ICCHE and ACHE Great Lakes Region Learn to Change
at the ICCHE/ACHE Great Lakes Joint Conference
“Learning to Change” was the theme of the joint conference hosted by the Association for Continuing Higher Education (ACHE) Great Lakes Region and the Illinois Council on Continuing Higher Education (ICCHE) in February 2018. It proved to be an object lesson on that theme as well as an opportunity to gather wisdom and network with peers.
The conference began with a pre-conference workshop on February 7 and was originally scheduled to continue through February 9 with a day and a half of keynote speakers and breakout sessions. However, change was in the air as an approaching blizzard descended upon Chicago. The planning committee adapted to this change, and concluded the conference Thursday evening. In swift motion by experienced continuing education professionals, Friday’s speakers were rescheduled into additional breakout sessions on Thursday afternoon and the famous “basket raffles” that usually conclude the conference were drawn for during an extended break on Thursday afternoon. A headcount was taken of those who would be staying in the hotel on Thursday night so that Friday’s breakfast buffet catering order could be adjusted to serve them. Decisive change in response to a shifting environment was a lesson quickly mastered.
All types of more typical change were addressed in the conference sessions. Shannon Brown from the University of St. Francis set the stage with her pre-conference workshop, “Understanding Personal Change” and led attendees through the book: Transitions: Making Sense of Life’s Changes by William Bridges.
Keynote speaker Carolyn Nordstrom of Kaplan University addressed the topic, “Why Change in Higher Education is So Hard and What to Do About It.” She drew on the work of Daniel Kahneman (Thinking Fast and Slow) to illustrate how the way we process new ideas can affect how we react to proposed change. She stressed the need for “patience, persistence, and perspective” for getting through any change. She outlined the distinction between conscious and unconscious competency (knowing or not knowing why/how you get good results). She has found that teaching those with “unconscious competence” how to be more conscious of their competence enables them to be more comfortable with change.
Breakout sessions addressed faculty development, program design, curriculum revision, institutional reorganization and more. Bonnie Covelli helped ICCHE/ACHE members in “Linking Together through LinkedIn.” Anne Rapp and Lesley Page showed the group how to keep both “The Market and the Mission” in mind when negotiating organizational change in adult and graduate education.
ICCHE’s 2018 Innovative Initiative Award went to the University of Illinois System for TransferREADY.org; Project Coordinator Dena Lawrence was on hand to accept the award and to provide an impromptu breakout session on her organization’s work. Charles V. Evans Research Grant recipient Layne Morsch was also on hand to present his research project. ICCHE’s 2018 Past Presidents’ Award for Outstanding Service was bestowed upon Vickie Cook in absentia.
Despite an early departure, the participants evidenced an appreciation for new insights and for the opportunity to connect with one another.
Hilary Ward Schnadt, PhDBonnie J. Covelli, EdD
ICCHE Communications Chair
Associate Dean for Academic Services & Programs
University Center of Lake County, Grayslake, IL
Chair – ACHE Great Lakes Region
University of St. Francis, Joliet, IL