July 29, 2022: Thanks to you, our National Conference was a Huge Success

A Note from Pat Cassella, Executive Director, United States Distance Learning Association — It was a great pleasure for me to interact with so many of you during our 35th annual conference last week in Nashville. There were so many memorable events, but scroll down for some highlights, and be on the lookout for more photos and articles in the weeks to come when we share what we learned in Nashville.

This year’s gathering was equal parts learning, sharing, and celebrating. Our roster of keynote speakers, workshop topics, and concurrent sessions left our attendees with fresh perspectives, got them inspired to reach new heights, and gave them some tools to bring their new ideas to life. We will continue to share those ideas with you in the coming months.

Many thanks to everyone who were able to join us and for those who couldn’t, we hope to see you in person or virtually next year! — Pat and the USDLA Board of Directors

President’s Attendee Welcome and Thank You: Thanks to USDLA President Eric Jones, seen here giving guests a warm welcome to the USDLA Annual Conference, where we are celebrating our 35th anniversary! Eric was excited to be at his first physical USDLA conference and meet all the attendees, presenters, and partners. It was certainly refreshing to be back in person after a two-year hiatus due to the Covid pandemic.

Here are a few words from Eric to the attendees this past week in Nashville: 
Dear USDLA conference attendees — As President, I would like to personally thank you for attending our 35th Anniversary conference in person and online. Your enthusiasm and support helped to make this one of the most successful conferences ever. Our partners/sponsors have commented that the interaction with the attendees was amazing. I’m hopeful it was a great learning experience and that you have established some long-lasting relationships through session networking, booth participation and the many meals and laughs we all shared together. We consider you family and I’m hopeful that you can tell we are a very tight-knit digital/distance learning family that thrives on the interaction with our attendees, members, partners, and sponsors.
While the conference is over, the opportunity to continue the fun times with USDLA is just beginning. Please enjoy your one year membership with USDLA that was included as part of your non-member conference registration fee. If you have any questions regarding the details of your membership benefits, please reach out to Dr. Beverly Knox-Pipes, USDLA Membership Chair at membership@usdla.org We are so pleased to have you as part of our family!
At USDLA, we always aspire to improve, and your feedback can help us accomplish that. I would love to hear from you. You can contact me directly at ejones@usdla.org to share your thoughts. And if there is something specific, you’d like for us to communicate to our sponsors/partners that were at the conference to help improve next year’s conference, please share with Dr. Shana Garrett (sgarrett@usdla.org), our Communications Chair.
Please note the next primary event for us is National Distance Learning Week (NDLW) where we provide informational webinar sessions the week of November 7. Please feel free to invite your colleagues…the more the merrier!
On behalf of the USDLA, I want to thank you again for your attendance. You are the reason that we are successful within the distance/digital learning community.

Excellent Sessions

Topic: Leadership Knows No Color
Presentation by: Dr. Beverly Knox-Pipes (left) and Dr. Jerri Williams-Harper
About: Attendees thoroughly enjoyed this session on Diversifying Educational Leadership entitled “Leadership Knows No Color.” The speakers captivated the audience with an engaging discussion about this important topic.
Beverly (USDLA Membership Chair) later addressed everyone to review the benefits of USDLA membership as all non-member attendees are automatically members as part of their registration this year. To learn more about membership benefits please contact her at membership@usdla.org.
Topic: Cyber Crime Raising Public Awareness
Presentation by: Dr. Kathleen Williams, Dr. Phyllis Witt, and Dr. Georgianna Laws (pictured here, USDLA Executive Board Member)
About: Great strategies and tips were provided during this informative session. Dr. Laws is the chair of National Distance Learning Week (NDLW), which starts on Nov. 7.
Coming: Please stay tuned for more information coming soon about this fabulous series of free webinars.

Awards

As we celebrated our 35th anniversary, we highlighted the amazing work of many individuals and institutions during our annual awards ceremony. Submissions are reviewed several months earlier and winners receive their plaques during the celebration. There was one special life-time achievement award given this year to George Collins, who served on the USDLA board for almost 3 decades. His passion and never-ending support for the organization and distance learning community is the perfect example of the feeling of family that we strive to provide for all of the USDLA community.

Spectacular Presentations

At every conference we look forward to poster board presentations prior to the award ceremonies. This year was no exception with more than a dozen of the best within distance/digital learning industry. We are also always grateful to our sponsors who share their products and services with us as part of the exhibit floor. We’ll be doing special monthly “Partner Spotlights” to help you better understand the products and services they offer to the USDLA community.

A Good Time Was Had By All

No one will forget the joy the crowd felt as we were entertained by Papa Gyete Williams, Ghana’s Central Region New Artist of the Year. Papa was in Nashville for the conference and blessed us with an impromptu set of his original songs. A talented individual indeed!
And this is just a taste of fun we had. Please stay tuned for more in the next issue of USDLA’s weekly newsletter!