The CUMU Learning & Sharing Virtual Series is a CUMU members-only program focused on critical dialogue with practical takeaways that create action. This virtual series brings together CUMU administrators, faculty, staff, students, and community partners over the course of three months to learn from one another and share challenges and successes on a set of discrete issue areas. This virtual series is offered at no-cost to CUMU members and their partners.

Fall 2020 issue areas

Each Learning & Sharing Virtual Series is guided by discrete issue areas to focus our collective work. Under each issue area are examples of potential topics for presentations, community conversations, and issue-based action groups. For the inaugural series in fall 2020, proposals must be submitted within one of the six issue areas.

  • New and better cultural competence, anti-racism, and inherent bias training and education for students, faculty, staff, and community and corporate partners
  • Navigating controversial issues, such as monument removal, names of campus departments and buildings, and dialogue of the physical land our institutions sit on, etc.
  • Supporting student, faculty, and staff activism and protesting
  • Creating and prioritizing a responsive action-agenda that addresses structural inequality and systematic racism within our own institutions, the cities we serve, and the states where we are located—this connects to our work around hiring, purchasing, investment, real estate, etc.
  • Developing and coupling institutional and individual readiness to assure that this moment transforms into a movement
  • Informing communities and policymakers of the health disparities among various demographic groups (racial, economic, geographic), and solutions to improve outcomes for all
  • Sharing practical plans and developments for COVID-19 testing, contact tracing and treatment/vaccine development with medical professionals and the broader community
  • Disseminating best practices for telehealth and other safe and compliant healthcare access options
  • Utilizing campus resources (i.e. supplies, space, and medical/nursing students) to increase the capacity and support of pandemic response efforts
  • Sharing best practices for communicating new campus safety protocols—stressing the importance of these policies as they impact overall health of communities
  • Sharing and disseminating promising training curricula for local police jurisdictions or students enrolled in criminal justice programs
  • Developing criminal justice reform policy and guidelines informed by data and research
  • Supporting incarcerated individuals and returning citizens through workforce development, training, job support, and family/community engagement
  • Sharing challenges and successes in relation to community policing, local police jurisdictions, campus police departments, and public safety programs
  • Sharing practical COVID-19 recovery plans and ideas that small, local and minority-owned businesses can utilize
  • Leveraging entrepreneurship programs and capacity to spur innovation and new ventures that support post-COVID-19 recovery and innovative solutions connected to the pandemic and crisis
  • Continuing momentum with procurement and hiring benchmarks during a recession
  • Addressing unexpected financial, operational, and educational challenges impacting institutions


  • Communications and relationship-building: best practices and transformations for successful remote and virtual engagement, including retaining partners that are also challenged by current conditions
  • Gaining and maintaining trust of communities during challenging economic times and altered means of communication and connection
  • The ecosystem of community engagement within our institutions—specifically examining the alignment between diversity/inclusion/equity offices/leadership and community engagement offices/leadership and ensuring that these offices maintain funding
  • The role and responsibility of geographically bound community engagement centers in addressing the critical areas of income inequality, education disparities, health disparities, and the digital divide residents face with a hyperlocal lens
  • Measuring engagement and utilization of data to inform and refine future projects
  • Supporting critical basic needs for students, including mental health support, housing and homelessness, food insecurity, transportation challenges, etc.
  • Addressing technology and internet access for college and university students, K-12 students and their families, and community members
  • Curriculum and delivery innovation in K-12 teaching and learning and how universities are supporting K-12 systems and partners
  • Adapting pipeline programs and other educational opportunities that were typically relationship-based/experiential to meaningful and successful remote experiences
  • Offering remote service-learning and community-engaged scholarship opportunities for students and faculty amid COVID-19

What’s included in the series?

The Learning & Sharing Virtual Series includes a wide variety of opportunities for CUMU members to do exactly that—learn and share. CUMU members and their partners can engage and take part at any level and shift involvement as necessary to accommodate schedules and needs. Presentations focus on providing members with useful information with actionable steps that can be acted upon in their own communities while also creating space that promotes dialogue to address the critical issues.

Over the course of three months, offerings and opportunities for engagement include presentation types CUMU members have come to expect from our annual conference, plus a few new ones.

