For those of us who have dedicated our professional careers to supporting the success of all students and to valuing their identities as core to how we design our educational spaces, these are challenging times. We are trying to figure out how to be advocates in circumstances that seek to dismantle the very work that we hold as foundational for student access and success in higher education.
At AAC&U, we are, and will always be, committed to a vision of educational excellence that is grounded in equity and inclusion, that provides the learning all students need for success in an uncertain future, and that prepares our students to address the compelling issues we face as a democracy and as a global community. This vision will be at the heart of the 2024 Conference on Diversity, Equity, and Student Success.
We must acknowledge and be informed about the current realities that are challenging the creation and sustainability of educational environments that seek to achieve a sense of belonging for all students. Yet, we must remain focused on what we know is foundational for student success—from inclusive and expansive teaching and learning practices to evidence-based recruitment, retention, progression, and graduation practices; from student engagement to effective academic and social program supports; from data collection and analysis to address inequities in student and educator outcomes to faculty and staff diversity and professional development.
AAC&U’s 2024 Conference on Diversity, Equity, and Student Success will focus on these topics and more. The conversations at the conference will be open to educators, students, administrators, policymakers, and community members. We invite open dialogues that are civil and respectful and that promote the free exchange of ideas and practices that support diversity, equity, and student success. What Unites Us is our shared responsibility and commitment to develop systems, structures, and policies that are centered in equality and justice for all.