2016 Conference Reflection
Thursday, December 15, 2016
Posted by: Steven B. Frye, Conference Chair
I want to start off with a big word of thanks for the many people who played a part in the success of this year’s conference. If I tried to name everyone, I know I would leave out many. An event like this is truly a team effort - from registration, to volunteer planning, to vendors, to A/V issues, to posters, to Connection Central, to meals, to… the list just goes on. The conference planning committee logged many hours working on the various pieces and I am grateful for their work. I cannot say enough good things about Ellen, Jessica and Sarah from Nardone consulting. They definitely brought their A-Game! Greg Olson, from the Hyatt, was non-stop in his efforts to make the venue work for our group. Many attendees related good stories about the space and facilities.
I would also like to say a special thank you to our 2016 Sponsors. Our Platinum Sponsor was East Carolina University and our Friend Sponsor was the Mountain Plains Adult Education Association. We really appreciate their generous support in our conference this year. I would also like to thank our Exhibitors as well. We had 20 exhibitors who participated with us this year. We were so thrilled to have so many entities wanting to participate in our conference. We are looking forward to growing this avenue in 2017 in Memphis.
We ended up with a final number of 396 attendees, and 125 of this number were graduate students! It is always encouraging to see the students so involved – it gives me great hope for the future of our organization. The pre and co-conferences also did well this year: CPAE 67, CIAE 38, and Innovations in Adult Education had eight.
Looking back, the week started off with an interesting challenge when our keynote’s plane was delayed in Moscow, but Scott Jeffee from Aslanian Research stepped in and delivered a challenging look at the Post-Traditional student in higher education. One way to gauge listener interest is to pay attention to people taking pictures of slides, and there were many shots taken during this keynote.
Margery Ginsberg and Raymond Wlodkowski really delivered in their shared keynote. The afternoon panel discussion was one of the most enjoyable I have ever attended. The makeup of the panel allowed for explorations of research/scholarship to practice that left me thinking about the possibilities long after the session ended. Special thanks to David Grebel for putting together such a strong panel, and for his thoughtful MC work in directing the discussion.
The poster presentation sessions were a big hit this year. I am glad to see the growing emphasis on the Poster Presentation. Thanks to Phil Gerke and Steve McCaskey for championing the posters sessions. It was great to see presenters engaged in discussions about their research and programs. What a powerful picture of adult learning in action!
The camaraderie was sweet and encouraging. I heard many statements about the “spirit” or the “attitude” of the meetings. One thing that stood out for many attendees was the
impressive number of first-time attenders. I appreciate the many “experienced” attendees that I saw reach out and welcome newcomers. Many newcomers told me that they felt welcome and included in the meeting. For any established group this is not an easy task to accomplish. It was great to hear many say “I’ll see you in Memphis!”
Albuquerque was a great time of refreshing and rekindling. I am looking forward to the momentum continuing next year in Memphis, TN. Christy Rhodes will be taking the wheel as the 2017 conference chair. I know you will give her the same support you so kindly gave me.