Association for Continuing Higher Education

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The Network of Leaders for Lifelong learning

82nd Annual ACHE Conference


Concurrent Session Descriptions

Concurrent Session I

Monday, October 12th, 1:30 - 2:30 pm EST

Concurrent I.A: Supporting the Adult Student Where Gaps Exist in Coverage

Dr. Bonnie J. Covelli, University of St. Francis

Supporting adult students within higher education has its unique challenges. Adding to these challenges is the fact that on campuses across the country, the adult student services came after the “traditional” student services. The campuses were built to accommodate dormitories of freshman and students on a four-year degree path. The campus services are aplenty and all designed to support students – the ones eating, sleeping, studying – on campus.

Enter the adult student. They eat, sleep, and study, but many of them are doing so off campus. They are attending school in the evenings, on the weekends, or online, at times and places where all the student services are closed. This session will describe the various techniques our college uses to support adult students on a traditional campus. Many of these techniques are home-grown and draw from the idea that personal relationship can have a greater impact than formulated process.

Concurrent I.B: Restructuring Regional Campuses for Sustainability

Dr. Susan A. Elkins, Ed.D, University of South Carolina - Palmetto College; Dr. Cathy U. Bishop-Clark, Miami University Regionals; Dr. Richard H. Oates, University of North Georgia; Nicole Pennington, Ohio Univeristy Regional Campuses

The panel presentation will focus on the structure and organizational changes of four regional campus systems in Ohio, South Carolina, and Georgia. Over the last 10 years, there heave been societal changes that have led to the need to examine university administrative structures and the future of these regional campuses. The panel discussion will address how four universities have responded to the challenges so that regional campuses will be prepared to continue to be the drivers of educational, social, and economic development.

Concurrent I.C: Leading Through Relationships

Kerry Fina, University of Nebraska at Omaha

The goal of this interactive session is to provide a new frame in which to view leadership development through relationships. Session content relies on the pioneering work of author, academic, and leadership consultant Meg Wheatley, focusing on the belief that all people practice leadership regardless of formal role and that nurturing relationships improves leadership effectiveness. Participants will explore content through ideas and illustrations including the famous quantum mechanics thought experiment known as Schrödinger’s Cat, a quantum physics experiment testing unified relationships at a distance, and a junior high school community that operates on just three rules. A broad audience would find value in the engaging discussions involving human potential and the exploration of the boundaries between self and others facilitated to further develop practical leadership skills at any level of the higher education institution.

Concurrent I.D: Writing for publication in the Journal of Continuing Higher Education (JCHE)

Dr. Walter S. Pearson, Loyola University Chicago

In this workshop, we will learn the topics and types of papers sought by the editorial board of JCHE. You will meet some of the editorial board members and learn what we have published in recent years. We'll brainstorm the potential papers that participants have been considering to see if those papers belong in the JCHE. We'll explore how to develop a paper and how the editorial board uses a double-blind review process for deciding the papers to be published. We will end with a discussion of the benefits of publishing to you and to the profession.

Concurrent I.E: Are Your Institutional Reports Helpful? Data Basics for Adult and Post-Traditional Undergraduate Degree Programs

Christine Billings, University of Nebraska at Omaha; April Paschall, University of Nebraska at Omaha

This session is tailored to units that serve adult and post-traditional degree-seeking students located at institutions that are primarily traditional student serving. We’ll share the types of data we have begun to collect and distribute in order to make data-informed decisions to positively impact student recruitment, marketing, enrollment, and persistence. We’ll provide practical examples of the types of questions we ask to inform our data and reporting, how we’ve been cultivating a data-informed practice while valuing our students as humans (not data points), and the communication strategies we’ve utilized to share our insights. We’ll share the opportunities and challenges encountered during this ever-evolving process of gathering data and developing reports that ultimately benefit our students and improve our practice.

Concurrent I.F: The Last ACHE Conference

Dr. Marc Wilson, Ph.D.

This session will be an open conversation about the future of higher education and the long-term relevance of ACHE. We will begin with a brief overview of the forces currently impacting CE. The majority of the session will be a conversation among the participants. Questions that we will consider include:

  • Is the distinction between “education” and “continuing education” a spurious dichotomy?
  • Will the traditional academy with its emphasis on faculty led governance be disrupted by new education models and providers?
  • Will market forces such as globalization, competency-based education, degree completion, and accelerated programs require a shift in the higher education paradigm?
  • How will education technology, including online education, contribute to the reshaping of educational theory and practice?
  • Is ACHE still relevant? How should ACHE be positioned for the future? Will we keep pace with the changes, be a change agent, or cease to be?

