Plenary Sessions

Keynotes and panel discussions bring trends, challenges, and solutions to light every day during the convening, presented by the nation's top experts and leaders in the field.

Tuesday, February 18
4:15 p.m.– 5:45 p.m.

Opening Plenary Session: A Vision for Student Success 2020

Keynote Address: James Fallows, journalist, and co-author of the national bestseller, Our Towns: A 100,000-Mile Journey into the Heart of America
Presenter: Dr. Steven Johnson, President, Sinclair Community College; Dr. DeRionne P. Pollard, President, Montgomery College; Dr. Karen A. Stout, President, and CEO, Achieving the Dream, Inc.

After crisscrossing America, visiting dozens of small towns and cities, journalist James Fallows found that communities that had overcome or avoided economic decline often had a community college deeply engaged in creating opportunities for upward mobility. Following this keynote, Fallows, Pollard, Johnson, and Dr. Karen A. Stout will discuss what this means for the next phase of community college reform work.

Wednesday, February 19
8:30 a.m.– 9:45 a.m.

The Future of Teaching and Learning: Collaborating Across Institutional Divides
Keynote Address: Felicia Darling, Author, and Faculty Santa Rosa Junior College

The future of learning and student success demands a more collaborative approach that eliminates the common divides between academics and student services. While the mission of teaching and learning is the foundation of higher education, faculty and student supports professionals are finding that they must engage and support students, and each other, in new ways to ensure that the modern classroom is dynamic, engaging and personalized, and filled with students who have the opportunities and supports to overcome barriers to success. This isn’t an either/or approach. Rather it is a collaborative approach that recognizes the central role that faculty play in shaping the student experience and the central role that student supports professionals play in ensuring that students have the supports needed to achieve their educational goals. Consistent with ATD’s 4 guiding principles for building a culture of excellence in teaching & learning, we will emphasize the essential role of faculty as leaders and key collaborators in shaping their institution’s student success culture in the classroom and beyond.

Thursday, February 20
8:30 a.m.– 9:45 a.m.

Aiming for Equity: Early College & Dual Enrollment

Presenters: Shasta Buchanan, Ed.D., Associate Vice President, College & High School Relations; John Fink, Senior Research Associate, Community College Research Center, Teachers College, Columbia University; Alex Perry, Policy Advisor, Foresight Law & Policy; Dr. David E. Thomas, Associate Vice President, Strategic Initiatives, Dean, Access & Community Engagement, Executive Director, Institute for Community Engagement & Civic Leadership, Community College of Philadelphia

For the past two decades, dual enrollment and early college have been among the fastest-growing sources of enrollment for community colleges. We know that dual enrollment is a powerful tool for increasing access and equity in postsecondary education. However, recent research demonstrates that if these partnerships are not executed carefully, they may not yield their intended impact.

In April 2019, Gateway to College National Network merged with Achieving the Dream. As a result of this merger, ATD has expanded capacity to support colleges to develop and strengthen their K-12 pipelines with a focus on equity. This session will focus on the transformative potential of dual enrollment and prompt colleges to reflect on whether their current practices achieve that potential. Research on dual enrollment across country will illustrate the achievements and the shortcomings of our current efforts and innovative leaders will share their experiences fine-tuning dual enrollment and early college to create new pathways for young people who were not college bound. We will consider the current context for dual enrollment policy and discuss state and federal policy opportunities on the horizon.

Friday, February 21
8:30 a.m.– 10:30 a.m.

Closing Plenary Session: Change the Story, Change the Future

DREAM Scholars will open this session with a panel discussion.

2020 DREAM Scholars: Joye Hardiman (Moderator); Andre Henderson; Kendall Stephens; Miguel Lopez; Tuan Nguyen; Jacob McArthur; Mayerlies Diaz; Aylin Garcia; Sarah Wood

Keynote Speaker: Crystal Echo Hawk, Founder and Executive Director of IllumiNative

Ms. Echo Hawk, founder and CEO of IllumiNative, will share research from a national initiative that she co-led, Reclaiming Native Truth: A Project to Dispel America’s Myths and Misconceptions, about how invisibility harms Native Americans and how visibility can be transformative. She will share strategies that help promote visibility of Native American students and other populations in ways that can empower them to achieve their dreams.

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