Like many others across Watermark, my background is in Education. Nearly 20 years ago, I started working in the Office of Orientation & First Year Programs (OFYP) at the University of Minnesota. The goal was simple: to provide an exceptional transitional experience to prepare students for both personal and academic success. My time working for OFYP taught me many lessons–the biggest being the importance of community. Community is formed through shared interest, but is truly developed through conversation and collaboration.
With Engage 2018–one of our largest and most important customer engagement opportunities–right around the corner, I am beyond excited for our Watermark community to come together to share best practices, exchange ideas, and continue to drive assessment forward.
Here are some of the highlights I am most looking forward to at Watermark Engage–and that you won’t want to miss!
- Breakout Sessions: Our team has been working hard to develop Watermark Engage 2018, but the real star of the show is our community. This year’s program will feature more than 60 sessions led by our partner institutions, as well as other thought leaders from across higher education and beyond. In addition to a general track, we also have five specialized session tracks: Planning for Assessment and Accreditation, ePortfolios for Professional/Academic Growth, Models of Non-Academic Assessment, Educational Intelligence: Leveraging Data to Impact Student Learning Outcomes, and Assessment for Engagement/Sustainability.
- Networking & Collaboration: In the spirit of conversation and collaboration, we have also built in plenty of additional time for networking. This year’s conference will bring together attendees from Hawaii to Puerto Rico to everywhere in between, with individuals representing all six regional accreditors, numerous specialized programs, and large, small, public and private, two- and four-year institutions. The setting should yield many fruitful and engaging discussions.
- Keynote Sessions: When designing the conference program, we didn’t just want to bring together thought leaders from the assessment and accreditation space. We also wanted to provide motivation and inspiration from other leaders as well. With that, we give you two powerhouse keynote speakers:The first is Mel Robbins, CNN Commentator, Author, and Co-Founder of Inspire52. She will present The 5 Second Rule: Achieving Breakthrough Performance in Your Career & Life. You’ll leave this session with strategies to increase productivity, confidence, and courage, and be inspired to reach your potential.The second is Francesca Gino, Tandon Family Professor of Business Administration at the Harvard Business School. She will present Gaining the Edge in the Art of Effective Decision Making. She will share engaging examples from the field to discuss the main systematic errors that affect decision making and what leaders can do to avoid them.
- The Setting: We’re happy to call Austin home (well, one of our homes), and we can’t wait to share it with you. As the backdrop to Engage, Austin provides a vibrancy and liveliness that we’re sure will make you feel right at home, too! It also doesn’t hurt that the barbeque is top notch!
I look forward to our community coming together next week and to sparking many engaging conversations. For those that can’t make it this year, we’ll miss you…but rest assured, there’s always next year!