2021 Academic Affairs Summer Meeting

2021 Academic Affairs Summer Meeting

Wednesday, July 21, 2021 to Friday, July 23, 2021

Recovery • Adaptation • Reinvention: The Post-2020 Regional Public University

2020 ushered in a once-in-a-century worldwide pandemic that claimed the lives of millions and changed every aspect of our lives. It brought on a global recession that put millions out of work and pushed countless others into extreme poverty around the world. In the U.S., unemployment reached pre-World War II levels and revenues plunged. The financial losses were disproportionately felt by Black and brown communities. Protests brought attention, but no resolution, to systemic racial inequities. And the country experienced the most divisive national election in modern history, culminating with a mob attack on the U.S. Capitol. 

The events of 2020 have already had a profound impact on higher education, with serious implications for state colleges and universities. While we are still finding our way through the fog of the crisis, we will convene around the theme “Recovery • Adaptation • Reinvention: The Post-2020 Regional Public University” to reflect and learn from one another about how we are managing disruptions to enrollments, budgets, curriculum, pedagogy, staff, faculty, and students, as well as the communities and regions we serve.

Despite the challenges, the events of 2020 accelerated needed changes in practices and policies as institutions quickly adapted to serve their students and protect their employees. While the work may seem daunting, we are fully prepared to meet the challenge and reinforce the intrinsic value of higher education for the public we serve.

About the Conference

AASCU’s 2021 Academic Affairs Summer Meeting will ask timely and relevant questions about managing and leading the post-2020 university. How has 2020 changed higher education permanently? What have we learned? What aspects of our work do we need to restore to where we were before 2020? How do we need to adapt to the new reality? What must be fundamentally reinvented?

The program will be shaped by issues our members consider most relevant and pressing. The topics below are being posed across higher education and will shape the meeting’s facilitated discussions and concurrent sessions:  

  • Planning: How we rethink institutional planning; envision a sustainable future; move past “survival mode” to innovate; plan in a volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous environment; and revisit pre-2020 strategic plans
  • Budget: Managing an unpredictable budget, ensuring cuts are made equitably, implementing alternative budget models, monitoring academic program costs, and communicating budget cuts in the context of shared governance
  • Student Success/Enrollment: Addressing immediate student needs and the disproportionate toll the pandemic has taken on students and employees of color, supporting our Asian students in the time of anti-Asian attacks, preparing to lead and facilitate crucial conversations about race, and keeping college accessible and affordable
  • Curriculum/Pedagogy: Rethinking pedagogy as a response to the pandemic, ensuring offerings align with regional workforce needs, addressing changes in attitudes toward remote learning, adapting curricula to student interests, and communicating academic program closures
  • External Constituents: Strategically investing federal dollars from COVID-19 relief; assessing implications of changing federal policies and initiatives; adapting to post-2020 changes in state laws; responding to demands from students, parents, and other constituents; and serving as stewards of place
  • Faculty and Staff: Adapting tenure and promotion policies, accommodating flexible work arrangements, supporting faculty in the transition to remote learning, and helping students and employees recover from the “social recession”

Who Should Attend

The meeting has sessions targeted to the needs of these roles:

  • Provosts
  • Chief student affairs officers
  • Assistant and associate provosts
  • Assistant and associate vice presidents
  • Student success personnel
  • Directors
  • Deans
  • Assistant and associate deans
  • Department chairs
  • Program coordinators
  • Faculty leaders

Pre-conference Workshop Information

Pre-conference workshops on Wednesday, July 21, will give attendees the opportunity to discuss pressing topics such as academic program evaluation, supporting adult learners, and interpreting and acting on student success data. These optional workshops are open to conference attendees at no additional cost. When completing your conference registration, please select the workshops you would like to attend. 

If you have completed your conference registration, and you would like to attend one of these workshops, please contact AASCU's meeting registrar, Felicia Durham, for assistance.

12–2 p.m. ET

Academic Program Evaluation Strategy: Using Data on Markets and Margins to Inform Program Decisions and Predict Their Effects 
Program decisions are critical to your students, faculty, and mission. This master class will demonstrate data, methodologies, tools, and processes to help decision-makers craft a data-informed, strategic program portfolio. Facilitators will demonstrate how to use predictive analytics to model the impact of changes to the program portfolio on future enrollment, student body demographics, and institutional finances.

