Five Reasons Why I am Grateful for the 2019 NACEP National Conference

November 19, 2019

Thank you, NACEP!

Five Reasons I Am Grateful For the 2019 NACEP National Conference

Written by: Eugenia A. Hooker

1-It elevated my quest to improve our program.  

For several years, NACEP has been my go-to conference to stay on the cutting edge of best practices in concurrent and dual enrollment. My experience at this conference (my fifth) was no exception. Like everyone else, I was seeking new ideas and tools to improve our program back home. For novices and veterans alike, our common goals were to learn and grow.  Seeing hundreds of people pursuing the same quest was powerful.

2-It inspired me to ask meaningful questions.

I used to think the main point of attending a conference was to get concrete answers to all my questions.  I finally figured out concrete takeaways are great, but my focus should be on whether our program is asking the right questions to get to the answers that will work best for our students and stakeholders. Leaving a session full of new questions to ponder can actually be a good thing.

3-It gave me an energy boost.

I left the conference with the resolve to tackle our program issues with renewed hope and enthusiasm. Exposure to so many useful ideas on program management and evaluation, advising, pathways, and new research in the field was uplifting.

4-It gave me room to breathe.     

The day to day realities of running a program make me feel like I will never get caught up. Often, it is all I can manage to move from one phone call, event, meeting, or document to the next.  It was a luxury to hit the pause button and have dedicated time and space to focus on workshops and talk with colleagues over a meal without work interruptions.

5-It helped me expand my professional network.

It was thrilling to be among professional peers and compare notes about concurrent and dual enrollment. You can strike up a conversation with anyone in your vicinity and find commonalities that comfort and differences that challenge you to rethink some aspects of your program.

A couple years ago, I told a colleague I had attended a conference that focused solely on concurrent and dual enrollment. Her response was incredulous. “You mean there’s a whole conference just for that?!”  Yes, dear colleague. There actually is an entire conference devoted to all things concurrent and dual enrollment. A conference where you can seek program improvement, get a much-needed energy boost, discover meaningful questions and perhaps a few answers, find some room to breathe and build a supportive community of colleagues who are just an email, listserv query, or phone call away. It’s called NACEP, and I am grateful to be a part of it. A big thank you to the NACEP staff and volunteers for pulling off an impactful conference and to the 1000+ attendees from all regions of the United States and from Canada who came to learn and share.

Want to stay on top of the ever-changing landscape of concurrent and dual enrollment? Meet me in St. Louis in 2020!