Another year, another slew of higher ed conferences. Why come to ours? The next Eduventures Summit will be held at the Intercontinental Boston Hotel, June 7-9, 2017.

Higher education and conferences have a lot in common. Put lots of clever people under one roof, discuss some big topics, and hope that everyone goes home smarter.

Not everyone is convinced. Conferences and higher education are often accused of being too expensive and offering questionable value for money. The presentations, or classes, are a mixed bag. The theme, or curriculum, may seem disjointed. Too many talks, or lectures, encourage passivity, and too many audiences, or students, acquiesce. Most “great ideas” heard at conferences never take root back at the institution. Some students are only there to party; while some conference attendees are only there to shop.

Yet both conferences and higher education have remarkable staying power. Indeed, even when the topic is pedagogic innovation or new technology, bringing together hundreds of people for a couple of days of uneven lectures and haphazard discussion remains the go-to format. This says there is something timeless about higher education and conferences, but also that big ideas and small details matter.

What makes an Eduventures Summit?

The Eduventures Summit strives for a careful balance between big-room presentations and open discussion; plenaries and breakouts. We look for presenters who are both good speakers and have something interesting to say. Our conferences are big enough to attract unexpected people who can challenge your thinking, but small enough to ensure you feel part of a coherent event.

Public and private institutional leaders rubbing shoulders with those from the for-profit school sector can be all too rare at higher education conferences. We think such diversity makes for a stronger gathering. Having institutions and companies that partner with institutions mingle in the same room—as thought leaders, not just buyers and sellers— is something we also see as a strength.

The student lifecycle will, once again, be the backbone of our next event, with sessions slotted into a common structure that make connections between different college and university functions. Eduventures research will complement the perspective of experts from inside and outside the sector.

This year we are going to try out some new things. Kim Reid and I will look at enrollment trends for both traditional age and adult learners. Instead of treating these groups as separate worlds, better to acknowledge overlaps, implications, and differences—particularly now that Eduventures is part of NRCCUA. We now have considerably expanded our access to prospective student data. One of our technology analysts, Jeff Alderson, will offer his run down of the companies and tools colleges and universities should watch in 2017.

To better connect-the-dots between sessions, Eduventures analysts will offer brief summaries to set the scene, draw conclusions, and pose questions. We are also going to find ways to make interaction between speakers and attendees more organic and free-flowing.

Higher Education Remastered

We wanted a theme that speaks to the enduring value of higher education alongside deployment of new techniques and technologies to give longstanding ideas another lease on life. Don’t bet against higher education.

Clark Kerr, famed chancellor of the University of California System, counted 85 institutions founded before 1500 that still exist in similar form today, 70 of which are universities. The story of higher education is one of adaptation and change, as well as continuity. Higher education has been remastered many times.

Our confirmed speakers to date are all, in their own way, engaged in remastering. Here are four examples:

Robin Goldberg
Chief Experience Officer, Minerva Project

Minerva, billed as a reinvented undergraduate experience, does not have a conventional campus, instead using host cities for experiential learning and real-time online classes. Top faculty from the likes of Carnegie Mellon and Stanford have joined the initiative. Minerva is for-profit, need-based, and charges $12,500 annual tuition.

Jenny Rickard
Executive Director, The Common Application

A highly respected enrollment management leader, a technology executive serving higher education, and now the new head of the Common App, Jenny will reflect on college search, technology and her vision for her organization.

Michael Goldstein
Senior Counsel, Cooley LLP

Michael is arguably U.S. higher education’s foremost legal and regulatory expert. By June, whether the Trump Administration has ignored higher education, started a bonfire of regulations, or enacted policies as yet unknown, Michael is the ideal person to offer some perspective.

More speakers will be announced in the coming weeks.

Why come to Eduventures Summit 2017?

Both higher education and conferences resist simple notions of customer service. Both are experiences that call for active participation and interaction to achieve desired outcomes. The networking is just as important as the formal sessions. At Eduventures, we are working to ensure that yet another gathering of a few hundred people in a big room is a great use of your time.

 

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