Association for Continuing Higher Education

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The Network of Leaders for Lifelong learning

ACHE 2015 Annual Conference & Meeting

Program Details

ACHE St. Louis logo

Events are open to all attendees unless otherwise noted in italics and [brackets]. All times Central. Schedule is subject to change.

Keynote Sessions & Speakers

Keynote 1 ~ Barbara Vacarr, Director, Encore Higher Education Initiative

Barbara VacarrAs a former college president, adult educator, and psychologist, Barbara is committed to learning that makes a difference in the world. Over the course of her 27-year career, she has developed programs for adult and non-traditional learners to develop and transform themselves as they strengthen the connections between their learning, their living and their livelihoods.

Barbara holds a Ph.D. in Psychology and Human Development. She is the former president of Goddard College and founding Director of the PhD in Adult Learning Program at Lesley University where she developed and led doctoral, masters and bachelor degree programs in adult education, mental health counseling and organizational leadership. Her scholarship has focused on adult learning and diversity education. Barbara is the founder and senior leader of an Intergenerational Women’s Mentoring Collective, served as an interviewer for The Visual History of the Shoah Project and is a project leader for the Cambodian Youth and Missing History Project.

About is spearheading efforts to engage millions of people in later life as a vital source of talent to benefit society. Their ultimate goal is to create a better future for young people and future generations through a number of approaches:

  • using the power of personal stories and other communications techniques to challenge conventional thinking about aging and create a new narrative for later life, characterized by individual renewal and social impact
  • creating and supporting pathways to connect people in later life with opportunities for work that benefits society
  • serving as a hub and resource for leaders in various sectors and geographies who share the encore vision
  • creating and operating innovative programs to showcase the encore vision

While many see our aging society as a problem, views it as a solution. Those in and beyond midlife represent a powerful source of talent with the accumulated skills, experience and wisdom to tackle some of society’s most urgent challenges. By embracing this unique opportunity, we can transform a zero-sum prediction into a win-win strategy, creating a better future for generations to come.
Bonus Guest Speaker ~ Carol Aslanian, Senior Vice President, EducationDynamics

Carol Aslanian

The term, "adult student," is often loosely applied to define a large and growing population of students being served in higher education. If you consider that the post-traditional student population has grown to over 70% of all students enrolled in higher education, the impact this group has not only on each institution's bottom line, but also the dynamics of how material is taught and disseminated, presents a significant challenge for faculty and administrators alike.

Carol Aslanian will join ACHE for our annual conference to discuss this group of students, and look in much greater detail, at what the make-up of this group is, and discuss how a growing number of institutions are now engaging them.

Carol Aslanian’s national reputation as an authority on adult higher education is an invaluable asset in creating market studies and institutional audits for colleges, and developing partnerships between them and employers.

Carol served as director of the Office of Adult Learning Services at the College Board for more than 20 years, and also helped the Board enhance its services to community colleges. As principal of the Aslanian Group, founded in 2000, she worked with learners, corporate partners, and institutions to identify new educational options. Her market research studies have helped hundreds of colleges and educational consortia expand their programs to meet the educational needs of working adults.

The author of a number of landmark reports and professional papers on adult learning, Carol has received several national awards for her contributions to the fields of community service and continuing education. She has served on the boards or committees of such groups as the American Marketing Association, the Nontraditional Students Report Board of Advisors, and Elderhostel.

Carol Aslanian holds degrees from Cornell University and Harvard University.

Monday Meet 'n Greet Lunch ~ Christie Vilsack, Senior Advisor for International Education, U.S. Agency for International Development

Christie VilsackChristie Vilsack joined the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) as the Senior Advisor for International Education in March 2013. Christie supports USAID’s  Education Strategy goals to improve children’s reading skills, strengthen workforce development, and provide equitable access to education in crisis and conflict settings.

Christie has committed her life to education and public service. For 25 years, she taught secondary and college English and journalism. Her experience inside the classroom led to a focus on education as Iowa’s First Lady, as a candidate for Congress and now as the spokesperson for USAID Education.