Concurrent Session II

Monday, October 12th, 2:45 - 3:45 pm EST

Concurrent II.A: A Grass Roots Approach to Growing an Online Technology Program at a Regional Institution

Dr David A Bucci, East Carolina University; Jason Denius, East Carolina University

Decreased federal support, reductions in state budgets, increased institutional competition, and increased societal demand for advanced education, are just some of the many challenges that contribute to the overall conundrum of resource management and institutions seeking to increase their enrollment (Slaughter & Rhoades, 2004; Weerts & Ronca, 2006; Cole, 2009). Although many institutions have sought to satisfy this challenge through increased distance education offerings (Bray, 2007; Bray, et. al., 2007), there have been many factors that have limited their benefits to the student population (Bower & Hardy, 2004). Is it possible to effectively utilize continuing education to increase enrollment while still maximizing student success and the student experience, while considering budgetary limitations? This presentation explores one program’s successful attempt through a ‘grass roots’ approach and focus on continuing education to help ensure sustainable and responsible growth.

Concurrent II.B: Entrepreneurial Graduate Programs and Organization Structure

Lenaya Stewart, University of Maryland, College Park

The Office of Extended Studies (OES) is a self-support administrative unit at the University of Maryland that provides administrative support, student services, and financial management to develop and market an array of credit and non-credit educational initiatives at the pre-college, undergraduate, graduate, and professional level.

In my presentation, I will address the unique structural organization of the Office of Extended Studies, in relation to the greater University, which has enabled OES to form an innovative business model and increase professional graduate program revenue by 79% and administrative fee revenue by 85% from 2014 to 2019. I will share three strategies for revenue growth: 1. Transferring professional studies from an academic unit to an administrative unit, 2. OES’ two-tier organizational structure, and 3. the distribution of functions between OES and academic units.

Concurrent II.D: Building your leadership brand and leadership presence!

Sheila Boysen, Lewis University

In this self-growth and self-development workshop, the participants will walk away with greater self-awareness and tools to use and apply the very next day! This workshop assists individuals and leaders to enhance their leadership presence, develop greater interpersonal impact and effectiveness, hone their leadership style, and develop more poise under pressure.

This workshop is for faculty, administrators, individuals with management responsibility and individual contributors looking to enhance and up-level their leadership brand and leadership presence. This workshop is appropriate for leaders at all levels of the institution and emerging leaders at all organizational levels for whom enhanced leadership presence, communication skills and inspirational leadership are essential.

The workshop features extensive practice exercises and participants gain self-awareness of their individual style and ways to enhance their impact and influence. They take away key communication principles to implement immediately, using proven and practical techniques for demonstrating a dynamic leadership style.

Concurrent II.E: Neurodiversity in Higher Education: Implications for leaders and learners

Virginia C Jones, Med, Auburn University College of Education, Department of Adult Education

Neurodiversity reflects the concept that individuals with brain functions and behavioral differences are part of the normal spectrum of human variation found across all populations.

The presentation provides an overview of what neurodiversity means and how it presents and impacts the dynamics of learning and work. The implications for learners, teachers, managers and employees will be discussed.

Opportunities for small group exchange and discussion are provided. Participants will be challenged to practically apply their new understandings within their own professional environments.

The presentation emphasizes the ways inclusive differences enrich and positively affect the learning and workplace experience across all institutional communities.

Concurrent II.F: They Come for a Degree; They Leave Empowered; Mission Accomplished

Lisa Wardlaw Myers, EdD, Texas A&M University-Texarkana

Remember the epiphany you had when you began seeing yourself in adult education theory? You were more than likely a graduate student with aspirations of becoming an outstanding educator. As you began reading Knowles, Merriam, Mezirow, and Brookfield, however, you realized what you were learning was transforming and empowering you as an adult learner even as it equipped you to become an adult educator. What if we pulled that experience into post-traditional undergraduate programs, just as students are beginning their journey toward degree completion?

Since 2018, the BAAS program at Texas A&M University-Texarkana has led over 200 post-traditional students through an undergraduate adult education course resulting in students reporting 1) similar experiences as described above, and 2) a deepened appreciation for higher education. In this interactive session following a dilemma-to-solution framework, we will share the whys and hows behind this program development.

