2022 Annual Meeting
Presidents' Trust Symposium
A VOICE AND A FORCE FOR TRUTH
January 21, 2022
The annual AAC&U Presidents’ Trust Symposium provides opportunities for chief executive officers to network with peers and engage with leading experts on the most pressing issues facing higher education. Participation in the Symposium is open only to presidents, chief executive officers, and invited guests.
The 2022 symposium was held virtually as part of the AAC&U annual meeting and focused on liberal education in a “post-truth” and post-pandemic world.
On-demand video recordings of the symposium sessions are available below for members of the Presidents’ Trust only.
A DEFENSE OF TRUTH
PRESENTER: JONATHAN RAUCH, Senior Fellow, Brookings; RESPONDENTS: ELIZABETH BRADLEY, President, Vassar College; LANISA KITCHINER, Chief of the African and Middle Eastern Division, Library of Congress; DAVID K. WILSON, President, Morgan State University; MODERATOR: LYNN PASQUERELLA, President, AAC&U
Disinformation. Trolling. Conspiracies. Social media pile-ons. Campus intolerance. Together, these are driving an epistemic crisis: a multi-front challenge to America’s ability to distinguish fact from fiction and elevate truth above falsehood. Drawing on his 2021 book, Jonathan Rauch will explain what he calls the “Constitution of Knowledge”—our social system for turning disagreement into truth – and seek to provide higher education leaders with an understanding of what they must protect, why they must defend the truth, and how they can do it.
SPEAKING TRUTH: USING THE PRESIDENTIAL PULPIT
PANELISTS: WAYNE A.I. FREDERICK, President, Howard University; W. JOSEPH KING, Former President, Lyon College; PATRICIA MCGUIRE, President, Trinity Washington University; EDUARDO OCHOA, President, California State University, Monterey Bay; MODERATOR: ANDREW FLAGEL, President and CEO, Consortium of Universities of the Washington Metropolitan Area
College and university presidents occupy a difficult position as they endeavor to represent their personal and institutional values in a politically polarized and mistrustful society. Within this session, panelists will reflect on their own leadership experiences and the significant stakes of using the presidential voice.
STUDENT WELL-BEING AND STUDENT SUCCESS POST-PANDEMIC
PANELISTS: CERRI A. BANKS, Vice President for Student Success and Deputy to the Senior Vice President for the Student Experience, Syracuse University; BRIAN BRUESS, President, St. Norbert College; KAREN HYNICK, CEO, Quinebaug Valley Community College; RANDY WILLIAMS, Vice President and Associate Provost for Inclusive Excellence, Elon University; MODERATOR: MARY ANN VILLARREAL, Vice President for Equity, Diversity, & Inclusion, University of Utah
COVID-19 has deeply impacted students’ experience in higher education over the last two years. Within this session, panelists will reflect on the significant stakes of serving all students through and after the pandemic.
THE CASE FOR LIBERAL EDUCATION POST COVID-19
PRESENTER: WILLIAM D. ADAMS, Former Chair, National Endowment for the Humanities; MODERATOR: FREDERICK LAWRENCE, Secretary and CEO, Phi Beta Kappa Society
Undergraduate students in the United States will inherit a world vastly changed by the COVID-19 pandemic. What form of higher education is best suited to the challenges they will encounter? Drawing on the series of Malcolm Lester Phi Beta Kappa Lectures on Liberal Arts and Public Life he delivered at Mercer University in March 2021, Bro Adams will make the case for the unique power and relevance of liberal education to equip students with the forms of knowledge, understanding and concern that the world now requires.
EDUCATION, EQUITY, AND ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITY: SPEAKING TRUTHS IN A CHALLENGING NARRATIVE LANDSCAPE
PRESENTER: DEBRA HUMPHREYS, Vice President of Strategic Engagement, Lumina Foundation; MODERATOR: LENORE RODICIO, Senior Fellow, Aspen Institute College Excellence Program
College presidents can play a powerful societal role in shaping national narratives about education and equity. They can “speak truths” about these issues, but will be more effective in being “heard” and in motivating change if they are sensitive to and aware of the changing parameters of national conversations in the media and online. This session will present frameworks to help presidents effectively communicate about the continued importance of higher education to meeting the nation’s goals related to equity and to economic opportunity and social mobility. Drawing on recent research supported by Lumina Foundation, the session will explore how the narrative landscape around these issues has changed and what messaging around equity works well to “make the case” while bridging political and cultural divides.