Announcing a new direction for UPCEA’s Regions
UPCEA is excited to share the new strategic direction for the association’s five Regions. The Regions are an integral component of UPCEA’s access mission, and are key to both UPCEA’s legacy and future success. Over UPCEA’s 107 year history, the Regions have undergone changes like geographic boundaries, to the more recent Regional conference pilot events (like the SUPER Regional conferences, combining content and attendees from two adjacent regions) stemming from the recommendations of the 2017 Presidential Task Force on the Future of Regions. In concert with UPCEA’s Board of Directors, the 2021-2022 Regional Cabinet Task Force has worked for nearly a year to craft the next step in the evolution of the Regions.
While the geographic variety of Regional conferences and low price point have always made these events accessible, the pivots in 2020 and 2021 which made Regional conferences both virtual and free to members revealed the true level of access these events could engender. Enabled by the virtual modality, these conferences experienced a 200-300% increase in attendance over the most highly attended prior on-site events. As we move forward, retaining this opportunity of access to help our members network and share best practices to serve today’s learners is paramount.
The recommendations of the 2021-2022 Regional Cabinet Task Force, endorsed by the 2021-2022 UPCEA Board of Directors, outline an exciting next model for UPCEA’s Regional events starting in 2023:
- Each Region will have the opportunity to host half-day Peer Learning Circles (PLCs) or “Salons” twice per year. These events will be completely virtual, and gratis for all UPCEA members.
- Intentional yet informal and unrecorded, these conversation-based gatherings will be designed around a theme or topic of greatest interest to both the host Region and our field, including time for presentation, reflection, and collaboration.
- These events will feature high-quality content and professional development, and the more intimate scale will provide opportunities for networking as well as peer-mentoring.
Detailed information about event agendas and topics will be available soon. We are excited about the great opportunity for access that this shift affords, and I hope you’ll join us online!
Amy Heitzman, M.A., M.Ed., Ph.D., is UPCEA’s Deputy Chief Executive Officer and Chief Learning Officer.