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Five Minutes with ACHE

  • June 08, 2015 11:49 AM | Anonymous

    Event Name: ACHE South Regional Conference 

    Institutional Representative: Patti Spaniola

    ACHE: What event did you attend and how was it unique?
    Patti: The ACHE South Region Conference was held in New  Orleans, LA which was the location of the inaugural ACHE South Conference nearly 57 years ago. 

    ACHE: What were some of the highlights of the event? 
    The conference had 3 informative keynote speakers. Dr. King Alexander, President of LSU, stressed the importance of investing in our next generation. He suggested that we, as continuing educators, involve ourselves in our communities to get people engaged and educated. Reaching out to students as young as kindergarteners to show students what higher learning institutions can do for them. Let me know that an education costs and how that is translated to future potential and financial worth. Dr. Bill Watson, Associate Professor of Learning Design and Technology at Purdue University discussed the idea of unbundling education. If we focus on skills and competencies, students can use what they are learning as they progress towards a degree rather than waiting for completion to find employment. Allowing students to combine classes from different degrees to form a specialized educational experience would benefit the student and employers. In addition, he discussed the value of badges that would help students build certifiable skills while learning that are easily understood by employers. Ms. Melinda Stallings, an expert in Industrial and Organizational Psychology gave an engaging presentation based on her book, The Power of Positive Conflict Resolution. Her book was hot off the presses arriving from the publisher the evening before her talk. Everyone in the audience received an autographed copy. 

    There were 22 concurrent sessions throughout the conference ranging in topics from badge implementation to improving student support by understanding how students learn to opportunities for adult learning in many capacities. 

    ACHE South welcomed six educational sponsors who added a wonderful dimension of cutting edge information and support for continuing education programs from registration systems to workforce course programs to proctoring services. They each spoke to the group and all expressed how they considered ACHE South to be family. 

    Passing the Gavel 

    ACHE: What did you take away from the event? 
    Jam packed with education, networking, and fun exploring New Orleans, many attendees thought the conference was educational, inviting, and had the quality of a national event. The time flew by visiting with friends, discussing new ideas, and exploring New Orleans. 2016’s conference in Charleston, South Carolina can’t come soon enough.

    Lori Eggleston Thorp Mini Grant Award

  • June 01, 2015 12:39 PM | Anonymous


    Institutional Representative:
     Amy Barsha, Executive Director

    ACHE: Tell us something unique about your institution’s history or the history of your department.

    AB: 2014 was a transformational year at Governors State University. Building on more than 40 years of academic excellence, GSU became a full-service university. Starting with the fall 2014 semester, GSU transformed from an upper division university that served transfer undergraduates and graduate students to a comprehensive public university that serves all levels, from beginning undergraduate to doctoral degrees. With the arrival of freshmen came many other exciting changes: new housing on campus, new programs of study, a new athletics program and the opening of the renovated science wing in E and F buildings, just to name a few.

    ACHE: Are there any recognitions or awards that your university would like to share?

    AB: * Designation as Military Friendly Institution

    * ACE gave the 2014 Donna Shavlik Award to Governors State University (IL) President Elaine P. Maimon​, a longtime leader in strengthening higher education through inclusion and diversity. More information on link below.

    * April 14 marked a significant milestone in the history of GSU Athletics, as the university was accepted into the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA).

    ACHE: Are there any programs that your unit is working on that you would like to share?

    The Knowledge Exchange (TKE) at Governors State University (GSU) is a continuing education program at the School of Extended Learning. Designed for the retired and semi-retired, this lifelong learning program meets on Fridays during 8-week long fall, winter and spring sessions offering full length courses as well as workshops and Lunch and Learn presentations.
    Courses are non-credit and peer led by a team of dedicated volunteers made up of community members, GSU faculty and alumni. A volunteer Advisory Committee made up of Exchange leaders and students assists in overseeing the curriculum and sustaining quality programming. Topics vary according to course content and include: History, Science, Law, Liberal Arts, Current Events, Music, Philosophy and Special Expertise with lively discussions not only in the classroom but during the lunch period which serves as a great time to enjoy lunch with other Exchange students, continue classroom discussions and share other classroom experiences.
    Participants of The Knowledge Exchange enjoy a relaxed and friendly environment on the GSU campus and have formed a community of shared learning, social interaction and the free exchange of opinions and ideas.

