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  • April 02, 2021 11:00 AM | Deleted user

    Dear Colleagues,

    One of my favorite, and unexpected, moments of the 2020 virtual conference was the creation of the Association’s first conference playlist. I listen to the playlist at least once a week and I’m always encouraged by the energy of the selections and the diversity of the artists included in the list. I love that higher education professionals brought together their love for electronic, rock, pop, country, R&B, folk and alternative music to create a source of joy and connection for one another.

    This diversity of music is symbolic of the rich diversity among ACHE members. We each have a unique role in our institutions but we share a common belief in education as key for building an informed electorate, strong families and resilient communities.

    As we announced last week, the ACHE Board of Directors recently voted to host this year’s conference in a virtual format. As we begin our conference planning for 2021, I hope you’ll consider getting involved. You can share your enthusiasm for the upcoming conference by submitting a proposal or volunteering to serve on the conference planning committee.

    I also want to encourage you to help us get an early start on this year’s conference playlist by nominating a song that represents one of this year’s conference tracks. Here are my first contributions:

    As always, I’m most excited about planning a conference that gives us opportunities to connect as professionals, learn from one another, and uplift the importance of lifelong learning and excellence in continuing higher education.  

    Please reach out if you would like to volunteer or have ideas for this year’s conference.

    Amy Johnson, ACHE President

  • March 22, 2021 1:44 PM | Michele Doyle (Administrator)

    In 2019, I wrote a short piece for ACHE’s five minutes titled, March Madness and the Adult Learner. At the time, I hoped the piece would become an annual tradition for the Association. This tradition, like so many others, was a victim of the global pandemic. As a reminder, the 2019 piece was inspired by my own family’s bracket tradition. In previous years, our tradition included a family meal the day after the selection show where we spent time putting our basketball knowledge to good use as we completed our individual brackets. The family member who wins the bracket pool gets two highly coveted prizes; their name on the Johnson Family Bracket Trophy and the privilege of choosing the location of the selection meal the following year.  2020 took our family tradition away as well and we engraved COVID-19 on the Family Bracket Trophy last year. 

    That’s why I’m so excited to revitalize this tradition in both my nuclear family and my ACHE family. The Adult Learner Bracket uses IPEDS data to determine how the 64 schools in the tournament would perform if we evaluated them based upon the percentage of adult learners these institutions serve. Here’s some observations I made while completing this year’s adult learner bracket:

    • At 14 of the 64 Schools in this year’s tournament, adults make up 5% or less of the entire student population.
    • There is a sleeper in adult learning among the 8 schools who are playing in the First Four games. 20% of Texas Southern’s student population is 25 and over. Given their place in the East division, that mean Texas Southern advances to the Elite 8. Its closest competitor in this segment of the braket is UNC Greensboro who boasts an adult learner population of 18%.
    • To make it to the Sweet 16, an institution’s percentage of adult learners had to be in at least double digits. At the lower end of the spectrum, Drexel University’s adult students represent 10% of their overall population.
    • To advance to the coveted Final Four, at least 40% of a school’s total population must be made up of adult learners. Those four institutions enroll more than 180,000 students. All institutions in the Final Four have large online course/program offerings. If you visit Grand Canyon University online, the website announces prominently that online classes begin every Thursday. 57% of GCU’s student population is 25 or over. GCU is this year’s tournament winner.
    • Both schools who made it to the finals of this year’s tournament have adult student populations over 50%. Liberty barely loses to Grand Canyon in the final round (54% adult learner population), but their online presence is similar to GCU’s. Their website boasts more than 130 online Bachelor’s programs and the website includes a countdown to their next course starting date. Clearly students know that they can begin their coursework quickly if they choose to enroll at Liberty or GCU.
    • On a special note, after the publication of the 2019 bracket, I received an email from a colleague who was speculating about how Purdue’s global learning initiative may effect the school’s performance in future tournaments. She was right to speculate. In 2019, Purdue’s main campus population was only 5% adult but when including the adult learners from Purdue Global and the university’s extended campuses, the percentage of adult learners rose to 15%. This year, Purdue’s total adult learning population tops 40,000 students. That means 2 in five Purdue students are 25 or older. They earned their way to a Final Four finish a significant advancement from their top 32 finish in 2019.

