27 Higher Education Marketing Conferences to Attend in 2021-2022

Our tracker of virtual, in-person, and hybrid higher education marketing conferences for the upcoming academic year.

14 minutes
By: Jillian Ashley Blair Ivey 
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Since March 2020, higher ed conferences have been canceled, postponed, or pushed online . But some are now moving back to in-person formats; others are staying fully virtual, at least for now, while still others are adopting hybrid models. Some that have not been held at all since 2019 or early 2020 are setting return dates, and no matter the format, many more sessions are now available to registrants as on-demand content – a trend that seems likely to stay.

Of course, networking at virtual events simply isn’t the same – informal conversations and meeting up for drinks with old colleagues and Twitter friends just isn’t the same by Zoom – but virtual networking and catching up is better than none at all, so we’ll take it until we can all gather again with no, or fewer, reservations and health concerns.

So with all that said, here is our guide to the college marketing conferences (and others closely related) that typically dot the higher education professional development calendar, with a breakdown of their current plans for how they will be held for the remainder of 2021 and into 2022.

Higher Ed Marketing Conferences Happening in Fall of 2021

Leadership in Higher Education Virtual Conference

Understanding that many people will be unwilling or unable to travel to Baltimore for their in-person event, the organizers of the Leadership in Higher Education Conference posted all conference events online on October 11; it will be available on demand through December 31. Details of the plans for the 2022 conference have yet to be announced. We will update this as information becomes available.

CASE Summit for Leaders in Advancement 2021

While last year’s Summit for Leaders in Advancement was folded into CASE’s Global Leadership Forum, this year’s summit will be returning as it’s own seminar series for three consecutive Thursdays in October, covering a range of topics from diversity and inclusion to data and leadership.

Social Media Strategies Summit: Higher Education

Taking place virtually, the Social Media Strategies Summit will share and elevate best practices in social media marketing from today’s leading colleges and universities by the people managing those accounts and developing those strategies. This conference will feature presentations and discussions on topics including, unpacking emerging trends in new platforms, auditing your social media initiatives, and creating a successful social media strategy.

AMA Symposium for the Marketing of Higher Education

For more than 30 years, the American Marketing Association has hosted its annual Symposium for the Marketing of Higher Education as an opportunity for higher ed marketing professionals to bond over challenges and share best practices relating to their work and that’s not changing for 2021. Although staying online, this conference  will feature interactive and on-demand content covering brand and marketing strategy, content creation, audience development, and more, with an overarching theme of navigating an industry that has evolved. And if you’re a director level or higher, for three days (November 7-9) there will be networking and peer-to-peer learning opportunities in Denver, Colorado.

AAC&U 2021 Transforming STEM Higher Education

Although organizers at the Association of American Colleges & Universities kept their fingers crossed for an in-person gathering in late 2021, they ultimately decided a virtual format was best. This conference hopes to continue positively influencing and reimagining undergraduate studies in STEM, including what it must achieve and when.

AACRAO SEM Meeting

The American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers plans to gather in person for their annual Strategic Enrollment Management (SEM) Conference in 2021. Taking place at the JW Marriott Turnberry Spa & Resort in Aventura, FL, this conference will focus on topics such as, social justice issues, accessibility and equity, and lessons learned from COVID-19.

Content Ed

  • Website: http://contentedlive.com/
  • When: November 25–26, 2021
  • Where: Bristol, U.K. and Online
  • Cost: Starting at £449 (approx. $383 USD)

After two years of being online, Content Ed is returning in-person this year. Taking place at the Mercure Bristol Grand Hotel or online, this year’s conference will center around seven different themes including content, design, accessibility, and data, all presented by a variety of international experts.

2020–2021 Higher Ed Social Media Conference

Sessions and speakers for the Higher Ed Social Media Conference, which has always been offered online, will likely focus on institutional implementation of social media strategy. Specific details have yet to be announced.

Higher Education Marketing Conferences to Watch for in 2022

FETC (Future of Education Technology Conference)

After canceling the 2020 event due to the pandemic and passing on hosting a 2021 event, the UBTechconference website now redirects to the FETC, the Future of Education Technology Conference. Returning to an in-person event in Orlando, FL for 2022, this conference focuses on new technology and best practices of ed tech.

DREAM2022

While they are often neglected at other higher ed conferences, issues central to community and tribal colleges take center stage in this annual event. Held in person in 2020, the conference shifted online in 2021. The 2022 conference will return in-person in Portland, OR. Additional details for 2022 are not yet available.

AACRAO Annual Meeting

After canceling its 2020 Annual Meeting due to the pandemic, AACRAO initially planned to make a big splash with its 2021 return before ultimately deciding to keep the event online. Now as the 2022 conference season approaches, they are hoping to return to in-person. Details have not yet been released, but watch this space.

University of Illinois Web Con

Web Con moved the 2021 conference online for safety, giving attendees the opportunity to learn from design systems advocate Jina Anne, startup founder and business coach Jeff Sauer, Being Boss podcast hosts Kathleen Shannon and Emily Thompson, or software development expert Anjuan Simmons, among other speakers, all from the comfort of their homes. As for 2022, Web Con has decided to keep the virtual format, but will offer registrants the opportunity for in-person networking at the I Hotel and Conference Center in Champaign, Illinois — so register early.

2022 UPCEA Annual Conference

The 2021 UPCEA Annual Conference event brought together experts in professional, continuing, and online education to discuss some of the most pressing issues in higher education today. While they have decided to return to an in-person format for 2022 in Orlando, FL, further details have yet to be provided.

