Hosting the Drexel University Annual Conference on Teaching and Learning Assessment is something that we look forward to every year. Having the chance to connect with colleagues who we may only see annually and learn from other practitioners in the field is a signature hallmark of our conference. Quite frankly, Drexel University during the beginning of September is always a sight to see. The campus is alive and buzzing, which really adds to the uniqueness of our conference.
2021 marks the 8th year we have had the pleasure to host our annual conference and in each year since its inception, we have strived to do more and be better. Now that’s a continuous improvement and closing the loop process— am I right? All of us who are on the conference planning committee know that pulling off this conference every year is a massive undertaking, filled with unexpected challenges and rewarding feelings for everyone involved. We care deeply about our conference, our attendees, our presenters, the content, and the experience we provide.
Which is why you can imagine having to host our conference virtually for the first time ever in 2020 had our heads spinning. With the uncertainty of the world around us, specifically during the summer months of 2020 which is when conference planning gets kicked into high gear, we weren’t sure how it would all play out. But being the adaptable Drexel Dragons we are, we were committed to bringing the same robust conference program as we have in years past in person. Much like the rest of the world, we relied on Zoom to provide structure to our conference program. And while there was a bit of a learning curve to putting an entire conference together on Zoom for the first time, we received many positive and constructive comments from our attendees, presenters, and committee. So at the end of that third day we all took a collective sigh of relief and were able to celebrate (in our own homes of course) yet another successful conference.
Taking all that we learned in 2020 after hosting a virtual conference, we are very excited for the 2021 conference. One new thing is that we will be utilizing a virtual platform, Whova to give our conference program much more structure this year and provide all of our attendees a much more robust and streamlined conference experience. Complete with a mobile app and a very user-friendly desktop experience Whova has everything we need to keep our conference at a at the level our attendees are accustom.
We are also introducing a new element into our conference this year as well. Dr. Kristen Betts in the School of Education has spearheaded an effort to incorporate graduate students, both past and current into the conference this year by working with the committee to carve out some time in the program for a graduate poster session. We wanted to make sure that these students, who are essentially our largest stakeholders in the assessment and accreditation world were represented at the conference this year and in years to come. We, on the committee, have had the pleasure to meet these students and hear about their research areas and I can safely say that this is a tremendous value add to our conference this year.
Attending the 8th annual conference this year (September 8-10, 2021) means past attendees can expect the same high-level of discourse, through provoking conversations, engaging concurrent sessions, networking, and insightful plenary/roundtable speakers. This conference will build on success of the last year’s online event to provide an engaging and fun experience all while learning from our talented peers. The conference annually brings 400+ higher education faculty and administrators from throughout the Mid-Atlantic region, the nation and abroad to share effective practices. This year’s theme will be” Manageability and Sustainability: The Cornerstone of Institutional Assessment” as we restate our commitment to academic quality, and acknowledge that the quality of the student academic experience must be the driver behind all assessment and accreditation activities.
On behalf of the conference planning committee and the Drexel University community, we hope you can attend the conference this year and look forward to seeing you all in September!
For a sneak peak into the conference, join myself and Executive Director of Assessment & Accreditation at Drexel, Joe Hawk in an active dialogue on Thursday, July 22, 2021 at 2:00 PM EDT right here on AEFIS Academy!
Here’s to hoping we have the opportunity to host you all again in person on our beautiful campus for the conference in September 2022!