2018 Communications Conference for Senior Professionals
Tuesday, March 27, 2018 to Thursday, March 29, 2018Communicating
to Unite: Advancing Public Higher Education in Turbulent Times
About the Conference
This year, higher education has faced several turbulent and controversial issues, including defining freedom of speech on campus, addressing campus sexual assault, and protecting students after the termination of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. While addressing these issues, schools were often met with increased scrutiny or hostility.
How do we keep the public invested in the important role public higher education plays in our communities, local economies, and fulfilling the American Dream? Join us at the 2018 AASCU Communications Conference for Senior Professionals from March 27-29 in Washington, D.C., as we explore how to communicate effectively in challenging times.
The conference will be held at the AASCU office building, 1307 New York Avenue NW, Washington, D.C.
(Latest updated Feb. 12, 2018. Please check back periodically for program updates.)
Tuesday, March 27
8:00 - 8:30 a.m.
8:30 – 9:00 a.m.
Welcome & Introductions
9:00 - 10:15 a.m.
Challenges to Freedom of Speech on College Campuses
In our current polarized political environment, free speech issues are presenting themselves with urgency on campuses. It is important to clarify free speech’s role in democracy and how this relates to college campuses.
Frederick Lawrence, lawyer, civil rights scholar and Chief Executive Officer of the Phi Beta Kappa Society
10:15 - 10:30 a.m.
10:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Discord, Discussion and Unity: A Tale of Three Campuses on the Free Speech Continuum
In terms of geographic location, size and classification, Franklin & Marshall College; Kansas State University; and California State University, Stanislaus couldn’t be more diverse. But all three schools have grappled with issues related to freedom of speech and segments of the campus population who have felt excluded or marginalized. During this session, administrators and students from these campuses will reflect on the issues they face and actions they have taken to move past disagreement and to forge a more inclusive campus environment.
Kevin Burke, Vice President for Communications, Franklin & Marshall College
Jeff Morris, Vice President Communications and Marketing, Kansas State University
Rosalee Rush, Senior Associate Vice President Marketing, Communications & Media Relations, California State University, Stanislaus
12:00 – 1:00 p.m.
1:00 - 2:15 p.m.
Public Safety or Defamation? The Aftermath of One Campus’s Timely Warning Regarding a Sexual Assault
Title IX and the Clery Act require institutions to issue timely warnings whenever a public safety threat occurs on campus. But when California State University, Monterey Bay issued an alert that included the name of the alleged assailant in a sexual assault, the school became the target of negative media coverage and accusations of defamation for weeks afterwards. This experience can serve as a case study to offer lessons learned on Title IX compliance.
Noah Rappahahn, Public Information Officer, California State University, Monterey Bay
Greg Pool, Director of Communications and Marketing, California State University, Monterey Bay
2:15 - 2:30 p.m.
2:30 - 3:15 p.m.
Catastrophe: Louisiana in the Spotlight
Today's higher education environment isn't for the faint of heart. Racially charged incidents, police violence, sexual assault and harassment, hazing, political unrest-any one of these issues can consume a campus. What if all of the above happened consecutively on your watch? In the last 24 months, Louisiana has seen the threat of historic budget cuts, the longest legislative session in state history, the shooting of an African American man by Baton Rouge police and the subsequent ambush of the Baton Rouge Police Department in retaliation, and a 1,000-year flood, among others. These issues affected Louisiana State University (LSU) students, faculty, staff and constituents, as well as public perception of the LSU brand.
Jason Droddy, Interim Vice President of Strategic Communications & Chief of Staff for LSU President
Ashley Arceneaux, LSU Director of Presidential & Policy Communications
3:30 - 4:30 p.m.
Building a New U: University Consolidations and Mergers
Declining enrollments, increased operating expenses and changing student demographics are some of the factors contributing to an increase in college and university mergers. From Wisconsin to Georgia, states are consolidating institutions in hopes of creating greater efficiencies while meeting students’ needs. But what is it like for communications officers at the schools being merged? How do you promote the advantages while those affected are lamenting change or lost identity?
Kate Maine, Chief of Staff, University of North Georgia
Karla Leeper, Executive Vice President for Strategic Communication and Chief Marketing Officer, Augusta University
5:00 – 6:00 p.m.
Networking Reception at Toro Toro
Wednesday, March 28
8:15 a.m. - 9:15 a.m.
Moderated Roundtable Discussions & Buffet Breakfast
9:30 - 10:45 a.m.
The Best Deal Around: Communicating the Power of the Public College
Published data clearly show how important the college degree remains in earning potential and lifetime success. Given those findings, it is puzzling why higher education has experienced a loss of confidence and public support. Pollster John Zogby examines the mood of the general public toward higher education and why public colleges need to tell their story of being the best deal around. Public colleges not only have comparatively lower costs for tuition, but also serve as a vital force in helping Americans of all backgrounds achieve the American Dream.
John Zogby, public opinion pollster, founder Zogby International Poll
(Remaining Wednesday sessions will be posted within the next 10 days. The conference will conclude at 4:30 p.m.)
11 a.m. - Noon
Thinking Globally: Creating a Welcoming Environment for International Students
This year, Eastern Michigan University launched a comprehensive campaign to inform international students of the welcoming environment on its campus and community. As one of the leading universities in the #YouAreWelcomeHere national campaign, Eastern Michigan University pushed the messaging beyond most participating universities. The welcoming messages have helped the campus community move beyond the challenges of the previous year, when a series of racist vandalism incidents spurred massive protests across campus, including an all-night sit-in that occurred in the Student Center, a march by several hundred students to the university president's house, and a mass takeover of the football field immediately after a nationally televised home football game. This presentation will show various components of the campaign, along with initial metrics and analytics to provide measurement and results.
Presenter: Walter Kraft, Vice President for Communications, Eastern Michigan University
Thursday, March 29
Editorial Visits to Inside Higher Ed and The Chronicle of Higher Education
Media visits will take place Thursday morning and will conclude before noon. Registration is required for these visits—conference attendees will receive a form to register for this activity. These visits are optional, but those who register are urged to honor their commitment to attend.
Fee covers all program sessions, two lunches, a buffet breakfast, a reception and refreshments during breaks.
Early registration (before March 13, 2018) - $595
After March 13, 2018 - $635
Early registration (before March 13, 2018) - $695
After March 13, 2018 - $735
The Hamilton Hotel - Washington, D.C.
1001 14th St NW, Washington, DC 20005
$228/night (includes tax)
Reservation can be made by calling 1-866-407-1764, and use the group code “ACS.”
You can reserve your room online here.
The group cutoff date is March 6, 2018
If you have problems with hotel reservations contact:
Cancellation & Refund Policytop
Cancellations received in writing by noon, Feb. 21, 2018 will be fully refunded. After Feb. 21, 2018 a $200 cancellation fee will be charged and deducted from all refunds. Cancellations received March 6, 2018 or later forfeit the entire registration fee.