Presidential Webinar Series

The Existential Crisis and Equity Imperative Facing Higher Education 

Higher education is facing an existential crisis like we have never known before. The global pandemic and the accompanying financial fall-out have questioned long-held assumptions about the value and values of higher education, who it serves, and who it excludes or leaves behind.

ASHE 2020 President KerryAnn O’Meara has asked members of our community who engage in research, practice and policy-making around higher education areas most impacted by COVID-19 to lead webinars in September and October, sharing their research and best practices, with a particular focus on equity for students, faculty, and staff to thrive in higher education

Each webinar requires registration at least 24 hours in advance. Registration is free for current ASHE members and members of co-sponsoring groups and $10 for those who aren't current members. Live captioning will be provided for all events.

What is at Stake? The View from Academic Leaders

Co-Sponsored by the ASHE Council for the Advancement of Higher Education Programs (CAHEP)

Thursday, September 3, 2020 | 12:00pm-1:00pm Eastern/9:00am-10:00am Pacific

Click here for the webinar live captioning transcript

The list is endless: Quarantined residence halls, budget reductions, hiring freezes, enrollment uncertainties, mental health crisis, international student access, revising of admission requirements, time to degree interruptions, tenure delays, and calls for racial justice on and beyond campus. These are some of the most pressing issues academic and student affairs leaders face, all set against a backdrop of institutions facing an existential crisis. In this first session, we hear from current academic leaders about how they are addressing these issues, while advancing equity. We consider how ASHE members can study, write, and advocate for equitable change. 

  • KerryAnn O’Meara, Professor, University of Maryland College Park
  • Lori Patton Davis, Chair of the Department of Educational Studies, The Ohio State University.
  • Ana M. Martínez Alemán, Professor and Associate Dean for Faculty & Academic, Boston College
  • José-Luis Riera, Vice President for Student Affairs, University of Delaware

Adapting to the State and Federal Higher Education Financial Landscape Amid COVID-19

Due to a technology issue with Zoom, this webinar was not recorded. We apologize for the inconvenience.
COVID-19 has significantly impacted the financial status of higher education institutions. This webinar brings together policymakers and policy researchers to discuss how COVID-19 is affecting state and federal higher education finance policies and the impact of these policies and decisions on equity, access, and success.    


  • Jason Taylor, Assistant Professor, University of Utah


  • Julie Ajinkya, Vice President of Applied Research, IHEP
  • Denisa Gándara, Assistant Professor, Southern Methodist University
  • Devinder Malhotra, Chancellor, Minnesota State (Minnesota’s SHEEO)
  • David Tandberg, Vice President for Policy Research and Strategic Initiatives, SHEEO

Communities of Color, Higher Education, and COVID-19: The Depth of Inequality

Click here for the webinar live captioning transcript

Communities of color have been deeply affected by COVID-19, from being disproportionately represented among diagnoses and deaths, to bearing the brunt of racism and xenophobia. This panel of experts will speak to complex ways that students and educators of color, as well as their communities and families, have been affected by the ongoing pandemic.

  • Nicole Alia Salis Reyes, Assistant Professor of Higher Education, University of Hawai'i, Mānoa
  • Shaun Harper, USC, Clifford and Betty Allen Chair in Urban Leadership, Provost Professor of Education and Business, Founder and Executive Director, USC Race and Equity Center
  • OiYan Poon, Program Officer, Spencer Foundation
  • Desi Rodriguez-Lonebear, University of California, Los Angeles
  • Vanessa A. Sansone, Assistant Professor of Higher Education, UTSA

Invisible No More: How Three Vital Postsecondary Sectors are Navigating the Pandemic While Serving their Students and Communities

Co-Sponsored by the American Indian College Fund and the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU)

Live captioning transcript 

Websites referenced during the webinar:
  • The video referenced by Dr. Preston:
  • ​Websites referenced by Dr. Crazybull:
COVID-19 induced challenges have led to greater media and policymaker attention to the roles Tribal Colleges and Universities, Historically Black Colleges and Universities, and Regional Comprehensive Universities play in advancing equity and strengthening democracy. This webinar features dynamic conversations between a researcher and a leader for each sector that will highlight the challenges these important institutions face as well as the innovative ways in which they are navigating the current crisis.

