Relationship building and collaboration are critical components in furthering the urban mission. Connections among CUMU members are oftentimes initiated or strengthened at our annual conference. When the COVID-19 pandemic shut everything down in March, we were confident, albeit naïve, that we would still be able to convene our annual conference in San Diego in October. As the pandemic worsened, it became clear that wouldn’t happen.
Two phrases have been shared quite a bit these past few months: “we’re building the plane while flying it” and “don’t let a serious crisis go to waste.” Traditionally, in times of uncertainty, individuals and organizations reach out to trusted sounding boards, but there was not time to waste. Higher education leaders had to (and continue to) act quickly, and many have workshopped creative solutions that may have been deemed too unorthodox or unrealistic in the past.
CUMU staff, our executive committee, advisors, and members spent a significant amount of time over the summer brainstorming and collaborating on how we could support one another to help our members who were “building the plane while flying it.” One of the outcomes was launching the Learning & Sharing Virtual Series. The series was different than any programming we had ever undertaken, but it was an astounding success.