CEAC room

Community Engagement

Administrators Conference (CEAC)

Launched in 2004 as the Community Service and Service-Learning Directors Conference, CEAC (pronounced c-ack) is designed for community engagement professionals – both faculty and staff – who facilitate civic and community engagement programs and initiatives. Renamed in 2008, this gathering allows participants to reflect on their role and work through presentations and workshops, facilitated discussions, and networking. CEAC is usually held in June at an NCCE member campus.  CEAC is usually only for representatives from NCCE member institutions, although this is subject to change based on the focus. 

2024 CEAC (Open to non-NCCE member institutions)

“Hope in the Face of High Waters and Headwinds: Deepening Engagement in Challenging  Times”
June 13, 2024 at Elon University


The tides of change are rising on our campuses and in our nation. Many campuses are facing resource scarcity, enrollment declines, free speech conundrums, bans and gag orders on what language can be used and what can be taught, questions about the value of a degree, and calls to eliminate or reduce investment in non-academic endeavors, just to name a few. Meanwhile, polarization, misinformation, and disinformation are at record high, while we are on the brink of the most contentious election in recent memory. The geopolitical landscape is rapidly changIng with war and entanglements on the rise around the world. Meanwhile, our communities continue to face persistent social challenges such as poverty, food insecurity, homelessness, educational inequity, and more. Oh, and don’t forget the climate and AI. In the midst of all this, there has been a noticeable increase in turnover in community engagement positions on campuses, in North Carolina and beyond. 

And yet, I know we can all share dozens, if not hundreds, of stories that bring hope. Stories of the impactful, transformative community and civic engagement courses, initiatives, programs, projects, and partnerships we are part of everyday. We bear witness to the transformative impact of these efforts on students, faculty, administrators, communities, and community members. We stay committed to the work and are seeking continuous improvement and impact. We do our best to hold onto hope and to help others hold onto it as well.

CEAC 2024 will include reflection, networking, and facilitated conversations to help encourage and support community engagement professionals who do this work every day. 

The registration fee is $75 for NCCE members and colleges and universities who are members of one of the organizations in IKONC and the Partnership Alliance.  The fee is $100 for non-members. 

Registration closed on June 7. If you are seeking to register after this date, contact Kelli Russell to see if are able to accommodate you. 

Agenda at a Glance


Time Activity
8:30 a.m. Check-in and continental breakfast, McKinnon Hall, Moseley Center
9:00 a.m.

Welcome and opening plenary session

High Waters and Headwinds: A Conversation about the Higher Education Civic Engagement Movement Today

Conversationalists: Leslie Garvin and Nancy Thomas

10:15 a.m. Session 1 – Breakout Sessions
11:30 a.m. Session 2 – Breakout Sessions
12:30 p.m. Lunch
1:15 p.m. Group Walk/Outdoor Time (Optional)
1:50 p.m.

Afternoon Plenary session

Balancing Act: Nurturing Empathy and Resilience in Community-Engaged Endeavors

Allison Walker, High Point University

3:00 p.m. Community Conversations & Roundtables
3:45 p.m. Share Outs
4:00 p.m. Closing Session
4:30 p.m. Adjourn


Special Guest

We will open the conference with a fireside chat featuring an outstanding national leader in the civic and community engagement field. You won’t want to miss this expert practitioner-scholar as she discusses the state of higher education civic and community engagement and reflects on the challenges and opportunities presented by the current climate and context.

Nancy Thomas, JD, EdD

Executive Director of the Institute for Democracy & Higher Education (IDHE) &
Senior Advisor to the President for Democracy Initiatives at the American Association of Colleges & Universities (AAC&U)

An applied research center, IDHE’s mission is to strengthen student learning for and institutional commitment to a more inclusive and robust democracy. IDHE’s research-to-practice areas include educating for a democracy in question, the role of colleges and universities in redesigning and sustaining a more aspirational democracy, improving discussion and discussion teaching on campuses, and campus climates for engagement in democracy, balancing speech and inclusion, academic freedom, and elections as catalysts for year-round political learning. Prior to relocating to AAC&U, Dr. Thomas founded and designed Tufts University’s National Study of Learning, Voting, and Engagement (NSLVE), the nation’s largest study of college student voting and civic participation. Dr. Thomas has published extensively on these topics, which can be found here. She serves on several advisory boards and committees, including the U.C. National Center for Free Speech and Civic Engagement, the Andrew Goodman Foundation, and the Faculty Engagement Network. She holds a BA from St. Lawrence University, a JD from Case Western Reserve School of Law, and an EdD from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Afternoon Plenary Session

Balancing Act: Nurturing Empathy and Resilience in Community-Engaged Endeavors

In today’s ever-evolving academic landscape, community-engaged professionals face many challenges. From dwindling financial support to navigating complex political pressures surrounding free speech and inclusivity, the journey can often feel daunting. However, despite these headwinds, there exists a transformative approach rooted in the power of empathy, resilience, and self-care.