Bob Atkins, CEO and founder, Gray Associates
William Massey, professor emeritus and former vice president for business & finance, Stanford University
Melissa Morriss-Olson, provost emerita; founding director, Center for Higher Ed Leadership and Innovative Practice and Higher Ed Leadership and Organizational Studies; and distinguished professor of Higher Education Leadership, Bay Path University (Mass.)

The Art and Science of Supporting Adult Learners: Actionable Steps & Strategies 
Students over the age of 25 are the fastest-growing segment in higher education. However, many institutional practices do not consider the unique needs of this population. Institutions can create equitable pathways that can help overcome disparities in adult learning and better prepare themselves for adult students who have been disconnected from higher education. Learn how to effectively stand out from other institutions who are making mistakes in 10 key areas with the adult learner population.

Scott Campbell, vice president, partnership development, CAEL
Barry Nickerson, director, initiatives, CAEL
Darrin Theriault, director of testing services & university prior learning assessment coordinator, Kennesaw State University (Ga.)

2:30–4:30 p.m. ET

Benchmarking to Improve Equitable Student Success 
The process of benchmarking can be used to explore student outcomes for various populations, assess whether an institution is making sufficient progress on student success goals, and/or inform student success strategies. Join AASCU's Academic Innovation and Transformation staff to learn about the value of benchmarking and participate in hands-on practice to benchmark federal student success data.

Bao Le, director, data analytics & impact, AASCU

Building for Tomorrow’s Students: How Colleges and Universities Are Preparing for the Decade Ahead   
How are colleges and universities rethinking the journey from enrollment to graduation and beyond? The pandemic taught us much about how we must reorient our support services around holistic student needs, not our preexisting organizational structures and practices. During this session, EAB experts will discuss what we’ve learned over the last year and what needs to change in regard to data, enrollment demographics, and student usage of self-service tools.

Michael Al-Megdad, associate director, Product Positioning, EAB
Mike Saxvik, senior director, sales engineer, EAB
Brian Schueler, senior analyst, EAB Strategic Research, EAB
Ed Venit, managing director, EAB
LaToya White, senior director, EAB
Danielle Yardy, director, product marketing, EAB

Schedule top

Download the Meeting App: The meeting app provides registrants with seamless connectivity for up-to-the-minute meeting information, speaker and partner profiles, networking opportunities, and real-time updates. Set yourself up for success by downloading the app immediately, so that you have time to review the schedule and familiarize yourself with the app’s features. 

We recommend you download both the desktop and mobile version of the app. The desktop version works best for accessing workshops, concurrent sessions, and roundtables.

View this explainer video for a walk through of the app and its features. You can also download the 2021 Academic Affairs Summer Meeting background to “dress up” your Zoom!

The meeting will use a variety of formats for the exchange of ideas and solutions:  

  • Keynotes:  Moderated conversations with national leaders on topics that provoke and inspire
  • Workshops: Small workshops for campus teams to address challenges on their campuses
  • Roundtables: Opportunities to gather with colleagues across the country to discuss issues in groups
  • Exemplary practices: Short sessions for campuses to share effective, innovative practices with one another
  • Topical sessions: In-depth discussions of topics relevant to regional public universities 




  →   Schedule at a Glance (pdf)






Fees top

  By 6/18/2021   After 6/18/2021
Member Rate, Full Conference  $250   $275  
Campus Team Discount for Members* (per person for a group of two or more from the same member campus)   $200   $225  
Non-Member Rate, Full Conference (no team discount)   $350   $375  
Member Day Rate (no team discount)   $150   $150  
Non-Member Day Rate    $200   $250  

*A minimum of two members must be registered in order to obtain this special registration rate. If you register with this option, please contact Felicia Durham to register second individual or additional team members at durhamf@aascu.org or 202-478-4673.   


Registration Information top

Register Now

Please note: In order to register, you must first sign into your AASCU account. If you do not already have an AASCU account, you can create one by clicking the "create a new account" button under the sign-in box.

See the fees above for each conference category, and please make sure that you select the correct category for your attendance.

If you need assistance with the registration process, please contact Felicia Durham, AASCU's meeting registrar, at  durhamf@aascu.org or 202-478-4673.