Wednesday, June 18, 2014

The 2014 Regional and Branch Campus Administrators Conference

The annual Regional and Branch Campus Administrators Conference (RBCA) just concluded today.  For a number of years the conference has been held in June, meeting at the Longboat Key Club resort, which is a stunning venue.  RBCA limits attendance to about 60 participants and typically has just one program track for everyone, which has worked well for this group.

As usual, organizers did a fine job.  Jim Smith, campus dean at Ohio University Lancaster was the conference chair, and the program committee clearly worked hard to create a strong set of sessions.  I have attended RBCA most years since 1995, and I always have a great time.  Indeed, I believe that the annual NABCA and RBCA conferences are highly complementary, and I encourage branch leaders to consider attending one or both, whenever possible.

This year, I provided the opening keynote, discussing my new book, as well as offering some thoughts on future opportunities and risks for branch campuses.  On Monday, I was extremely pleased and flattered when it became apparent that at least a few folks had read my book and found it useful.  Book sales continue to go decently well, I think, although I have no benchmark for comparison.  My deep hope is that Out on a Limb:  A Branch Campus Life will be helpful to those who work on branch campuses, especially if they are newly arrived.  Out on a Limb is my attempt to tell a branch campus story, but I also believe interested individuals could find quite a few potential research projects to test out whatever "claims" I've made.

I know that people working on branch campuses can feel under appreciated, and very often they have limited opportunities to network and share ideas.  RBCA and NABCA help speak to those issues, and I hope my book does, as well.  On branch campuses faculty and staff are all about providing access and opportunity to people who otherwise may have no reasonable expectation of realizing their educational dreams.  It is important work, done by remarkably dedicated professionals.  They deserve support and encouragement!