    If you are wondering how your school faired in the adult learner bracket, you can see the full results below. Also, I can’t be responsible for any wagers you may make based on the bracket below – my adult learning knowledge far outweighs my basketball IQ.


    Amy Johnson, ACHE President

  • January 22, 2021 9:28 PM | Michele Doyle (Administrator)

    5 Minutes with ACHE

    Greetings ACHE family,

    Prompted, and inspired, by this week’s performance of The Hill We Climb by the U.S. Youth Poet Laureate, Amanda Gorman; I began to look a bit further into the history of poetry performed for inaugural ceremonies. As I began to explore, I learned that Robert Frost had prepared a poem for the 1961 inauguration that he did not deliver. The snow was so heavy on the morning of the inauguration that army flamethrowers were used to clear the streets of D.C. and it was the heavy snow that forced Frost to pivot on that Friday morning. Frost had written the poem Dedication for the occasion but the glare of the sun off the 8 inches of unanticipated snowfall meant that he couldn’t read the words presented before him. As a true professional though, he quickly made a decision to deliver an older poem he had committed to memory, The Gift Outright.

    There were so many days in my 2020 life where I felt like Robert Frost on inauguration morning. I feel confident that many of you have had similar experiences and we made many Frost-like pivots as an association last year. These pivots were only possible because of the extraordinary knowledge and skills of our members. And these skills meant were able to continue to offer high quality content programming to our members. I want to share with you some of the things we accomplished in the face of a difficult year:

    • Thanks to Dr. Tina Marie Coolidge, we were able to get the ACHE Webinar series off the ground. The 10-part webinar series prompted nearly 250 people to register to attend. Workshop attendance averaged around 50 participants per session. The content of these sessions has left me more resilient and resourceful in a tumultuous year. And there is good news! We’re looking forward to launching a new webinar series in February. Look for more information about that series in your inbox in the coming weeks.
    • Through the leadership of Dr. Walter Pearson, the Journal for Continuing Higher Education has been thriving. Walt has worked to expand the editorial board and revise the work of the editorial team to develop more modern and streamlined processes for the Journal. In addition, we hosted webinars featuring two studies published in JCHE. These webinars caught the attention of journalists at Inside Higher Ed and I’m grateful to Walt for his work in developing these webinar sessions. We hope to continue these research-intensive webinars in 2021.
    • We have contracted with a new home office, Nardone Consulting Group, who has done excellent work taking the reins of a new home office. I want to thank again, Dr. Rick Osborn and his team, for their work to restore the financial solvency of the Association and to continue the work of the home office. This all-volunteer job has been a heavy lift and I’m grateful to Rick and his team for their work during the home office transition.
    • Thanks to the leadership of Jeni Maple and Julie Shankle, we successfully moved the 82nd annual ACHE conference to a virtual platform. More than 120 members registered and attended the conference. And, importantly, we were able to provide this high-quality professional development experience for a significantly reduced cost. Affordability, in service of accessibility, was important to the planning team as we learned about layoffs, furloughs, and budget cuts for association members. The theme for the 2021 conference is Liberty and Graduation for All: Redesigning Higher Education for Social Justice. Look for a call for proposals to be published in the coming weeks.

    I’m so grateful for the work all of you committed to in 2020 and I’m looking forward to more accomplishment and growth in the coming year. My hope, however, is that we will be less effected by the glare that forced pivots in 2020 and that we will be able to deliver revitalized and intentional programming to serve our members in the year ahead.

    All the best in 2021,

    Amy Johnson
    President, ACHE

  • June 11, 2020 9:30 PM | Michele Doyle (Administrator)

    Dear Colleagues,

    I hope this message finds you and your family safe and well. In January, as we rang in the new year, I had great expectations for 2020 and believed it would be a banner year. This year marks the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th amendment and the Treaty of Versailles; the country will hold its 59th quadrennial presidential election; and the Census Bureau has invited us all to be counted. As such, I was looking forward to a year full of civic conversation and participation. Little did I know that the world’s pandemic would change the way we teach and provide support to students; would change the way we spend time together; and would change the way we access healthcare.

