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Project Launchpad: A National Digital Summit

Schedule of Events

Hundreds of you joined with us on Dec. 1 for Project Launchpad, a National Digital Summit, and we began an incredibly important dialogue on how we can help our students recover their losses and be successful during this difficult time.

Please watch for future opportunities to engage with us. In the meantime, we share these session recordings with you in hopes they can spark new ideas for the benefit of all of our students.

Panel Session

Project Launchpad: Leading in a Time of Crisis

A panel featuring presidents and chancellors from across the country discuss real strategies to rebuild the launchpad our students lost in the wake of this crisis.

Digital Summit Moderator

George Blumenthal, Director of the Center for the Study of Higher Education at UC Berkeley


  • Marlene Tromp, President, Boise State University
  • Wayne A. I. Frederick, President, Howard University
  • Maurie McInnis, President, Stony Brook University – SUNY
  • Joan Gabel, President, University of Minnesota
  • Russell Lowery-Hart, President, Amarillo College
  • Donde Plowman, Chancellor, University of Tennessee
  • Kim A. Wilcox, Chancellor, University of California, Riverside

Breakout Sessions

Supporting Student Engagement and Wellbeing

When so many of our student populations are “isolating,” “distancing,” or away from campus, how do we create meaningful, supportive forms of engagement–especially given the mental health concerns we see our students facing?


  • Leslie Webb, Vice President for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management, Boise State University
  • Pablo Reguerín, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, UC Davis
  • Robin Holmes-Sullivan, Vice President of Student Life, Lewis & Clark College
  • Sharon Smith, Associate Vice President and Dean of Students, Arizona State University
  • Lori McDonald, Vice President for Student Affairs, University of Utah

Watch “Supporting Student Engagement and Wellbeing”

Meeting Graduate Students’ Needs in the Changing Times

Although much of the national dialogue has focused on undergraduates, graduate students are significantly affected by the crises, as they juggle professional and personal responsibilities.

This panel of national leaders in graduate education will lead a dialogue about the ways to help graduate programs best adapt to this challenging time and promote students’ success. Panel members will share specific interventions, strategies, and initiatives to support graduate students in the areas of well-being and mental health, career development, and student engagement to provide a sense of community.


  • Tammi Vacha-Haase, Dean of the Graduate College, Boise State University
  • Karen P. DePauw, Vice President and Dean for Graduate Education, Virginia Tech
  • Wojtek J. Chodzko-Zajko, Dean of the Graduate College, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
  • Jennifer J. Waldron, Associate Vice President of Research & Innovation / Dean of the Graduate College, University of Northern Iowa
  • Chevelle Newsome, Dean of Graduate Studies, California State University, Sacramento

Watch “Meeting Graduate Students’ Needs”

Layered Health Challenges: COVID reintegration strategies

This panel of national campus leaders will engage in a dialogue about their institution’s response to the global pandemic. Panel members will share their institution’s fall term experience, including strategies that worked well, lessons learned, and what their plans are for next term.


  • Alicia Estey, Chief of Staff & Vice President for Compliance, Legal, Audit and Public Health, Boise State University
  • Colleen Kerr, Vice President for Government Affairs and External Relations, Washington State University
  • Chicora Martin, Vice President for Student Affairs, Mills College
  • Jeremiah Shinn, Vice President for Student Affairs, Louisiana State University
  • Lisa Cooper Wilkins, Vice Chancellor, City College of San Francisco
    Watch “Layered Health Challenges”

Supporting Student Mental Health

Creating and Sustaining Trauma-Informed Communities of Care on Campuses

In the last 10 months, the United States has been hit by a wave of public health and other societal challenges that have weighed heavily on campus communities. The COVID-19 pandemic has turned our world upside down and has disproportionately affected people of color, due to inequities in health care and racism.

Additionally, police brutality against Black Americans has been graphically demonstrated in the media accompanied by protests across the nation. Furthermore, xenophobia has negatively impacted many Asians and Asian Americans who are being blamed by some for COVID-19 and subjected to violence and discrimination. The financial impact of the virus also has been devastating, with millions of people losing their jobs and needing to apply for unemployment. As we go forward and help create a new launchpad for students, we must do so from a trauma-informed perspective. In this way, we can more fully support students as they work through experiences of anxiety, pain and trauma toward healing.


  • Dr. John Dunkle, Senior Clinical Director for Higher Education, the JED Foundation
  • Dr. Tia Brown McNair, Vice President in the Office of Diversity, Equity and Student Success, and Executive Director for the Truth, Racial Healing, and Transformation Campus Centers, Association of American Colleges and Universities
  • Dr. Sofia B. Pertuz, Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer and Senior Advisor, the JED Foundation

    Watch “Supporting Student Mental Health”