Community Engagement Administrators Conference (CEAC)

This conference, launched in 2003 as the Community Service and Service-Learning Directors Conference, is designed for faculty and staff who facilitate campus-community engagement efforts. In 2008, the event became the Civic Engagement Administrators Conference (CEAC). This gathering offers deep reflection about community and civic engagement work through presentations and workshops, facilitated discussions and networking. CEAC usually occurs in late spring/early summer. 

Save the Date!

2018 CEAC
June 12, 2018 at Elon University

Registration opens March 16/closes May 31

2017 CEAC 
June 6-7, 2017 at Elon University
"The Future of Alternative Service Breaks: Deeper Learning and Impact"


Tuesday, June 6   
5:00 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.  Check-in
5:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. Dinner, networking, roundtable discussions
Wednesday, June 7Review the conference program here. No need to print as a copy will be available to all registrants upon arrival.  
8:30 a.m. - 9:30 a.m. Check-in and continental breakfast
9:30 a.m. - 10:25 a.m.

Opening Session

“Deepening Learning and Impact: A Practical Approach”

Melody Porter and Shoshanna Sumka

10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m Workshop Session One
11:40 a.m. – 12:25 p.m.

"The Future of the Movement: How Alternative Breaks Are Leading in Community Engagement”

Melody Porter and Shoshanna Sumka

12:30 p.m. -  1:30 p.m.  Lunch
1:40 p.m.  – 2: 40 p.m. Workshop Session Three
2:45 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. 

“It changed my life,” but then what? Maximizing the impact of ABs through understanding how students integrate and build on their experiences"

Beth Niehaus

3:40 p.m. – 4:40 p.m. Workshop Session Three
4:45 - 5:00 p.m. Reflection and Door Prizes

 Guest Speakers

Elizabeth Niehaus, PhD, is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Educational Administration at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln.  She is also the principle investigator for the National Survey of Alternative Breaks, a longitudinal study of students’ experiences and outcomes related to alternative break participation.  Elizabeth earned her PhD in College Student Personnel Administration from the University of Maryland – College Park, her MA in American Culture Studies from Washington University in St. Louis, and her BA in Linguistics from the University of Virginia. She has participated in a number of alternative breaks as both an undergraduate student and staff advisor.

Melody Porter is the Director of the Office of Community Engagement at the College of William & Mary. Before coming to William & Mary, she served as a long-term volunteer for three years in Philadelphia and Johannesburg, South Africa, Associate Minister at First United Methodist Church of Germantown in Philadelphia, and director of Volunteer Emory, a student-led department for community service.
Along with her colleagues and friends Shoshanna Sumka and Jill Piacitelli, Melody is author of Working Side by Side: Creating Alternative Breaks as Catalysts for Global Learning, Student Leadership, and Social Change. She is a former chair and current member of the Board of Directors of Break Away and a volunteer for various community organizations.She was recognized as Staff Person of the Year by Break Away at the National Alternative Break Awards in 2010. Melody received her BA  in Political Science and Religion from Emory University and a M.Div from Candler School of Theology at Emory. 

Shoshanna Sumka is a global social justice educator who believes that young people can lead social change movements. She has worked in secondary and higher education for 18 years with the University of Idaho, American University, the Experiment in International Living, and Sidwell Friends School. Her social justice work has taken her to Kenya, Ecuador, Haiti, Israel, Palestine, India, Thailand, Venezuela, Colombia, and Zambia. While directing American University’s Alternative Breaks program for 10 years, she co-authored Working Side By Side: Creating Alternative Breaks as Catalysts for Global Learning, Student Leadership, and Social Change with Melody Porter and Jill Piacitelli.


Drury Inn & Suites Burlington
1767 Glidewell Drive, Burlington, NC 27215
(Discounted group conference rate ends May 19, 2017. )

Reservations can be made now for non-smoking 2 Queen Beds room rate of $91.99 per night/per night + applicable taxes at

Call-In reservations can be made by reserving online, go to, then enter Group number of 2293733. Reservations may also be made by calling 1-800-325-0720 and refer to the Group number of 2293733.

Available to guests: Free hot breakfast, free soda and popcorn from 3 pm – 10 pm each night in the lobby, 5:30 Kickback (snacks, cold beverages), and free wirless internet access.