    In addition to responding to the realities of the pandemic, the ACHE Board of Directors has been working through a number of other important decisions. We hope the actions we have taken will serve you well as we move through the summer and into the fall semester. A summary of those activities appears below:  

    • We have made the difficult decision to host the October 2020 conference virtually. In the next several weeks, you will begin to hear more about the details of the conference (including a significantly reduced price). For now, I hope you will continue to save the dates for the virtual conference - October 11 – 14th. We’ll be soliciting nominations for ACHE awards and reaching out to all of you who submitted proposals soon.
    • We have selected a site for the 2021 conference! Guess where – New Orleans, LA! We couldn’t miss an opportunity to return to the Association’s favorite city. We hope we’ll be able to meet together in person in the Crescent City in October 2021.
    • Beginning Wednesday, July 8th, ACHE will begin hosting a webinar series. You’ll learn more about the topics and speakers for this series next week. This free webinar series is meant to help you hone your professional skills in this time of change and uncertainty.
    • We’ll have a new home office beginning October 2020. Nardone Consulting will be taking on the role of the new home office. We’re excited about this new partnership and welcome Natalie Nardone and her colleagues to our Association.
    • The Board of Directors has decided not to hold elections this summer. Given the tumultuous nature of the year, the realities of constricted budgets, our first-ever virtual conference, and the shift in the home office, the Board felt this was a time when we should provide some stability to the organization.

    Finally, and pointedly, I want to acknowledge the shock and anger I felt in the wake of the murders of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd and countless other Black people in the United States of America. ACHE is committed to creating an organizational culture that supports and enhances professional development and leadership opportunities regardless of race, age, ethnicity, creed, disability, gender, or sexual orientation. Our values require that we condemn these racist behaviors and support policy reform that dismantles institutionalized racism. Racism, in its most vile form of violence and murder and in its everyday iteration of verbal and non-verbal abuse, violates the Association’s values and disrupts our abilities to work, serve, and learn. As educators, it is our duty to do the difficult work to stand against racist actions, ideas, and policies. As such, the Association is looking to reactivate the work of the Committee on Inclusiveness. The chair two months ago. I hope you will consider serving or leading this committee. Please email me if you are interested in serving in this capacity.


    Amy D. Johnson

  • January 24, 2020 9:32 PM | Michele Doyle (Administrator)

    HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!! At East Tennessee State University, students returned to class this week.  The "newness" of the semester coupled with the emergence of a new year helps to keep me focused on the work and value of the association.  This month, I'd like to share three things in continuing and adult education that I'm looking forward to this year.

    1. Regional Conferences

    All of my work in the Association started at the regional level.  If you made a New Year's resolution related to professional development, your regional meeting is a good place to start. Here's a list of Regional Meetings you should consider attending:

    2. Continuing Our Partnership with The EvoLLLution 

    Since March 2019, The EvoLLLution has partnered with ACHE to provide custom content to ACHE members. This partnership also connects each region and the international organization with speakers from The EvoLLLution, providing multiple opportunities for our members to see the landscape of adult and continuing higher education.  If you haven't visited the ACHE/EvoLLLution partnership page, I hope you will do so soon. If you resolved to read more this year, The EvoLLLution is a great place to start.  

    3. The 2020 Annual Conference and Meeting 

    This year's conference co-chairs, Jeni Maple (Southeastern University) and Julie Shankle (Florida Institute of Technology), are already working industriously with a team of dedicated volunteers to plan an excellent conference and meeting in New Orleans, LA.  There are a few spaces left on the planning team.  If you are interested in serving, please contact Jeni or Julie.  Also, the Call for Proposals closes Monday, February 3rd.  Please consider sharing your ideas with us at this conference.  If you resolved to volunteer more this year, consider giving some of your time to ACHE. If you resolved to engage in more scholarly activity this year, consider submitting a proposal.

    We have so much to look forward to as an organization. I hope you'll join me in service to the organization this year.  Whether you believe or bemoan New Year's resolutions, I hope ACHE can help you meet your goals this year.  Feel free to reach out if I can help you reach those goals.

