The 2023 CUMU Annual Conference, Resilient Campuses. Resilient Cities., brought together 460+ higher education leaders from Canada, Mexico, Rwanda, South Africa, the United Kingdom, and the United States to critically examine how our campuses and cities embrace shared understandings and a commitment to fostering greater resilience across intersecting areas.

Day One

Kristin Sobolik, Nassar Payder, and Valerie Holton

CUMU Executive Director Valerie Holton and CUMU Board Chair Kristin Sobolik, chancellor of University of Missouri-St. Louis, officially kicked off the conference in advance of the Monday plenary, “Raising the Bar: The Future of Higher Education.” During this session Dr. Nassar Payder, assistant secretary for postsecondary education at the U.S. Department of Education, presented an update to the field on the higher education priorities of the Biden-Harris Administration. He discussed the future of college affordability and equity and how we can raise the bar in higher education for students in the years to come.

Resources from Dr. Payder’s keynote include:

The first day of the conference continued with a mix of concurrent sessions.

Day Two

With the help of local CUMU member campuses, the second day kicked off with Community Experiences—opportunities for attendees to explore neighborhoods and programs where CUMU members are engaged. This year’s Community Experiences included:

  • We’re All In: Martha’s Table Charters New Path as a Community-Led Organization, hosted by American University

Jeremy Young and Neijma Celestine-Donnor

PEN America’s “Diversity and Free Expression in Higher Education” plenary keynote highlighted higher education’s critical role in the future of American democracy. Jeremy Young, senior manager of free expression and education at PEN America, discussed the laws being passed banning diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives; restricting classroom instruction on race and gender; and undermining free expression on campus across the United States.

He was joined on stage by Neijma Celestine-Donnor, a consultant with PEN America’s Free Expression and Education Program. She also serves as an associate dean at the University of Maryland Baltimore, School of Social Work, where she leads efforts in achieving a new standard for inclusive excellence for students, faculty, and staff.

Resources from their plenary include:

Henry Cunningham

Henry R. Cunningham was awarded the 2023 Barbara A. Holland Scholar-Administrator Award. Dr. Cunningham serves as the inaugural director of community engagement at the University of Louisville and is the co-founder and co-director of its International Service-Learning Program. “On behalf of the CUMU Board, I want to congratulate Dr. Cunningham. It’s clear that the depth and breadth of his scholarship, applied practice, and humility in leadership has helped to make University of Louisville a model for community engagement while also advancing the public mission across higher education,” said CUMU Executive Director Valerie Holton.

Day two concluded with more engaging concurrent sessions and our Signature Reception, hosted by The George Washington University. Attendees enjoyed expansive views of the National Mall while learning about GW’s community-engaged initiatives and partnerships with DC public schools, health professions schools, and the new Equity Institute, spearheaded by the GW Law School.

Day Three

The final day of the 2023 CUMU Annual Conference began with roundtable sessions and concluded with a series of concurrent sessions.

Thank you to our 2023 CUMU Annual Conference Supporters