    Visit TKE at

    ACHE: What are some goals that your unit wants to reach in the future? (New expanded Markets or Programs ect…?)

    AB: Fully functional testing center for students and community members

    Use technology as a tool in GSU’s overall efforts to create a virtual public square that serves our regional community

    Act as an economic catalyst in the region

    To learn more about ACHE’s excellent institutional members, visit

  • May 31, 2015 12:29 PM | ACHE Home Office (Administrator)

    Each year, eligible ACHE members in good standing vote to select new leadership for the association. Each eligible member will receive a link to their ballot by email on June 1, and voting will be open June 1 to June 15.

    Our outstanding slate of candidates for Vice President and Directors at Large is as follows. Click on each candidate's name below to read more about them

    Candidates for Vice President

    Candidates for Directors at Large (three positions open)
    Questions? Contact Ynez Henningsen at the ACHE Home Office at 405-325-3599 or

  • May 15, 2015 4:50 PM | ACHE Home Office (Administrator)
    Regis GilmanDear ACHE Colleagues,

    I’m back on campus now, and while still spinning about from my whirlwind travels, I am honored to be sharing the amazing stories of the experiences and conversations I had at our Spring Regional Meetings with my campus colleagues. The networking, the content of sessions, and the pride in what we do and how we are making a difference in our communities is so very evident throughout ACHE. South Boston, Virginia; Franklin, Massachusetts; and New Orleans, Louisiana will always hold fond ACHE memories for me!

    As we gather with our students for their Spring commencement ceremonies, whether in person or virtually, we hear of changed lives. We see examples of students who - despite huge obstacles - stood the course to achieve their academic goals. We see examples of the miracle of a University library actually showing up inside one’s computer! We see examples of graduates who began the journey because another person nudged them, and now they realize what it means for themselves. We see examples of children standing tall, congratulating all of the graduates at a reception for the hard work, the long hours, and for being a role model to everyone around them. So, again, know that you are making a difference, a huge difference for generations to come, in your communities and around the world through the outstanding work that you do.

    Nominations for the ACHE Board of Directors and for the Vice President of the Association have closed and the Executive Committee has approved an outstanding slate representative of the strong servant leadership of ACHE. More information along with the slate of candidates will follow in the next couple of weeks and voting will open on June 1, with a link to your ballot coming to your email inbox. Visit the candidate profile page here for information on the future leadership of ACHE. You’ll be impressed!

    And finally, ‘Mark your Calendars to Meet me in St. Louis’! The 2015 Conference Planning committee has been hard at work and if you've not seen it, please visit our conference website at It’s not too early to register for the conference and make your hotel reservation, and both are open. Our exhibitor partners have already begun to register, as have members from around the country.

    I look forward to our next conversation…

    Regis M. Gilman signature

    Regis M. Gilman
    ACHE President, 2015 

  • May 11, 2015 2:00 PM | Anonymous

    Advances in technology unequivocally change the ways that adult and non-traditional learners access higher education services. As mobile devices with internet access become more accessible, older students are regularly seen working on school projects on trains, planes, and in coffee shops. Although the ability to access a syllabus, turn in a paper, or comment on a discussion board is helpful, I believe that these online services prove inadequate in today’s rapidly changing world of distance education technology. The new age of mobile application technology can allow students to not only access the right data, but also the right people. Mobile technologies can allow adult students to speak face-to-face with counselors, student service officers, and even special program coordinators.  

    According to the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project, nearly two-thirds of American cell phone users now use their phone to go online. Accordingly, 57% of all American adults are mobile internet users (Duggan & Smith, 2013). What’s more, a range of tablets and smart watches are expanding the ability of adults to access the internet – and learn remotely.

    Despite these findings, Ranieri and Pachler argue, “
    …to date relatively little systematic research has been done on mobile learning in the context of adult education and lifelong learning” (Ranieri & Pachler, 2014, p. 62).

    Because the majority of American adults now have the ability to access the internet through their mobile devices, it is imperative for higher education institutions to actively research and utilize people-centered mobile learning applications specifically tailored for non-traditional learners.

    Greater investment in mobile learning applications for non-traditional students can strengthen the relationships between online learners and higher education institutions. For instance, innovative mobile applications that compliment enrollment, counseling, and academic services can improve communication pathways between distance learners, their instructors, and the institutional administrative staff.

