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ACHE 2016 Conference Reflections from Our Graduate Student Conference Grant Winner

October 27, 2016 1:17 PM | Anonymous

It is with sincere appreciation that I am able to write this article having just attended ACHE’s 2016 National Conference in New Orleans. This was my first time visiting the “Big Easy” and I was amazed by the rich cultural history and charm of the city when I experienced it in person. I’ve been a member of ACHE for years, during which time I’ve gained so much knowledge from the various professional development opportunities the organization offers, and this event was no exception. While our specialization working with adult learners is slowly gaining traction as traditional demographics shift,  professionals in continuing education units are often still considered an “island” at their institutions.  By coming together to share our challenges, ideas, best practices, and new trends at the ACHE conferences, I feel that collectively we are truly able to support each other to make a positive impact in our chosen professions. 

As an adult learner myself, juggling the demands of a full-time job and busy life while going to school online (as I know many of you have done as well), I was honored to have represented the students that we serve as this year’s recipient of ACHE’s 2016 Graduate Student Conference Grant. I am incredibly fortunate to have received this award because my institution did not have the funds in our budget this year for me to be able to attend otherwise. Nor do I receive any financial reimbursement from my institution towards my masters in higher education program leadership, so every bit of support helps me to offset those out-of-pocket costs. With this in mind, I appreciate everyone’s contributions to the ACHE scholarship fund and will strive to make the best use of your donations through my academic and professional pursuits. 

This was also a particularly opportune time in my education as I’m currently immersed in my capstone course for which a thesis and product are involved. As director of professional studies at a small liberal arts college, my institution is new in the online space, so I have decided to develop a comprehensive online orientation for the

My goal is to be able to come back to an ACHE conference as a presenter to share the results of my project, or other initiatives that I’m currently working on (i.e. strategic planning), or to share these results in an ACHE webinar or publication so that I can give back and demonstrate that I’m utilizing the grant award to my best ability.  adult learners in our new professional studies programs for my capstone project. I came away from the ACHE conference with a lot of fresh ideas for what to include in the orientation in addition to how to evaluate and assess the results. (By the way, if you have any particular interest in this topic and would like to share your thoughts with me, please don’t hesitate to reach out to The opening keynote speaker talked about the importance of experiential learning, so you can see how I am a perfect example of this concept in practice.

Finally, I’d like to include a very special thanks to Paula Hogard, Rebekah Law, Lisa Graves as well as Amy Jordan and James (Jimmy) Shamlen who were responsible for the Fun'Raising efforts. Amy and Jimmy’s support and encouragement was quite astounding and their recognition of my efforts has motivated me even more toward the aspiration of excellence in my endeavors. We all need those outside cheerleaders at points in our career, and Amy and Jimmy are those types of people.

If you have not yet attended an ACHE conference, I highly encourage you to do so. The sessions are informative, the exhibitors are leaders in the industry, and the ACHE staff treats you like you’re their friend. I appreciated everyone’s congratulatory wishes and I hope to see many of you again next year, if not before!

This article was written by Beth Romanski, Director of Professional Studies at Lebanon Valley College and Capella University graduate student. She was recently in attendance at the ACHE 2016 Conference and Meeting in New Orleans, LA.

Beth Romanski was the recipient of the Graduate Student Conference Grant, a grant that helps graduate students attend the ACHE national conference. For more information about our grants and scholarships, or to learn about how to contribute, please visit our grants and scholarships page
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