The higher education industry is experiencing significant changes to curricula, teaching methods, technology, student affairs, recruitment, and retention. At the same time, academic institutions—and their leaders—are faced with increased scrutiny from the academic community, accreditors, students, and parents. Now, more than ever, effective and flexible leadership is critical to an educational institution’s success. One way for leaders in higher ed to stay ahead of the curve is by attending the nation’s top higher education conferences.
These conferences are an excellent chance for education professionals to develop valuable connections, exchange innovative ideas, share best practices, and learn new skills. The top higher education conferences of 2019 will help industry leaders stay abreast of emerging trends and practices in the ever-evolving higher education landscape, enabling them to affect positive change at their individual institutions.
There are, however, dozens of conferences to choose from. So, unless you have unlimited professional development budget, you’ll have to decide which conferences will provide the most value to you and your institution. Below, we’ve put together the top-ten higher education conferences of 2019 for educational leaders to help you narrow down your choices.
Top 10 Higher Education Conferences of 2019
Date: February 20-22; May29-31; June 3-5, 2019
Location: Orlando, FL; Beaver Creek, CO; Beaver Creek, CO
This three-day intensive conference is focused on leadership development in the higher education industry. Working alongside leadership experts and industry peers, attendees will receive one-on-one coaching and participate in interactive sessions to assess their leadership styles, master key leadership skills, and build a toolkit of actionable techniques to help promote change within their institutions.
Date: March 2-5, 2019
Location: Boston, MA
The Diversity Abroad Annual Conference, in conjunction with the Global Student Leadership Summit and the MSI Global Education Summit, will provide a comprehensive national forum on issues of access, diversity, equity, and inclusivity in global education. Attendees will have the chance to network and engage with colleagues to explore the value of diversity in global education and brainstorm new and creative ways to support diverse students throughout the education process.
Date: March 9-12, 2019
Location: Philadelphia, PA
At the American Council on Education’s (ACE) 101st Annual Meeting, nearly 2,000 educational leaders—from deans to presidents—will gather to discuss leadership, equity, social justice, and innovation in the evolving higher education landscape. Attendees will gain new knowledge and perspectives on the many challenges higher education faces today and work to examine the political, policy, and practical issues impacting the decisions they must make every day.
Date: March 28-30, 2019
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
The Association of American Colleges & Universities (AACU) diversity conference, entitled “Engaged Inclusivity: Perceptions, Realities, and Aspirations,” will examine what it means to work toward a campus environment where inclusivity thrives through constant reflection, analysis, and accountability. The conference will provide a forum for educators, students, and community stakeholders to raise critical questions about institutional and external practices, policies, and structures that hinder full inclusion and to identify strategies for improving the educational environment for all learners.
Date: September 26-28, 2019
Location: Louisville, KY
Hosted by the National Association for College Admission Counseling, this annual gathering of over 6,000 counseling and admission professionals focuses on the newest trends, innovations, technologies, and best practices available to leaders in the higher ed. Attendees will learn strategies for improving their own institutions in over 100 educational sessions, 14 learning lounge sessions, seven tech lab sessions, 14 exhibitor presentations, five preconference workshops, 10 pre-conference seminars, and more.
Date: May 26-31, 2019
Location: Washington, D.C.
Hosted by the Association of International Educators, this year’s NAFSA conference will examine how to effectively deal with uncertainty and ambiguity in critical areas of focus in education, such as immigration, health, and safety. Attendees will study current standards of successful leadership and discuss how present-day practices may affect the future of the field. The conference will feature hundreds of posters, sessions, workshops, networking opportunities, and a world-class expo hall.
Date: October 3-4, 2019
Location: San Antonio, TX
AIE’s mission is to connect leaders to inspire accountability, innovation, and school improvement through partnerships and research-based best practices. This year’s conference will focus on inspiring educational leaders to be the change agents that are needed in today’s world to improve student outcomes for all.
Date: October 3-5, 2019
Location: St. Louis, Missouri
Through a combination of comprehensive presentations, concurrent sessions, poster sessions, and roundtable discussions, the Leadership in Higher Education Conference allows higher ed professionals to explore trends, strategies, and best practices in academic and administrative leadership. Some key topics will include: academic and administrative professional development, diversity and inclusion, program and department evaluation and assessment, and institutional culture and climate.
Date: Oct 13-16, 2019
Location: Milwaukee, MI
HighEdWeb’s annual conference is “created by and for higher education digital professionals,” as a forum for exploring the unique digital challenges faced by academic institutions. This year’s conference will offer a full schedule of 100+ presentations, workshops, keynotes, posters, evening networking events, and more, focused on addressing the future of digital in higher education.
Date: November 7-9, 2019
Location: Chicago, IL
AACU’s STEM-focused conference is centered on the reform and advancement of STEM higher education practice, research, and policy. AACU’s goal is that “all STEM faculty are equipped to effectively implement best practices for undergraduate STEM teaching within any institutional context, for any student demographic, despite existing systems of oppression.” The conference annually brings together more than 500 STEM faculty, administrators, and other roles in related disciplines that support STEM education.
Looking for More?
These higher education conferences are a great place for educational leaders to start improving their organizational leadership capabilities. For education professionals looking for more comprehensive leadership training, however, a Doctor of Education (EDD) might be the next step. Northeastern’s Doctor of Education program, for example, rigorously prepares leaders to investigate, explore, and transform organizational and institutional landscapes, empowering its graduates to pursue the issues they’re passionate about.