    For example, in my experience as an adult graduate student, I often wished to speak to my academic counselor. However, the only way to officially communicate with this counselor was to schedule a face-to-face interview. Often, our schedules did not align. It would have been convenient to have the option to schedule a video conference through a streamlined, school-sponsored application on my mobile device.

    As mobile technologies become more universal, higher learning institutions must stay relevant and connect with their adult and non-traditional audiences through next generation mobile learning applications. Moreover, institutions should consider research in mobile learning technologies, their efficacies, and utilities to be top priorities.  

    Duggan, M., Smith, A. (2013). Cell Internet Use. Retrieved from:

    Ranieri, M., Pachler, N., (2014). Inventing and re-inventing identity: Exploring the potential of mobile learning in adult education. Prospects, 2014, Vol.44(1), p. 61-79

  • April 22, 2015 1:46 PM | Anonymous

    The Association for Continuing Education held five distinct regional meetings this year: Great Plains, MidAtlantic, West, and New England. These meetings provided excellent professional development opportunities for continuing education professionals. Fortunately, I was able to attend the ACHE Great Plains meeting in Des Moines, Iowa and I had the privilege of collaborating with a diverse group of colleagues. The following reflection will detail my experiences in Des Moines.

    An animated group of continuing education professionals from Oklahoma, Kansas, Iowa, and Missouri met in Des Moines, Iowa on March 5th and 6th to participate in the ACHE 2015 Great Plains Regional Conference. The theme for the conference was “Continuing Education: Unique Approaches in Unique Settings.” The conference was hosted by Upper Iowa University, a pleasant campus near the heart of Des Moines.

    Though the wintery weather made travel difficult, individuals were glad to arrive to the conference after long layovers and flight cancellations. Luckily, both keynote speakers and the vast majority of registrants were able arrive to Des Moines on time.

    The conference began on Thursday, March 5th with breakfast and an introduction from Dr. Nina Barbee, Chair of the Great Plains Region. Additionally, Dr. Kurt Wood, Provost of Upper Iowa University, warmly welcomed the conference attendees.

    After the introductions, Mr. Ron Crouch, Director of Research and Statistics of the Kentucky Education Workforce Development Cabinet gave the first keynote address. Mr. Crouch emphasized the ways that continuing education is influenced by the dynamics of demographic and economic trends. Dr. Crouch presented an array of data as well as some excellent online resources for professionals to use when conducting research for program development.

    Following the opening keynote, the first and second concurrent sessions commenced. Presenters gave engaging presentations on topics that emphasized the cost evaluation of marketing for workforce programs, adult learner programming design and implementation, and continuing education community partnerships. The conference registrants expressed that they enjoyed the informative sessions and followed each presentation with meaningful discussions about the subject matter.

    Upon completion of the concurrent sessions, the conference audience met in the luxurious Sheraton West hotel for reception and dinner. The evening event was exquisite and provided an atmosphere which was conducive for networking, merriment, and conversation.

    Dinner ReceptionOn Friday, March 6th the group met again at Upper Iowa University for breakfast. Following the meal, Dr. James Pappas, Vice President for University Outreach and Dean of the College of Liberal Studies gave the second keynote address. Dr. Pappas detailed the history of continuing education and provided valuable insights into the future of the field.

    Pappas Keynote

    After Dr. Pappas’ speech, the third concurrent session commenced. Presenters gave presentations on fostering growth for outreach sites and gave examples of how to successfully partner with businesses in order to increase enrollment.

    Following the last concurrent session, the ACHE Great Plains Award Ceremony began. Dr. Robin Plumb, Assistant Professor at Southeastern Oklahoma State University and Chair of the Great Plains Award Committee presented the award winners with commemorative plaques to celebrate the success of the excellent programs. The winners were as follows:

    Exceptional Program Award – Noncredit
    Northeastern State University Community Music Academy
    Dr. Eloy Chavez, Dean, College of Extended Learning, Northeastern State University

    Chavez Award

    Exceptional Program Award – Credit
    Collaboration for Change
    Dr. Marthann Schulte, Associate Professor of Education and Coordinator of Online Faculty Evaluation, Park University

    Exceptional Program Award – Conferences
    National Symposium on Student Retention
    Sandra Whalen, Program Administrator II, Jeannine Rainbolt College of Education, University of Oklahoma

    The conference concluded with the Annual Regional Business meeting. Great Plains members planned for the future and settled budgetary and logistical information.

