A Letter from the President
Thursday, July 26, 2018
A Visit with our Partners in the UK....
On March 21-23, we (Steve Frye and Jonathan Taylor) had the opportunity to spend three days with members of our new partner association from the UK, the Universities Association for Lifelong Learning in Higher Education (UALL). Their annual conference was held at Cambridge University on the Downing College campus. The conference theme was Opportunities for Lifelong Learning in a Changing World.
We enjoyed some amazing networking opportunities with newfound colleagues from England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales, as well as visitors from Turkey, Denmark, Canada, and the US. We were welcomed and included as colleagues. As was evident in the theme, the issues and challenges facing adult educators transcend national boundaries. The conference was opened with comments by UALL Chair, The Rev’d Canon Professor Peter Neil (I feel a new title coming on!). In one particularly enlightening keynote, Nicola Dandridge, Chief Executive of the Office for Students, discussed the changing environment of higher education in the UK. Change is everywhere, and many of the challenges facing adult educators in the US are shared challenges. It was encouraging to explore and learn from educators in many ensuing conversations. Sten Tiedemann from the University of Copenhagen challenged the group with stories of how “The People’s University” is creatively reaching out to adult learners in Copenhagen in the midst of dramatic reductions in funding.
We had the privilege of presenting some of our recent research during the Thursday session, and enjoyed excellent conversations and feedback. Jonathan presented on an international panel the last day, which focused on present challenges faced by adult and continuing education across the globe. Both of these opportunities provided valuable exchanges and increased insight.
Immediately following the panel discussion, Jonathan participated in a formal signing ceremony that recognized the partnership agreement between UALL and AAACE. The leadership of UALL also celebrated partnership MOUs with the Canadian Association for University Continuing Education (CAUCE), The Higher Education Lifelong Learning Ireland Network (HELLIN), and the Turkish Council for Continuing Education (TUSEM). It is good to see that other organizations are recognizing the growing need to expand our social networks.
Our experience with UALL highlights one aspect of the highly meaningful partnerships our association has formed with other educational organizations and associations across the world and reminded us again why it is so important that we continue to foster these collaborations with others who are engaged in similar work. It was a privilege representing AAACE at that conference and we look forward to many similar opportunities for others in our association as we continue to develop partnerships in the future.