CHARLESTON, S.C. -- Many attendees at the Council for Christian Colleges & Universities' Commission on Technology Conference enjoyed the various sessions very much but found the conference's greatest value in the relationships and conversations it made possible. CCCU affiliate Charleston Southern University graciously hosted the May 29-31 conference.
“The greatest value of the CCCU Commission on Technology Conference most definitely is the relationship building with your peers at other institutions,” noted T.R. Knight, director of technology services at Taylor University in Upland, Ind. “The worship, keynotes, and sessions are very valuable, but it is the networking and time spent in discussion with your fellow technology leaders during meals, breaks, and social times that has the strongest impact and takeaways.”
Each day’s programming began with worship music and a devotional, a hallmark of CCCU conferences that helps set them apart from typical industry events.
Thursday’s keynote speaker was John “Jack” Mitchell, regional director of external affairs for AT&T, who offered conferees an overview of the industry from a wireless data perspective. With a presentation that began with images of a rotary phone, an eight-track tape player, and his own first computer, Mitchell reminded participants how far technology has come now that smart refrigerators—which can order food from grocery stores and find recipes for food already in the fridge—and ECG (electrocardiogram) apps—which can use your phone to take heart data and send it to your physician—are on the market.
Breakout sessions during the conference were presented by information technology professionals from CCCU campuses. Topics included Technology Behavior/New Course Design, Virtual Desktop Evaluation and Implementation, Linking Technology to Branch Campuses, Training New IT Leaders, and Adding PDA’s: Student Engagement Solution.
"I was so excited that Charleston Southern University was chosen for the 2012 Commission on Technology conference. Everything I have ever attended connected to the CCCU has been such a professional event with excellent learning experiences for all attendees,” said Patty Hambrick, director of academic technology and academic grants and professor of education at CSU.
“What a great opportunity [this was] for our faculty and staff to have a chance to attend such a wonderful conference. CSU had 21 faculty and staff members attend and/or present [breakout sessions] at the conference. This was a great opportunity for faculty who are new to giving presentations to have the chance to present ‘at home.’ Yet, the wider audience was from all over the United States,” she added.
In addition to the technology-related sessions, participants also enjoyed Forever Charleston, a film providing an overview of Charleston-area attractions, and a banquet featuring the Charleston Southern Jazz Band. During free time, some conferees elected to tour Fort Sumter and the Charleston Aquarium.
“This was my first time attending the CCCU Technology Conference,” said Michael Musick, director of client support at Toccoa Falls College in Toccoa Falls, Ga. “I have been a part of the community online for a while now and have participated in the discussions that take place on the listserv. However, being able to attend the conference and place faces with names was a real treat. My greatest experience of the conference was being able to make connections with others that are in similar situations both personally and professionally. The keynotes and break-out sessions were valuable and well done, but the real star of the show was the connections made and friendships formed.”
“This year’s Commission on Technology annual conference at Charleston Southern University continued a tradition of bringing together administrative and academic technology leaders to strengthen relationships and explore new ideas. The value of attending for me is exchanging ideas and experiences about common projects with people who understand the challenges of Christian higher education,” noted John C. Jones, vice president for technology and facilities services at Indiana Wesleyan University in Marion, Ind., and vice chair of the CCCU’s Commission on Technology.
“I have been able to attend this conference four times, and I have always learned so much that helped me improve my teaching skills and my abilities as director of academic technology,” said CSU’s Hambrick. “I have also made so many new friends who have similar positions at their universities. It's wonderful to network with so many terrific professionals who identify with and understand my perspective.”
About the CCCU: The Council for Christian Colleges & Universities is a higher education association of 185 intentionally Christ-centered institutions around the world. The 116 member campuses in North America are all fully-accredited, comprehensive colleges and universities with curricula rooted in the arts and sciences. In addition, 69 affiliate campuses from 25 countries are part of the CCCU. The Council’s mission is to advance the cause of Christ-centered higher education and to help our institutions transform lives by faithfully relating scholarship and service to biblical truth. Visit www.cccu.org.