Lander Medlin is APPA's executive vice president. She can be reached at

Meet me at the Forum?! That's right. APPA's new Educational Facilities Leadership Forum now formally replaces our Educational Conference and Annual Meeting. Why? Because it is no longer business as usual for any of us or for our organizations. In survey after survey, you asked for a stronger, more solidified annual meeting educational program. APPA's Educational Programs Committee and staff are poised to deliver on your request.

What you will experience at the Forum (to be held this July 21-23, 2002 in Phoenix, Arizona) can best be described as a "conference within a conference." In essence, by your focused attendance within one perspective or track, you will have the opportunity to create a small but strong cohort group. You will supplement those connections with the opportunity to meet additional colleagues and business partners at the larger group meal functions, hall of resources, and separately focused roundtable discussions. Hence, a conference within a conference!

By selecting one track or perspective you will enhance your ability to establish a more meaningful connection with a smaller group of cohorts or colleagues than you were ever able to do in the past format. Secondly, by sticking with one perspective or track throughout the three days (consisting of six, two-hour sessions each), you will get the full range of learning gained from the treatment of a particular perspective from a "big picture, future trends" view through the "how-to, practical skills" application.

Further, the perspectives we have chosen as individual tracks align seamlessly with today's institutional strategic imperatives. The need to be more educated and informed in these imperatives or perspectives is essential in a society that is continuously moving toward a knowledge-based economy, an economy in which the application of knowledge replaces capital, raw materials, and labor as the means of production. The potential contribution that an individual can make in acquiring and applying knowledge for improving processes, products, and services is becoming more important than the physical labor itself.

Higher education facilities is a $17 billion a year business-but it is also so much more. We serve a diverse and demanding clientele: the governing bodies that oversee the institution; the students who come to learn; the parents who entrust those students to our hands; nostalgic alumni who want to retain the campus of their youth; the community that surrounds and embraces our institution; and the thousands of faculty and staff members who carry out our institution's vision. But in order to serve, even exceed the expectations of this demanding clientele, we must be better professionals able to adapt, able to intellectually engage, able to effectively transform our organization's service delivery systems to meet the newly emerging demands of a knowledge-based society.

Facilities professionals must recognize their role as leaders to strategically plan and prepare their organization to meet the challenges of the future. New realities are heaping new challenges on top of old ones, ratcheting up the uncertainty of the future. Leadership matters like never before-especially when it comes to keeping organizations, institutions, and their people moving forward. It is in this reality that we offer the Educational Facilities Leadership Forum.

How will you update your knowledge base? How will you hone your professional skills in a world that is increasingly technologically complex and demands sophisticated work skills? How will you renew your energies to take on these new realities and challenges? How will our organization improve its capacity to change and to grow in a world that now demands continuous learning, flexibility, and adaptation? How will you keep pace? The answer is in your attendance at APPA's new Educational Facilities Leadership Forum in July.

Let me reiterate. We have not just changed the name. We have not slightly modified the format. We have not just tweaked around the edges. We have totally transformed the educational experience into a tightly focused program taught by insightful experts and leaders both inside and outside the educational facilities field. The program is structured in six perspectives, each examining a different, critically important, strategic issue impacting the educational facilities organization. Each perspective is dissected through a framework of different insights to help participants understand the full breadth of issues, from a visionary trends-alert level through a hands-on, practical application level. A description of each of the six perspectives and the expected learning outcomes you should gain as a participant are further delineated in the preliminary program brochure that is "stitched in" the middle of this issue, or visit our website at

The Forum is not the traditional cafeteria-style, smorgasbord approach to feeding your professional appetite. In fact, you have told us you are starving for a new learning experience, and you expect international APPA to deliver these new professional development needs and requirements. Let's face it; money is too tight to waste on poorly designed, poorly delivered educational programming. We cannot afford to fall behind in our capacity to adapt to and ultimately transform our organization and institutions to meet the new challenges of the 21st century.

There has never been a time when the questions facing leaders were more daunting It has been said that we are all captives of our own experience! We can only break those bonds by engaging in new and different experiences that provoke new thinking, provide new skills, and prompt new actions. I challenge you to come and experience the new Educational Facilities Leadership Forum this coming July 21-23, 2002 in Phoenix, Arizona. You won't regret it. Meet me at the Forum!