The National Alliance of Concurrent Enrollment Partnerships (NACEP) recently concluded its 2015 National Conference in Denver, Colorado hosted by the Colorado Community College System. Over eight hundred fifty attendees, representing educational professionals from 46 states and the District of Columbia, participated in three days of sessions on creating an effective academic bridge between high school and college through concurrent and dual enrollment, making this year’s conference NACEP’s largest to date. Attendees included college officials, high school leaders, policymakers, and researchers.
NACEP received a warm welcome from Lieutenant Governor Joe Garcia via video recording, and also from Dr. Nancy McCallin, president of the Colorado Community College System. Lieutenant Governor Garcia stated, “NACEP’s an important educational partner for states, particularly Colorado, as the organization brings together leaders in the ever-changing world of dual enrollment and concurrent enrollment.” Garcia described the wide benefits that Colorado has experienced due to concurrent enrollment and asserted, “Higher GPAs and greater retention rates are evidence that concurrent enrollment works.”
The conference opened with an illuminating keynote speech from Jeremy Anderson and Jennifer Dounay Zinth, president and senior policy analyst respectively, of Education Commission of the States (ECS). Anderson and Zinth spoke about their work monitoring the rapidly changing political environment and guiding policymakers and education officials—many of whom are new to their positions—toward effective, systemic change. ECS has identified 13 critical policy components that may increase student participation and success in dual enrollment programs. Zinth explained that these model policy components are closely aligned with policies that have been implemented in Colorado and Florida, and are therefore examples that can be replicated in other states.
Cory Notestine, 2015 National School Counselor of the Year closed the first day of the conference by stressing the importance of the social and emotional development of the concurrent enrollment student. In his many years as a counselor, Notestine has had great success helping students find success beyond high school graduation. Notestine challenged the audience to pay more attention to non-cognitive skills—such as self-motivation and teamwork—that he believes are the missing link to college and career readiness.
The President of the State Higher Education Executive Officers Association (SHEEO), George Pernsteiner, delivered a keynote address on the challenges that colleges and universities are facing in a time of rapid change in learning. He emphasized that all non-traditional approaches to collegiate learning, including dual and concurrent enrollment, need to demonstrate quality and acceptability to employers and society while at the same time ensuring they have significant scope and reach to tackle equity issues.
In addition to its regular conference offerings, almost 50 attendees went on a site visit to CEC Middle College of Denver, a magnet school that offers specialized Career and Technical Education programs that are not available at the traditional high schools. NACEP also hosted two very successful pre-conference workshops—the State Policy Workshop led by State Policy Leadership Committee Chair Amy Williams and NACEP Executive Director Adam Lowe and an Accreditation Institute led by Accreditation Commission Chair Jaclyn Dumond and Vice Chair Victoria Zeppelin. During the State Policy Workshop, state and national experts shared approaches and challenges to developing robust systems of dual and concurrent enrollment with 70 individuals engaged in policy-making. During the Accreditation Institute, over 150 attendees interested in pursuing accreditation received in depth guidance and resources for implementing NACEP’s national standards for concurrent enrollment. Twelve postsecondary institutions were honored during the conference for having earned NACEP accreditation for their concurrent enrollment programs in 2015.
NACEP President Kent Scheffel introduced the newest members of the Board of Directors and Accreditation Commission as well as the new State Policy Leadership Committee Chair:
Incoming Board of Directors
- Member at Large: Patrick Cannon, Purdue University North Central
- Private Postsecondary Representative: Bill Newell, Syracuse University
- Research Committee Chair: James Hendrix, Ball State University
- Treasurer: Doug Binsfeld, Northeast Iowa Community College
Incoming Accreditation Commissioners
- Four Year Public Postsecondary Representative: Selena Grace, Idaho State University
- Member at Large: Karen Landry, Everett Community College
- External Member: Robie Cornelious, Mathematics Teacher representing the public interest
Incoming State Policy Leadership Committee Chair
- Amy Williams, Office of the Commissioner of Higher Education, Montana University System