    Looking forward together,

    Amy Johnson
    ACHE President

  • March 25, 2019 10:51 AM | Anonymous

    In my family, March Madness, is serious business. Several years ago we started a NCAA Men’s Basketball tournament tradition.  We go out to dinner the day after the selection show, taking along pens, blank brackets and varying levels of basketball knowledge.  There are only three of us but we typically take 15 blank brackets with us in case one of us makes lots of mistakes (that’s usually me). The family member who wins the bracket pool gets two highly coveted prizes; their name on the Johnson Family Bracket Trophy and the privilege of choosing the location of the selection meal the following year. 

    This year as my bracket started looking bleaker, I started thinking about alternative ways to complete a bracket that had nothing to do with a team’s basketball skill.  Because I think about adult learners often in my work, I began to wonder how these 64 schools would perform if we created a bracket based upon the percentage of adult learners these institutions serve. Who would win in the first round to advance to the thirsty thirty-two? Who would be in the final four? Would they be small private schools or large flagship institutions? Why would they be the winners? My curiosity motivated me to find the answers.  

    Here are some observations I made while competing this bracket. 

    • To make it to the final four, more than 25% of a school’s total population had to be adult learners. At Gardner-Webb and Houston, 28% of the population is 25 and over, at Liberty over half of their student population would be classified as “adult,” and at Arizona State, the overall champion, more than 64% of their students are adult learners.
    • Each of the final four teams have intentionally built structures that support adult learning. At Gardner-Webb, a small private school in Boiling Springs, NC, the institution has both the GOAL degree-completion program and a large number of online course offerings. Both adult-oriented programs are advertised on the landing page of their website, signaling to adults that they belong at Gardner-Webb.  The other teams in the final four have large online offerings.  At Houston, students can enroll in more than 1250 online courses. At Liberty, students can earn a bachelor’s degree online from 13 of its schools in areas including aviation, graphic design, and cybersecurity. US News & World report ranks Arizona State #2 in the nation for online learning.  The university website also notes that more than 90% of online learners have transferred work from other institutions. All of these schools are promoting their offerings directly to adults.
    • If we back up to the first round of “play”, it is notable that for many schools, branch campuses are important for advancement.  While serving fewer overall students than the main campus, the outreach function of the branch campus often makes for higher percentages of adult learners at locations removed from the main campus. The branch campus is often also less intimidating and easier to navigate than the main campus as well. 
    • While LSU loses in the second round to Maryland in this year’s adult learner race, look for them to advance further next year. Setting a goal of 30,000 online students by 2025, LSU is looking to make a name for itself in the online learning space. I expect them to advance much further in future “tournaments.”
    • At 37 of the 64 colleges and universities in this year’s tournament, adults make up less than 10% of the entire student population.

    Wondering how your school fared in the adult learner bracket, you can see the full results below.


    I'll spend a lot of the next few weeks cheering on student-athletes. Because of this exercise, I'll also be cheering on those schools who are making the best efforts to serve adult learners.  I hope you will be cheering for those schools too.  


    Amy Johnson
    President-Elect, ACHE

  • January 18, 2019 10:46 AM | Anonymous

    As we wrapped up 2018 and to reiterate a few items, we have many exciting events coming up this year from our regional conferences this spring, to continued and new partnerships and other initiatives, to our Annual Conference in Denver, Colorado from Oct. 14 -16, 2019. With our Denver 2019 theme of Partnerships: Innovation & Collaboration,we have great keynotes already lined up, an exciting program in development, and volunteers to help make this another fabulous event. The Call for Proposals for ACHE Denver 2019 will be coming out soon! So be sure to be on the lookout for that, and other opportunities to get involved in the new year not only with your regions, but nationally as well. Also, in the upcoming months we will have a membership drive within all regions. Your input will be valuable for this initiative.

    We have so many individuals from various colleges and universities across the country and beyond as members and we appreciate all you bring to ACHE! Many of you are also working on various committees that make ACHE a premier organization. These committees include: Awards, Budget and Finance, Committee on Inclusiveness, Constitution and Bylaws, Nominations and Elections, Conference Planning, Regional Leadership, Research, Resolutions, Digital Programming and Communications, and the Advisory Council of Past Presidents.

