SCU keeps it cool at CAHEA conference

Professor Adrian Hinkle speaking at the CAHEA Conference


In the middle of a smoldering hot Oklahoma summer, the Oklahoma City Marriott Hotel provided a cool place for nearly 35 Christian higher education institutions from all over the United States to chill out as they attended the 2010 Christian Adult Higher Education Association Conference.

The yearly conference, which ran July 27th through July 30th, originally began in the summer of 1995 with the intent of trying to confront issues and problems that most Christian, non-traditional, higher educational programs were facing. The success of the first conference confirmed the arrangement of a second meeting the following year, and the conference has since become an annual event with different cities playing host each year. This year the event fell into the lap of Oklahoma City, which was right at home for local Christian colleges such as Southwestern Christian University, Southern Nazarene University, and Mid-America Christian University.

Southwestern Christian University had the pleasure of co-hosting the conference with Southern Nazarene University. In addition to serving as host, SCU sent a total of five representatives to the conference. Dr. Reggies Wenyika, Adrian Hinkle, Patty Woodring, Gary Burchette, and Cassie Duffle were all present at the Christian conference, with both Wenyika and Hinkle acting as session speakers. Following the opening dinner and registration, the event went underway early Wednesday morning with a “Welcome and Devotional” from Southern Nazarene University Provost, Dr. Mary Jones. The conference included four general sessions with speakers such as Jan Asnica (Vice President of EFL Associates), Paul Sechrist (Oklahoma City Community College President), Gary Conti (Professor of Adult Education at Oklahoma State University), and Bridget Aitchison (Vice President and Dean of Indiana Wesleyan University). These four general session speakers touched on topics such as higher education marketing, the U.S. at risk due to American education, learning strategy preferences, and the next step in adult education. Concurrent sessions were held in addition to the four general sessions. Southwestern Christian University’s own Adrian Hinkle (Assistant Professor/Department Chair at SCU) spoke on “The Engaged Classroom” while Dr. Wenyika (Vice President of Academic Affairs at SCU) spoke on “Maintaining Institutional Culture Integrity in Christian Adult Higher Education”, as well as presenting a devotion on Friday morning. Southwestern Christian University was well represented throughout the entirety of the event.

The conference was not confined to business only, however. Conference attendants were treated to an evening of fun in Oklahoma City’s Historic Entertainment District. The night included a one hour water taxi ride on the Bricktown Canal as well as a visit to the Oklahoma City National Memorial. Attendants were shuttled back to their hotel later in the night, but not before a quick look at the AT&T Bricktown Ballpark. The evening provided a fresh taste of the Oklahoma City community, since most of the attendants were from out of state.

The conference was an overall success for the university as it helped showcase all of the hard work that the faculty puts into making Southwestern Christian University a top-notch higher educational institution. Attendants were impressed and very grateful for everything that SCU and SNU did to set the event into motion. The Southwestern faculty was also able to enjoy the conference and gather a wealth of information. “The Christian Adult Higher Education Conference (CAHEA) was amazing. It really was a great chance to network with other Christian universities and get great ideas to help improve on all of our programs here at SCU.” says Cassie Duffle (Professional Studies Program Representative, SCU). For SCU, the event was just another “cool” experience during these hot summer months.