2021 Annual Meeting

Annual Meeting Highlights


Wednesday, January 20, 5:00–6:30 p.m. Eastern

The Ongoing Fight for Equity in Education

Jelani Cobb is a staff writer at The New Yorker and is the Ira A. Lipman Professor of Journalism at Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism. He won the 2015 Sidney Hillman Prize for Opinion and Analysis Journalism and writes frequently about race, politics, history and culture. Dr. Cobb is also a recipient of fellowships from the Fulbright and Ford Foundations.


Thursday, January 21, 11:30–1:00 p.m. Eastern

Sparking the Revolution: Catalyzing Change in Higher Education

An open discussion—moderated by AAC&U President Lynn Pasquerella—with speakers Frank Bruni, Op-Ed writer, The New York Times; Cathy Davidson, Distinguished Professor of English and in the MA in Digital Humanities and MS in Data Analysis and Visualization at the Graduate Center, CUNY; and Earl Lewis , Founding Director of the Center for Social Solutions and Professor of history, University of Michigan.


Friday, January 22, 5:45 -6:45 p.m. Eastern

The Bandwidth Tax of Uncertainty: Helping Students Recover

Cia Verschelden has recently retired as Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs at Malcolm X College, one of the City Colleges of Chicago. Before moving to Chicago, she was the Executive Director of Institutional Assessment at the University of Central Oklahoma, where she taught in sociology and the first-year program and, at Highland Community College in rural Kansas, Vice President of Academic Affairs. At Kansas State University, where she was on the faculty for 21 years, she taught social welfare and social policy, women’s studies, and nonviolence studies. Cia has a B.S. in psychology from Kansas State University, an M.S.W. from The University of Connecticut, and an Ed.D. from Harvard University. Her book, Bandwidth Recovery: Helping Students Reclaim Cognitive Resources Lost to Poverty, Racism, and Social Marginalization, was published in 2017. Her new book, Bandwidth Recovery for Schools: Helping Pre-K-12 Students Regain Cognitive Resources Lost to Poverty, Trauma, Racism and Social Marginalization, is expected in September 2020.


Thursday, January 21, 6:00 - 7:00 p.m. Eastern


Friday, January 22, 2:00-3:00 p.m. Eastern

Adapt or Fail: Transformational Leadership in Rapidly Evolving Environments

Dan Monroe, retired Rose-Marie and Eijk van Otterloo Executive Director and CEO, Peabody Essex Museum

Rapidly evolving operating environments present entirely new institutional and personal challenges and opportunities. Deeply embedded behaviors, especially the fear of losing something an organization or individual already possesses, create serious impediments to adapting quickly to new conditions. Institutional leadership strategies that have yielded success in ’normal’ times often become prescriptions for decline or failure in rapidly changing environments. Major disruptive environmental changes, like those generated by Covid-19, not only present immediate, profound, and new challenges to institutions and their leaders but also amplify longstanding underlying issues and problems. In such situations, transformational leadership is often required to fundamentally recalibrate institutional goals, priorities, values, and practices. Transformational leadership is, by definition, an exception to the rule.

This talk will focus on strategies and principles leaders may employ to help transform their institutions and adapt them to new operating conditions, challenges, and opportunities.