When Hurricane Katrina wiped out plans for the ASCLS Clinical Laboratory Educators' Conference (CLEC) a few years ago, the association was determined to return to the Gulf Coast. And return, they did, in full force for the 26th annual meeting held Feb. 25-27.
ASCLS touts CLEC as the most important annual event for faculty administrators, directors, advisors and others in clinical laboratory science education.
This year's meeting, held at the Beau Rivage hotel, was themed "Catch the Wave." The meeting's objective was to integrate new topics, science and skills into the current clinical lab science curriculum; discuss deciding factors and needs for developing curricula to meet current and future needs of clinical laboratory practice; to analyze current Internet use to deliver courses, certificate programs and degrees for application to attendees' institutions; and discuss the latest areas of science and management and the skills needed by future graduates.
Joan Polancic, MSEd, MLS, ASCLS director of education and project planning said there were a number of highlights to being in Mississippi. "The CLEC program was well planned. Kudos to Evelyn Weaver and Linda Comeaux, program committee co-chairs. From the humorous and enlightening opening session to the closing keynote there was something of interest and useful for all attendees," she said. "Educators were able to meet with the exhibitors to learn of new textbooks, educational products and more. The Southern hospitality was also ideal!"
Polancic said ASCLS continually reviews the relevance of the meeting, carefully scrutinizing the feedback provided by attendees. "According to the meeting evaluations many attendees took away new ideas for creative teaching methods and new information that could be used in their programs. In addition, the time to network with colleagues was an invaluable part of the experience."
She said she feels CLEC "absolutely remains useful and relevant. Attendees tell us year after year that they feel so energized from attending the conference. Input from attendees helps the planning committee make the meeting relevant each year."
Knowledgeable, Generous Educators
Evelyn Weaver, MT(ASCP), education coordinator, Memorial Hospital, Gulfport, MS; and chair of the host committee of this year's CLEC meeting in Biloxi, MS said she was pleased with the turnout and interest at this year's meeting.
"Before this meeting, the largest event that I had been involved with planning was built around family and friends. Working with all of the knowledgeable people from ASCLS, who have taught me so much about planning meetings on this scale, has definitely got to be at the top of the list of highlights," Weaver said. "The members of ASCLS-CLEC are some of the most knowledgeable and generous educators in the world. They are so willing to share ideas and to help wherever needed and that is why this conference is a success year after year."
She continued, "From the comments that I heard and that have been shared with me by others, I think that everyone left feeling that their time and money was well spent. With attendance breaking 500 for only the second time, I think this year proved how important this conference is to everyone, even during economically trying times."
Hassan Aziz, PhD, department head of medical technology at Armstrong Atlantic State University in Savannah is a repeat attendee. "CLEC this year was packed with great speakers and relevant topics. During these tough economic times, it was great to share ideas and build relationships with colleagues from all over the country," Dr. Aziz said.
He said the meeting continues be relevant year after year.
"Overall, CLEC is an opportunity to share stories of progress, impact, insights, lessons learned, principles, problems, plans, and prospects for the future," he said. "We continue to build a learning community and network of resources bridging across government, industry, and academia. And we have fun!"
Matthew T. Patton (firstname.lastname@example.org) is editor of ADVANCE.