Thursday, January 31, 2008

From the latest LERN Magazine

Sneak peak at the top continuing education topics and what top programs will be working on this year:

  1. Social networking
  2. Brochures for Generation Y
  3. Viral marketing
  4. Hybrid and web-enhanced courses
  5. Better data on course and topic trends
  6. Podcasting and multimedia
  7. Economic downturn
  8. Institutions in trouble, crisis, and support
  9. Web sites improve

Money quote: “Leading c.e. program executives will be looking for ways to enter the dialogue with institutional administrators about the role of continuing education and the importance of their programs to the institutions as institutions continue to move through a time of trouble and transition.”

LERN Magazine, January 2008. Visit their website at

One day left

Call for Proposals:
Deadline February 1, 2008
ACHE Annual Conference & Meeting
Nashville, TN - November 8 – 11 - Opryland Hotel

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

"Continuing education, is that, like, basket-weaving?"

Other things never to say at the Continuing Education office:

Funding workforce development

A colleague from Southwest Tennessee Community College, Ralph Chumbley, sent out an article from the Community College Times entitled States Should Fund Noncredit Workforce Education, CCRC Says. The money quote: "To build support for state funding of noncredit workforce education, community colleges should collect data from their programs to show lawmakers and policymakers that such programs improve job opportunities for students, whether directly by finding better jobs or by providing a pipeline to further education..."

Wild hogs and continuing education

Dr. Chris Lefler, Assistant Vice President, Division for Evening and Distance Education at Northeast State Technical Community College, sent me this photo to entice me to enter the biker brotherhood with him. Chris and I are both past presidents of TACHE and meet every couple of weeks after work at happy hour to solve the state's higher education problems and support the local economy. He envisions us donning leather chaps, taking the backroads down to a statewide continuing education meeting in Nashville, Born to Be Wild on our iPods, making a grand tough-guy entrance into the Tennessee Board of Regents building, helmets in our hands... A lifelong learner, Chris is taking a motorcycle riding course to help get him ready.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Happiness is a warm association

Joe Combs, a Tennessee colleague at Walters State Community College, spoke on attracting the next generation of continuing educators at the Leadership Institute for Regional Chairs at the 2007 ACHE Annual Conference and Meeting in Roanoke last November. He identified an association of association executives—sort of a mega-or uber-association—that I had never heard of: the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE). The mission of ASAE is to “advance the value of voluntary associations to society and to support the professionalism of the individuals who lead them.” You can find more information on them and a list of publications at

Joe also highlighted the William E. Smith Institute for Association Research and discussed one of their reports: Generations and the Future of Association Participation. Today, I just downloaded their most recent report, Where the Winners Meet: Why Happier, More Successful People Gravitate Toward Associations. Money quote:

"All in all, it is clear that, on average, association members earn more, are more satisfied with their jobs, and are even happier than non-members."

I'll bet you didn't know that. The report also reminds us that "Associations must constantly seek to learn from their high-value members what they need to be more effective in their jobs, and then design services that deliver those benefits."

The report is free to members. You can become a member by visiting

I’ll write more about this later…

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Popular culture & continuing education

I finally got around to reading the fall issue of New Directions for Adult and Continuing Education: Popular Culture and Entertainment Media in Adult Education. This is a topic dear to my heart, for nearly 20 years ago, the topic of my dissertation at the University of Iowa was Patterns and Trends in the Portrayal of Adult College Students in American Films. I’m sure you recall that seminal work. For a while, I knew more about this subject than anyone else in the world, which is kind of like inventing your own game, keeping quiet about it, and then claiming that you have no equal at playing it.

Anyway, my favorite article in it also includes my favorite television show, The Simpsons. Adult learning, Gen X, Gen Y, The Simpsons—could it get any better? Only if we could somehow work in Family Guy and Futurama.

"Using The Simpsons to Teach Humanities with Gen X and Gen Y Adult Students"
Maxwell A. Fink and Deborah C. Foote

This chapter discusses how the animated show The Simpsons can be used successfully to present and critique various concepts normally found in traditional undergraduate Humanities courses.