Concurrent Session III

Tuesday, October 13th, 12:00 - 1:00 pm EST

Concurrent III.C: Continuing Education Consortia: Developing a true lifelong learning ecosystem

Brian Amkraut, Case Western Reserve University

The buzzwords of higher education these days increasingly resonate with those of us in continuing ed: phrases such as constant career shifting; 60-year curricula; non-traditional as the new normal, etc. But even as continuing ed and online divisions can demonstrate their value for the industry as a whole, we still struggle with some of the same structural challenges of the higher education sector. Excess capacity, systemic redundancy, limited accessibility, and the overarching issue of high fixed cost resulting in skyrocketing tuition rates. Continuing education has the opportunity for experimentation to demonstrate that cooperative models, with both academic and non-academic partners, can lead to sustainability by bringing down operational expenses and increasing affordability, while addressing the realities of longer careers, changing work environment, and the lifelong learning imperative. This session offers examples of consortium-based programming, envisioning a broader shift in the landscape of continuing and professional studies for the future.

Concurrent III.D: Cultivating Passion and Joy: Shifting a Unit Culture from Seeking Legitimacy to Owning Our Awesome, from Top Down Management to Shared Ownership and Accountability.

Christine Billings, University of Nebraska at Omaha

Like Sisyphus pushing the large rock up a never-ending hill, our work in adult and continuing education requires resilience. For many of us, it’s our passion work – but for some, especially our newer, younger colleagues, it can feel defeating and stagnant. This session provides a brief overview of how, over the course of two years, we shifted our unit culture to one that sought legitimacy via the definition of other, more “traditional” programs. During this evolution, we also changed our organizational structure and style from top down management to shared ownership and accountability among our staff and collaborative colleagues. By honoring staff experience as expertise, co-constructing a new strategic plan, and embracing a “let’s give it a go” attitude, we have increased student persistence, strengthened campus collaboration, and cultivated passion and joy among our staff. Specific examples, including a roadmap of our evolution, will be shared with attendees.

Concurrent III.E: Lessons from the Field: How to Perfect Your Leadership Style to Advance Your CE Career

Lisa Braverman, Fairleigh Dickinson University

Continuing Education is a field in which leadership growth is frequently impacted by conditions in higher education nationally or by those found on our own campuses. Professional success can often depend upon the personal choices we make to navigate those changes.

Dr. Lisa Braverman, longtime CE leader, will lead this discussion about CE leadership seen through the lens of her own career trajectory in the field. She will draw upon her experience in public, private and for-profit institutions and share her thoughts about successful CE leadership as illustrated by her own journey.

Attendees will learn how to map out their own desired pathways in the field, understand how current and future conditions may impact their growth, and identify the personal and professional choices they need to consider in order to fuel their own professional development and achieve the career goals they have set as continuing education leaders.

Concurrent Session IV

Tuesday, October 13th, 1:30 - 2:30 pm EST

Concurrent IV:B: Coming Into Focus: Four Lenses that will see your way to C.E. growth

Jeannine Perry, Longwood University

Whether you are trying to build, revive, revamp or grow a continuing education unit at your institution, sometimes the many and varied options, as well as obstacles, make it difficult to focus and move ahead. The presenters will share how four important lenses, and a little luck, can bring about laser sharp focus and the ability to grow and change. Several opportunities for the audience to reflect and share their perspectives and experiences will be provided.

Concurrent IV.C: Looking through the right lens to support your students to see their path to degree completion

Tina Marie Coolidge, Drexel University; Amanda Colburn, Drexel University

The “Looking through the right lens to support your students to see their path to degree completion” session is designed to examine the advising tactics & pedagogy necessary to effectively reach the adult learner. The presenters have experience working as the Program Management and Academic Advising team to an Ed.D. program.

The session will exemplify why it is imperative for those that support adult learners to have proper knowledge, targeted professional development opportunities, and a network to discuss creative ways to serve this specific population of students to be successful in their academic program. It is essential to have the knowledge and understanding of the adult learner and in this session, presenters will further discuss the specialized skill set required to support students, innovative program retention initiatives, and visionary recruitment methods in a highly competitive market.

Concurrent IV:D: Treating All Faculty as Colleagues

Walter Pearson, Ph.D., Loyola University Chicago, Jeanne Widen, Ph.D., Loyola University Chicago

How do you form the team most crucial to growth: the faculty?

In this workshop we will share the literature on how to treat all faculty as colleagues. We know from a large survey that the effectiveness of faculty is central to growth. Adult students place faculty effectiveness at the top of their reasons for enrolling. We’ll explore how to develop and work with adjunct faculty, look at the faculty processes in place at a successful program (#8 in U.S. News for online BA programs), and brainstorm together on how to implement best practices at participants’ home institutions. Participants will receive a review of the literature around faculty development and relations, interact with leaders from a program that has a successful faculty system, and then apply those lessons to developing a faculty system at their home institution.

