Strategies for a Stellar Education Forum

The Conference Council is hard at work putting all of the pieces together for the upcoming Education Forum. The group met in February, reviewed members’ feedback, and made plans to incorporate some changes into the 2016 Education Forum in Minneapolis. We also began strategizing ways to meet the needs of our growing membership over the next several years.

But before we get to that, let me introduce myself. I am the new chair of the Conference Council, having assumed that role this past January. This council is charged with:

  • promoting excellence through ongoing professional development and networking;
  • soliciting and reviewing proposals for sessions held at the Education Forum and the AAPA Annual Conference;
  • creating the schedule for the Forum; and
  • moderating and evaluating sessions.

Council members take this charge very seriously, and we’re looking forward to continuing to enhance the quality of the educational session offerings, while promoting opportunities for networking.

Your Wish List

Now let’s get back to Minneapolis — and what you may be hoping to find at the Forum. Here’s what we know, based on your feedback:

  • You’d like to see more quality sessions.
  • You’d like to have some sessions offered multiple times in order to decrease the need to choose one while missing another.
  • You’re interested in more topics that speak to mid-career (6–10 years) and “seasoned” professionals (greater than 11 years in PA education).

There is no shortage of day-to-day topics that pertain to all of us, no matter how long we’ve been in education. And the Forum will continue to offer sessions that apply to all levels of educators, while weaving in more options for those who may remember what it was like when there were fewer than 100 PA programs in the U.S.

With that in mind, the titles of this year’s confirmed sessions are now posted on the Forum website with session descriptions coming soon.

What About Scheduling?

There are so many offerings at the Forum that it can be hard to choose which session to attend. The goal for the 2016 Forum in Minneapolis is to decrease the number of similar topics offered during the same time period, so that you don’t have to worry about racing out of one session to get to another session. Eventually we hope to repeat sessions, so that if you miss something the first time around, you can catch it later on during the Forum.


Nearly as important as our own continuing education is networking. You come from far and wide not only to learn about innovations in PA education, but also to see friends you made back when you attended Basic Skills together.

We often learn as much from catching up with our colleagues as we do from attending sessions. So a significant amount of dedicated time will continue to be set aside for networking at the Forum.

If you haven’t started thinking about the Forum yet, visit the website, jot down the dates, and take note of a couple of changes. Typically the professional development workshops, such as Basic Faculty Skills and Basic Clinical Coordinators, have been held right before the Forum.

This year, these PandoTM workshops will take place at the end of the Forum. Scheduling has been adjusted due to the Yom Kippur holiday with education sessions to be held October 13-16 followed by the Pando workshops on October 16-18.

We’re working hard on making this your best Forum experience yet! I’d like to thank my predecessor, Thomas Woods, for his fine work in developing an amazing team of Conference Council members and the PAEA staff for their great support. See you in Minneapolis!