The MidAtlantic Conference took place in Annapolis, Maryland April 11-13 at the Westin Hotel. Twenty-eight participants attended the event. A Welcome Reception sponsored by University of Delaware Professional and Continuing Studies kicked off the conference. The informal gathering was a great opportunity to catch up with friends throughout the region and form new relationships.
Rick Kantor’s keynote address entitled “The Creative Mindset: GPS to the Future” was a high point creating positive energy and setting an upbeat tone for the conference. Rick encouraged higher education professionals to “…let thoughts roll” and be catalysts for change. He advocates the concept of owning one’s own creativity and focuses on the FourSight Model: clarify, ideate, develop, and implement. His message resonated with members as numerous institutions in our region face challenges to develop and grow programs in an ever-changing landscape. He traveled from sunny California to be with the MidAtlantic group. Rick serves as a Creativity Consultant, Catalyst, and Speaker; Adjunct Faculty at Drexel University; and the Secretary of American Creativity Association. He was awarded the Champion of Creativity Award in 2017.
Attendees experienced a change of pace with a lively General Session entitled “Putting Students First: A Critical Sociological Perspective.” A group representing Mary Baldwin University (faculty and staff: Bob Robinson, Virginia Trovato, and Carrie Boyd; and two adult learners: Corey Chandler and Gina Edwards) led this session. The group presented research and plans for the creation of a student union to give a voice to formerly marginalized students.
Sharon Barnes of Mary Baldwin University, Dr. Regis Gilman of East Carolina University, Dr. Honour Moore of Grazt College, and Phillip Moore of Grazt college led a panel discussion focusing on the theme of “From Valleys to Peaks” to begin the second day of the conference. Each panelist shared peaks, valleys, mountain top experiences, and thoughts of the present and future from their respective vantage points, followed by a question and answer session.
In addition to the Keynote, General Session, and Panel, participants experienced a variety of presentations looking at the theme of Ahead of the Curve: Innovative Ideas and Strategies You Can Implement Tomorrow, including:
- digital marketing,
- the needs and demands of online students,
- barriers for enrollment and persistence, and
- other key issues.
“What’s in the Secret Sauce” presented by Mickey Baines resonated with a number of members. He shared creative approaches and tactics he has used successfully to increase enrollments at four different institutions over the past five years in the role of an Interim Chief Enrollment Officer.
The Regional Business Meeting included reports from the Chair and Treasurer. The meeting included a discussion about next spring’s conference. Planning is underway; the location and dates will be forthcoming this summer.
Enjoyable and successful conference – sharing quotes from evaluations
“A great spirit to the small group. Very connective and restorative (and with good info to take back), A great 'time-out' from regular work days. I don't think this can be discounted when planning and promoting this conference.”
“The conference in Annapolis provided a positive experience in the midst of the landscape of challenges and uncertainty in higher education.”Thank you to the MidAtlantic Board who worked diligently to plan the conference and to Mary Baldwin University Online and Distance Programs for sponsoring one of the luncheons. We appreciate Ann Solan’s photos capturing highlights of the conference also.