2021 Updates

April 5, 2021 Updates | January 29, 2021 Updates

April 5, 2021 Upates
This message was sent to the ASHE community on April 5, 2021
 
Dear ASHE Community,
 
As promised in our January email, we are writing to share updates with you about our 46th Annual Conference this November. Since last year, the ASHE Board of Directors and Staff have monitored the COVID-19 pandemic, including the vaccine roll out, CDC directives on event gatherings, and mandates and recommendations from the Puerto Rican government. We have approached our responsibility as visitors to Puerto Rico; leaders of our membership Association; and friends, colleagues, and family members with the utmost diligence.
 
On Thursday, April 1, the ASHE Board of Directors, joined by members of the conference leadership team, met for the third time in three weeks to discuss our conference format for November. The Board of Directors, including members who are traditionally non-voting, confirmed moving forward with an in-person General Conference with a virtual ticket. This re-confirms what we communicated in our January email; there is no change in this format from that communication. What does change is that we also voted to move pre-conferences and professional development events to virtual, with some having in-person gatherings during the General Conference.
 
We want to begin by sharing some of the considerations that led to this decision and then share reminders and updates from our our January email as well as what this means for pre-conferences and professional development events.
 
First, as visitors to any colonized land (whether it be San Juan, Las Vegas, Minneapolis, New Orleans, or Denver), we owe a responsibility to the people who live in each place. As such, we considered:
 
We are hopeful that the increased and rapid rate of vaccination progress and decreased cases will continue throughout the fall. The Local and Community Engagement Committee and the ASHE Staff will be working with Indigenous, government, and higher education leaders over the coming months to ensure our visit is responsible and has a positive impact for the San Juan community. This is not only central to our values as an association, but also consistent with our 2021 theme of Spanning and Unsettling the Borders of Higher Education. In the coming week, you can also expect to receive a Boriken Syllabus, developed by the Local and Community Engagement Committee, to deepen our place-based learning.
 
We are assuming with this plan that we will be welcomed as visitors to Puerto Rico, as indicated by local Indigenous and government leaders, CDC travel advisories, and the maintenance of strict visitor guidelines implemented by the Puerto Rican government as well as our host hotels. If these assumptions fail, then we would revert to a fully virtual conference. The ASHE Staff will continue monitoring this leading up to the conference and recommend to the Board of Directors any necessary changes.
 
Second, if it is safe for us to travel to Puerto Rico, the next question was would members be able to travel. Of the 535 responses to the January survey, 56.7% were planning to or leaning to attend in-person, 39.0% were planning to or leaning to attend virtually, and 4.3% were planning to or leaning to not attending either in-person or virtually. Additionally, while the majority of institutions/organizations that had 10 or more attendees at ASHE's 2019 and/or 2020 conference have travel restrictions in place now (28 prohibit any travel and 18 allow travel only in rare exceptions as of March 1, 2021), we expect this to change in the coming weeks and months. We do realize that while travel may be allowed by November, funding may be limited. We are hopeful that the reduced in-person schedule as well as the support we will be providing to graduate students (detailed further below) will assuage some of this.
 
Finally, we considered the impact on our Association. For 2020, the Association was able to secure a forgivable $39,313 Payroll Protection Loan as well as a Small Business Administration Economic Injury Disaster Loan of $150,000; we anticipate being awarded a similar second-draw PPP loan in the coming weeks. In addition, because of membership, conference and events registration, sponsorship, and publications revenues, as well as relatively low expenses, the Association was not required to tap into our reserves, which currently stand at 13 months of operating expenses (which is still below our goal of 18 months). While we do project to end 2021 in a net deficit of about $100,000 (or about 12% of our annual budget), the Board of Directors has approved a budget that maximizes our revenue while minimizing our expenses. At the same time, the Board is investing in the human capital of the organization by filling the Director of Conference and Events position and adding an Administrative Assistant to the staff.
 
Now, we'd like to share a bit about what to expect with events this year:

The In-Person General Conference & The Virtual Ticket:
Thursday, November 4-Saturday, November 6, 2021

The entry, testing, social distance, and other COVID-19 prevention will be regulated by the Puerto Rican government and the headquarters hotel. ASHE will comply with these restrictions as well as the recommended guidelines by the CDC regarding events of our size. Current requirements can be found here.
 