    As we begin 2019, it is my honor to share with all of you that Dr. Rick Osborn, Dean at East Tennessee State University (ETSU), is our new Executive Vice President (EVP) and ETSU is our new home office! With change comes so much opportunity and we have so much to look forward to in 2019!


    Dorothy Williams, Ph.D. 


  • December 14, 2018 2:39 PM | ACHE Home Office (Administrator)

    Closing out 2018 and looking ahead to 2019

    As one year is closing and another year is on the horizon, I would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a wonderful holiday season!  Take that time to reflect, refresh, and relax. As I share with others, life is like a busy pie – we are involved with family, whatever this may be, work in and/or out of the home, education, community work, ACHE, and so much more. So, it is important to take time to enjoy yourselves and those around you during special times.

    We have many exciting events coming up next year from our regional conferences this spring, to continued and new partnerships and other initiatives, to our Annual Conference in Denver, Colorado, October 14 -16, 2019. With our Denver 2019 theme of Partnerships: Innovation & Collaboration, we have great keynotes already lined up, an exciting program in development, and volunteers to help make this another fabulous event. As Ms. Tina Marie Coolidge shared in her recent Five Minutes article, the Call for Proposals will be coming out in early spring. So, be on the lookout for that, and other opportunities to get involved in the new year not only with your regions, but nationally as well. We will continue the Emerging Leaders Institute again this year with a twist --- and we will be having this event in Denver as well. So, stay tuned for that, an online newsletter, webinars in development, continued outreach, and more.

    And with other great news, we will be moving to a new temporary home office for ACHE effective mid-January. It is my honor to share with all of you that Dr. Rick Osborn, Dean at East Tennessee State University (ETSU), will be our new Executive Vice President (EVP) and ETSU will be our new home office. 

    While not new to ACHE and many of you have the pleasure to know Dr. Osborn, we greatly appreciate his leadership, taking on this role and having such a great institution to be our new home. Many of us have moved through our lives and with moving comes adjustments. I know we will all transition smoothly especially under the leadership of Dr. Osborn as our EVP.

    A special thank you to Dr. Belinda Biscoe, Dr. Nina Barbee, Ms. Julie Tate, and so many others at the University of Oklahoma as they served as our home office over the years. Their energy, commitment, and living the mission of ACHE will always be appreciated.

    Through my years with ACHE, I have met so many wonderful people, have grown personally and professionally, continue to have that passion for education all while understanding the importance of what we all do. With change comes opportunity.

    I look forward to this journey as your 2019 ACHE President and all we have ahead of us for 2019! 


    Happy Holidays! 

    ACHE President 2019

  • December 07, 2018 2:26 PM | ACHE Home Office (Administrator)

    This is the time of year where we find ourselves wrapping up the end of our terms and planning for next term – after enjoying a winter break, of course.  It’s so very easy to get caught up in the momentum that each term brings and not pause and reflect on what we’ve experienced or plan for what great opportunities are available for us to experience in the future. 

    The conference theme for the 2018 ACHE conference was “Keeping the Beacon of Continuing Higher Education Burning Bright” and the theme for the 2019 ACHE conference is “Partnerships: Innovation & Collaboration.”   At the 2018 conference we enjoyed keynote presentations that focused on resilience/engagement and mindfulness, collaboration through times of organizational change, and a fabulous presentation that focused on data related to the students served by ACHE organizations and factors that impact online learning success.  The bridge is now being built to prepare for the 2019 conference in Denver, Colorado where the theme is partnership. 

    As an active member of ACHE, serving as Vice President, it is a busy year for me.  I will be working closely with regional leadership and supporting our President and her team as they prepare for the 2019 national conference, as well as supporting our President elect.  I am here to serve - that is the power of servant leadership! 

    Each and every one of you reading this is a member of your region, as well as the national organization. There is so much opportunity available for you to engage and be active in the organization before the next national conference. 

    • There is the opportunity to engage in your region – contact your regional leadership and see how you can get involved! 
    • There is opportunity to attend a regional conference, network, and build relationships with like-minded colleagues from your region.  For more information about each regional conference, please visit the region page.
    • There is opportunity to volunteer for the 2019 national conference.  I remember when I first got engaged with ACHE, and it began in my region, then the national conference, and now I have the honor and privilege to serve as Vice President for the organization.  To get involved with the 2019 national conference, please contact the program co-chairs: Patti Spaniola, and Amy Jordan,
    • There is an opportunity for you to submit a presentation proposal for the 2019 national conference.  Stay tuned for an email with information about the Call for proposals!