You can purchase this issue or subscribe to the journal at

LERN's tips for marketing to Generation Y

Reaching Generation Y...

I wouldn't belong to a club that would have someone like me as a member

Online faculty and programs get no respect...

Often not a university concern--promoting workforce development...

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Call for proposals deadline

Annual Conference and Meeting
Call for Proposals:
Deadline February 1, 2008
Nashville, TN - November 8 – 11 - Opryland Hotel

In the new JCHE

The latest issue of the Journal of Continuing Higher Education contains the following articles:
  1. Metropolitan Universities: Serving the Needs of Adult Students?
  2. Opportunity Costs of Graduate Education: An Exploratory Study
  3. Good Practices in End-of-Course Surveys for Online Master's Programs
  4. The ITA Program: An Academic Bridging Program for the Changing Demographics on North American Campuses
  5. Review of Prior Learning Assessment Options for Adult Continuing Education Degree Programs.

If you're interested in submitting a manuscript for review, visit or contact the editor, Barbara Hanniford at

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Dual Enrollment

We have been interested in dual enrollment and this year saw a surge in our activity, particularly centered around our off-campus center in Kingsport. A colleague at UT-Martin, Bill Duffy, alerted me to a professional organization for individuals and colleges participating in dual enrollment programs: The National Alliance of Concurrent Enrollment Partnerships. Their website is

UT-Martin will be hosting the 2009 NACEP Conference in Memphis.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Meetings of Interest

Here are some upcoming meetings that might be of interest to continuing educators. If you'd like me to post your meeting, please add it in the comments section or send it to me at


2008 Annual ICCHE Conference
"The Evolving Audience of Tomorrow:
Programs, Teaching & Re-Training Across Generations"
February 14-15
Chicago City Centre Hotel & Sports Club


2008 ACHE Great Plains Regional Conference
“Identifying Markets to Meet Customer Needs”
February 28-29, 2008
Park University, Parkville, MO


Association for Nontraditional Students in Higher Education
11th Annual Conference
"Choosing to Thrive No Matter What!"
February 29-March 2
Middle Tennessee State University
More Information


Georgia Adult Education Association Conference
March 9-11
The Ridges Resort
Hiawassee, GA


2008 ACHE West Regional Conference
“Pioneering New Frontiers in Continuing Education”
March 20-21
The Mercado - Arizona State University Downtown Phoenix Campus


2008 ACHE South Regional Conference
April 7-9
Grand Casino
Tunica, MS

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Accelerated Learning

My university has been slow to embrace accelerated learning, but we're starting to move in that direction. Those of us in continuing education have been pushing it for some time. In case you didn't know, there's a professional organization for practitioners of accelerated programs--the International Alliance of Learning, and they are meeting this Thursday in Atlanta.

I'm not familiar with this organization. Has anyone worked with them?

Although Brian Van Horn--the current chair--is missing, a chronology of the chairs of ACHE South (formerly Region VII) can be found at
There are some gaps in the history so if you know the names of any of the missing chairs, please let me know.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Measuring Impact

I have a Continuing Education and Economic Development (CEED) committee meeting at the Tennessee Board of Regents in Nashville on Wednesday. For the umpteenth time in my career, we are grappling with how to measure continuing education's impact on an institution. Especially non-credit/workforce development impact. Credit has reporting measures--credit hours, enrollments, FTE, etc.

A couple of years ago, I tried to get the number of CEU's generated by CEED member institutions and combine them into a report. Despite promising to keep each individual institution's data secret and only report totals, I could only get about 3/4s of TBR institutions to respond.

Has any one seen a good method of reporting non-credit activity?

Or an effective way of measuring impact?

Friday, January 11, 2008


Welcome to my initial effort at blogging. Inspired by the efforts of ACHE's President, Chris Dougherty, I've started this to share thoughts about continuing higher education, about the professional continuing education organizations that I'm involved in, and related topics that may be of limited interest to anyone but me. However, much of what I post will relate to my journey through ACHE as I transition from President Elect to President and beyond. You can visit Chris's blog at

It's 2008. Had a great fall. The ACHE national conference in Roanoke was wonderful, even though it's a lot of work for the Board and Officers. I was encouraged by the enthusiasm of the first-timers I met, and I hope that they find our organization helpful to their careers. Personal interaction and belonging to professional organizations are more important to my generation than later ones, so we must reinforce our value at every opportunity. As a Boomer, it's my job to find and nurture the talented newcomers to our field so they can further their careers and success.