As communicated in our January email, our in-person conference will offer the opportunity for members to gather in-person in San Juan as well as for members to join virtually to present as well as attend selected sessions. Here's a reminder of those details (Note: Nothing here has changed from our January email):
 
  • Poster presentations will be offered virtually and be available for a few weeks preceding and after the conference.
  • At this time we plan to offer roundtable presentations both virtually and in-person. When submitting a roundtable proposal, authors will indicate their presentation preference.
  • Proposals for self-designed paper sessions; interactive symposium sessions; and performance, visual, and digital scholarship sessions will have the option to indicate if they want to present a fully virtual session.
  • All other accepted proposals for paper sessions; self-designed paper sessions; interactive symposia; and performance, visual, and digital scholarship will be offered in-person. These presentations will be required to have at least one presenter attend the in-person conference. We are working to offer an option for other presenters in a group who are unable to join in person to present virtually.
 
We are still finalizing details of the Virtual Ticket option, with the goal of offering at least the Opening & Presidential Session; two keynote sessions; 18-20 Live Streamed Self Designed, Interactive Symposia, or PVDS sessions (depending on submissions and acceptances); 10-11 Presidential Sessions; the Virtual Poster Gallery; Virtual Roundtables; Awards Ceremony; and Community Meeting. These recordings will be available through May 1, 2022.
 
We will provide more details when registration opens in mid-May. However, for those who choose to attend in-person, registration rates will remain the same as our 2019 Conference in Portland with the added benefit of complimentary access to the Virtual Ticket. Additionally, we will extend early registration discounts through August 31. Hotel room booking will open at the same time as registration.
 

The Board and Staff will be working to once again support graduate students. We will aim to once again provide conference scholarships to graduate students; details of the application process and opportunities to donate will be shared in mid-May along with the opening of registration. We have also contracted a hotel within one-block of the headquarters hotel to offer a discounted graduate student rate, which includes complimentary breakfast. We will also plan to host an additional graduate student luncheon during the conference.

Finally, as visitors to Puerto Rico, our Local and Community Engagement Committee will be hosting a Decolonized Tour of San Juan during the conference as well as providing us with important information, guidance, and expectations on our role as responsible visitors.

Virtual Pre-Conferences & Professional Development Events

As in 2020, Pre-Conferences will be held virtually prior to the General Conference and Professional Development Events will be held throughout the Fall. We are thankful for those who attended these events in 2020 and completed the event evaluation. This information has been shared with 2021 event chairs as well as the ASHE Staff. Events will look similar to 2020 with many enhancements based on your feedback.

For those wishing to submit a proposal to a pre-conference, please plan for your presentation to be fully virtual. If you have already submitted a proposal, you can log back in to the Conference Portal and update this at any time prior to the submission deadline on April 20.

For those interested in attending a professional development event, registration will open in early July. You can find information about our 2020 events at www.ashe.ws/professionaldevelopment2020.

We hope that you share our excitement about the possibilities of the upcoming year. And we hope that you will consider submitting a proposal or volunteering for one of the 12 conference sections or 4 pre-conferences by the Tuesday, April 20, 2021 deadline.

We want to extend our thanks to the Board and conference leaders their thoughtfulness and diligence in this process. These were not easy decisions, and in fact have evolved over the past few months, weeks, and even days. We have remained true to our values as an Association by centering the place we will visit, uplifting our members in research and practice, and continuing to strive for organizational justice by providing the ASHE community with as much transparency as possible.
 
We plan to provide updates as necessary. We will for sure share an update after our virtual summer board meeting in mid-June and prior to proposal decisions going out in early July.
 
If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to either of us.
 
Sincerely,
D-L Stewart, PhD
(they/them/their, he/him/his)
ASHE 2021 President
president@ashe.ws

Jason P. Guilbeau, PhD, CAE
(he/him)
ASHE Executive Director
jason@ashe.ws
(702) 895-2737

On behalf of the ASHE Board of Directors:
  • D-L Stewart, Colorado State University (President)
  • KerryAnn O’Meara, University of Maryland (Past President)
  • Joy Gaston Gayles, North Carolina State University (President-Elect)
  • Chris Linder, University of Utah (At-Large Board Member)
  • Eboni Zamani-Gallaher, University of Illinois (At-Large Board Member)
  • Gina Garcia, University of Pittsburgh (At-Large Board Member)
  • Judy Marquez Kiyama, University of Arizona (At-Large Board Member)
  • Eileen Galvez, Colorado State University (Graduate Student Board Member)
  • Stephanie Aguilar-Smith, Michigan State University (Graduate Student Board Member)
  • Karen Miksch, University of Minnesota (Legal Counsel - ex officio & non-voting)
  • Jason P. Guilbeau, ASHE (Executive Director - ex officio & non-voting)
  • Jeffrey Sun, University of Louisville (Budget, Finance, and Compliance Committee Chair- ex officio & non-voting)
  • MaryBeth Walpole, Rowan University (CAHEP Chair- ex officio & non-voting)
  • Lissa Stapleton, CSU Northridge (CEP Chair- ex officio & non-voting)
  • Antigoni Papadimitriou, Western Kentucky University (CIHE Chair- ex officio & non-voting)
  • DeShawn Preston, UNCF (CPPHE Chair- ex officio & non-voting)
  • Lisa Lattuca, University of Michigan (Publications Committee Chair- ex officio & non-voting)
  • Noah Drezner, Teachers College, Columbia University (Advancement & Fundraising Committee Chair- ex officio & non-voting)

