I am truly honoured to have been elected the President of CAUCE for the 2016-2017 year. CAUCE represents university continuing education (CE) departments, units and practitioners across Canada and it is through our shared interests and values that we enable our institutions to truly foster lifelong learning as a social imperative.
I believe we are at a critical juncture in our work to advance the reach of universities to broader and more diverse audiences. Changing demographics, demand for greater flexibility, and the role that technology plays in teaching and learning are fundamentally changing the role of universities. Our institutions need us now more than ever. Our practices are built on flexible approaches, eliminate barriers, and adapt to the changing needs of our learners. We reach those who may otherwise not find a place within our institutions.
The 2015-2016 year was an exciting time for CAUCE. Building on work that began in the previous year, we completed the development of our strategic plan that will guide the association over the next five years. The plan includes specific action items that will support the achievement of the strategic priorities. The five strategic directions are as follows:
- Community engagement: As an association, CAUCE mobilizes its members, the post-secondary sector, and civil society in understanding the importance and impact of university continuing education. CAUCE provides leadership for initiatives that strengthen the university continuing education community and the civil, social, and educational communities it serves.
- Promotion of enhanced understanding of best practices in university continuing education: In order to provide guidance to members, CAUCE studies and documents continuing education practices. This initiative provides members information that may assist them in developing and assessing their own practices. CAUCE supports research into adult learning as well as continuing, professional, and online education in order to discover and promote evidenced-based practices. CAUCE creates a public space for discussions about continuing education. It disseminates research findings and exemplary practices to improve the work of continuing education practitioners.
- Professional development: CAUCE offers timely professional development opportunities for continuing education and online learning specia It also fosters the development of leadership for practitioners of university continuing education. Deans and Directors are supported through an annual winter meeting while the CAUCE annual conference and regularly scheduled webinars offer other important professional development and networking opportunities.
- Partnerships: CAUCE engages in dialogue and formal relationships with sister organizations in Canada, the US, and abroad to advance its mission and maximize benefits for members through exposure to other perspectives and resources. The partnerships also provide learning opportunities for CAUCE as an association.
- Sustainability in Management and Operational Practices for the Association: CAUCE is committed to the principles and practices of sustainability in its management and operational strategies. It makes ethical decisions and ensures that rigor and efficacy characterize all facets of the life of the association. The association listens to and consult its members to be sure that its actions are in line with the needs of its members, while advancing the organization toward a shared vision in changing times.
In the 2016-2017 year, our work as an association will focus on the following five priorities that support strategic directions:
- Advocacy – finding ways to inform and educate policy and decision makers on the importance of continuing education
- Communication – leveraging a variety of communication channels and technologies to reach our diverse audiences
- Communities of Practice – supporting and expanding our communities of practice to serve the many constituents working in the field of Continuing Education
- Benchmarking – collecting and disseminating meaningful data to our members
- Conference Model – reimagining the conference model to leverage expertise and build capacity
Our collective work is an important part of the social fabric of our great nation. This is an exciting time to be part of the field of university continuing education and I look forward to working with you to advance the national dialogue on continuing education, and to support you in your practice through scholarship, professional development and fellowship.
Michelle Fach, President