    Overall, the meeting was a tremendous success and we want to thank all of the attendees for sharing this rewarding experience. We also want to extend gratitude to our generous sponsors: Sustainable Business Education, MBS Direct, and AVISO.

    I hope that by sharing my experience, you will be inspired to attend an ACHE Regional Meeting in your area of the country in 2016.  If you are in the West Region, be sure to sign up for the ACHE West Regional Coffee Breaks coming up in May and June!


    Stan Khrapak
    Operations Associate
    Association for Continuing Higher Education
    Norman, Oklahoma

  • April 01, 2015 9:00 AM | ACHE Home Office (Administrator)
    Regis GilmanDear ACHE Colleagues,

    Spring has officially sprung! And it’s coming not too soon, if you ask me.

    It’s been an interesting winter for many of us, with exciting programs and creative uses of technology as we looked to providing continuing high quality programs in spite of weather forecasts and circumstances that would have made us all shudder not too many years ago. So, again I thank you for all that you do: for your spirit, your tenacity, and your creative energies to ensure that students have the resources and systems in place to continue toward their academic and professional goals.

    The planning for the 2015 Annual Meeting and Conference is moving forward. The Conference Planning Committee just met last week at the Union Station Hotel in St Louis, Missouri. We continue to receive proposals, and with an extension until April 10, I encourage each of you to consider submitting a proposal to share with colleagues the outstanding work being done on your campus. You can find out more about our Call and submit your proposal by clicking here

    Our ACHE regions continue to be busy this spring, with outstanding conferences. I encourage your attendance at the regional meetings, and to also engage in the leadership of the region through service as an officer and on committees. I've scheduled visits to all of the regional meetings and look forward to connecting with you and listening to how the Association can respond to your professional needs.

    Nominations are OPEN! Please consider nominating either a colleague or yourself for one of the open Board of Directors At-Large positions (there are three open) or the position of Vice President of the Association. You can find details regarding expanded eligibility requirements, descriptions of duties, terms, and more in our Guide for Candidates for Vice President & Directors at Large. Serving at in a leadership role with ACHE has been, for me, an exciting opportunity to engage leaders in the field of continuing higher education. I encourage your thoughtful consideration, and I open my door, and “literally” my email – – to anyone who has questions about serving. Please don’t hesitate to ask.

    I hope I’ll see you in South Boston, Virginia; in Franklin, Massachusetts; and in New Orleans for spring regional meeting – and of course in November in St. Louis! Be well, stay warm, and continue to make a difference in both our students’ lives and on your campus. We are so very honored to recognize you in our membership.

    Regis M. Gilman signature

    Regis M. Gilman
    ACHE President, 2015 

  • March 24, 2015 3:21 PM | Mickey Baines

    We always like to know a little about the cities we visit for conferences. This year, as you consider joining us:

    Consider the destination. Consider the opportunity to get out of the officeconnect with colleagues. And consider what our host city offers you.

    Just what is Saint Louis? Is it a sports town? Is it a food town? A beer town? A coffee town? In a few short months, Saint Louis will be your town.

    Check out this insider's look at the city that awaits ACHE in November. 

    Meet me in St. Louis!

    By Mickey Baines, Marketing Subcommittee, 2015 ACHE Conference Planning Committee.

  • March 12, 2015 4:43 PM | ACHE Home Office (Administrator)

    The Call for Proposals for ACHE's 2015 Annual Conference and Meeting is now open. This year, our planning committee is seeking to broaden our roundtable presentation offerings. Too often, it seems that people are afraid to commit to a conference presentation because they don't think they have something to say, or they're nervous about standing in front of a room full of people talking for an hour, or... well, you get the picture. We say, nonsense! We ALL learn from each other at conference, and we each have ways to contribute to that learning. A roundtable may just be perfect for you!

    This week, guest contributing writer Mickey Baines of Fourth Dimension Partners shares his thoughts on what makes a strong roundtable presenter.

    Take it away, Mickey!

