In early September, The Association of International Credential Evaluation Professionals (TAICEP) held their annual conference in Rome, Italy. Several evaluators from ECE had the opportunity to attend this conference. They share their thoughts and experiences:
Jade Jiang Rieger learned as a first-time attendee that there are many evaluation agencies in the world, either centralized offices appointed by the government like CIMEA and NOKUT, or private organizations like ECE and SpanTran. “Different agencies in different parts of the world might evaluate the same credentials differently, so it is important for us to have dialogue with other evaluation agencies across the globe and learn from each other. In the words of presenter Emily Tse of IERF, we should 'evaluate credentials with a global mindset.'”
Amy Kawa was impressed by the wide representation of evaluators and professionals from around the world. “In my small group during the pre-conference workshop, the seven of us represented three continents and seven individual countries (U.S., Canada, Uruguay, Mexico, Sweden, Norway, and Italy). Throughout the other sessions, I was also able to meet and network with others from various places around the world.” Amy had previously attended the TAICEP conference in Chicago in 2016 and found that while the U.S. and Canada were well-represented, there weren't many evaluators from other parts of the world. It was exciting for her to see the growth in TAICEP membership and attendance, not only in numbers, but also in diversity at the conference in Rome.
Tatiana McKenna thought one of the best parts of the TAICEP conference was meeting people in our field from several continents. Someone who may previously have been just a name on The Connection Message Board is now a real, live person we can get to know face-to-face. She also appreciated how involved the attendees were in each session, asking lots of questions both during and after the session.
Amy agrees. “As a relatively new evaluator, TAICEP is an incredible opportunity to meet others in the field, learn about different perspectives, and to gain valuable conference experience.... It's a unique conference experience for credential evaluators, because unlike other national conferences, every session included something relevant to our profession.”
All of us from ECE had the opportunity to present at the conference, individually or in collaboration with colleagues from other organizations. Jade found that working with other agencies to co-present at a conference is a great way to learn from each other and broaden one's horizons. “Working with CHESICC from China allowed me to gain a deeper understanding of China's educational system. In addition, this cooperation gave me the opportunity to network and get to know the experts in China.”
Amy also appreciated the support of the network of colleagues fostered by TAICEP, when those who had attended her session at last year's conference told her they were looking forward to her session this year. “Even though we all work for different agencies, institutions, and companies and are sometimes direct competitors, we all have a common goal of helping international students,” she says, which allows for the sharing of important information and resources, positive feedback, and support we find at TAICEP.
Karen Krug was most struck by how often we at ECE take for granted having 20+ other evaluators in the office we can consult with. "We met people who have only a few others in their office who do credential evaluation. It highlighted the importance of TAICEP as a way to connect with others in the profession and share resources. It also showed how many opportunities we at ECE have to share our extensive resources through services like The Connection, e-Learning, and other kinds of training. It's also nice to know we aren't the only ones who struggle with particular challenges – the difference between academic and professional recognition, for example – and we can all learn from how others approach these challenges.”
Jade sums up the benefits of the TAICEP conference quite well: “The power of knowledge sharing and idea exchanging is enormous. Without this, we will never learn new things and grow.”
Our evaluators presented the following sessions at the TAICEP conference:
- From Confucius to International College: An Insider’s Guide to Changes in China’s Educational System - by Jade Jiang Riger (ECE) , Xiaohua Ning (CHESICC), and Xiaoshu Li (CHESICC)
- Beyond Year One: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Credential Evaluation - by Amy Kawa (ECE)
- Issues in Ukrainian Credential Evaluation: Overview, Recognition, and Fraud by Tatiana McKenna (ECE) and Karen Krug (ECE)
- Untangling Transnational Education in China - by Karen Krug (ECE), Jade Jiang Riger (ECE), and Patrick Leahy (Michigan State University)
- Vocational Qualifications from Russia and Ukraine - by Tatiana McKenna (ECE) and Henrik Ohlsson (Swedish Council for Higher Education)
- Understanding Differing Evaluation Perspectives - by Margaret Wenger (ECE) , Jeanie Bell (University of Colorado - Boulder), and Monica Hatle-Larssen (NOKUT)
- The Future of Electronic Student Data Mobility - by Margaret Wenger (ECE) and Bas Wegewijs (NUFFIC)
- 1st Ever TAICEP Credential Evaluation Trivia - by Timothy Kell (ECE)
- "Breaking Bad": An Evaluator's How-To Guide to Document Fraud - by Timothy Kell (ECE)