March has arrived, and I recently attended the ACHE Great Lakes/ICCHE Conference in Chicago, as well as the ACHE West Conference in Salt Lake City. Both conferences offered wonderful opportunities for professional development, networking, recognition of achievement in our field and conversation on current trends in continuing education.
Visiting Brigham Young University’s Salt Lake Center brought to mind the rich history of United States higher education, and the integral nature of our colleges and universities as ground zero of new ideas and new industry throughout our country. How did this unique, diverse landscape of over 7,000 post-secondary institutions in the United States come about? A majority of our college and universities, like Brigham Young University, were established in the 19th century by religious denominations. As denominations continued to emerge, grow, and thrive in the U.S., higher education ensured the indoctrination of good church people, an educated congregation, and pragmatically, a socio-economically stable base. These denominational institutions grew into the top private U.S. universities, because the mission mattered. Both religious and laypeople contributed to the exponential growth of institutions of higher education from nine chartered colleges in the late 18th century to nine hundred at the close of the 19th century. Certainly, the sacrifice and a shared vision that contributed to the establishment of these universities attest to the higher purpose which they represent: a spiritual mission, as well as a charge to serve the betterment of society.
In today’s continuing education, adult education, and professional studies divisions, the mission matters now more than ever. The charge to provide affordable, accessible training, certificate, and degree programs still rings true for our programs, as we continue to innovate to broaden geographic and demographic reach, strive to offer in-demand degrees, and ensure student success and satisfaction. Through tireless reinvention and dynamic delivery of high-quality programming on behalf of our colleges and universities, the mission matters on a daily basis. We make lives better through the democratization of opportunity - all made possible through higher education.I look forward to continuing the conversation in the coming weeks, with my visits to the Great Plains conference in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, as well as Mid-Atlantic in Annapolis and South in Austin.
With Warmest Regards,
Bill Boozang, Ed.D.
ACHE President, 2018