Concurrent IV.E: Using Design Models in Continuing and Professional Education

Gerald Rhead, Michigan State University; Dr. Emmanuel Sarris, Ed.D., SpurCG

Design Thinking has proven to be successful in how companies and corporations all over function. Why not utilize it in the work we do in Continuing and Professional Education? Michigan State University and SpurCG will each show you examples of their models and how they are utilized internally and with their external clients. You will be able to take the information and use one or both models, or just create a version that works for your organization.

Concurrent Session V

Wednesday, October 14th, 11:00 am - Noon EST

Concurrent V.A: PLA is AP for Adults: Acknowledging College Level and Credit Worthy Learning for All Students

Matt Bergman, Ph.D., University of Louisville

This concurrent session presents a perspective on recognizing validated learning for all students. Advanced Placement (AP) testing is a widely accepted form of credit for college level learning for high school students. However, faculty still remain skeptical about Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) portfolios despite the fact that the average adult learner has expansive industry knowledge that is applicable to college course work. If faculty are fine with AP but not PLA, we must help them understand the rigor and relevance of credit for prior learning for working adults. Programs focused on returning adults balance the advancement of degree attainment with a set of practices that produce relevant and research based learning outcomes. This session presents a faculty practitioner perspective on "what it takes" to move toward positive perceptions about PLA among faculty and administrators throughout higher education.

Concurrent V.B: Country Strong?: Connecting University Adult Programs and Rural Communities

Dr. Steven B Frye, Ph.D. - Tennessee Technological University; Dr. Susan A. Elkins, Ed.D, University of South Carolina - Palmetto College

As universities struggle to claim their piece of the dwindling pie of educational funding, the mission of serving rural communities can easily fall out of focus. This session will focus on issues and challenges encountered in designing and implementing university adult programming in rural communities. Specific examples will be presented from two different public universities (Tennessee Tech University and Palmetto College, Univ. of South Carolina). Special emphasis will be given to discussing ideas and opportunities with session participants.

Concurrent V.C: 2020 Vision: A New Lens for Continuing and Adult Education: Perspectives from a Newly Formed Leadership Team

Sheila Boysen, Lewis University; Lesley Page, Lewis University; Scott A. Kerth, Ph.D., Lewis University

As professors in the department of Organizational Leadership at Lewis University our research and teaching focuses on leadership, organizational change, organizational culture, ethics and values. Our University and department are undergoing significant organizational change with new leadership, reconfigured departments, colleges and significant changes to the university governance structure. This session will share insights from interviews conducted with the University leadership: President, Provost and Dean(s) regarding their vision for the future of continuing professional education. The discussion will focus on the trends leaders see in higher education and adult education as well as their journey of learning to lead at a new campus.


  • Discuss current trends within higher education which create the landscape for adult and professional education.
  • Describe the challenge of University change in terms of leadership roles, governance and restructuring.
  • Share information from interviews conducted with our University President, Provost and Deans.
  • Share interview summaries from top University leadership as it relates to the lens of leadership and continuing education in the 21st century.

Concurrent V.D: Demystifying Microcredentials: Getting Past the Glazed Look

Amrit Ahluwalia, Evolllution; Kim McNutt, California State University Dominguez Hills

Microcredentials. Digital Credentials. Stackable Credentials. Badges. Alternative Credentials. While we’re told all these emerging forms of credentials will clarify learner outcomes, improve communication between institutions and employers, and clarify the fuzzy education-work divide, the reality is that we can’t achieve this vision without first clarifying the place and value of the credentials we offer.

The fact is that most CE units already offer microcredentials and have been leaders in this field for decades. The question isn’t, “Should we offer microcredentials?” The question is really, “How can we leverage what we have already, make adjustments and clarify thinking and direction among our key stakeholders, including learners, instructors, employers and our institutions?”

In this presentation, Amrit Ahluwalia and Kim McNutt will aim to demystify microcredentialing and share insights into how CE divisions can leverage their expertise in this space to better serve learners and engage with their main campus colleagues.

Concurrent V.E: Evaluating Lifelong Learning Objectives, Delivery, and Outcomes

Dr. Valerie A. Delleville, Western Governors University

Lifelong learning is non-negotiable for a resilient workforce, and for any worker to obtain and maintain a competitive advantage regardless of economic outlook. As a result, lifelong learners make up a highly visible market that higher education must not ignore. They seek relevance, career mobility, and convenience to reskill and upskill their career paths. How does your institution engage with and serve lifelong learners in your community and beyond? This workshop will explore various lifelong learner profiles, and propose relevant new programs that will meet their learning demands, on their terms. Participants will share best practices that their institutions have leveraged in serving lifelong learners, and review options for implementation. Programs and engagements that no longer optimize student outcomes while maintaining financial sustainability will be surfaced and considered for discontinuation. Barriers to optimal program design and delivery will be identified, and solutions for barrier mitigation will be reviewed.

