As content chair of the 2012 Annual Conference Committee (ACC), it was extremely important for me and ACC chair Pat Willer that the conference offer innovative opportunities for professional and leadership development. This includes learning how to manage change in the workplace, which is an essential skill for all of us, as our field is constantly changing. I was particularly excited when Positive Turbulence author Stanley Gryskiewicz, PhD, accepted the committee’s invitation to speak on this subject. His seminar has limited attendance, so please be sure to arrive early if this topic interests you.

In addition to Gryskiewicz, the committee has invited five other guest speakers. Alise Isbell, founder of Write Wise Communications, will tackle negotiation skills, a very relevant topic to many international educators. Eric Stoller, a well-known social media expert in higher education, will provide a high-level assessment of social media. Valeria Heuberger, PhD, from the Austrian Academy of Sciences, will discuss working with Muslim students, while World Bank expert Adriana Jaramillo will discuss higher education trends in the Middle East and North Africa. Additionally, University of Houston Law Center professor Jordan Paust, JD, will be speaking on universal human rights. All of these speakers will provide valuable insight from other fields that impact international education, and carry the potential to help us all be better professionals. I hope you make these sessions a priority as you plan your conference schedule. 


Moreover, ACC workshop chair David Wick, EdD, and all of the workshop trainers, have been hard at work refining the content of offered workshops. Preconference workshops are an excellent source for professional development. For example, the following are offerings that feature curricula likely to enhance how you do your job:

Finally, I encourage you to attend the poster fairs. There are 16 themes, including technology and social media, with more than 500 presenters. If you haven’t attended a poster fair at a previous conference, they provide a great opportunity to share valuable knowledge in a one-on-one atmosphere. A special thanks to poster fair chair of the ACC Kim Beisecker and all poster fair organizers for their important contributions to the conference.

Which of the professional and leadership offerings or guest speaker sessions are you most excited about and why?

Joël Gallegos is the content team chair on the 2012 ACC. He is also the assistant provost for international programs at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Gallegos is the chair of the UNC Exchange Program advisory board and vice chair of CIEE’s Academic Consortium Board. He is an active member of NAFSA, EAIE, AIEA and serves on the Board of Directors of the World Affairs Council of Charlotte. Previously, he served as the director of education abroad at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, and was director of study abroad at the University of Toledo.