COVID19 Updates

"...the bottom line is YES please do work on and submit ASHE proposals, and sign up to be a reviewer, chair, and/or discussant. Whether we are able to meet in-person in November, or must hold a re-imagined conference as outlined in the ASHE Contingency Plan Procedures, there will be a process for your submitted work to be peer-reviewed, and accepted work disseminated."

Updates to the ASHE Community- 4/15/2020

April 15, 2020

ASHE Community:

We hope that this message finds you healthy and well. Please know the hearts and thoughts of the ASHE Board of Directors, Program Committee, and Staff are with you all as we navigate these extraordinary times together.

Our 2020 conference location, New Orleans, is one of the areas most impacted by the global pandemic. As the Program Committee shared in the Reflections on New Orleans in the Call For Proposals, the history of New Orleans is a storied one of colonization, slavery, Jim Crow, and de facto segregation (which remains to this day). We acknowledge that this past has undoubtedly contributed to disproportionate deaths of Black people in the city and state of Louisiana. Also not lost on us is the bravery and compassion of first responders, health care workers, and community members in New Orleans and Louisiana in response to this tragedy.

We are writing this as we know many of you are working on proposals for the upcoming May 1st deadline. No doubt, members want to know whether it is worth submitting proposals given our future is uncertain.

As you know from our previous email on March 20, 2020, the ASHE Board of Directors and ASHE Staff continue to monitor the worldwide COVID19 pandemic. The ASHE Staff has been in contact with the Hilton New Orleans Riverside (our headquarters hotel) and New Orleans and Company (the city's tourism bureau); the ASHE staff also continues to monitor city and state official government orders, guidance on events from the CDC, as well as best practices on contract and event management from ASAE: The Center for Association Leadership.

Yesterday, the mayor of New Orleans made a comment during her press briefing about canceling large scale events in the city through the end of 2020, specifically referencing French Quarter Fest, Jazz Fest, Essence Fest, and other events which typically draw tens to hundreds of thousands of people. At this time, however, there is no official mayoral proclamation nor is there clarification on how the ASHE conference, which draws about 1,500 people each year, would be impacted by one if it were to come. The ASHE Staff and ASHE Board of Directors will continue to monitor this development, with care for our members, the people of New Orleans, as well as considerations of our financial and contractual obligations. 

We will continue to share updates with you all as we have them. As we all know, this is a situation that evolves daily. The Board of Directors is meeting in mid-May to continue this discussion and we will communicate with you all afterwards. If there are decisions needed prior to this date, we will have a special Board meeting and communicate with you as such.

However, the bottom line is YES please do work on and submit ASHE proposals, and sign up to be a reviewer, chair, and/or discussant. Whether we are able to meet in-person in November, or must hold a re-imagined conference as outlined in the ASHE Contingency Plan Procedures, there will be a process for your submitted work to be peer reviewed, and accepted work disseminated.

If you have any questions, please contact ASHE Executive Director Dr. Jason P. Guilbeau directly at or (702) 895-2737.

We will stay in close touch. Be well.
KerryAnn O’Meara
ASHE President
Jason P. Guilbeau
ASHE Executive Director

Letter to the ASHE Community- 3/20/2020

March 20, 2020

ASHE Community:

We write to you now at a time of uncertainty, stress, and difficult decisions as higher education, and the world, respond to the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. We speak on behalf of the ASHE Board of Directors and ASHE Office in wishing you and yours health and well-being. We know you are responding to campus closures and new mandates to move courses online, while in many cases caring for family, friends and neighbors.

We have great empathy for our colleague professional associations such as ACE, AEFP, AERA, CIES, CSCC, NASPA, and NCORE that have had to make the difficult choice to cancel and re-imagine their conferences as virtual events. Understanding all of the planning, financial and career implications of such decisions, we know those decisions were not made lightly but responding to the very real crisis we face.

What's the status of ASHE 2020?
As you know, our 45th annual conference in scheduled for November 19-21, 2020. We realize many of our members must be wondering about the status of our own conference and whether it will occur.

The short answer for now is, yes. We are currently moving forward with plans for a place-based conference in New Orleans in November. Here are a few relevant updates:

  • Registration for the 2020 ASHE conference will open on Monday, including the ability to make hotel reservations at the headquarters hotel, Hilton New Orleans Riverside.

  • The ASHE proposal submission and chair, reviewer, and discussant application deadline has been extended to Friday, May 1 at Noon Pacific for now. This adds nine days to the 83-day submission window (which opened on January 31), bringing the total days the ASHE community has to submit a proposal or to apply to volunteer to 91. This new timeline allows for more time to complete proposals while also ensuring proposal notifications are sent out by July 1.

We realize that ASHE members considering submitting proposals while living under travel restrictions may have a number of questions. As such, we have created a frequently asked questions document, which we hope addresses the most pressing information. This website also includes answers to questions about submitting a proposal for a presentation which was accepted for a canceled or re-imagined conference.

