New Conference Director on Board

jeff-wolfeAfter 30 plus years in the corporate market, Jeff Wolfe has accepted the position of director of conferences and noncredit programs for Kansas State University’s Division of Continuing Education. Wolfe began the position at the start of fall semester.

The conferences and noncredit programs office provides conference and event planning services for the university as well as professional societies and associations. Each year it coordinates more than 120 programs spanning local, regional, national and international audiences.

“The most interesting and exciting part for me has been becoming part of a university,” Wolfe said. “I’ve really learned a whole new aspect of conferences. In the past I’ve planned conferences within the for-profit sector for insurance companies, telecommunications firms, corporations, the pharmaceutical industry — and that’s all very different from what we do here within the nonprofit sector. I’m learning how to best utilize my background and my experience to help shape our team into further growth.”

Originally from Syracuse, N.Y., Wolfe graduated from Syracuse University’s School of Management with a degree in human resources. He began his career in the hospitality industry working as a reservation agent and supervisor for American Airlines before being promoted to account manager for the airline service. He then became the vice president of sales for a large travel agency, developing corporate travel services and group travel for the local business community. Wolfe later founded two of his own planning services, Executive Meetings & Incentives in 1982 and Conference Partners in 2001.

“Jeff brings a wealth of experience from the conferencing and event management industry,” said Sue Maes, dean of continuing education at K-State. “His years of leadership in client development and retention, sales and marketing, finance, and contract negotiation for national and regional corporations adds to the depth of skills found among the conference and event planning staff at K-State.”

Wolfe’s main vision for conference services is to continue building the university’s brand while increasing awareness about the services his team can provide to the campus. Professional conferences and noncredit programs staff can assist faculty with all aspects of their event — from conceptualization through evaluation.

“We have a great opportunity to use our knowledge and experience in event planning and coordination to serve the K-State community,” Wolfe said. “It’s exciting to be part of the university and play a role in helping provide educational and professional experiences to those in Kansas and beyond.”

Tips for Planning Your Summer and Fall Events

If you are planning a conference or workshop for summer or fall 2014, start planning now. Whether you’re planning a small conference with your peers or a thousand-person conference for your association, K-State conference services has some simple tips and tools to help make the most out of your event, regardless of budget and scale.

According to conference coordinator Kathryn Harth, it’s all in the planning.

“Staying organized is key,” Harth said. “Veteran planners understand that nearly all conferences require the same key elements.”

  • Set your sights on the end results. Knowing what you are trying to accomplish is the first step.

“Knowing your goals and audience will allow you to determine how to market your conference, choose a venue, create an agenda that will achieve your mission and provide the planning team with a clear path to success,” Harth said.

  • Go with experts. The Division of Continuing Education conference services staff is composed of experienced event planners who are knowledgeable about state and university policies, understand contract legalities and hotel negotiations, and who will make every effort to ensure a successful conference for your participants.
  • Plan ahead. Schedule regular planning meetings, assign tasks with a timeline established for each milestone and set clear deadlines. A well-planned event will give you the opportunity to pay attention to the details and finishing touches in the final moments.
  • Let a conference services professional be your point person. The conference coordinator can manage all logistical details, from site selection to contract negotiations to final arrangements and vendor payments.
  • Set a realistic budget. Planning an event without a budget can lead to financial disaster and undue stress when decisions need to be made or final payments are due. A realistic budget will help with the planning process and set expectations on what you can and cannot achieve.
  • Choose your location wisely. It’s important to know the venue and staff who will assist you throughout your conference.

“Conference services can help you determine effective room sets and the flow of attendees during transitions, breaks and meals and appropriate signage to be placed throughout the venue,” Harth said.

  • Take advantage of registration services. K-State conference services will oversee the registration of your event, from creating registration forms, sending confirmation emails, collecting payment and providing refunds to answering daily questions from conference participants in the weeks leading up to the conference.
  • Confirm details. Let the conference services staff do all the last minute follow-up prior to the event so you can relax and focus on the content for the event and being the host for conferences attendees. Checklists with event details will be checked and double-checked by the trained conference coordinator.

Harth says the final step is to sit back and enjoy your event.

“With advanced planning and your conference services team, you will have an amazing event that will flow seamlessly,” Harth said. Contact K-State Conferences and Noncredit Programs today to begin planning your summer or fall event.

K-State Conferences Win Regional Awards

Kansas State University’s Conferences and Noncredit Programs team brought home two awards from the University Professional and Continuing Education Association’s (UPCEA) regional conference Sept. 25-27 in Minneapolis, Minn.

The Engineering Summer Institute received the Innovative Noncredit Program Award, presented to an outstanding new program offered within the last two years. Evaluation criteria included cost effectiveness, innovation, diversity, extent to which the program has fulfilled its objectives and contribution to adult and continuing education. The Engineering Summer Institute provided the opportunity for students from Gujarat Technological University in Gujarat, India to travel to K-State to complete two eight-week courses in electrical and mechanical engineering disciplines taught by K-State faculty.

