As Co-Lead of ASUG Campus Connect, a re-imagined collaboration between ASUG and SAP University Alliances institutions, I recently had the honor of attending this year’s SAP Academic Community Conference North America. Held July 20-21, at the SAP Customer Success Academy and SAP Engineering Academy in San Ramon, California, the onsite event featured over 40 different institutions joining together to share knowledge, trade ideas, and gain inspiration.

“Learn to learn,” said Karina Edmonds, SVP, Global Head of Academies and University Alliances at SAP, kicking off the proceedings. “We are always learning.” These words strongly resonated with attendees, as SAP University Alliance faculty joined together to deliver this opening keynote session. Her words held true for everyone at the conference, from visiting faculty to SAP executives, as all of us seized the opportunity to share best practices and lessons learned.

One standout session, “The World Cafe: Develop & Grow Your SAP Program on Campus,” offered a fresh and effective structure for ensuring everyone’s voice was heard. Attendees were randomly assigned to small groups. The groups then rotated through five 15-minute roundtable discussions, sharing ideas around how best to expand classes, utilize administration support, and engage with students. One of the biggest takeaways was that “student support and faculty support go hand-in-hand.”

Day-two TRED (Teaching, Research, Education, and Diversity) talks featured fresh ideas to keep students engaged. Nancy Jones, from San Diego State University, brought an innovative approach to keeping students engaged, using web-based animated software Powtoon to create cartoons that describe processes, which went above the normal, dry text-book instruction. 

The dynamic duo of Lou Thompson and Mary Beth Goodrich, both from The University of Texas at Dallas, co-presented around their top ten lessons learned in teaching SAP and utilizing teaching aids. One way Lou keeps his students engaged is to reward students who can solve other students’ problems. Mary Beth, meanwhile, uses a “Circles” platform to allow students to connect, network, and troubleshoot issues as a group. (A fun fact I learned about these two is that Lou’s dog, Della, and Mary Beth’s dog, Scout, are potentially soulmates, according to their owners, who can’t wait to introduce them.)

I had the honor of presenting alongside Paul Kurchina, Community Advisor at SAP, in the Connect with ASUG & SAP Community Deep Dive session. It was great to hear from faculty as they shared their ideas about how ASUG can better engage students as the ASUG Campus Connect program starts to gear up. Students are the future of every industry, and it is important to bring engaging content to Chapter meetings to earn their interest. Engagement ideas included hosting competitions, speed “dating” for resume readings and networking, and incorporating more ERPsim games that simulate SAP ERP and SAP S/4HANA environments to empower students to manage their own virtual companies.

Carolinas, Dallas-Fort Worth, and Michigan, will be the first three Chapters to incorporate ASUG Campus Connect at their fall Chapter meetings. Having experienced the power of these facilitated discussions and networking firsthand, I can’t wait to get started on the "glowing up" of ASUG Campus Connect! 

Gwendolyn Glasner is Manager of Chapter Services at ASUG.

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