For years, most of us in the campus card technology arena have looked to the big three annual conferences for our educational opportunities. Depending on our specific job responsibilities, we would go to NACCU in the spring, NACUBO in the summer, and/or NACAS in the fall. In recent years, EDUCAUSE has begun to provide more card technology-related content and generate more attention from our sector. Periodically throughout the years, small but dedicated seminars were sponsored by one or more of these associations–but attendance tended to be small.
Occasionally, a private exposition company or a card vendor would put together an event separate from the associations. While some of these events have had solid content, the audience has been limited.
This year there are a number of educational seminars appearing on the calendar. While it is difficult to determine which ones will be most worthwhile, you should certainly consider attending or sending a staff member if the need for card education exists on your campus or if you are in close proximity to one of these locations (making it a cost effective opportunity). Before deciding if it is worth your time and money, review the agenda carefully. (See Campus Card Events for a list of pending conferences.)
My tip to make the most of any of these conferences: be proactive in your attempt to get some one-on-one time with the faculty. Select the speaker(s) that seems to be best suited to help you meet a specific need. Contact them ahead of time to request a private consultation. They are all speaking for a reason: consultants want to meet potential clients, vendors hope to meet potential customers, while higher ed administrators wish to share their experience and further their careers. They all should be more than happy to give you their assistance. The price of the conference can be quite reasonable if you can get this level of personal interaction.