ACE2020 Concurrent Sessions to Help Higher Ed Leaders Innovate and Inspire
January 23, 2020

​​Leaders attending ACE2020, ACE's 102nd Annual Meeting in San Diego March 14-16, will hear from experts discussing a wide array of topics affecting higher education, including race and ethnic disparities, financial challenges and competition, federal policies, public trust, and more.

On Sunday, March 15, the concurrent session, “Let's Talk About Race: What It Means to Lead on Racial Equity," will feature prominent higher education scholars and leaders who will talk about how they keep racial equity top of mind, work collaboratively with administrators and faculty to develop research, employ best practices, and engage on issues of race and racism with their campus communities. This session will feature findings from ACE's seminal publication, “Race and Ethnicity in Higher Education: A Status Report."  

Also on Sunday, experts will come together for a concurrent session called, “Adapting to New Challenges in Higher Education." Higher education leaders are facing growing challenges amid increasing competition, increasingly diverse student populations, and dwindling financial resources. Yet, few higher education leaders are highly confident their institutions are adequately prepared to meet those challenges. Leaders from ACE, Huron, and the Georgia Institute of Technology, who co-authored the report, “The Transformation-Ready Higher Education Institution: How Leaders Can Prepare for and Promote Change," will lead a panel discussion regarding key findings, and discuss changes needed to help institutions respond to evolving market forces reshaping higher education.

Among the public policy-focused sessions at ACE2020 will be ACE Senior Vice President Terry W. Hartle's federal relations update, a comprehensive and always highly attended overview of higher education policy. A host of higher education-related policy questions will be front and center this year, including an expected Supreme Court decision on the Trump administration's decision to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy; the impact of expected new Title IX campus sexual assault regulations; the Department of Education's enforcement of a previously obscure foreign gift and contract reporting requirement; and whether HEA reauthorization will be stalled in Congress.

Whether those or other issues are at the top of the agenda when the meeting begins March 14, Hartle will detail the current status of all the important topics affecting higher education at the federal level. This session is generously supported by Finn Partners, a global marketing and communications firm.

Higher education continues to face political, financial, and demographic headwinds, and recent headlines about bad behavior in admissions and elsewhere, The Chronicle of Higher Education will explore what college and university leaders should be prepared for in the coming year during its “2020 Trends Report" concurrent session on Sunday. Editors and reporters will discuss its report, outlining five major shifts in higher education and other emerging trends to be on the watch for. They'll offer case studies and other resources to help leaders assess what's happening on their own campuses, what's likely to come next, and how to char​​​t a path forward.

Monday, March 16 will be the day when attendees can get a first-hand look at results of a confidential survey of college and university presidents by Inside Higher Ed and Gallup, which explores campus chief executive officers' candid views on topics like public doubts about the value of higher education, campus finances, and declines in international student enrollment. At this session, Inside Higher Ed editors and a panel of prominent campus leaders will discuss the survey's results and the implications for their colleagues and higher education.

There will also be several plenary sessions, including the Sunday Luncheon Plenary featuring Roger W. Ferguson Jr., president and CEO of TIAA, ACE Board of Directors Chair Mark P. Becker, president of Georgia State University, and Kai Ryssdal, host and senior editor of Marketplace, who will look at the broader national economic outlook and its effect on higher education, its institutions and students. TIAA is providing generous support for the Sunday Luncheon Plenary, which also will feature the announcement of the TIAA Institute Theodore M. Hesburgh Award for Leadership Excellence in Higher Education.

Other plenary speakers include Diana S. Natalicio, a leading advocate for improving higher education equity and access and former president of The University of Texas at El Paso, who will deliver the Robert H. Atwell Plenary address on Sunday. This plenary is generously supported by Fidelity Investments.

Jose Antonio Vargas, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, Emmy-nominated filmmaker, and Tony-nominated producer, will be the featured speaker during the Monday Luncheon Plenary, which is also sponsored by Fidelity Investments. The Closing Plenary on Monday features political commentators Kirsten Powers and Michael Steele, and will be moderated by Paul J. LeBlanc, ACE's incoming chair of the Board of Directors, and that session is generously sponsored by the ECMC Foundation.

ACE2020 is the country's most distinguished higher education event, attracting more than 1,500 leaders from presidents to deans. Attendees will gain knowledge about practical solutions for many of the challenges higher education faces today, network with leaders from across all institutional types, and be inspired by the achievements of colleagues and the insights of a diverse slate of speakers.

Click here to visit the ACE2020 website for more information and to register. Join the conversation on Twitter at #ACE2020SD.