Empathy plays a vital role in navigating the complexities of interdisciplinary collaboration and cross-sector partnerships. By cultivating a deep sense of empathy for diverse perspectives and experiences, community-engaged professionals can bridge divides, build trust, and co-create innovative solutions to complex challenges. This empathic approach fosters inclusive dialogue, encourages meaningful participation, and empowers community members to take ownership of their collective future.

However, the journey towards compassionate engagement and resilience cannot be fully realized without prioritizing self-care. As defined by the World Health Organization, self-care encompasses intentional habits that nurture physical, spiritual, mental, emotional, and social well-being. It is a transformative practice that empowers individuals to maintain their health, cope with challenges, and cultivate resilience in the face of adversity.

In essence, empathy and self-care intertwine to form a holistic framework for navigating the complexities of our field by prioritizing human connection, holistic well-being, and sustainable partnerships. This empathic approach not only enriches community-engaged scholarship but also fosters meaningful social change, ultimately paving the way for a more just, inclusive, and resilient society.

Allison S. Walker, MFA
Director of Service Learning, High Point University

A graduate of the University of Alaska Anchorage, Allison S. Walker received her M.F. A. in Creative Writing in 2004 and joined High Point University in 2009. She directs the Service Learning program and the Civic Responsibility and Social Innovation interdisciplinary minor in the Center for Community Engagement and teaches in the department of English and the Communications and Business Leadership graduate program. Her poems and photography have appeared in numerous literary journals and her recent scholarly work in the Community Literacy Journal, The Journal of Writing Analytics, and the edited collection, Teaching Writing in the Health Professions: Perspectives, Problems, and Practices, published by Routledge in 2023. Her research interests include narrative medicine, deliberative dialogue, and empathy studies. She also directs HPU LifeLines, a service learning initiative that harnesses the healing power of the creative arts by connecting students with residents of local assisted living and after-school programs. In her spare time, Allison likes to teach yoga and volunteer as a vet tech for the Feral Cat Assistance Program of Guilford County.

Allison S. Walker is a professor of English and the Director of Service Learning in the Center for Community Engagement at High Point University. She’s mom to a grownish daughter studying (she’s studying, right?) environmental policy at UNC Asheville and caregiver to two cats, some assorted chickens, and several hives of backyard bees. In her spare time, Allison teaches horseback riding and yoga, sometimes simultaneously, and volunteers as a vet tech for the Feral Cat Assistance Program. She’s an avid bookworm, a live music lover, and she’s as happy hiking in the middle of nowhere as she is on a crowded train in a faraway land. She earned her MFA in creative writing in 2004 and her 200-hour yoga certification in 2023.


We have secured a block of rooms for Wednesday, June 12 for CEAC attendees.  Please follow this LINK to reserve your room.

Drury Inn & Suites Burlington
1767 Glidewell Drive
Burlington, NC 27215
(336) 584-2004

Please make your reservations by Friday, May 10, 2024 to receive the group rate of $122 (plus taxes, fees, and assessments).  Reservations made after this date will be subject to prevailing rates and availability.   Reservations may also be made by calling 1-800-325-0720 and referring to your group number 10109198.

The Drury Inn offers the following amenities:

  • Complimentary Hot Breakfast – Enjoy scrambled eggs, oatmeal, fresh fruit, potatoes, pastries, the all-important coffee and more. Hot, fresh, and, best of all, free. Free hot breakfast is served daily from 6-9:30 a.m. on weekdays
  • Complimentary Evening Drinks and Snacks (5:30 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.) – Every evening enjoy a rotating menu of hot food, beer, wine, mixed drinks and soft drinks.

Past Community Engagement Administrators Conferences 

Click on the title to view the program booklet.

2023CEAC 2023Read highlights

2021 – Democratic Partnerships and Critical Reflection in SLCE: Old Stuff, New Stuff, and Upcoming Opportunities (We hosted a 2-hour virtual workshop in 2021 rather than a full-day event)

2020 — Recalibration:  Knowledge & Tools for Deepening & Sustaining Community & Civic Engagement (the 2020 event was virtual due to the COVID-19 pandemic)


2019 —  Southern Region Community College Institute (the 2019 focus was community college civic & community engagement)
Facilitator: Verdis Robinson

2018 — Planning for Data Collection on Civic and Community Engagement Activities
Facilitator: Anne Weiss

2017The Future of Alternative Service Breaks: Deeper Learning and Impact

2016Recognizing Implicit Bias in Community Engagement

2015 — Diving Deep in Community Engagement

2013 — Alternative Service Experiences Institute

2012 — Tracking and Measuring Community Engagement:  Articulating Methods that Align with Current and Future Institutional Goals

2010 — CEAC 2010

2009CEAC Conference  

2008CEAC Conference “Closer to the Goal: Going Deeper in our Civic Engagement Efforts”

2007CSD-SLD Conference

2006CSD-SLD Conference “20/20 Visioning”

2005CSD-SLD Conference

2004CSD-SLD Conference

2003 — Southeast Conference for Community Service and Service Learning Directors