US lessons in energy

16th May 2008 at 01:00
I found David Collins' article on the American Association of Community Colleges entertaining but a rather inaccurate and somewhat depressing analysis of this event ("Positivity is the mother of conventions", FE Focus, May 2)

I found David Collins' article on the American Association of Community Colleges entertaining but a rather inaccurate and somewhat depressing analysis of this event ("Positivity is the mother of conventions", FE Focus, May 2).

I spent two years in that system and as a result became a regular attendee at the national conference (although I did not go this year). I agree with David that the opening ceremony is a bit over the top, but the conference in general displays a confidence in its own sector that is sadly lacking in our annual AoC get-together.

In comparison with us, much of what is presented is indeed not outstanding.

However, there is one area where the Americans are streets ahead of us, and we would do well to learn from and emulate their highly creative approaches to community engagement.

I am desperately trying to achieve the central community role for my college that is enjoyed by colleges all over America. So please, let's not sneer at self-confidence and the celebration of success but, instead, look at ways we can create some of the positive energy that permeates the American convention to brighten up our somewhat tired annual conference.

Laurence Vincent, Principal and chief executive, Bournemouth and Poole College.

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