Featured Keynote

CREDIT Tim Llewellyn Photography

Ken Burns,

Celebrated Documentary Filmmaker

June 16, 2021

Ken Burns,

Celebrated Documentary Filmmaker

Announcing Eduventures Summit Virtual Research Forum

Eduventures Summit Virtual Research Forum (VRF) brings together higher ed leaders to help navigate the complex issues facing education today.

After a successful virtual Eduventures Summit in November, and keeping the safety of our members, speakers and staff our top priority, we are pleased to announce that we will host our second Eduventures Summit Virtual Research Forum on Wednesday, June 16!

We are thrilled to announce Ken Burns, celebrated documentary filmmaker, and separately, Dr. Laurie Santos, Yale Professor and expert on student well-being as our keynote speakers! Through his films, Burns tells stories that resonate with all Americans, across all political and ideological divides, and provide a new way of looking at our collective past. As faculty of the most popular undergraduate course in Yale’s history, Dr. Santos will address her latest research on student well-being and the implications for recruitment and support services.

Don’t Miss Out – Register Today! The VRF will bring the best of our in-person Summits, with a few twists that take advantage of the online modality. What you can expect:

  • Passes for all member institutions—taking advantage of online capacity
  • Expanded Q&A throughout sessions rather than only briefly at the end
  • Recording and re-purposing session excerpts available on-demand after the event
  • The opportunity to interact with our analysts with follow-up sessions
  • Member institutions will receive a complimentary gift box

Keynote Speakers

CREDIT Tim Llewellyn Photography

Ken Burns

Ken Burns has been making documentary films for over forty years. Since the Academy Award nominated Brooklyn Bridge in 1981, Ken has gone on to direct and produce some of the most acclaimed historical documentaries ever made, including The Civil War; Baseball; Jazz; The War; The National Parks: America’s Best Idea; The Roosevelts: An Intimate History; Jackie Robinson; The Vietnam War; and Country Music.

A December 2002 poll conducted by Real Screen Magazine listed The Civil War as second only to Robert Flaherty’s Nanook of the North as the “most influential documentary of all time,” and named Ken Burns and Robert Flaherty as the “most influential documentary makers” of all time. In March 2009, David Zurawik of The Baltimore Sun said, “… Burns is not only the greatest documentarian of the day, but also the most influential filmmaker period. That includes feature filmmakers like George Lucas and Steven Spielberg. I say that because Burns not only turned millions of persons onto history with his films, he showed us a new way of looking at our collective past and ourselves.” The late historian Stephen Ambrose said of his films, “More Americans get their history from Ken Burns than any other source.” And Wynton Marsalis has called Ken “a master of timing, and of knowing the sweet spot of a story, of how to ask questions to get to the basic human feeling and to draw out the true spirit of a given subject.”

Future film projects include Muhammad Ali, Benjamin Franklin, The Holocaust and the United States, The American Buffalo, Leonardo da Vinci, The American RevolutionEmancipation to Exodus, and LBJ & the Great Society, among others.

Ken’s films have been honored with dozens of major awards, including sixteen Emmy Awards, two Grammy Awards and two Oscar nominations; and in September of 2008, at the News & Documentary Emmy Awards, Ken was honored by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences with a Lifetime Achievement Award.

Dr. Laurie Santos

Psychologist Dr. Laurie Santos is an expert on human cognition, its origins, and the evolutionary biases that influence our all-too imperfect life choices. She is also knowledgeable in how behavioral change through positive psychology can lead to a happy and fulfilling life.

Currently, the big project of Dr. Santos is to positively influence the culture of Yale University by teaching happiness and well-being. She created a course so meaningful that it became the most popular class taken at Yale in over 316 years.

In her course, “Psychology and the Good Life,” Santos teaches her 1200 students about behavioral change through positive psychology. Dr. Santos wants her students to be more grateful, procrastinate less and increase social connections. She believes that those positive habits will decrease mental health issues on campus and create happier and more motivated students. The popularity of the class has prompted Yale to create a free online course. Dr. Santos is the host of the podcast, “The Happiness Lab.” From her research, Santos speaks to how we are biologically programmed to be motivated by sex, to be deeply influenced by other people — and to repeat our mistakes. And while Santos often uses subjects from the animal kingdom to help explain our sometimes-illogical behaviors, she also provides advice on how to engage our uniquely human faculties to counteract evolution, choose more wisely, and live happier lives.

Dr. Santos was appointed Head of Silliman College on July 1, 2016 to a five year term. She is a professor of Psychology at Yale University where she serves as Director of the Comparative Cognition Laboratory as well as the Canine Cognition Center, a research facility that studies how dogs think about the world. She teaches one of Yale’s most popular undergraduate courses, “Sex, Evolution, and Human Nature.” She obtained her Ph.D. in Psychology from Harvard University. Her numerous awards for science, teaching, and mentorship include the Stanton Prize from the Society for Philosophy and Psychology for outstanding contributions to interdisciplinary research.


Wednesday, June 16, 2021
12:00pm – 12:15pmWelcome and Opening Remarks
Getting Real: The Imperative for Higher Education
Doug Hughes, CEO, ACT | NRCCUA
12:15pm – 1:15pmOpening Keynote Presentation
A Fireside Chat with Ken Burns
Richard Garrett, Eduventures Chief Research Officer at ACT | NRCCUA
1:15pm – 2:00pmResearch Update
The New Enrollment Practice
Kim Reid, Eduventures Principal Analyst at ACT | NRCCUA
2:00pm – 2:15pmEd Tech Analyst Break
Three Questions with James Wiley
James Wiley, Eduventures Principal Analyst at ACT | NRCCUA
2:15pm – 3:00pmResearch Update
College Alternatives: Sizing Up Demand, Models and Pathways
Richard Garrett, Eduventures Chief Research Officer at ACT | NRCCUA
3:00pm – 3:45pmResearch Update
Presented by Strada Education Network
3:45pm – 4:00pmEd Tech Analyst Break
Three Questions with James Wiley
James Wiley, Eduventures Principal Analyst at ACT | NRCCUA
4:00pm – 4:45pmKeynote Presentation
The Mental Health Crisis in Higher Education
Dr. Laurie Santos, Professor, Yale University
4:45pm – 5:30pmKeynote Presentation
College President Panel
Led by Howard Lurie, Eduventures Principal Analyst at ACT | NRCCUA