I stepped outside my usual conferencing in November by attending the North American Association of Summer Sessions. Our School of Continuing Studies was given responsibility for ETSU's Summer Session this year, and while we were in the process of hiring a director, I thought the conference would be a good opportunity to learn more about summer schools at other institutions. It didn't hurt that the conference was in Maui. The content was excellent, but it was perhaps more valuable to me to attend a conference as a complete outsider (I knew one person at the conference). As my gray hair would indicate, premature as it may be, I've been in continuing education a long time so I always know a lot of folks at the conferences I attend, even if they're held in another state. It made me remember what it felt like to be twenty-something new professional attending his/her first conference. And it's something we shouldn't forget. (It also made me realize that ACHE and TACHE do a fine job of reaching out to first timers at our conferences.) Content-wise, some of the things about summer sessions I learned at the NAASS conference include the following:

  1. Summer schools are as diverse as the institutions that offer them.
  2. Some programs have differential tuition. They can charge less in the summer.
  3. Some can waive out-of-state tuition.
  4. Some have much tighter control over course offerings.
  5. Some have trouble getting their faculty interested in teaching in the summer--the time is used for family time and research.
  6. A trend seems to be offering a Winter Term. Some are looking at a Spring Break term.
  7. Another trend is eliminating a paper catalog/schedule and posting everything online.
  8. Some schools package summer school as a credit and non-credit combination.
  9. Another trend is getting information to home students before Thanksgiving so they can discuss attendance with parents during that break and Christmas break. Getting information out earlier seems a priority--especially if you serve primarily your own students and not visiting students.
  10. A lot of summer school programs are housed in continuing education. In fact, one person said the percentage is increasing.
  11. UNC Greensborough looks like how I think ETSU will go: campus enrollments declining, off-campus and online increasing.

Summer school administers and continuing educators have a lot in common. We're outsiders from the normal flow of college and university functions, we're fanatical about enrollments and budgets, we're entrepreneurial, we're nimble, and so forth. The big difference is that it's earier to explain what you do when you work in summer sessions than when you work in continuing education! But even with having so much in common, our conferences are quite different. Here's a quick and dirty analysis that I shared with several members of ACHE upon my return:

  1. 191 attended the conference—down slightly for NAASS. Their largest attendance is about equal to ACHE's smallest—200 to 220.
  2. 85 of the 191 had a role in the conference as presenters or presiders/facilitators. They obviously try to have a job for as many attendees as possible to help them make their case for attending.
  3. 62 attendees belong to continuing education units based on their titles. They could be a resource as presenters for ACHE.
  4. NAASS uses no keynoters.
  5. They use a nice “panel discussion” format where there are three speakers on a related topic (i.e. online programs) who each talk for 30 minutes. Time is tightly controlled. These work really well, move fast, and combine the best elements of individual presentations and traditional panel discussions.
  6. They are stingy on breakfasts and breaks.
  7. They don’t do a good job of identifying newcomers—no nametag sticker, no sessions, nothing formal. They do have a New Administrators Workshop but it costs an additional $100.
  8. They overbook activities—the first day of the conference ran from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm with no breakfast or lunch.
  9. They have sessions called Consultation Corners which work kind of like roundtables. Two people lead the session but it relies on audience participation and questions—no formal presentations. The conference starts with these.

I would hope we could re-open discussions with NAASS and other professional organizations with a continuing education mission to work together on conferences. Even if we just held them at the same time in the same facility, we could enjoy synergy and receive a better deal from the hotel due to increased numbers. At times the membership could meet together (share keynoters for instance) and other times keep separate. Breaks and meals could be shared.



TACHE. The downside of attending the NAASS conference was that I missed the Tennessee Alliance for Continuing Higher Education conference for the first time in 17 years. That's how long I've been around.