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Regional Spotlight - Great Plains: Imagine the Workforce of the Future

April 20, 2018 4:35 PM | ACHE Home Office (Administrator)

The ACHE Great Plains Regional Conference was held March 8-9, 2018, on the Northeastern State University – Broken Arrow Campus near Tulsa, Oklahoma.  The conference began the evening before with a Meet and Greet Dine-Out gathering.  New friendships were formed, and existing ones were strengthened through high-energy conversations that turned to laughter, exchange of contact information, and visions of an engaging regional conference.

Over 50 participants attended the conference from community colleges, regional, private, and comprehensive institutions.  

Panels and Presentations

Attendees had the opportunity to hear and participate in lively panels that focused on graduate education and community colleges.
Choctaw University, winner of an ACHE National Award, shared details of their various programs and how those components have led to continued learning through both credit and non-credit programs.  


Keynote Speakers

Dr. Marthann Schulte, Pearson Online Learning Services, presented on The Career Pathways Landscape:  Lower Barriers and Improve Prospects.  Career Pathways is the collective term for a workforce development strategy to support workers as they transition from education into jobs.  As workers mature, career pathways provide opportunities to improve skills, obtain new credentials, and therefore change or advance into new employment.  Finding ways to seamlessly and efficiently integrate career pathways requires unique partnerships between academia, companies, government, and education service providers.  This session provided background information for career pathways and then advanced the discussion to practical and actionable steps that institutions can take to improve student certificate, credential, and degree pursuits.  Using an audience collaboration approach, attendees shared their own higher education challenges to seek new opportunities and solutions.

Dr. Katherine Wesley presented at the luncheon on the National Council of Instructional Administrators (NCIA) NCIA formed in 1977 and has evolved these past 40 years to focus on leadership, innovation, advocacy, and development of instructional administrators.  NCIA is housed within the Department of Educational Administration at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln, and is positioned perfectly to support instructional administration and administrators through faculty whose research interests are elements of the community college.

Ms. Rita Robbins, with Microsoft, ended the afternoon Keynote with a thought-provoking and stimulating discussion on Changes, Motivations, and How to Attract New Leaders.  A great discussion was engaged by many who asked questions that resulted in some superb dialogue.  Ms. Robbins continued the many conversations stimulated by her presentation during a late afternoon Wine and Cheese reception sponsored by Personalized Map Company.

Regional Awards

Regional awards were given with the University of Oklahoma (OU) winning the Best Conference Award and Northeastern State University (NSU) winning the Best Credit Program Award.  Both OU and NSU each won an award for Best Non-Credit Program. 

 University of Oklahoma
Best Conference

Northeastern State University
Best Credit Program 

 University of Oklahoma
Best Non-Credit Program

Northeastern State University
Best Non-Credit Program 

Dr. Eloy Chavez

Dr. Robin Plumb
Chair Elect

Dr. Marthann Schulte

Ms. Jeni Maple

Business Meeting

At the Regional Business Meeting, new officers were selected.

Conference Success

The conference setting was beautiful with superb food service.  Attendees enjoyed and complimented on the content, the campus, and the keynote presentations.  “I appreciated everyone coming to eastern Oklahoma to enjoy some NSU RiverHawks hospitality coupled with hearing and sharing great, innovative information on the new ways of thinking and doing,” said Chair-Elect Dr. Eloy Chavez

We would like to offer special thanks to the NSU staff and the Regional Conference Committee who organized this year’s conference.  All of us look forward to another great regional at Rose State College near Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, March 7-8, 2019.  See you soon!

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