Every October members of the Coalition of Urban and Metropolitan Universities come together to share best practices from their respective campuses and discuss the issues facing our unique institutions. With 25+ national conferences successfully hosted, it’s rewarding to re-visit past conferences.

28th Annual Conference | October 15–18, 2023 | Washington, DC

The success and well-being of our urban and metropolitan campuses is inextricably intertwined with that of our cities. More than ever, both face increasingly complex economic and social challenges. The 2023 CUMU Annual Conference: Resilient Campuses. Resilient Cities. asks presenters and attendees to critically examine how our campuses and cities embrace shared understandings and a commitment to fostering greater resilience across these areas:

  • Anchor Collaborations and Strategies
  • Hyperlocal, Place-based Community Engagement
  • Policy and Change
  • Racial Equity and Justice
  • Social and Economic Mobility
  • Student Success and Well-being

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Explore the conference program (PDF)
Explore Community Experiences and Workshops (PDF)

27th Annual Conference | October 23–26, 2022 | San Diego, CA
The 2022 CUMU Annual Conference, The Essential Role of Urban and Metropolitan Universities, invited us to consider the essential role urban and metropolitan universities play in leading a recovery grounded in community, equity, and innovation. Presenters and attendees were asked to reflect broadly on how the urban mission can be fully integrated into operations, structure, partnerships, and academic objectives.

26th Annual Conference | October 19–22, 2020 | Virtual Event

The 2020 CUMU Annual Conference was a virtual event featuring a series of thought-provoking and action-oriented key notes tackling economic inclusion and recovery, systemic and structural racism, and transformation through crisis. Over three afternoons, dynamic cross-sector leaders addressed the biggest issues facing our urban and metropolitan campuses and communities today and in the future.

25th Annual Conference | October 21–23, 2019 | Philadelphia, PA

The 2019 CUMU Annual Conference, All In: The Urban Mission, was our largest to date, selling out weeks in advance. 479 leaders from the United States, Canada, and South Africa attended, representing 105 higher education institutions. We also welcomed our largest group of university collaborators and partners

Institutions of higher education play major roles in strengthening the fabric of our communities. Across the CUMU membership, institutions are more closely aligning university goals with those of their city and achieving positive outcomes more quickly. They promote economic mobility, drive economic development, foster creativity, address societal challenges, and improve lives.

The theme, All In: The Urban Mission, called on each of us to reflect on how we can move our institutions closer to full integration of the urban mission. Presentations addressed major themes of urban mission integration, inclusive real estate development, diversity and inclusion, civic engagement, local purchasing strategies, local hiring and workforce development programs, college access and pipeline models, and innovation and venture creation.

24th Annual Conference | October 22–24, 2018 | Chicago, IL

The 2018 CUMU Annual Conference was our largest to date—over 400 attendees from the United States, Canada, and South Africa. CUMU members are known as vibrant, forward-looking institutions that serve as vital resource hubs for their communities—contributing to educational achievement, community engagement, and economic activity. As our communities face increasingly complex challenges, CUMU members have been called to action in partnership with the cities they serve. Our members are working across disciplines, sectors, and communities to create equitable, innovative solutions essential to the future health and vitality of our cities.

CUMU recognizes these challenges and the innovative solutions put forth by our member institutions. The 2018 CUMU Annual Conference calls upon each of us—leaders, administrators, faculty, staff, students, and community partners—to reflect on the changing role of our urban and metropolitan serving institutions through an equity lens in academe and in public life.

23rd Annual Conference | October 9–11, 2017 | Denver, CO

With more than 15 colleges and universities located in and around the Denver Metropolitan Area, the city served as an important backdrop for discussing the issues critical to urban and metropolitan institutions and the values that unite CUMU member institutions. A sold-out crowd of 400 came to Denver to connect with and learn from speakers and presentations from across our membership. Thank you for making this possible!

Just as urban and metropolitan universities and colleges serve an important role in their communities, cities serve important roles in students’ academic and personal growth. Urban institutions provide them with the resources to grow and thrive in a fast-paced environment. With better opportunities for experiential learning, research and development, creative activity, and partnerships that create immediate and substantive impact on communities, this urban advantage is on display in Denver, the setting of the 23rd Annual CUMU conference. From a mile above sea level, learn about the ways administrators and scholars are changing the face of urban institutions, and the way these colleges and universities are contributing to the city they call home.

Click on images below to view a PDF of past conference programs.