In her current role at USAID, Christie works with education sector partners and education leaders worldwide to build understanding of and support for international education solutions. She travels the world visiting and learning about USAID programs so she can tell the story of USAID Education to anyone she meets from Main Street to the halls of Congress.

Born and raised in Mount Pleasant, Iowa, Christie is a graduate of Kirkland College in Clinton, New York. She earned a master’s degree in journalism from The University of Iowa. She and husband Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack have two married sons and four grandchildren. They have enjoyed a lifetime of public service together.

Keynote 2 ~ Panel: "If I were in charge, I would..." A Partner's Perspective

We've invited three panelists from companies that represent areas in which Continuing Education units often partner: CRM, research, and marketing. During this keynote panel , they will share effective practices they’ve seen in their university partners, challenges they have observed that their partners often face, and what they would do if they were in charge or could change things. The goal: dig in to what's real, what's holding schools back, and what these experts have seen work best.


Brenda Harms

Brenda K. Harms
Harms Consulting

Dr. Brenda Harms is an experienced higher education administrator with a diverse marketing and admissions background. Her perspective on higher education marketing and recruitment is strengthened by her hands-on experience serving in both academic and administrative roles in Higher Education. During that time, she was also involved in the development and delivery of accelerated on-campus and online courses. 

While Brenda’s primary interest is the recruitment and retention of adult and graduate students, her knowledge and experience relating to higher education has greatly benefited consulting projects focused on institutional marketing, enrollment management, academic program development, development of alternate deliveries, research projects, and overall institutional health. 

Colin Irose

Colin Irose
Motivis Learning

Colin Irose has been working in the education industry for over a decade across areas such as learning relationship management and learning management systems, competency-based education, ePortfolio development, marketing/best practices/benchmarking research, and international student recruitment.

As Vice President of Partnerships at Motivis Learning, Colin helps institutions to plan, implement and manage their competency-based education programs. Born out of SNHU’s College for America, Motivis Learning provides a fully-integrated suite of learning tools that provide the complete, yet elusive, 360-degree view-of-student and the agility necessary for CBE success.

Loren Pace

Loren Pace

Loren Pace has over thirty years of international business, executive level experience, providing strategic leadership direction for companies in various stages of development in the petroleum, wireless, health care services and education industries.

Loren serves as CEO of CampusCE. Their EMS is provided through a Software as a Service platform (SaaS) that enables institutions to electronically connect students, faculty and administrators throughout the complex registration, academic scheduling, student relationship and education management processes.

CampusCE is currently deployed at major community colleges and corporate training centers in over twenty states, reaching over 500,000 continuing education and corporate training students nationwide.
Panel Moderator

James P. PappasJames P. Pappas
University of Oklahoma

Dr. Pappas serves as Vice President for University Outreach; Dean of the College of Liberal Studies; and Professor, Departments of Educational Psychology and Liberal Studies, University of Oklahoma (OU). He oversees a program of academic outreach for OU that serves more than 200,000 participants, offers 400 to 600 conferences and institutes, registers 55,000 credit enrollments, provides 13 adult degree programs, offers more than 1,000 courses at a distance and online, manages over 20 grants/contracts, and includes a Kellogg Conference Center.  University Outreach also offers six master’s degrees to 5,000 students annually at armed forces bases in the United States and Europe.  In addition, he serves as executive vice president for ACHE.

Keynote 3 ~ Chris Miller

Chris MillerChris Miller is Executive Director of the Education Advisory Board (EAB), where he is responsible for research memberships serving provosts, chief business officers, student affairs executives, continuing and professional education deans, and community college presidents. Together, these memberships serve more than 500 higher education institutions in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. In this role, Mr. Miller has led in-depth research efforts around critical college and university strategic priorities, including globalization strategy, elevating student retention and graduation performance, fostering large-scale multidisciplinary research, and engaging faculty in online education and administrative efficiency initiatives.
The author of more than 50 reports on hospital, corporate, and higher education best practices on various subjects, Mr. Miller is a frequent speaker at higher education conferences, president’s cabinet strategy retreats, and trustee meetings.

Workshops, Roundtables, and Concurrents

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