What happens if ASHE 2020 is postponed, re-imagined, or canceled?
Recognizing the need for a thoughtful approach to conference planning, we have crafted a contingency plan designed by our Executive Director and adopted by the ASHE Board of Directors to carefully monitor conditions and procedures to vote on alternative plans, if they should become necessary.

Our plan (a) prioritizes the health and well-being of our members, and the health needs and interests of New Orleans and Louisiana residents, (b) takes into account the ability of the majority of our members to travel given travel bans or restrictions, and (c) considers all risks associated with holding the conference as planned and alternatives.

As we write to you it is mid-March, and college and university closures and travel bans are emerging every day. Most New Orleans institutions have sent students home to complete online learning. However, we are hopeful that in the coming months, we will be in a very different situation.

What's next?
If plans change for a New Orleans in-person conference, we will be in contact. In the meantime, you will continue to receive conference updates in the coming weeks and months, such as the opening of registration next week, announcement of keynotes and presidential initiatives in April, assignments for reviewers in May, proposal decisions in late June or early July, and the conference schedule in August. For the full conference timeline, you can visit

If you have any questions, please contact ASHE Executive Director Dr. Jason P. Guilbeau directly at or (702) 895-2737. Please note that the ASHE Staff is currently working remotely, but they are responding to emails and voicemails.


In closing, we want to thank the ASHE Board of Directors, 2020 Program Committee Co-Chairs, and staff for taking on this important contingency planning for our organization. We also know that you are managing much planning and disruption within your own organizations as you work to do the best by your students, faculty and staff. We are all perhaps being asked more than ever to “rise to the occasion” and respond with patience, grace, and full engagement as we strive for the well-being of our community.

We will stay in close touch. Be well.

KerryAnn O’Meara
ASHE President

Jason P. Guilbeau
ASHE Executive Director

Frequently Asked Questions about ASHE 2020 

Information about ASHE 2020
1. Is ASHE 2020 happening?

At this point, yes. There are no immediate plans to cancel the annual conference in New Orleans. The ASHE Office and Board leadership will remain in contact with members in the coming weeks and months with updates about the conference (e.g., the announcement of keynotes, special initiatives) as well as any changes which may impact the conference.

2. Can we have more time to work on proposals?
Yes. The ASHE proposal submission and chair, reviewer, and discussant application deadline has been extended to Friday, May 1 at Noon Pacific. This adds an additional nine days to the 83-day submission window (which opened on January 31), bringing the total days the ASHE community has to submit a proposal or to apply to volunteer to 91. This new timeline allows for more time to complete proposals while also ensuring proposal notifications are sent out by July 1.
3. If I submitted to present at another conference that is now canceled or virtual, can I submit the presentation as a proposal to ASHE 2020?

Authors who virtually present their work in any format for any other conference cannot re-submit their work to ASHE.  However, if authors do not wish to present their work virtually and formally withdraw their paper/roundtable/poster from another conference, they could resubmit to the ASHE proposal process.  This would not guarantee acceptance, and the proposals would proceed through the typical ASHE proposal review process along with all first-time submissions.

For re-submission to the ASHE proposal process, the following will apply:

  1. Authors must not present their work in an online format or any other format prior to ASHE 2020.  All submissions to ASHE must be original work not formerly published or presented.  This policy will remain in effect and is unchanged by conferences becoming virtual.
  2. In formally withdrawing a paper or other session format from another conference and submitting the proposal to ASHE, the author commits to not adding credit for presentation at the conference that the proposal was originally accepted to on their CV, regardless of whether the proposal is accepted by ASHE or not. In other words, the paper or other session format is considered completely withdrawn from the original conference and will be treated as a new and original submission to ASHE. 

Here's some general guidance on processes to withdraw from other conferences:

3/24/2020 update regarding AERA accepted papers:

  • Authors of papers that were accepted for AERA 2020, but not presented due to the cancellation of AERA are permitted to submit the same proposal to ASHE, as long as the paper was not presented or published anywhere in any form (either in person or virtually) prior to the ASHE 2020 conference.  Additionally, an author of an accepted paper to AERA 2020 must not upload the paper to the paper repository of AERA in order to submit the same proposal to the ASHE conference.

Information about how to withdraw presentations from other conferences is still evolving. Please check your email as well as organizational websites for more information.