January 29, 2021 Updates

This message was sent to the ASHE community on January 29, 2021

Dear ASHE Community,

Early next week, our 2021 Program Committee Chairs Natasha Croom and Z Nicolazzo will send out the 46th Annual Conference Call For Proposals. This will include information and guiding questions for consideration to submit to the 12 conference sections and four pre-conferences as well as the call for volunteers to serve as reviewers, chairs, and discussants. As you consider submitting a proposal or volunteering, we want to share some logistical updates about our 2021 conference scheduled for November 3-6 in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Since last year, the ASHE Board of Directors and Staff have monitored the COVID-19 pandemic, including the vaccine roll out, CDC directives on event gatherings, and mandates and recommendations from the Puerto Rican government. We remain in communication with our host hotel the Sheraton Puerto Rico Hotel and Casino and will be working collaboratively on an attendee safety plan. Based on what we know now, we are moving forward with plans for an in-person conference with virtual offerings, a hybrid conference. This will build upon the tremendous success of our virtual events in 2020 and include opportunities for members to engage in higher education research and scholarship either in San Juan or virtually.

We truly missed gathering in New Orleans in November, but are thankful to our members who created an innovative, relevant, and sustainable conference, bringing together more than 1,500 members across two weeks. We are hopeful that the Biden-Harris administration will advance efforts to stem COVID-19 and are optimistic about Dr. Fauci’s comments that we can expect to be able to gather in large groups again by late summer or early fall.

However, we realize that some members may not be ready or able to travel. We also know that many institutions and organizations are restricting travel spending for the upcoming academic year. To help us best plan for November, we invite you to take 1-2 minutes to take this 3 question survey:
[survey link was in the original email sent to ASHE community]

We will use this information to continue informing our decisions. In the meantime, the ASHE Staff, in collaboration with conference leaders, has begun to plan for and the Board of Directors has approved moving forward with a hybrid conference option and support for our members. This plan initially includes
  • Poster presentations will once again be offered virtually and be available for a few weeks preceding the conference. Accepted poster presenters will provide their poster in a PDF as well as record a 3-4 minute video. In-person and virtual attendees will be able to review posters and provide feedback, just as in 2020.
  • At this time we plan to offer roundtable presentations both virtually and in-person. When submitting a roundtable proposal, authors will indicate their presentation preference. Accepted virtual presentations will be scheduled in the month of October and open to virtual and in-person conference attendees. In-person roundtable presentations will be offered during the in-person conference only (not available to virtual attendees) and at least one roundtable paper author would need to attend in-person.
  • The two keynotes (announcement coming this summer!), opening session and presidential address, and all presidential sessions will be available both in-person and virtually.
  • Proposals for self-designed paper sessions; interactive symposium sessions; and performance, visual, and digital scholarship sessions will have the option to indicate if they want to present a fully virtual session. This will mean that all presenters will join the session virtually (similar to the 2020 conference). This may include members who attend in-person; in this case, they will present from a green room rather than the room where the presentation is being streamed and will be responsible for providing their own laptop, camera, microphone, etc. We initially anticipate being able to accept 20 of these proposals with priority for sessions where all presenters are unable to attend the in-person conference.
  • All other accepted proposals for paper sessions; self-designed paper sessions; interactive symposia; and performance, visual, and digital scholarship will be offered in-person only. These presentations will be required to have at least one presenter attend the in-person conference. We are working to offer an option for other presenters in a group who are unable to join in person to present virtually.
Over the coming months, the ASHE Board of Directors will continue to monitor the pandemic and implications for our November conference. If we are unable to host an in-person conference, we will once again transition to a virtual format, similar to and with lessons learned from 2020.
 
The ASHE Staff will provide more detailed information regarding registration and hotel accommodations in the coming months. We anticipate conference and hotel registration opening around mid-May, awards nominations opening in early May, and professional development event registration/applications opening in late July. You can find a full lists of dates and deadline at www.ashe.ws/conference.
 
Finally, we will promise to provide you another update prior to the proposal submission deadline on April 20, regardless of any changes. In the meantime, if you have any questions, please feel free to email Jason at jason@ashe.ws.

Sincerely,
D-L Stewart, PhD
(they/them/their, he/him/his)
ASHE 2021 President

Jason P. Guilbeau, PhD, CAE
(he/him)
ASHE Executive Director