take off work in the middle of the day, drive to campus, and see the professor during his regular office hours.”  I didn’t have a good response.  Jack also mentioned his frustrations with various administrative offices on the campus that didn’t have post-5 pm hours to assist adult students.
     
    Another irritant to Jack was the creation of study groups.  A particularly challenging statistics course led many students to form study groups.  The full time, traditional students met during the regular workday, on campus, and were sometimes visited by the professor when they requested assistance.  The non-traditional adult students, like Jack, could not find suitable days/times to meet after their workday.  They resorted to forming a sort of email “hotline” to help each other on assignments, but this arrangement was less than ideal.  When one of the adult students asked if Blackboard (LMS) space could be used for a discussion thread for the adult students to use, the professor stated that this would not be an acceptable use of that college resource.
     
    Jack shared some additional frustrations that he experienced as an adult, non-traditional student in the “traditional college world.”  I listened and shared some of the things that Jack, as an adult student, might request from the college to make it more adult friendly.  After making a few requests that went unheeded, Jack told me that he has resigned himself to just getting through his degree as best he could, trying to work within the traditional college expectations while being a non-traditional student.
     
    For me, there is a “silver lining” in what Jack shared with me and what I now share with you, the fine members of ACHE.  We get it!  We understand the adult learner.  We understand those who want and NEED continuing education to improve their lives.  We go out of our way to understand our learners, our teachers, and all those who make our innovative programs a success.  We adapt.  We change.  We are the ones who say “Yes, we can do that!” despite continued cuts to resources.  And our adult students are all the better for our commitment and skills.

    Do you have a story to share? Let us know!

  • February 05, 2015 2:43 PM | ACHE Home Office (Administrator)
    Regis Gilman

    It’s Spring (I’m an optimist!), or at least that’s how we label this semester. Students are back on campuses and online, and ACHE and the 2015 Program Committee are busy putting in place all the components necessary for an engaging Annual Conference and Meeting of colleagues from across the nation and around the world. The dates for this year are November 9-11, 2015, so if you haven’t already, mark your calendars today. More to follow….

    First, I want to congratulate the Home Office for their tireless work over the holiday on our Association website. It continues to develop and grow, and I hope that you, as I do, appreciate the work that Ynez and Stan have done to bring both the resources of the Association and the tools available to the membership much closer to your fingertips. The new website is designed to be useful to members and individuals interested in learning more about what defines the Association and what we offer you, the professional continuing educator. I invite you to share our website and its resources with colleagues and staff who you think would benefit from membership in ACHE. Remember: all Institutional Members of ACHE can now connect unlimited staff to their memberships. If you have questions about this change, reach out to Ynez or Stan at the Home Office. Ynez can be reached at yhenningsen@acheinc.org or 405-325-3599; Stan’s contact information is skhrapak@acheinc.org or 405-325-8145.

    ACHE Regional meetings will begin shortly: Great Lakes joins the Illinois Council on Continuing Higher Education next week; Great Plains meets in early March in Des Moines, Iowa; and then MidAtlantic and South meet back-to-back in mid-April.  I’m earning my wings! I am so excited to be able to attend all the regional meetings, to be with you to hear your concerns, and most importantly to share your successes. If you’ve not yet registered for your regional meeting, I encourage you to do so. It’s where those early seeds of professional development and leadership are planted, groomed, and supported. 'The Network of Leaders for Lifelong Learning' begins with the Regions!

    Today, you’ll also find the 2015 Conference Call for Proposals information. I’m grateful to Pam Collins and Tina Marie Coolidge for their work as Program Committee Co-Chairs. In these turbulent times, continuing higher education presents daily opportunities for strategic connections within and among institutions, communities, and regions, while strengthening America’s competitiveness in the global economy. Continuing Higher Educators are in a position to lead their institutions now more than ever in ways that respond to the changing environments and students we serve. What exciting initiatives, programs, or models, are you exploring on your campus, in your state, or your region, with competency based education, credit for prior learning, degree completion, military education, and more? I invite you to review the Call for Proposals information and submit a proposal for the 2015 ACHE 77th Annual Meeting and Conference. 

    Until next month, I hope you keep safe and warm, and continue always to do the inventive, innovative, and collaboratively successful things that make continuing higher education so meaningful to adult learners, wherever they are on their journey.

    Regis Gilman 

    Regis M. Gilman
    ACHE President, 2015 

  • January 22, 2015 5:00 PM | ACHE Home Office (Administrator)
    Over the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday weekend, the new ACHE website went live! Our new site includes an integrated membership management function, which means that all member functions – membership management, annual conference registration, member profiles, access to the Journal of Continuing Higher Education, Five Minutes with ACHE – are all in one place with one log in.

    Things to do now:
    1. Visit the site at www.acheinc.org.
    2. Get logged in. The new system integration reset all member passwords, so begin by entering your email address and then click “Forgot password” to have a new password generated and sent to your email address:

    3. Update your profile! Click on your name in the upper right hand corner to access and update your member profile, including your contact and subscription preferences.

      Update profile image

    4. If you see a message alert in the lower right hand corner, there are actions pending. Click on the message to see what needs to be done.

      Renewal pending image
    Questions? Reach out to us at the home office:
    Ynez Henningsen, 405-325-3599, yhenningsen@acheinc.org
    Stan Khrapak, 405-325-8145, skhrapak@acheinc.org
  • January 11, 2015 5:37 PM | ACHE Home Office (Administrator)

    New!Welcome to 2015! The staff at the ACHE home office have been back on the job this week and are excited about what's going to be happening around the association this coming year. Here are 5 new things we're most excited about:

    1) Our new, 2015 President, Regis Gilman, Dean of the School of Continuing Education at Eastern Illinois University. Regis is a very relationship-oriented person, so look for a high-touch, relationship-building conference in St. Louis in November.

    2) A new website and member management platform coming in January. Our current website was built by the ever brilliant Bonny Million at the University of Oklahoma in 2008 when the ACHE home office relocated. The site has undergone tweaks over the years, but we're overdue for a facelift. Our new website is part of an integrated member management platform and will consolidate your experience for membership management, registration, and more.

    3) A new committee and new committee members! The ACHE board of directors approved the creation of a new Digital Programming and Communications Committee, which will be chaired by the ever wonderful Jennifer Varney at Southern New Hampshire University with the excellent assistance of Leah Ben-Ami of Northeastern University. Other new committee chairs include Emily Lewis at Charter Oak State College; who's taken the reins of our Committee on Inclusiveness, Lisa O'Neal of Murray State University who will tirelessly head up our Awards Committee, and Pam Collins (Philadelphia University) and TinaMarie Coolidge (Drexel University) who are spearheading planning for our 2015 Annual Conference & Meeting in St. Louis.

    4) A new Institutional membership model: As reported in November, our ACHE board of directors approved an unlimited staff model for our institutional members. Beginning with our member management platform launch, all member institutions will be able to add unlimited staff to their membership listings. This new model greatly increases the benefits and return on investment of your membership dollar.

    5) A new group of mentors and proteges for ACHE's Mentoring Program. Our new pairs were notified of their matches before the holidays, and they're currently making connections. We'll keep you posted on their progress.

    So much newness! It's almost too much to handle, but we love the direction all of it takes us. We hope you do too.


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