Planning Committee

  • Adam Culley, Assistant Director, Center for  Student Leadership, Ethics, and Public Service,, North Carolina State University
  • Melody Henderson, Director of Student Success, Wake Technical Community College
  • Heather Jo Mashburn, Assistant Director, Alternative Service Experiences, Appalachian State University
  • Evan Small, Assistant Director for Student Programs, Kernodle Center for Service Learning and Community Engagement, Elon University

NCCC staff: Chad Fogleman and Leslie Garvin



YMCA Blue Ridge Assembly




Camp Restore


2016 CEAC Highlights
June 7, 2016 at Elon University

The 2016 CEA Conference brought together more than 85 administrators and faculty from 31 campuses and organizations in North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and beyond. Our plenary session - "Engaging with Equity: Recognizing Implicit Bias in Community Engagement" - featured Reverend Jason Williams, a community pastor and organizer who works with Race Matters for Juvenile Justice (RMJJ) in Charlotte and with Charlotte's interfaith network, MeckMin ( Drawing on 8 years of experience living and organizing in West Charlotte, research on perception and cognition, and critiques of charitable systems that perserve power inequities, Reverend Williams challenged our group to think about issues of poverty, race, and bias inherent in community engagement work. 

Participants choose among 18 break-out workshops in three blocks. 
View the Workshop Descriptions and Presenter List (pdf)

Selected workshop slidedecks were generously shared by several presenters (all links are .pdf files):

BUILDing inclusive community. pre-orientation
BRANCHES and CKWFU. student development leadership for social change
Enhancing campus civic engagement efforts (Google slides)
Serving in place. local alternative breaks

2015 CEAC Highlights

On Thursday, May 28, forty community engagement professionals, representing 24 institutions in 5 states, assembled at Bennett College for Women in Greensboro, North Carolina. The day was facilitated by Dr. Patti Clayton, Dr. Sarah Stanlick, and Leslie Garvin. The agenda was framed around "Past: Present: Future." Individual reflection was imbedded throughout the day.  The goal was to reflect critically on our practice in the context of some of the central questions that have, do, and will shape community engagement.

Online Learning Community

The May 28 conference complemented an online learning community launched on May 18. Throughout the 10 day period, participants were assigned common readings related to working with students, faculty, and community partners.  The facilitators posted prompts/questions to promote dialogue and shared inquiry. During the conference participants decided to continue to utilize the Edmodo site as a learning community. 

Exploring the Past: Looking Back to Move Forward

The morning began with Patti and Sarah providing an overview of the history of community engagement in higher education. 

Living in the Present through Practice Analysis and Self-Reflection

Next Leslie used the framework outlined in Diving Deep in Community Engagement: A Model for Professional Development (McReynolds, M. & Shields, E, 2015, Iowa Campus Compact) which outines four primary roles that community and civic engagement administrators play: 1) Institutional strategic leader; 2) Organizational manager; 3) Community Innovator; and 4) Field Contributor.  In small groups, participants explored each of the four roles and discussed the competencies and skills required by each. 

During the second half of the "Present" component of the day participants selected two of three stakeholder areas: 1) Faculty, 2) Student, 3) Community Partner to explore more deeply drawing on the pre-readings and online discussion posts. Participants explored what was most relevant to their practice and explored concrete implications for their work

Forward Thinking: Looking to the Future

20 years ago Ed Zlotkowski called for the growth of service-learning as academic work. Patti and Sarah shared information related to a recently launched national project that will explore whether this call from Zlotkowski has been answered.  They also gathered feedback related to participant thoughts on future directions/priorities in the field. 

Year Location Topic/Name
2016 Elon University Recognizing Implicit Bias in Community Engagement
2015 Bennett College for Women Diving Deep in Community Engagement
2013 High Point UniversityAlternative Service Experiences Institute
(see the Alternative Break Resources page here

East Carolina University
Queens University of Charlotte


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

(see the Monitoring and Measuring page here)

Thanks to our 2012 sponsors Noblehour and Lyon Software  

2010 Barton College2010 CEAC program booklet
2009 Davidson College2009 CEAC program booklet
2008 Embassy Suites Hotel Resort and Conference Center
(Concord, NC)
Closer to the Goal: Going Deeper in our Civic Engagement Efforts

Embassy Suites Hotel Resort and Conference Center
(Concord, NC)

2007 CSD-SLD program booklet
2006 Wake Forest University20/20 Visioning 
2005 Blue Ridge Assembly (Black Mountain, NC)2005 CSD-SLD program booklet
2004 Caraway Conference Center 
(Sophia, NC)
2004 CSD-SLD program booklet
2003 Carolina Inn
(Chapel Hill, NC)
Southeast Conference for
Community Service and Service
Learning Directors
(co-sponsored with Florida Campus Compact) 

CEAC was on hiatus in 2011 and 2014.