Each year, Corporate Meetings & Incentives' readers honor 10 conference centers as "the best of the best." Editor Barbara Scofidio and Publisher Peter Huestis presented representatives from those Paragon Award-winning conference centers with special plaques at the annual meeting of the International Association of Conference Centers at the Oak Brook Hills Resort & Conference Center earlier this year.

Shown here, top row, left to right: Joanne Swahn, vice president of corporate marketing, Dolce International; Bob Nee, director of sales & marketing, Hickory Ridge Conference Center; Barbara Scofidio; Kenneth Widmaier, general manager, Oak Brook Hills Resort & Conference Center; Brian Cooney, director of marketing, Oak Brook Hills; Terry Harwood, vice president, Marriott Conference Centers. Bottom, left to right: Peter Kacheris, former general manager, Hickory Ridge; Martha Menn, director of sales & marketing, Lakeway Inn, A Dolce Conference Resort; and Toby June, general manager, Lakeway Inn.

A hiking trek gone awry is the setting for "Stranded in the Himalayas," an entertaining new exercise that introduces the concepts of consensus and synergy in decision-making. Written by training expert Lorraine L. Ukens, step-by-step manuals for participants and leaders help guide the group to safety. Here's what people can learn after role-playing this wilderness survival challenge:

* Individual decision-making--The exercise is played by individuals as well as by teams, helping people to gain insight into their own problem-solving abilities and their impact on group decision- making.

* Consensus decision-making--Unlike other group decisions that are often made by voting, trading, or negotiating, this situation requires the group to make decisions by consensus.

* Synergistic decision-making--Participants experience how teamwork can generate exponentially better results than working alone.

* Teamwork--Participants provide one another with both supportive and critical feedback in a nonthreatening environment, and become familiar with such aspects of group behavior as leadership style, conflict resolution, and communication skills.

"Stranded in the Himalayas" costs $6.95, The Leader's Manual costs $17.95, and quantity discounts are available. Call Jossey-Bass Pfeiffer at (800) 274-4434 for more information.

A state-by-state listing of colleges and universities offering meeting planning courses:

Alabama * University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa (205) 384-6157

* Faulkner State College, Bay Minette (800) 231-3752

Arizona * Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff (520) 523-2845

California * California State University, Fullerton (714) 449-5945

* California State University, Long Beach (310) 985-5561

* California State University, Sacramento (916) 278-4433

* Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles (310) 338-1972

* Orange Coast Community College, Costa Mesa (714) 432-5835

* San Diego Community College (619) 584-6568

* University of California, Los Angeles (310) 206-8120

* University of California, La Jolla (619) 534-5823

Colorado * Metropolitan State College, Denver (303) 556-3152

District of Columbia * George Washington University, Washington, DC (202) 994-6280

Florida * University of Central Florida, Orlando (407) 823-2188

Georgia * Georgia State University, Atlanta (404) 651-3512

Illinois * Roosevelt University, Chicago (312) 341-4321

Massachusetts * Bentley College, Waltham (617) 891-2800

* Bunker Hill Community College, Boston (617) 228-2000

* Cape Cod Community College, West Barnstable (508) 362-2131

* University of Masssachusetts, Amherst (413) 545-2535

Michigan * Michigan State University, East Lansing (517) 353-9211

Missouri * Columbia College, Columbia (800) 231-2391

* St. Louis Community College, St. Louis (314) 644-9749

Nevada * University of Nevada, Las Vegas (702) 895-3161

New York * New York University, New York City (212) 790-1340

* Niagara University, Niagara Falls (716) 286-8270

* Paul Smith College, Paul Smith (518) 327-6227

* Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester (716) 475-2063

Oklahoma * Northeastern State University, Tahlequah (918) 456-5511

Oregon * Mt. Hood Community College, Gresham (503) 667-7486

Pennsylvania * Pennsylvania State University, University Park (814) 863-0009

Rhode Island * Johnson & Wales University, Providence (800) 343-2565

South Carolina * Clemson University, Clemson (803) 656-3400

* University of South Carolina, Columbia (803) 777-6665

Texas * El Centro Community College, Dallas (214) 746-2213

* Richland College, Dallas (214) 238-6008

* University of North Texas, Denton (817) 565-2436

Vermont * Vermont College of Norwich University, Montpelier (800) 468-6679

Virginia Northern Virginia Community College, Annandale (703) 323-3457

* Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg (703) 231-9459

Washington * Washington State University, Seattle (206) 587-6349

* Washington State University, Pullman (509) 335-5766