Annual AURCO Conference Celebrates Ohio’s Regional College Campuses
The 25th Annual AURCO Conference (Association for University Regional Campuses of Ohio) to be held at the Kent State Regional Academic Center in Twinsburg on April 5 through 6. The conference theme is, “The Apple Falls Close to the Tree: Regional Campuses in our Own Backyard.”
According to AURCO Conference Coordinator, AURCO Journal Associate Editor and Associate Professor of English at Kent State Geauga, Dr. Renate W. Prescott, the conference theme “refers to the regional campus system in Ohio that links us in positive and productive ways to our main campus universities — Regional Campuses in our Own Backyard.”
The keynote speaker will be Dr. Nathan Ritchey, Vice President for Kent State System Integration and Interim Dean of the Regional College. Dr. Ritchey oversees the seven regional campuses of Kent State University and understands how regional campuses operate.
“With over 25 years of experience in academe, he will be able to address Ohio faculty who have in common the regional campus experience,” Dr. Prescott explains. “His keynote address, “K, R, and P Vitamins for Ohio’s Regional Campuses” (K for Kindness, R for Respect, and P for Purpose) celebrates our common purpose to educate our students.”
The conference theme resonates generally among all Ohio regional colleges but particularly in the Geauga and Twinsburg communities. Dr. Prescott explains, “Although students who enroll in a regional campus are already students of their university, it is nevertheless our responsibility to prepare them to move smoothly from the regional campus to the parent campus; hence, all apples come from the same tree.”
She continues, “The theme acknowledges that although we teach at a regional campus, we are also faculty members of our departments and universities. A Regional campus faculty is unique because we serve many masters: the home department, the regional campus, and the university. We must be active scholars through publishing and remaining current in our discipline, and we must be excellent instructors to ensure a good education for our students. As well, we must be good citizens of our campus and the university.”
Geauga is one of seven regional campuses but is unique because of its two locations: the Geauga Campus in Burton and the Regional Academic Center in Twinsburg. Students have options to take courses at either one campus or both, sometimes at other close-by regional campuses, and sometimes at the Kent campus.
The locations at Kent State Geauga and the Regional Academic Center offer access to a university education that is close to home, close to work, and affordable, Dr. Prescott says. In addition to traditional classroom courses, online classes are also offered for working students or for parents at home with children. Kent State Geauga even has a “Zoom Room,” a live classroom that is broadcasted to another campus electronically. “In short, we do everything we can to ensure that students have the opportunity to study for a university degree!”
The annual AURCO conference provides an opportunity for regional campus scholars like Kent State Geauga faculty to present papers, participate in workshops and roundtable discussions, and publish in the journal AURCO.
The conference is held at a different host campus each year, and this year’s event will kick off with a welcome reception on Friday, April 5 from 6:00 p.m to 9:00 p.m. at the Hilton Garden Inn in Twinsburg. The conference will be located at the RAC in Twinsburg on Saturday, April 6 from 7:30 a.m. until after lunch around 2:30 p.m.
The AURCO conference is not solely for college faculty. It welcomes student scholarship via poster and paper competitions. Students can submit posters and explain their research throughout the conference day. Students who submit papers present them through a brief talk and discussion about their work. Both competitions are judged by AURCO judges and winners from each category are awarded a monetary prize. Student volunteers also act as guides and information hosts for attendees. This is an excellent way for students to meet faculty from all over Ohio and learn about the academic conference experience.
Community members are also welcome to attend the conference. Anyone interested in attending can go to the AURCO website and select “conference” for further information about the conference and registration fees.