The first in-person CEAC since 2019 was a powerful day of learning, sharing, and connecting. On June 15, community engagement professionals from 20 NCCE campuses came together with enthusiasm and energy. The agenda included a “State of Our Union” address from NCCE Executive Director, Leslie Garvin, reflecting on many of the strengths, challenges, and opportunities currently facing the higher education community and civic engagement field in North Carolina.

Participants could also choose from eight engaging workshops, facilitated by fellow CEPs, on topics related to program management and sustainability, innovation, community partnership development, and student leadership and development. There we also two interactive community conversations/roundtables. See the CEAC program booklet at the bottom for full descriptions.


During lunch a panel of “veterans” – CEPs in the field for at least a decade – sharing insights and wisdom. Dr. Patti Clayton, the NCCE practitioner-scholar-in-residence, facilitated the
discussion.The panel consisted of:

  • Tamara Johnson, Ph.D., Director of Engaged Scholarship, UrbanCORE, UNC Charlotte
  • Dr. Kate Johnson, Ed.D., Director, Key Center for Community Engagement, UNC Asheville
  • Deb Myers, Ph.D., Director, Center for Community Engagement, Mars Hill University
  • Ryan Nilsen, MTS, Senior Program Officer for Community Engagement, Carolina Center for Public Service, UNC-Chapel Hill

During lunch we also honored Rene Summers, the NCCE Program Assistant for the past 12 years. We celebrated her support and contributions to NCCE and wished her well on her retirement.

After lunch, Leslie facilitated an Open Space session where participants co-created the agenda. Topic conveners facilitated conversations on gentrification, retaining great CCE staff, climate change and CCE, professional development networks for outreach & engagement professionals, and innovative strategies.

During the closing session participants reflected on the day and NCCE gave out door prizes. It was an exciting and energizing day.  Let’s just say that (as captured by this photo of Kate from UNC Asheville) we had a “rockin’ good time!.”

Special thanks to the NCCE team, and especially Rene Summers, for all her hard work on the logistics, to the panelists and workshop presenters, and to the Elon events team for all their support.

CEAC program booklet