The future of higher education took center stage in northwest DC.
Over the course of the last few days, the American Council of Educators (ACE) held their 95th Annual Conference to a record crowd in Washington, DC.
An estimated 1700 higher education presidents, educators, education professionals and advocates were on hand to debate a myriad of issues concerning America's higher education system.
Of that record number, Washingtonians like Laura Castillo-Page (Association of American Medical Collages), Nicole Chestang (GED Testing Services), and Muriel Howard (American Association of State Colleges and Universities) were in attendance.
There were many bright points that were highlighted:
Sessions on how to achieve research goals and expand collaborations;
The educational value of a liberal arts education;
Guns on university and college campuses;
Ways to enrich higher education;
Raising the educational bar;
And even ways to reach future workforce needs through higher education.
During one their closing events, ACE awarded Johnnetta B. Cole the 2013 recipient of the Reginald Wilson Diversity Leadership Award.
Cole currently serves as director of the Smithsonian's National Museum of African Art (NMAfA) and former president of Spelman College (GA) and Bennett College (NC). Her tenure at Spelman made national news because she became the first African-American woman to head Spelman College in 1987.
Johnetta Cole also serves on the Scholarly Advisory Board for the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC).
Reginald Wilson was senior scholar emeritus at ACE and former director of the organization's Office of Minority Concerns.
Higher education seems to be a right of passage for many people living in the DC metro region. This area has one of the highest ratios of individuals with college degrees or experience in the nation.
In the District of Columbia organizations like Knowledge Is Power Program (KIPP) attempts to tackle the problem of high school students graduating and not seeking higher education. Recently, The Washington Post reported that KIPP has had more success than any other large educational organization in raising the achievement of low-income students, both nationally and in the District, according to Mathematica Policy Research's five year investigation of 43 KIPP from around the country [financially covered by the Atlantic Philanthropies].
Next up for ACE is a webinar entitled, "Maps to Credentials" on March 14th. The webinar will focus on student veterans in higher education; primarily looking at new methods of applying veterans’ training, according it's website. This event will be put together with collaboration from the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL) and the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC).