Higher education’s response to the pandemic and rising social movements is likely to shape institutions for years, even decades, to come. Decisions at this time may have lasting, and sometimes unintended, consequences.
But how to make a decision in these quickly-changing circumstances? Light shining into previously hidden corners offers new breakthroughs in understanding, but what seems true right now may not be true a few months from now.
Fundamental questions at the heart of 2020
Although best practices and data-driven decisions are always central to good work, practitioners need to share ideas and information learned now more than ever, as the twin game-changers of COVID and social justice movements sweep the globe.
“The takeaways from 2020 will be forever in our souls,” said Dr. Clayton Smith, University of Windsor, and Director of the AACRAO SEM Conference. “It’s the time to ask ourselves: as an institution, what kind of place do we want to be? What kind of people? How can we take on these issues and do better?”
Crises as catalysts for transformation
AACRAO's 2020 SEM Conference, held virtually October 28-30, addresses these crucial topics:
- Day 1 will offer innovative insight and ideas about how campuses are handling day-to-day enrollment-related operations, such as virtual tours and community-building on campus.
- Day 2 Day 2 will explore the future of higher education in face of these forces, and how enrollment managers can confront them in their professional practice.
- Day 3 features a renewed call for racial justice and social equality, with a particular focus on actions the SEM community can take in the near future.
“What have we done in higher education to raise or lower barriers to equity?” asked AACRAO Associate Executive Director Tom Green. “We have the opportunity and responsibility to examine that and recommit to social justice.”
Lean on your community
“It’s time to come together — not necessarily in person — but to connect with and rely on our colleagues,” Smith said. “As social beings, we need each other now, during this time of isolation.”
Connection will be a major thread at this year’s SEM Conference, feeding the need for community from both a professional and personal standpoint, with multiple creative and integrated opportunities for social engagement.
Learn more, and join the email list for AACRAO SEM, October 28-30, 2020.