OOHLALA’s Danial Jameel and Zack Brown joined senior leaders of American colleges and universities at the New York Times Higher Education Leaders Forum on June 20-21st, as they sought solutions to the most pressing issues on their campuses.

The two-day conference hosted by journalists at TheTimesCenter in New York brought together higher ed leaders including U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King, Jr. and faculty from Harvard, Yale, Columbia, the University of Pennsylvania, Oberlin College, and Wake Forest University.

Conference Highlights:

Race was a strong theme at last week’s conference as leaders considered viable alternatives to affirmative action, which may be affected by a Supreme Court ruling, as well as best practices to engage students and staff in respectful conversations around diversity and inclusion.

Leaders also tackled appropriate methods to discuss sexual assault and mental health on campus. As students shift away from conventional to more digital means of communication, the medium and manner of these conversations is quickly evolving.

John Palfrey, head of Philips Academy, and James Ryan, Dean of Harvard Graduate School of Education, led a spirited discussion on the digital future of education and how technology is changing students’ and faculty’s expectations.

Impact of Mobile Technology in Higher Education:

Recently, an at-risk student at California Baptist University reached out to her peers on a mobile campus engagement platform at midnight a month after orientation, explaining that she felt lonely and wanted to transfer out of school. Within the hour she was answered by another student who had similar feelings, as well as a few who were having a great experience and encouraged her to stay. These students virtually formed their own support group, developing a connection over the platform that eventually translated to becoming friends on campus.

OOHLALA was thrilled to participate in this conference and share ideas as we navigate the most effective ways to support students and higher education. In a time when institutions of all sizes are tackling both challenging issues and rapidly changing communication platforms, it is more important than ever to share best practices across the industry.

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