The Mature Noncredit Program Award was given to the Kansas Transportation Engineering Conference. This award is given to a mature program that has been offered for the past five years and demonstrates sustained innovation. Other evaluation criteria match that of the Innovative Noncredit Program Award. The 2013 KTE featured 38 speakers and more than 550 attendees. This annual conference plays a leading role in the development of and communication surrounding transportation innovation in Kansas.

Debbie Hagenmaier, K-State assistant director of conferences and noncredit programs, serves as the regional chair for UPCEA.

“As regional chair, I preside at regional business meetings held during regional and annual conferences,” Hagenmaier said. “This year I also had the privilege of being the emcee at the awards ceremony at the regional conference.” In her role as regional chair, Hagenmaier also serves on the UPCEA regional cabinet.

Kansas Transportation Engineering Conference Honored at UPCEA Central Region Conference

The Kansas Transportation Engineering Conference received the 2013 Mature Noncredit Program Award from the University Professional and Continuing Education Association Central Region. The award was presented at the UPCEA Central Region Conference on Sept. 25-27, 2013 in Minneapolis, Minn.

To be eligible for the award, a program must have been offered for the past five years and demonstrated sustained innovation, with priority given to programs dealing with social, diversity or educational issues. ‘

KTE held its 95th annual conference in 2013. With 38 speakers and more than 550 attendees in 2013, the conference plays a leading role in the development and communication surrounding transportation innovation in Kansas.

Engineering Summer Institute wins innovative program award

Kansas State University’s Engineering Summer Institute has received the University Professional and Continuing Education Association Central Region’s 2013 Innovative Noncredit Program Award. The award was presented at the UPCEA Central Region Conference, Sept. 25-27 in Minneapolis, Minn.

The Engineering Summer Institute began in 2012 as a collaborative effort between the state of Gujarat, India, and Kansas State University. Through this collaborative program, students from Gujarat Technological University travel to Kansas State to complete two eight-week courses in electrical and mechanical engineering disciplines taught by Kansas State faculty. The program has provided a new pathway for academic and cultural exchange between the two schools.

Source: Sue Maes, 785-532-5644, scmaes@k-state.edu
Written By: Samantha Etsell, 785-532-5888, setsell@k-state.edu
K-State News Services

Wolfe Named Director of Conferences and Noncredit Programs

After 30 plus years in the corporate market, Jeff Wolfe has accepted the position of director of conferences and noncredit programs for Kansas State University’s Division of Continuing Education. Wolfe began the position at the start of fall semester.

The conferences and noncredit programs office provides conference and event planning for the university as well as outside companies and associations across the nation. Each year it coordinates more than 120 programs spanning local, regional, national and international audiences.

“The most interesting and exciting part for me has been becoming part of a university,” Wolfe said. “I’ve really learned a whole new aspect of conferences. In the past I’ve planned conferences within the for-profit sector for insurance companies, telecommunications firms, corporations, the pharmaceutical industry–and that’s all very different than what we do here within the nonprofit sector. I’m learning how to best utilize my background and my experience to help shape our team into further growth.”

Originally from Syracuse, N.Y., Wolfe graduated from Syracuse University’s School of Management with a degree in human resources. He began his career in the hospitality industry working as a reservation agent and supervisor for American Airlines before becoming an account manager for the airline service. He then became the vice president of sales for a large travel agency, developing corporate travel services and group travel for the local business community.

In 1982, Wolfe founded Executive Meetings & Incentives, a meeting planning and incentive marketing company in northern New Jersey. In 2001, he moved to South Florida and founded Conference Partners, his second meeting and incentive company, where he worked closely with insurance clients while assisting them with a strategic meetings management program.

“Jeff brings a wealth of experience from the conferencing and event management industry,” said Sue Maes, dean of continuing education at Kansas State University. “His years of leadership in client development and retention, sales and marketing, finance, and contract negotiation for national and regional corporations adds to the depth of skills found among the conference and event planning staff at K-State.”

One of Wolfe’s goals as director is to help his team of event coordinators and registration staff challenge themselves to try new things. This helps keep the university at the forefront when it comes to conference planning.

“I want them to expand their horizons,” Wolfe said. “If we can revisit the way we’ve done some things through an exchange of ideas, we can keep making improvements to better the team and the conferences we coordinate.”

Wolfe’s main vision for conference services is to continue building the university’s brand while increasing awareness about the services his team can provide to the campus. Professional conferences and noncredit program staff can assist K-State faculty throughout all aspects of their event, from conceptualization through evaluation.

“We have a great opportunity to use our knowledge and experience in event planning and coordination to serve the K-State community,” Wolfe said. “It’s exciting to be part of the university and play a role in helping provide educational and professional experiences to those in Kansas and beyond.”

Source: Sue Maes, 785-532-5644, scmaes@k-state.edu
Written By: Anna Shippy, 785-532-5888, akshippy@k-state.edu
K-State News Services

Summer institute brings South Korean computer science students to campus

Computer science is the focus of a new educational and cultural exchange program between Kansas State University and South Korea’s Hanyang University this summer.

