Department Spotlight: Department of Education

It's back to school time, so we thought it only fitting to take a look at the Department of Education (ED) to get a sense of what is on their "syllabus" for the next government fiscal year. The stated mission of the Department is to "promote student achievement and preparation for global competitiveness by fostering educational excellence and ensuring equal access." It is a fairly new cabinet-level agency established in 1980. In addition to providing federal support and coordination to the states, the agency is responsible for administering loans and grants for higher education.

A current focus for the Department is modernization. A recent GAO report looked at the ten most critical updates needed in government. ED had one system on the list that was relying on COBOL programming language, a language that is not used or taught anymore, and those who do know it are retiring from the workforce.

Beyond this obvious and critical modernization need, the Department is looking at many other modernization initiatives, including updating the federal student loan process to streamline and simplify applications. Similarly, ED is actively investigating ways that modernized loan systems can reduce and even stop fraud involved in loan applications.

For people working with the Department of Education, there are several conferences and events in the coming months that address the education sector directly as well as guide modernization more generally.

  • Public Sector Innovation Summit (October 2, 2019; Arlington, VA) - This event brings together IT leaders from government and industry to discuss best practices, opportunities, and key trends in the government technology space. Additional focus areas include efficiently moving to the cloud, transforming IT to modernize government, innovating in a risk-averse culture, and much more.
  • EDUCAUSE Annual Conference (October 14-17, 2019; Chicago, IL) - Focused on the higher ed IT market, professionals and technology providers from around the world will come together to share ideas, grow professionally, and discover solutions to today's challenges. Topics include managing and reducing information technology risk, navigating change, transforming the student experience, and creating a culture of data-informed decision-making.
  • P3 Higher Education Summit (October 24-25, 2019; San Diego, CA) -- Public-private partnerships (P3s) are delivering essential infrastructure on campuses across the country. University representatives and industry leaders will discuss the latest modes of campus infrastructure delivery. The agenda will focus on P3 education, financing, procurement, policy, and networking.
  • Blockchain Expo North America (November 13-14; Santa Clara, CA) - This event will include a series of expert keynotes, interactive panel discussions and solution-based case studies exploring the key industries that are set to be disrupted the most by this new technology, including financial services, government, and education.

Let us know what other events could benefit people working at the federal level of education. Share your thoughts in the comments.

Behind the Curtain: GAIN 2018 Conference

GAIN - which stands for Grow, Accelerate, Innovate, Network - has become the annual home for government marketers to come together and share challenges, tactics, and successes. This event, now in its third year, filled a void in the event landscape for government marketers.

Government marketing is a unique field given the strict guidelines that surround government purchasing. What works in the commercial market does not always translate to government. And speaking of translate, the government's acronym alphabet soup feels like a whole different language.

We spoke with Founder Lou Anne Brossman to find out what attendees should expect at this year's event.

What makes GAIN different from other federal events?

First, there's our focus on the marketers. When we started this event I had people come up to me and exclaim, "I've found my people!" Marketers are so busy and focused on their day to day that once they were able to take a step back and talk with peers they realized there was a huge value in the camaraderie of this field.

It's been exciting to watch people make connections. Our attendees started referring to themselves as GAINers both at the show and throughout the year. It's really been great to see this community form.

I think another unique aspect is this idea of community. GAIN was borne out of Government Marketing University (or GMarkU), a professional learning platform that takes a collaborative, community-based approach toward knowledge sharing and skill development in the field of public sector marketing.

We have over 60 gurus from all corners of the U.S. public sector marketplace -- marketers, thought leaders, government (current and former), media and sales leaders -- contributing their time and knowledge via classes and events. Sharing is not confined to one day - it continues year round with GMarkU.

Finally, I think a unique aspect of our event is the interplay between government executives and private sector marketers. We have ambassadors, many current and former government officials, that act as mentors to marketers, providing insight into what is happening on the government side. Continue reading

The Value of Professional Education

With the kids back to school, it's a great time to turn your attention to your own professional education. Lawyers, doctors, teachers and many other professions require periodic re-certification and have strict requirements for continuing education. Likewise, many government agencies and specialty programs like the Presidential Management Fellows, require their employees to attain a certain number of training hours a year, but for the majority of people, continuing education is completely voluntary.

For those seeking ongoing professional education, there are a number of classifications and categories of education credits available. Some of the most common include:

  • CPEs - Continuing Professional Education. Offered by universities, professional organizations and private companies, these courses are typically accredited by the organization's governing body and help professionals stay current with their industry and its changes.
  • CEUs -- Continuing Education Units. These credits tend to be related to licensed professions and are tied to the renewal of those licenses.
  • Certifications - Certifications are an official marker of knowledge, study and mastery and are typically tied to a specific skill rather than a field of study.
  • CLPs -- Continuous Learning Points. This form of learning credit was created by the DoD and acquisition communities. There is no central governing body or uniform set of standards for issuing CLPs making the process for offering and awarding CLPs less rigorous than that for CEUs.

The value in pursuing educational credits, even when not required, is in the outward expression of your desire to continue to grow and expand in your career. Having certifications as letters after your name provides a level of credibility. Continue reading

How Educators Get an Education

At GovEvents, there are a host of ways professionals can continue their education in their career path of choice. But how do those that teach get their continuing education? Even educators and those in the education community need continuing education (how meta is that?). We've pulled together some of the key events for the education community in the coming months.[Tweet "Key events for the education community #GovEventsBlog"] Continue reading

Video Killed the Multitasker

With travel and training budgets remaining tight, getting people to an in-person training or event can be difficult. Many agencies are embracing online learning and video to achieve their training objectives and needs. While in-person trainings provide a high level of collaboration and attention, technology has evolved to make online training an incredibly attractive option for learning.[Tweet "Technology has evolved to make online training an attractive option. #GovEventsBlog"] From wide access to audio and video technology (with cameras and high quality speakers and microphones built into most devices) and high bandwidth, organizations are no longer limited in what they can present to remote participants. But, this does not mean every bell and whistle should be used in online training. What technologies and tools to use is a strategic decision that needs to be made based on the audience and the content.

Emily Timmerman, Senior Solutions Consultant with Adobe Connect recently shared with us some of the tips she and her team give their customers when designing virtual environments. Continue reading