AACRAO's virtual SEM Conference amplifies call for social justice

November 2, 2020
  • AACRAO Annual Meeting
  • Competencies
  • Diversity and Inclusion
  • SEM Conference
black woman wearing a mask, protesting with crowd of protesters

AACRAO’s virtual Strategic Enrollment Management (SEM) Conference was held last week, with 445 attendees participating in engagement sessions, panels, roundtables, and networking events. The theme of the conference, Crises as Catalysts for Transformation: 2020’s Impact on Higher Education and Enrollment, was reinforced by the keynote speakers. 

Conference highlights

The meeting opened with a panel discussion featuring Ted Mitchell, President, American Council on Education; Tony Allen, President, Delaware State University; Amelia Parnell, Vice President for Research and Policy at NASPA; and Doug Shapiro, Executive Research Director, National Student Clearinghouse Research Center. They focused on the current state of enrollment at colleges and universities, the need to address the equity gap in higher education, and where we should go from here. 

Laura Wankel, Interim Vice Chancellor for Learner Engagement, Northeastern University, shared her insights into the growing public concern with higher education, the radically changing employment landscape, the need to pay attention to post-traditional learners, and what it means for us to design education, training, and skill-building opportunities for the future.

Academy Award-winning filmmaker Matthew A. Cherry shared his personal and professional experiences to help us examine and understand how racial equality and social justice impact all of our lives.

At the final event, Philip Hunt, University Registrar at North Dakota State University and Co-Chair of the AACRAO Black Caucus, joined with representatives from the AACRAO Caucuses to discuss their role in creating a campus culture that is accessible, anti-racist, and inclusive. They encouraged participants to take a Commitment Pledge to Social Justice. It was a fitting conclusion to the conference.

Continue the conversations

The calls for social justice and the impacts of the global pandemic are not waning.

Join us in March 2021 for our 106th Annual Meeting to maintain dialogue and work through higher education’s biggest challenges.  

In the continued interest of the health and safety of our members, the 2021 Annual Meeting will be held in a completely virtual format. The Program Committee is working diligently to deliver unique and exciting content as well as networking opportunities to keep you engaged.

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