Blog: Idea Exchange

Upping the Ante: AALHE 2017 Annual Conference

Leah Simpson January 20, 2017

The AALHE Conference and Events Committee is gearing up for a fantastic 2017 Annual Conference. This year’s meeting will be held in downtown Louisville, Kentucky from June 12th – 14th at the Hyatt Regency Hotel. Last year we were forced to cap registration to 300 people due to limited hotel space. This year, the conference area is larger than ever and we expect a big group of assessment-minded people to take advantage of the open registration.

After much deliberation and careful consideration, the committee finally agreed on a jam-packed schedule for 2017. We included all our members’ favorite activities and threw in some new events which we think will give attendees their best AALHE conference experience yet!

Let’s start with the new stuff. For the first time ever, AALHE will host pre-conference workshops. Six half-day and three full-day workshops will be offered on June 12th. These sessions will cover a variety of topics in a range of audience levels. I encourage you to take a look at the session offerings and register soon as session space is limited for each workshop.

Also new this year is an extra reception with a cash bar and a vendor’s fair. That’s right, we have built time into our schedule to allow you to speak with the conference’s sponsors about all of their wonderful products and services. This also means you get one more opportunity to network with other attendees. Year after year, our members tell us that talking with others is their biggest takeaway.

In addition to adding some new stuff, we took a look at past offerings and decided to up the ante on some of those. In past years, we hosted three keynote sessions over the course of the conference. Although attendees usually loved the speakers, we got a lot of requests for more concurrent sessions. So that’s what we scheduled. We have also added a speed-sharing session to our program. This session was well-loved by attendees a few years ago, and by popular demand, it’s back on the agenda.

This year two keynote sessions will bookend the conference. Randy Bass, VP for Education and Professor of English at Georgetown University will open the conference on Monday night. José Bowen, President of Goucher College and author of Teaching Naked, will speak Wednesday morning. Both speakers will use their unique perspective of teaching, learning, and administration to address the current disruptions in assessment and because of assessment. Bonus: José Bowen will also host a book signing immediately after his keynote!

As in years past, the conference will offer a variety of presentation opportunities including a poster session, round-table discussions, skill-building sessions, and interactive presentations. As always, there will also be a variety of networking opportunities available to attendees. In addition to the always-popular evening reception and networking dinners, we will offer three after-hours networking events on Tuesday evening. We received so many positive comments about last year’s after-hour events that we had to bring it back. You can register to take a tour on the Spirit of Jefferson steam boat, attend a walking tour of historic Louisville, or play a game of Louisville Quest. All events require an additional fee and can be added when you register.

After last year’s meeting, I blogged that the conference committee’s goal is to improve the AALHE Annual Conference every single year. We reviewed comments, shared anecdotes, and brainstormed new ways to engage and support our members. I think you will find that 2017 will be even better than past conferences. I can’t wait to see you in June.

Author
Leah Simpson
University of Kentucky