Thirty computer science students from the South Korean university are taking part in the newly established Korean Summer Institute, which is sponsored by Kansas State University’s College of Engineering, English language program and Division of Continuing Education and by the South Korean government.

The summer program is part of a larger program called SMaSH, or the Software Maven School at Hanyang University that is funded in part by industry and the Korean government. The aim is to send 30 students a year from South Korea to Kansas State University over the next four summers to continue the cultural exchange and educational opportunity.

The students are spending six weeks on campus refining their computer programming techniques and also practicing their English grammar and technical writing skills. The goal is to give them a taste of American life and to let them experience the world-class computer science curriculum that the department of computing and information sciences offers.

The program designer and coordinator is Kyung-Goo Doh, a Kansas State University computing and information sciences doctoral graduate who now teaches at Hanyang University. Kansas State University’s Masaaki Mizuno, professor of computing and information sciences, is assisting with the institute. Both think the institute is on track for success.

“I think this is very beneficial for both our departments,” Doh said. “South Korea is a really small country, so the only way we can survive is to work hard. For the future, the government has tried to push students to excel and has put an emphasis on computer science.”

“Interaction with a Korean university and the possibility of sending our students to them in the future is really, really nice. Plus, this is a wonderful way to recruit future graduate students,” Mizuno said.

Kim Jae-Sung, one of the visiting students, is looking forward to the opportunities the institute will provide.

“The first thing is practicing our English skills,” Jae-Sung said. “It’s very helpful for me to communicate with a foreigner. The second is practicing computer programming skills. Professor Mizuno is very good and I hope that I will learn a lot in these coming weeks.”

“I want to improve my skills in embedded computer systems, improve my English skills and the last thing is to just have fun,” said Sung-Jye Cho, another institute participant.

In addition to the engineering curriculum, Kansas State University is sponsoring several events for the students to help immerse them in U.S. culture, including a trip to a Kansas City Royals baseball game.

“They have only been here a short time, but some of my students in computer science are already good friends with the Korean students,” Mizuno said. “We all went to see fireworks in Wamego for the Fourth of July and one of my students told me that this was a great opportunity for him, too.”

The students will celebrate completion of the program at 3 p.m. Aug. 6 with a special closing ceremony at the K-State Alumni Center.

Source: K-State Today, July 23, 2013

Hultgren receives Rising Star Award from Kansas City MPI chapter

Renee Hultgren, events manager at K-State Olathe, received the Rising Star Award from the Kansas City chapter of Meeting Planners International. This award recognizes a Kansas City MPI member of less than three years who has contributed extraordinarily to the organization with his or her dedication, vision, enthusiasm, willingness to participate, volunteer efforts and commitment.

As a new member to the organization, Hultgren assisted with its Strategic Alliance. When the need arose on the programs committee for the inaugural Catering and Restaurant Showcase, she became the program lead. The April 10 showcase brought local caterers, event vendors and meeting and event planners together for the premier catering event in the Kansas City area. Vendors marketed their companies, learned current ideas and trends and developed business connections. The event also gave companies the opportunity to introduce themselves to event planners and other key decision-makers in the business industry.

Michelle Lizak, immediate past-president of the Kansas City Meeting Planners International, said, “Renee has been an amazing asset to the chapter by making the showcase a successful education and fundraising event. Her attention to detail and vision for the event was incredible.”

Additionally, the Kansas City organization nominated K-State Olathe and the K-State Division of Continuing Education for the Employer Recognition Award, which recognizes an organization that has generously contributed to the Kansas City MPI by supporting its employee as active members.

Source: Jacqueline Spears, 913-307-7313, jdspears@k-state.edu
Written by: Kristi Northcutt, 913-307-7341, knorthcutt@k-state.edu
Website: K-State Olathe
K-State News Services

Hagenmaier elected UPCEA Central Region chair

Debbie Hagenmaier, assistant director of Conferences and Noncredit Programs, has been elected chair for the Central Region of the University Professional and Continuing Education Association. She assumed office at the UPCEA annual meeting in April. Hagenmaier previously served as regional secretary.

Maes receives UPCEA International Leadership Award

Division of Continuing Education Dean Sue Maes received the International Leadership Award at the University Professional and Continuing Education Association annual meeting April 3-5 in Boston. Maes was recognized for her leadership in developing extensive international partnerships and a culture of open dialogue that has resulted in recent collaborations with Ecuador and India.

In the Engineering Summer Institute, students from Gujarat Technological University in India come to K-State for eight-week courses in engineering. In the Go Teacher program, scholars from Ecuador come to campus to learn how to teach English as a Second Language and experience a cultural immersion in the United States. Go Teacher is expanding through collaborations with other institutions, with K-State overseeing the program. Ecuador’s government has targeted 5,00o scholars to participate.

Maes’ leadership, collaborative skills and global view have resulted in a career that successfully creates opportunities for  thousands to continue their education.