Concurrent Session VI

Wednesday, October 14th, 12:30 - 1:30 pm EST

Concurrent VI.A: Sustainability Through Diversity: Positioning Diversity as the Strategic Driver for Continuing Higher Education

Amy Beth Rell, College for Financial Planning

Diversity initiatives are common practice in today’s world of higher education and beyond in the non-profit sector, business and industry. It is difficult to find an organization that isn’t positioning diversity as a key strategic initiative. Based on a successfully scaled model, this session will provide campus stakeholders with a comprehensive approach to employing diversity initiatives across all campus units as the primary driver to ensure the viability and sustainability of continuing higher education in the future.

Concurrent VI.B: Increasing Faculty Development to Increase Diversity in STEM- Women RISE Project Report

Dr. Barbara L. Howard, Jackson State University

Women RISE (Research in STEM and STEM Education): The rationale for the project was that the presence of Black Female STEM and STEM Education Faculty on college campuses is important in the recruitment of black girls in STEM fields. Therefore, efforts to retain and recruit Black Female STEM faculty are imperative. In order for these faculty members to be successful, they must have viable outlets to produce and disseminate research and scholarly information.

Concurrent VI.C: Paths with Purpose: Leveraging

Clare Van Ness, California State University, Chico

Four units at CSU, Chico - Regional & Continuing Education, Graduate Studies, International Education and Global Engagement, and Undergraduate Education - have have joined forces to create Paths with Purpose. This initiative intentionally aligns our individual unit efforts to create and achieve shared goals related to access and revenue generation. The stimulus for this focused leveraging of the strengths and capabilities of these units is a response to higher education trends. The Paths with Purpose initiative supports strategic objectives to grow graduate education, strengthen our international activities, and expand our adult learner population using the resources available through both state-support and self-support efforts. CSU, Chico is also participating in Degrees When Due, an initiative funded by the Institute for Higher Education Policy and the Lumina Foundation, to support re-engagement of adults with some college and no degree.

Concurrent VI.D: Leading Learning In An Era Of Accelerating Change: Opportunities and (Wicked) Problems

Dr Anne Graham Cagney, PhD, FRSA, CIPD, Waterford Institute of Technology and Ireland; Leslie Cordie, PHD, MBA, Auburn University; Mary Buckley, National College of Ireland

Higher education institutions are immersed in continuous change in today’s global world. No one leader can manage every economic, social or technological force facing an organization but they can prepare their people to educate and influence the students and leaders of the future society through adopting a strong commitment to developing lifelong learning and the expectation of transformation. In the current era of risk, educational processes, developments and capacity building become uncertain. Uncertainty plays out in individual lives, careers, families and social networks. Such developments are of utmost relevance to our education system as it is responsible for providing learners with the skills and capacities to live and act under given social conditions.

This session will focus on how leaders can position their institutions through meaningful change by understanding the principles of leadership and transformation in the educational organization and create a culture of lifelong learning.

Concurrent VI.E: Pathways to Credit - From Workforce Development to Associate's Degree

Dr. Christiane Warren, Anna J Cooper Education Advocacy Consultants, LLC

This interactive session will present a detailed analysis of a successful inter-departmental initiative linking a Workforce Development partnership with FLIK with the AAS in Culinary Arts & Hospitality Management at a community college in Westchester County, NY. The presentation will outline the step-by-step process that gave individuals receiving unemployment benefits the opportunity to become certified for SafeServ in a joint training effort between FLIK and the college with the subsequent option of employment with FLIK and being awarded six credits towards the academic AAS degree. By providing quantitative and qualitative data in evidence of the positive recruitment, retention and outcomes impact, the presenter aims to outline the parameter of a workable blueprint for adoption to the audience at their home institutions. The discussion also serves as model for cross-campus collaboration between three deans, faculty and outside partners, resulting in increased enrollment, name recognition and regional job creation.

Concurrent VI.F: All That Glitters Is Not Gold: Helping Online, Non-traditional Students Navigate the Information Age

Jayanna Louise Greenwood, MLIS, Southeastern Oklahoma State University

Student enrollment at Southeastern Oklahoma State University is the largest it has been since 1983, this is due in part to the dramatic increase of non-traditional students entering our online graduate programs. Support services for these students has included the addition of an embedded librarian program to help students become familiar with finding relevant, reliable information in the digital environment. This session describes this program, shares feedback from faculty and students, and provides a demonstration of information literacy instructional design.

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