Last week, I was in Baltimore for the NASPA Annual Conference. Attended by more than 5,000 student affairs professionals, the annual NASPA event is one of the premiere student affairs conferences. When asked if I would be attending ACPA's Annual Convention, another prominent student affairs conference, my response was that I would be attending (and speaking at) Pearson's Cite Conference (April 1 - April 3) instead.
Every single time I mentioned Cite and/or Pearson while at #NASPA14, I was asked a simple question: What's that? Not knowing about Pearson is a fairly common occurrence for those of us who work in student affairs. In fact, were it not for my own regular attendance at the EDUCAUSE Annual Conference, I too wouldn't be aware* of Pearson. For some reason, Pearson has been mostly absent from student affairs-related discourse. Fortunately, I'm hoping that this post will change things just a bit in that regard.
Pearson Cite is advertised as an annual online learning event. At first glance, it would appear to be an event for folks who work in more of an academic affairs-oriented space. However, when you take a moment to read through the learning tracks for Cite, a theme begins to emerge. Cite is a student affairs conference.
Learning tracks for Cite include: marketing, enrollment, and admissions; retention and student engagement; completion and graduation strategies; and student and career services for online [learners]. The content and sessions for Cite are well-within the traditional wheelhouse of student affairs. Think of Cite as a digital version of our beloved CAS Standards and you have an event that seeks to inform practitioners in a way that is rarely part of our core canon.
Here are some of the Cite sessions that I hope to attend:
- Pre-Attendance Engagement through Gamification
- Bridging the Digital Divide: Engaging Online Students
- Effective Best Practices in Recruiting and Admissions
- Strategic Partnerships — "Moving from Innovation to Retention"
- Creating a Career Services Center of Excellence
- Eduventures 2014 Online Higher Education Market Update: Navigating the Crisis and Facing the Opportunity
- Increasing Student Outcomes: Data for Decisions and Change Knowledge
- Online Orientation: Development, Data, & Lessons Learned
- Using Actionable Data to Improve Online Student Retention
The attendees of Cite (as listed on the event's mobile site) represent a wide array of professional positions and functional areas. There will be instructional designers, librarians, deans of academic affairs, course developers, professors, and online learning directors at Cite. I can't wait to absorb knowledge from these folks. They are the ones who are doing a lot of student affairs-related work in online learning spaces. Is Cite a student affairs conference? Maybe not in the traditional sense of things. However, what does that even mean anymore? Cite represents a much smaller event than an annual student affairs conference. With around 500 attendees, Cite should be a great opportunity for networking and learning. It's almost like a regional student affairs conference with a slightly different focus.
On Wednesday of next week, I'll be giving a session at Cite on Creating Compelling Content via Social Community as part of the marketing, enrollment, and admissions track. If you're at Cite, I'd love it if you could attend!
Will you be at Cite? What other conferences do you go to for learning that are outside of our "regular" professional development offerings?
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[*In the spirit of full transparency, I should note that I have a personal connection to a Pearson employee. If this news causes you to disregard this post, that is your prerogative. However, I think it's prudent to focus on the merits of a conference that is chock full of intriguing sessions.]