Agenda for EWA’s 2020 Higher Education Seminar

Sept. 15-16

Attendance at EWA’s 2020 Higher Education Seminar is limited to EWA members who pre-register.

If you’re a journalist interested in these opportunities, EWA membership is free, and we award scholarships to cover registration fees.

Non-journalists are also welcome to join EWA and attend this event.

In addition to online conversations and presentations by college leaders, education researchers and students, EWA’s 2020 Higher Education Seminar will offer journalist attendees opportunities for personal and private consultations with EWA staff or veteran education journalists. Supporting community members can sign up for consultations with expert communications professionals.

This agenda is tentative and subject to change. It was updated Sept. 8, 2020.

Tuesday, Sept. 15

Higher Education Confronts Inequities Amid Health, Economic and Political Crises

12 – 12:45 p.m.

Top researchers and higher education leaders explore how colleges are — and how they should be — addressing the longstanding barriers to access and success in high-quality higher education that affect students of color amid a pandemic and economic crisis.

  • Shaun Harper, USC
  • Ted Mitchell, American Council on Education
  • Deirdre Fernandes, Boston Globe (moderator)

Online Higher Education: The Promise and the Realities

1:15 – 2 p.m.

Now that “virtual” college appears to be the norm for the foreseeable future, how should schools and instructors change their instructional techniques and curriculum to engage and support low-income and other disadvantaged students? Get answers from online education researchers and practitioners.

  • Aidan Arasasingham, University of California Student Association
  • Nina Huntemann, edX
  • Bridget Terry Long, Harvard Graduate School of Education
  • Beth McMurtrie, Chronicle of Higher Education (Moderator)

COVID on Campus

2:30 p.m. – 3:15 p.m.

Many of the colleges that remain open for real-life instruction appear to be struggling to contain COVID. What will it take to for colleges to return to anything close to normal life?  Health experts and student journalists walk reporters through the rapidly changing situation on college campuses.

  • Maddie Ellis, The Daily Tar Heel
  • Preeti Malani, University of Michigan
  • Chris Marsicano, Davidson College
  • Jessica Bakeman, WLRN (moderator)

Gen Z University: The New Student Activism

3:45 – 4:30 p.m.

Frustrated by exorbitant tuition, racist campus climates, and haphazard reopening plans, college students around the country are demanding change. What are the emerging priorities of Gen Z student activists? How have the political and economic crises of their lifetimes shaped their views of campus activism? How are they making their voices heard, and what role does campus journalism play?

  • Dallas Hobbs, Washington State University
  • Angel Page Smigielski & Isaiah Moore, Columbia College Chicago
  • Tiana Woodard, The University of Texas at Austin
  • Aaricka Washington, Chalkbeat Indiana (moderator)

Addressing Trauma, Isolation and Dread: Colleges Struggle to Serve Student Mental Health Needs

5 – 5:45 p.m.

Pandemic-imposed isolation, the collapse of the job market, and horrific videos and images of violence — especially against people of color — have taken a toll on the mental health of college students. Experts help journalists understand the growing needs of students, and efforts colleges are making to give students the coping skills they need to thrive.

  • Rachel Conrad, Harvard Medical School
  • Anika Fields, Florida A&M University
  • Nance Roy, The JED Foundation
  • Jose Martinez, WFMZ (moderator)

Wednesday, Sept. 16

Going Test-Optional: A Pandemic Response, or a Pilot Program?

12 – 12:45 p.m.

Most institutions have declared that they will not require students to submit SAT or ACT scores for admission for the 2021-22 school year. Admissions experts and college leaders will explain the outlook for the ”test optional” movement, and its impact on longstanding inequities in access to high-quality higher education.

  • Akil Bello, FairTest
  • Jim Bock, Swarthmore College
  • Sharon Collins, New Heights Academy Charter School
  • Jeff Selingo, author (moderator)

Scott Jaschik’s Top 10 Higher Ed Stories You Should Cover This Year

1:15 – 2 p.m.

Inside Higher Ed Editor Scott Jaschik updates his popular and insightful rundown of the top higher education stories likely to make headlines this coming academic year.

  • Scott Jaschik, Inside Higher Ed

How I Did the Higher Ed Story

2:30 – 3:15 p.m.

Get the inside scoop on how reporters tackled big projects on two key issues for higher education: the challenges for student health centers, and how campuses are tackling tough conversations about race and equity. A reporting team from The Washington Post will share insights from their data-rich investigation of shortfalls in student health centers, and APM Reports’ team will discuss their new documentary “Black at Mizzou.” They’ll offer tips for sourcing, digging into databases, and more. As always, we’ll leave time for audience Q&A.

  • Alex Baumhardt, Lauren Brown, Chris Julin, & Sabby Robinson, APM Reports
  • Jenn Abelson, Nicole Dungca, Meryl Kornfield, & Andrew Ba Tran, Washington Post
  • Chris Quintana, USA Today (moderator)

Changing the Way We Teach About Race

3:45 – 4:30 p.m.

How have recent events impacted the way faculty approach the subject of race? For faculty who teach about race, what are some of the core concepts they hope their students will walk away learning? How are institutions responding to faculty demanding that higher education leadership redress racism on campus, in curriculum, instruction, and beyond?

  • Lee Bebout, Arizona State University
  • Venus Evans-Winters, Illinois State University
  • Akil Houston, Ohio University
  • Rocio Hernandez-Zarate, KJZZ (moderator)

Less Money Yet More Demands: Higher Education Funding Crunch Looms

5 – 5:45 p.m.

Many colleges are facing financial crises as states cut taxpayer subsidies and students demand tuition reductions for online classes. How can journalists uncover what these financial realities mean for efforts to improve higher education quality and equity in the communities they cover?

  • Susan Maddux, Furman University
  • Carlos Santiago, Massachusetts Department of Higher Education
  • Doug Webber, Temple University
  • Jamaal Abdul-Alim, The Conversation (moderator)