Saint Francis University Shares Benefits of Attending the Forum

Carrie Beebout, PsyD, MPAS, PA-C

The 2021 PAEA Education Forum is rapidly approaching, and we want all PAEA members to have the unique experience of joining together with their friends and colleagues across the nation. We recently spoke with Saint Francis University Program Director Carrie Beebout, PsyD, MPAS, PA-C, about the benefits of a virtual Forum, how the Forum has impacted St. Francis faculty and staff, and more. Keep reading to learn why she called the Forum the “perfect opportunity to ask questions and share your unique challenges.”

What is your program’s history with the Forum? Have you gone to both in-person and virtual events?

I came on board as the full-time academic coordinator about seven years ago. Right away, my program director said, “You’ve got to go to the Forum.” From the first time that I went, I immediately became a fan. I’m now the program director, and we traditionally haven’t been able to send all our faculty every year due to cost and scheduling. We always sent a small handful, maybe three or four people, to the in-person Forums, and there were always more people who showed interest than we could send. So, people would kind of wait their turn. But with this most recent virtual format, as many faculty members attended as were interested.

What are the advantages of the virtual Forum?

During the virtual Forum, it’s so easy to work around your various schedules. You don’t have to pay travel costs; you can go across the hall and teach for an hour and come back and attend another session. From my perspective as a program director, the cost, the efficiency of having more staff attend, and for it be so affordable with the Bundle and Save option is outstanding.

In your opinion, what’s the most significant benefit of the Forum?

The networking is a huge benefit. I always have questions throughout the year, and I think, “I’ll just wait until the Forum. I’ll ask people what to do about this there.” The networking has led to some incredible professional connections. I met someone at a previous Forum, and because our programs were similar, we kept in touch. Then, last year we presented a session at the Forum together.

Best of all, when we come together at Forum, we talk about everything – from how our curriculum is designed, to how to handle interprofessional education. As educators, we are always willing to share what we’ve learned. When you’re in need, someone at the Forum probably has the same struggle or they have figured out a solution to your situation. The networking sessions are the perfect opportunity to ask questions and share your unique challenges. I look forward to it every year.

What’s your advice for making the most of Forum?

Look over the schedule, look over it again, highlight what you want to attend, then look over it one more time to make sure you’re not missing anything. Once Forum arrives, make sure to take time to talk to people.

As a program director, do you see a difference in your faculty and staff after they attend Forum?

Faculty and staff always come back from the Forum with ideas and clarification, knowing what we do well and where we could improve. They come back reinvigorated – with new energy, a new drive, and a book of notes.