student development conference

Student Development Professionals Converge on Piedmont Tech

March 9, 2016

Nearly 150 student development professionals from North and South Carolina as well as Georgia and Florida came together at Piedmont Technical College recently to focus on the practical applications of innovative ideas in student development.

“As educators we’re always looking for new ways to solve student problems,” said Andy Omundson, associate vice president for student affairs. “Our number one goal is student success.”

The biennial New Directions in Student Development conference is a professional development program for practitioners of all levels in the field of Student Development from two-year community and technical colleges in the five-state region of the Southeast. Student development practitioners are all the people at a college whose jobs directly affect a student but aren’t inside a classroom, including admissions and financial aid counselors and academic advisers.

Though professional development conferences are offered through the National Council on Student Development, they are often far away and very expensive to attend. Recognizing the need for a local forum for education professionals to exchange ideas and learn best practices, Piedmont Tech developed and hosted its first conference about 25 years ago.

The keynote speaker for the event was Dr. James Hudgins, director of the Community College Leadership Alliance at the University of South Carolina. Hudgins held positions in four different two-year colleges and the South Carolina Technical College system office over his 37-year career. He retired from the system in Dec. 2005. After 15 years of service as an adjunct faculty member for USC, he joined the Higher Education Leadership and Policies faculty at the University as a clinical professor in Jan. 2006. His mission is to develop the future executive leadership of the South Carolina Technical College System.

“My message to you as student development professionals is if you’re going to lead tomorrow, you’ve got to learn today,” said Hudgins. “You will never be a leader if you don’t discover the potential that is within you.”

Topics ranged from setting student goals and student retention to establishing veterans’ centers and developing undergraduate research programs.

Photo Caption: Dr. James Hudgins presents the keynote address at the New Directions in Student Development conference held recently at Piedmont Technical College. Nearly 150 student development professionals from North and South Carolina as well as Georgia and Florida came together for the professional development program for practitioners of all levels in the field of Student Development from two-year community and technical colleges.