That’s a Wrap on ACE’s 2021 Online Annual Meeting
March 29, 2021

​ACE2021 concluded Wednesday after three successful days of speakers, discussions, and activities on a wide range of higher education topics, as well as roundtables and social events that allowed attendees to network with colleagues.

The meeting also featured sessions discussing two new reports released by ACE. A report by an ACE Task Force of college and university presidents and chancellors offered recommendations and best practices to higher education leaders on how to modify existing transfer and award of credit practices to best support student success. A paper on the emerging concept of “shared equity leadership” explored how leaders can best improve equity outcomes for students of color.

Below are brief summaries of the Tuesday and Wednesday plenary sessions. See our coverage of the opening day here, which included a plenary session featuring political commentators Kirsten Powers and Michael Steele.

King and Mitchell Talk Higher Ed Policy and the Urgent Need to Advance Racial Equity

ACE President Ted Mitchell and John B. King Jr., the 10th Secretary of Education and current president and CEO of The Education Trust, discussed a wide range of higher education policy issues and the need to address educational equity gaps that have been exacerbated by the pandemic in Tuesday’s plenary.

King explained how Education Trust is working towards advancing equity and he and Mitchell explored how the federal government might help in advancing financial support for these efforts. King said that for institutions that publicly support the Black Lives Matter movement, they must also do the hard work of looking at their own internal policies on faculty diversity, campus climate, and student support.

Noting the difficult time parents have experienced during the pandemic and that one-fifth of postsecondary students have children, he urged leaders to investigate how they can assist and engage these students to help them succeed.

On admissions, King said that it’s important to reconsider pre-COVID thinking to ensure that applicants from low-income families and other underrepresented groups receive appropriate credit for overcoming barriers to their education.


John B. King Jr. and Ted Mitchell at ACE 2021

Crenshaw and Crutcher Discuss Tackling Race and Gender Disparities With an Intersectional Lens

A stimulating conversation took place on Wednesday between Ronald A. Crutcher, University of Richmond president and ACE Board chair, and Kimberlé Crenshaw, the co-founder and executive director of the African American Policy Forum. Crenshaw is popularly known for her development of intersectionality, critical race theory, and the #SayHerName campaign, and is the host of the podcast Intersectionality Matters!

Crenshaw observed that when ideas become readily accessible, they help people think differently about the world that they're living in. Intersectionality is not just another word for diversity but also calls attention to the places where race and gender and class and other structures come together to form particular kinds of obstacles for some individuals.

She called on attendees to “fight for the role of the fight myth."

ACE and Cengage Honor ACE Fellow Dr. Jevon Hunter with Inclusion Scholarship    

After Crenshaw’s address, ACE and the education technology company Cengage announced Jevon Hunter, Chair for Urban Education and Social and Psychological Foundations at SUNY Buffalo State College as the winner of the Cengage-ACE Inclusion Scholarship.

The scholarship covers the program fees for Hunter’s participation in the 2021-22 class of ACE Fellows. Hunter was selected for his demonstrated commitment to addressing educational quality and equity in student success. He had the opportunity to discuss some of his accomplishments and interests with ACE’s Sherri Hughes at the end of the Wednesday afternoon plenary.

Recordings of most sessions will be available to attendees by March 30.