Information regarding potential contingency plans
4. What factors would cause ASHE to decide to shift the 2020 annual conference from a place-bound conference on November 18-21, 2020 to a later date, or to a virtual conference?
The decision could be the on-going concerns and travel restrictions due to the Coronavirus, a natural disaster such as a hurricane, travel regulations placed on the state of Louisiana, etc. The Executive Director, ASHE Executive Committee and ASHE Board of Directors will follow an approved plan to monitor risks and make decisions for the annual conference as well as other meetings planned between now and then.
5. If ASHE members register for the 2020 conference and the conference is cancelled, postponed, or re-imagined, will members get registration fees back?
In most instances, the answer is yes, attendees would be refunded their registration fees. However, this is an ASHE Board of Directors decision and would depend on when and why the conference was canceled, with consideration of our contract with the hotel and vendors as well as our insurance policy. Considerations will be given to (a) whether the conference was outright canceled, postponed to a date shortly after, or re-imagined virtually; (b) the nature of the event causing the change; and (c) financial considerations weighed by the Board. For example, if the governor of Louisiana declared a state of emergency and banned incoming travel, this would likely activate force majeure stipulations with vendors and allow ASHE to refund registration fees. However, if ASHE were able to move the conference to within a three month period in the same location or a different location, refunds may be handled on a case-by-case basis.
6. If ASHE members register for the 2020 conference and the decision is made to hold the conference, but my institution has a travel ban in place and I cannot attend, will my registration be refunded?
Yes. This would be applicable to this year's ASHE conference if the ASHE member’s institution bans travel.
7. If the conference is postponed or re-imagined, can I cancel my hotel reservation at the headquarters hotel (Hilton New Orleans Riverside) without penalty?
Yes, but please note registration and cancelation policies when you book your hotel room. Members who book rooms outside of the headquarters hotel will be responsible for that entity’s (e.g., Airbnb) cancelation policy.
8. Is there anything ASHE can do about canceled flight arrangements?

Unfortunately, no. Attendees are encouraged to review cancelation policies for any travel prior to purchasing. Attendees are also encouraged to check with their institution/organization regarding travel insurance coverage.
9. If ASHE decides to postpone the conference until a later date, will my accepted paper be included in the program for that later date?
This depends on when and why the decision is made. The standard ASHE policy is that yes, it will remain accepted until it is presented, either in person or virtually. However, depending on the situation, there may be a repository of accepted papers created or some other method to provide credit for a presentation.
10. What are the different alternative options we have if ASHE cannot hold the conference on November 18-21, 2020?
The priority per the ASHE Contingency Plan is that the order of precedence would be to hold the conference at the same facility within 3 months, to a different city within 3 months, to hold a virtual or otherwise reimagined conference, and finally to all-together cancel the conference.
11. If the conference is held virtually, which content will be included, streamed virtually, and/or included?
The goal would be to retain as much of the content from the planned place-bound conference as possible in a re-imagined conference, not create new content. The President and program chairs would work with ASHE staff to determine how much of the conference we could put online and costs for doing so. In doing so we would be able to build on the experiences of many peer higher education organizations and could learn from what worked and did not work in this regard, as well as participant experiences of the virtual conferences.

ASHE Conference Contingency Plan

Approved by the ASHE Board of Directors March 19, 2020
The Executive Director and President will work collaboratively to update members on the status of contingency planning. The Executive Director will serve as the chief organizational spokesperson in regard to conference and operational contingency planning. The President will provide communications to the membership and conference registrants as they relate to strategic decisions made by the board and the reasons behind decisions. The final decision to alter the conference is vested with the Board of Directors.
The following steps will be taken leading up to decisions regarding any change to a place-based conference:
  1. The Executive Director will monitor relevant organizations and entities, such as the CDC, WHO, peer organizations, weather-related organizations, state laws, and hotel operations.
  2. The Executive Director will maintain contact with hotel venues and relevant vendors in anticipation of any potential event threat.
  3. The Executive Director will regularly update the President, Executive Committee, and Board of any potential conference threats.
  4. The Executive Director and President will update the membership as necessary, including the posting of this plan, as well as FAQs on our website. 
  5. When it may be necessary to cancel, re-schedule, and/or re-imagine the annual conference, the Executive Director will present financial, logistical, and member-impact risks and opportunities to the President, Executive Committee, and Board of Directors. The Board of Directors will make the final decision as to which of these options is in the best interests of the organization.    
  6. When presented with the decision of canceling, re-scheduling, or re-imagining an annual conference, the Board should consider financial and logistical implications but must prioritize the health, well-being, and safety of a substantial number of conference attendees and/or the local community (e.g., traveling into an area damaged by a hurricane). 
  7. Just as the President and program chair(s) are responsible for providing leadership for the annual conference (e.g. theme, presidential sessions, keynotes and special initiatives) when it is place-based, the president and program chair(s) will have the primary role in determining content for a later or re-imagined virtual conference. If a later or re-imagined virtual conference is planned that allows opportunities for Council and preconference content, the Council chairs and preconference chairs will retain leadership for that content, as they would in a place-based conference.
  8. If the board decides a conference is re-scheduled, re-imagined, or canceled:
    1. The Executive Director will bring to the President, Executive Committee, and then Board options and recommendations for whether a full refund or a prorate of paid conference, preconference, professional development, sponsorship and/or exhibitor fees will be granted.
    2. The decision of whether to provide a full refund or a prorate of paid registration fees will be made by board vote.
    3. If the conference is re-scheduled or re-imagined, accepted papers and sessions will remain accepted and ASHE will make a reasonable attempt to create a venue for sharing (e.g., a repository, virtual presentations, digital upload).
    4. If a conference is not canceled, re-scheduled, or re-imagined but a large portion of the membership is adversely impacted by an event, ASHE will issue a full refund  or a prorate of paid conference, pre-conference, and/or professional development to the re-scheduled or re-imagined conference or the next year's conference to members impacted.