Registration opens for Penn State's annual adult learner conference

March 26, 2018

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — A national leader in advising who has devoted his career to helping at-risk students stay in college will give the keynote address at Penn State’s 2018 Hendrick Best Practices for Adult Learners Conference on May 9.

Joe Murray, assistant dean for University Advising Services at Florida Atlantic University, has worked for the past 30 years in academic advising. He is a national trainer for appreciative education, a strength-based advising model to help students discover their passions, interests and align those skill sets with major and career choices. In the keynote, Murray will discuss the six phases of this advising framework and incorporate hands-on activities.

Murray is actively involved with the National Academic Advising Association and served as its national chair for the First Generation commission for eight years. Murray is passionate about bringing attention and building support networks to help foster youth and homeless students on college campuses. He is the co-founder for the REACH movement nationally and started both initiatives in Ohio and Florida to help foster-care youth persist through graduation from higher education.

The conference will be held at the Nittany Lion Inn at the University Park campus and is open to Penn State employees from all campuses. Registration is open through April 20.

Murray’s talk will round the one-day conference, which also will offer the following sessions:

  • Best practices for working with adult learners across Penn State campuses
  • The changing demographics of the adult learner in Pennsylvania
  • Transfer credits and prior learning assessment
  • Creating partnerships between academic affairs and student affairs
  • A study of adult learners’ information-seeking behaviors during the college application process
  • The proactive/intrusive evolution in retention
  • Best practices for military students
  • Rethinking the internship experience

The closing session will be a panel discussion featuring adult learners from various Penn State campuses talking about their experience juggling roles as a spouse, parent and employee.

Penn State’s Commission for Adult Learners sponsors the annual conference, which is named in honor of the late Shirley Hendrick, associate dean for continuing education in the Penn State Smeal College of Business and the inaugural chair of the commission. The group comprises administrators, faculty and staff from across Penn State who are dedicated to reviewing policies and practices that will improve the adult learner experience at the University.

Visit the Hendrick Conference website for the full program agenda or to register.

To join the email list or volunteer to assist with the conference, contact Judy Wills at or 814-863-1316.

  • Joe Murray Hendrick Conference speaker 2018

    Joe Murray is assistant dean for University Advising Services at Florida Atlantic University.

    IMAGE: Provided
Last Updated March 27, 2018