  • Cecilia Orphan, Assistant Professor, University of Denver
Historically Black Colleges and Universities Panelists:
  • Felecia Commodore, Assistant Professor, Educational Foundations & Leadership, Old Dominion University
  • DeShawn Preston, Research Associate, Frederick D. Patterson Research Institute, United Negro College Fund
Tribal Colleges and Universities Panelists:
  • Cheryl Crazy Bull, President, American Indian College Fund
  • Russ McDonald, President, United Tribes Technical College
Regional Comprehensive Universities Panelists:
  • Kevin R. McClure, Associate Professor of Higher Education, Department of Educational Leadership, University of North Carolina Wilmington
  • José A. Cabrales, Chief of Staff and Secretary to the Board of Directors, American Association of State College and Universities

Compounding Calamities: Pursuing Equity Amid Crises in Community Colleges

Co-Sponsored by the Council for the Study of Community Colleges, the Office for Community College Research and Leadership, and Belk Center for Community College Leadership
Thursday, October 1, 2020 | 12:00pm-1:00pm Eastern/9:00am-10:00am Pacific

Live captioning transcript

COVID-19 has rapidly upended life for many collegians and has exacerbated inequities that already existed. The disruption to educational plans and imposed challenges of the global pandemic have far-reaching. Concurrent with the health crisis, is racial unrest, an economic decline, and leadership vacuum widening opportunity gaps and making racialized inequities more acute. This is especially the case for community college students many of which have marginalized identities already struggling with existing inequalities. 


  • Audrey J. Jaeger, Alumni Distinguished Graduate Professor and University Faculty Scholar at NC State; Founding and Executive Director, Belk Center for Community College Leadership
  • Eboni M. Zamani-Gallaher, Professor of Higher Education/Community College Leadership and Director of the Office for Community College Research and Leadership (OCCRL) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; Executive Director, Council for the Study of Community Colleges (CSCC)
  • Edward Bush, President, Cosumnes River College
  • Linda García, Executive Director, Center for Community College Student Engagement, The University of Texas at Austin 
  • Xueli Wang, Professor of Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis, UW–Madison 

Resisting Disaster Academic Capitalism and White Supremacy: A Coalitional Re-envisioning of the Academic Workplace

Co-Sponsored by ASHE Grads and the National Center for the Study of College Bargaining in Higher Education and the Professions
Thursday, October 15, 2020 | 12:00pm-1:00pm Eastern/9:00am-10:00am Pacific

Live captioning transcript

In this session, panelists will define and describe how during times of crisis, such as COVID-19, disaster academic capitalism and white supremacy work together to reinforce oppressive organizational structures and practices concerning employees in the academic workplace. Panelists will discuss how crises provide convenient organizing frameworks and impetus for furthering neoliberal agendas and how coalitional and unapologetically revisionist work is necessary for creating a more just and safe workplace. 

  • Leslie D. Gonzales, Associate Professor of Higher Education, Michigan State University
  • Gary Rhoades, Professor, Center for the Study of Higher Education​, University of Arizona
  • Gerardo Blanco, Associate Professor of Higher Education, and Associate Director of the Center for International Higher Education, Boston College
  • Kimberly Griffin, Professor in the Higher Education, Student Affairs, and International Education Policy Program & and Associate Dean for Graduate Studies and Faculty Affairs in the College of Education, University of Maryland
  • Z Nicolazzo, Associate Professor, Trans* Studies in Education, Department of Educational Policy Studies & Practice, ​, University of Arizona
  • Heather Shotton (Wichita/Kiowa/Cheyenne), Associate Professor & Chair, Department of Educational Leadership & Policy Studies, Director of Indigenous Education Initiatives, Jeannine Rainbolt College of Education, University of Oklahoma