Higher Ed Content Conference

The Higher Ed Content Conference takes place online every year, so there was very little that needed to change for the 2020 event. Unfortunately, the 2021 conference was tabled. However, all 12 10-minute training sessions from the 2020 conference are still available on demand. Speakers at the conference were all content or communications leads at universities across the country, covering topics including TikTok in higher ed, storytelling, omnichannel content planning, and more. While they are returning for the 2022 conference season, an exact date has not yet been set.

NAGAP 2022 Graduate Enrollment Management Summit

The Graduate Enrollment Management Summit from NAGAP, The Association for Graduate Enrollment Management, features presentations and discussions about such topics as admissions processes, graduate student outreach, and career development. Beginning in February, NAGAP will seek volunteer moderators and recorders for education sessions during the conference; keep your eye out for this opportunity as there is a deadline of late March. More information is forthcoming.

Confab

After a move online in 2020 in response to the coronavirus pandemic, Confab organizers decided to keep the event virtual for 2021, which offered a three-day live broadcast and an on-demand video library. Attendees had the opportunity to connect with one another during small-group discussions throughout the event and through an exclusive Slack workplace. Presenters included The New Yorker’s senior UX writer, Sophie Tahran; Netflix content design lead Jen Schaefer; and Lending Tree senior content strategist Jonathan McFadden. Now for 2022, Confab will return in-person in Minneapolis, MN. We will update with further details as they become available.

HighEdWeb

The annual HighEdWeb conference has returned to an in-person format for 2022, taking place in Little Rock, AR. This event for digital professionals in higher education has previously covered topics including data tracking and reporting; programming languages; social media strategy; designing for accessibility; and more.

CASE Social Media and Community

There still are not firm plans yet for what CASE’s Social Media and Community conference will look like in 2022, and whether it will be held in-person or virtually as the 2021 conference was. We will update as information is made available.

CASE Conference on Marketing and Branding

Focused on helping institutions develop, grow, and sustain their brands, the CASE’s Annual Conference on Marketing and Branding was last held online in 2020 and did not take place during the 2021 conference season. Information about the 2022 event is not yet available. We will update when we learn more.

SUNYCUAD Conference

After canceling their event in 2020, the SUNYCUAD conference organizers had planned what they call “The Unconference, Part Deux,” which included two days of virtual learning, networking, brainstorming and reimagining, all focused on innovation in higher ed and how advancements in technology have helped to transform education. There’s no word yet on what the 2022 conference will look like, but further information should be available in March.

GMAC Annual Conference

GMAC’s 2021 conference took place over the course of six months, during which attendees were invited to engage in a variety of activities to help build strong connections with peers and collaborate on new ideas for their workplace. While no details have been released for 2022 at this time, we will update this post as more information is released.

#PSEWEB 2022

After keeping their 2021 conference online, organizers of #PSEWEB, Canada’s college and university digital marketing conference, utilized Twitter Live for 3 half-day community-led sessions – all for free. And with an all-access pass, you can still catch up on the 2021 conference sessions online for up to 1 year. As of now, we know #PSEWEB 2022 will take place in Montreal, but more information about the event is not yet available.

eduWeb Digital Summit

At the forefront of eduWeb’s 2021 Spring Innovation Showcase was the theme of “higher education’s most creative ideas and solutions during a year of disruption.” Still offering their bite-sized presentations, this two-day online event featured panelists and speakers sharing their knowledge and best practices about topics, including how to position your brand, social media, and content creation. Details for the 2022 conference have yet to be released, but we will update as information becomes available.

NACAC Virtual Conference

After going fully virtual in 2020, 2021 marked the first hybrid (in-person and online) NCAC, The National Association for College Admission Counseling, annual conference. The conference, which traditionally features college presidents, authors, journalists, and other experts exploring the current issues that are affecting admissions, has yet to release any information regarding their 2022 conference.

CASE 2022 Global Leadership Forum

CASE held its first-ever Global Leadership Forum, convening leaders and aspiring leaders in advancement from colleges and universities in the US and Europe, in the fall of 2020 – and has been out-of-pocket since. No word yet on whether CASE plans to hold the event a second time in 2022; we will update as we receive information.

CASE All-District Virtual Conference

Choosing to see the pandemic as an opportunity rather than a threat, CASE took advantage of the digital conference trend and held its 2021 event online. The organization convened members from all of its regional districts under one virtual roof to replace its eight in-person annual events. Details about whether or when CASE will have this conference in 2022 have not yet been announced.

CUPRAP 2022

In lieu of its annual conference, CUPRAP 2021 hosted a series of professional development sessions this past spring, for members only. The organization plans to return to its annual conference format with a 2022 conference, but additional information about next year’s event has not yet been released. However, CUPRAP is hosting a fall event sometime in mid-to-late October. More details to come.

Did we miss any higher ed conferences? Have any of these been updated already? Let us know on Twitter @volthighered.

Jillian Ashley Blair Ivey 

Jillian Ashley Blair Ivey 

Freelance writer

Writer, editor, and communications strategist Jillian Ashley Blair Ivey has published in DAME Magazine, The Frisky, Philly Love Notes, and Curiosity Magazine, amongst other publications.

Jillian has an MFA in creative writing from Rutgers University Camden campus and a BA in English Literature/Creative Writing from the University of Pennsylvania. She lives in Philadelphia with her husband and their pets. Follow her on Twitter: @jillianivey.


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