    Mickey BainesA roundtable discussion is one that encourages small group discussion on a specific topic. This format has been increasingly requested by the attendees of previous ACHE annual conferences. Therefore, the 2015 planning committee is attempting to generate additional proposals for sessions in this format. If you’ve considered presenting in the past, but don’t have the time develop a full presentation, or maybe expertise in a subject, the roundtable session may be your format.

    In a roundtable session, the presenter spends 10-20 minutes introducing the topic, presenting particular issues and questions she/he wants participants to consider, and hands the remainder of time over to the attendees to lead the discussion. While the presenter should be knowledgeable on the topic at-hand, she or he need not be a resident expert.

    The stand-out roundtable presenter will be a good facilitator, can interpret questions and comments, and help the participants delve and explore the topic in a way that deepens their understanding and presents opportunities for others to expand on their experiences. The presenter will be able to ask follow-up questions to participants, can keep dialogue flowing, and move from question to question continuously through the session to ensure the topic is discussed thoroughly. The presenter will repeat participant questions to ensure all members understand what is being asked, and summarize collective responses to maximize the information shared during the session.

    As the facilitator, you may choose to break the attendees into smaller groups for discussion, before bringing everyone back to a larger group to share the collective comments, questions and thoughts. The key element for success with this format is controlling the time spent in the smaller groups, allowing sufficient time for each group to share their conversation points to the entire audience. If the audience isn’t too large, you may choose to lead the discussion with all members of the audience.

    The roundtable session is one of the most interactive formats of sessions offered at the ACHE Annual Conference. Participants have not only the opportunity to learn from the presenter, but from one another, in a controlled, facilitated dialogue. We want you to join us as a roundtable presenter.

    So, what do you think? Are you ready to propose your roundtable topic

  • February 27, 2015 3:23 PM | ACHE Home Office (Administrator)
    Written by Terry Ratcliff, one of our February guest authors. Do you have a story to tell? Let us know!

    Terry Ratcliff

    Whenever I get the chance, I enjoy teaching a ‘transition’ course. Many of you probably have a similar course in your adult program. They’re intended to help ‘post-traditional’ students acclimate to their new role as working adult learners. In my previous position, I had the opportunity to teach this course to students in the first semester of their enrollment, and then also to stand on the stage at commencement and read the names of our graduates as they shook hands with the president. The growth and development I observed in our students between points A and B was amazing, and I must admit that I choked up as a few of the names crossed my lips. Watching that transformation is one of the greatest rewards for me in this profession.

    For those who know me, it comes as no surprise when I say that I like to tell a lot of stories when I teach (I like to tell a lot of stories in just about any venue!). One story that I tell early in the transition course is intended to let students know that they are not alone in their angst about returning to college. And it’s one that students actually remember. Here’s what I tell them:

    Earlier in my career, I accepted a new job that required me to relocate to a new city on my own, leaving my family behind for a few months until my kids were out of school. A friend who lived in the new city invited me to occupy an empty room in his house while I acclimated and found a permanent place to live. We had kept touch while I was in graduate school in the Southwest and he was in medical school at Yale. That relationship continued as our careers developed. We both had done well. He was recently divorced, and his three school-aged children would come spend most weekends with him. He was going through other major transitions in his life at the time, selling his medical practice and returning to graduate school to complete a counseling degree in order to pursue a new passion. During the six weeks I stayed with him, we had several conversations about major life events, adult education, and balancing professional, educational, and personal lives.

    Time went by, and I found a house and my family arrived. Fall semester was well underway when I thought of my friend and decided to give him a call. I asked him how things were going, balancing work, time with family, and school work. He told me, “You know, we talked a lot about adult students, and all the balls they have to keep juggling in addition to being in school, but I’ve gotta tell you, this is harder than Med School!!”

    So, I tell my students, “the next time you are struggling to get a paper done, juggling your daughter’s soccer game and your son’s band concert, remember: this is harder than YALE MEDICAL SCHOOL.”

    I also tell this story to new faculty during orientation and training sessions. We need to remember, our class is not necessarily the first priority for most of our students, and we need to respect that. Over the years, both students and instructors have told me about times when they were reminded of the challenges my friend shared with me, and how it has helped them deal with situations that have arisen for them.

    So, the next time you are talking to an overwhelmed adult learner or a frustrated faculty member, tell them the story of my friend and see if it helps put things in perspective for them as it has for many of my students and colleagues.

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