UMD’s First “VIRTUAL” Project Management Symposium

Deemed a Success!



By Kathleen Frankle

Project Management Center for Excellence
University of Maryland

College Park, MD, USA



The last-minute change to a VIRTUAL delivery did not alter the outcome of the University of Maryland’s (UMD) annual Project Management Symposium held on May 7-8, 2020.  Amazing, wonderful, outstanding, awesome, fantastic, exceptional and exceeding expectations were some of the expressions used to describe the two-day event!  Survey results indicated that a whopping 99 percent of attendees stated they would attend another UMD Project Management Symposium as well as recommend the event to their colleagues.

Also gleaned from survey results were the top five reasons participants attended the event which included:

  • Gain insights I can implement
  • PDUs
  • Interesting Topics
  • Great Price
  • Learn or Sharpen PM Skills

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s Symposium had to be converted from an in-person event to a virtual one in only five weeks. Thanks to amazing and adaptable speakers, UMD maxed out the number of sessions that could be offered over the two days in a virtual environment.  This first-ever VIRTUAL Project Management Symposium featured four (4) keynotes and fifty-five (55) individual sessions in five (5) concurrent tracks.  A total of 64 different speakers presented on trending topics, best practices, lessons learned and case studies to five hundred and sixty project management professionals representing 273 different organizations from government, non-profits, industry and academia.

“I was a little concerned about the virtual experience,” stated Laura Sharps, an Engineering Supervisor for Jacobs.  “However, UMD pulled it off exceptionally.  The content was awesome and I have lots of new ideas to take back to my team!”  Meisha Watkins, Strategic Initiative Project Manager for the U.S. Postal Service stated, “The 2020 symposium was the perfect intersection of practical industry application & theory.  Despite being online, I felt connected and ‘in the room’ with all of the speakers and moderators. Great job!”

Keynote speaker Mark Brown, Chief Operating Officer, Federal Student Aid, U.S. Department of Education kicked off the second day of the live symposium.

So how did the experience actually work?  All registered participants received instructions on how to access a password-protected online version of the VIRTUAL schedule.  That schedule included a description of each session, speaker photos and bios plus the WebEx links needed to participate in each session.  Attendees were able to review the schedule and select which session they wanted to join…



To read entire report, click here


How to cite this report: Frankle, K. (2020). UMD’s First “VIRTUAL” Project Management Symposium Deemed a Success! PM World Journal, Vol. IX, Issue VI, June.  Available online at: https://pmworldlibrary.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/pmwj94-Jun2020-Frankle-UMDs-first-virtual-project-management-symposium-a-success-report2.pdf



About the Author


Kathleen Frankle

University of Maryland
Maryland, USA



Ms. Kathleen Frankle has worked at the University of Maryland for over 20 years. She has significant expertise in the development and marketing of education and training programs, both online and in-person.  Currently, she is the Marketing Manager for the Project Management Center for Excellence.  In this role, she has managed their annual Project Management Symposium since its inception, fostering its growth from 178 participants to over 500.  Ms. Frankle also works for the Center for Advanced Transportation Technology as Program Manager for two nationally known advanced transportation education programs including the Operations Academy Senior Management Program and the Consortium for Innovative Training and Education (CITE) that offers online blended and independent study courses. Ms. Frankle can be contacted at kfrankle@umd.edu.