    Getting involved is an endeavor that you can commit to at a level that accommodates your availability.  I’ve had the honor to co-chair three national conferences, and with each, the bond that is created by partnering with my fellow co-chairs is priceless.  The relationships you will build by being engaged in the organization will enhance your professional network, as well as result in friendships that will last a lifetime.

    Top left: Amy Johnson, President Elect; Dorothy Williams, President; & Tina Marie Coolidge, Vice President

    Top right: Tina Marie Coolidge & Jeni Maple, 2018 Conference Co-Chairs

    Left: Tina Marie Coolidge & Amy Johnson, 2016 Conference Co- Chairs

    Now is the time, as we bridge from the 2018 national conference to the 2019 conference, to dip your toes in the water and truly embody the themes of the 2018 and 2019 conferences: keep the beacon burning bright by being an active member, by being innovative and collaborative, by supporting the 2019 conference, and by engaging with your region over the course of the next year!

    My service to ACHE is one of the greatest personal and professional decisions I have ever made.  Through my service and leadership in the organization, I have grown and continue to grow as a professional, and each and every one of you make a positive impact on that development.  Join us, get involved, enhance your professional and leadership competencies, and be a part of ACHE and the organization’s mission to promote lifelong learning and excellence in continuing higher education.  If you ever want to talk about how to get involved, please feel free to contact me,

      Tina Marie Coolidge
      ACHE Vice President

  • November 30, 2018 10:30 AM | ACHE Home Office (Administrator)


    Whether you have been working in higher education a few months or many years, the need for professional development is critical. Professional development means to explore, invent/reinvent, and embrace changes that will excel the work of serving adult and non-traditional students. As we grow in our roles and expand our duties, many job functions are new to us. I have found the ACHE conferences are a wonderful opportunity to network and share best practices among colleagues. The 2018 ACHE Annual Meeting and Conference confirmed my belief.

    Recently I began my duties as Director for Business Development for the College of Computer and Information Sciences at Regis University. I wanted to attend the conference to gain insight and input from my ACHE colleagues on growing strategic partnerships and talent pathways. I was not disappointed.

    Alex Read, Program Development Strategist, College of Continuing Education, Sacramento State presented, “Secrets for Creating Successful Contract Training Programs.” Alex shared his insights which helped me to refine my college’s needs assessment process and overarching strategy when working with our industry partners on education and training needs. In addition, Alex made himself available to chat with me by phone and share a recent article he co-wrote on the topic of contract training.

    This is just one example of the professional development afforded me through ACHE. It was an honor to receive the ACHE Memorial Staff Development Grant and attend the 2018 ACHE Annual Meeting and Conference. Thank you!

    Leslie Brezina

    Director of Business Development
    College of Computer and Information Sciences
    Regis University

    The ACHE Memorial Staff Development Grant

    In 2015, ACHE lost two champions of continuing higher education just prior to the Annual Conference and Meeting in St. Louis: Charlee Lanis of East Central University in Ada, Oklahoma, and Don Devilbiss of Widener University in Chester, Pennsylvania. But Charlee and Don were not just champions of the students they served. They were also champions of supporting their staff in obtaining key professional development needed to do the important work of serving adult and non-traditional students. In honor of the spirit and character of Charlee, Don, and other ACHE champions of Continuing Education (CE) who have passed away, the ACHE Board of Directors authorized establishment of the ACHE Memorial Staff Development Grant in order to assist with funding CE unit staff to participate in professional development activities.

    Each year, ACHE will award one grant in an amount not to exceed $1500 for a CE staff member to attend an ACHE professional development event - to include the annual or a regional conference, leadership training, or other type of activity as seems appropriate to the needs of the selectee - in order to further their professional development growth and hone their skills.

    To learn more about the ACHE Memorial Staff Development Grant, please visit the Grants and Scholarships page of the ACHE website.

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