Have you led a successful project, partnership, program, or case-study that is working at your institution? Presenters should showcase your work and/or methodologies, highlight what worked, and present positive outcomes. 30 minutes, including Q&A. Maximum two presenters.

Have you experienced success in the implementation of new processes, infrastructure, or policy approaches related to addressing a challenge or issue in your community or institution? Interactive Workshops should be focused; inform on their topic; and engage attendees around a question or task. Presenters could create an interactive component where attendees may work individually or in small groups.  Participants should leave with ideas for action rather than just have heard a nice story. At its core, these are how-to sessions. 60-90 minutes. Maximum three presenters.

Panel presentations have specific topics and focus on lessons learned—the good and bad. They should avoid creating a showcase of something they are doing well, but should include diverse view points and perspectives. The bulk of the time during a panel should be spent answering questions and answers from attendees.  Ideally, community partners should be included. 60 minutes. Maximum five panelists.

Lightning presentations are quick, engaging, and should inspire attendees to seek you out to learn more. Most importantly, they are fun. Presenters should highlight an idea, success, approach, or trend; bring to light an issue or challenge; or give a personal perspective on a topic. Presenters can elect to share their screen. During a one-hour lightning session, five presenters that align on the same topic will be grouped together and a shared Q&A will occur at the end.  Seven minutes. One presenter.

Have you experienced success in the implementation of new processes, infrastructure, or policy approaches related to addressing a challenge or issue in your community or institution? Interactive Workshops should be focused; inform on their topic; and engage attendees around a question or task. Presenters could create an interactive component where attendees may work individually or in small groups. Participants should leave with ideas for action rather than just have heard a nice story. At its core, these are how-to sessions. 60-90 minutes. Maximum three presenters.

What keeps you up at night? These stand-alone sessions provide a platform for dialogue among attendees on hot topics and also what’s not working–our failures and challenges. Community conversations are not about sharing or defining solutions; they are conversations that should define problems, ideas, or practices that you have given thought to. Facilitators (presenters) should design a session that creates a thought-provoking and interactive experience for attendees. 60 minutes. Maximum three facilitators.

Want to go beyond the experience of a community conversation? These small groups, on specific discrete topics, will convene virtually either weekly or bi-weekly to focus on specific issue areas or challenges. Led by a facilitator, the group will chart their own path in a space that aims to create opportunities for critical conversation and ultimately action. Individuals participating will gain new connections with others across the CUMU membership throughout the fall 2020 Learning & Sharing Virtual Series.

Have questions? We have answers.

If you don’t find your answer, reach out to Paul Davidson, community and program coordinator, at with any additional questions, comments or concerns.

No, it’s not too late. We accept and onboard institutional members on a rolling basis. Fees are prorated quarterly based on timing of membership during the fiscal year (July 1–June 30). Our institutional membership dues are modest. Please submit your institution’s membership interest via this form or email Debbie Darr, membership and operations coordinator, at

Yes. CUMU will reach out to each individual with directions on next steps. However, only member proposals will be considered.

Yes. We welcome presentations from members and their community partners. Simply list the co-presenter’s university’s affiliation as your institution.

If the lead presenter is affiliated with a member institution and the co-presenter or facilitator is not affiliated with a member, the submission will be accepted. However, if the lead presenter is a non-member, we cannot accept the submission at this time.

Yes. Select the affiliated member institution on the call for proposals site. Community partners vary from institution to institution, but generally we are referring to organizations that are working in collaboration with the CUMU member institution to address challenges and opportunities in their cities and communities. Examples might include nonprofit organizations, schools, local government, workforce and economic development agencies, after school programs, community-based organizations, and healthcare organizations.

Yes. We understand many institutions are facing significant financial constraints due of the COVID-19 pandemic, so we have made many of our offerings available to the public. Additionally, our annual conference, which will still occur the week of October 19 and will feature a series of exceptional keynote speakers at a minimal cost.

CUMU offerings available to everyone include:


Choose from 60 sessions, spread out over 10 weeks, on today’s most pressing issues.



Already registered and need to add more sessions to your schedule?



Thank you to our working group of CUMU leaders who aided in crafting the issue areas and engagement types for the inaugural Learning & Sharing Virtual Series.