Announcing Plenary Speakers for DREAM 2021

In February, leaders and experts from across the country will convene virtually for Achieving the Dream’s 17th annual DREAM conference. DREAM is a chance for attendees not only to network with each other, but also to hear from inspiring, diverse speakers who represent some of the brightest minds and most powerful voices in higher education today.

This year, DREAM speakers include renowned authors, distinguished college faculty and administrators, and foundation leaders. ATD is excited to share that the opening plenary keynote speaker for DREAM 2021 will be MacArthur Genius and two-time National Book Award winner Jesmyn Ward.

Opening Plenary Keynote Speaker: JESMYN WARD

A professor of creative writing at Tulane University, Ward will address DREAM attendees in the keynote session entitled “The Future Is Now: Hope at the Forefront of Change.” Ward is the author of the novels Where the Line Bleeds, Salvage the Bones, which won the 2011 National Book Award, and Sing, Unburied, Sing, which won the 2017 National Book Award. She is also the editor of the memoir Men We Reaped, which was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award.

The 2021 convening will also feature plenary speaker Pushcart Prize winner and bestselling author Dr. David Treuer, who will present on “The Power of Place: Connections that Foster Student Opportunity and Community Well-Being.” Treuer is a professor of English at the University of Southern California and his book The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee was a 2019 finalist for both the National Book Award and Carnegie Medal.

Plenary Speaker: Dr. David Treuer

Ward and Treuer are joined by prominent thinkers and leaders who will share their expertise on racial equity, culturally responsive learning experiences, the power of place, and other topics that are at the forefront of community college policies, practices, and priorities today.

Other distinguished plenary speakers confirmed for DREAM 2021 include:

  • Jamie Merisotis, president and CEO of the Lumina Foundation
  • Dr. Peter Felten, executive director of the Center for Engaged Learning, assistant provost for teaching and learning, and professor of history at Elon University
  • Dr. Laura Rendón, professor emerita at the University of Texas—San Antonio
  • Dr. Jacqueline Taylor, assistant vice president of retention & student success at Southwest Tennessee Community College

Colleges inside and outside of the ATD Network are already registering for DREAM 2021. The new, dynamic virtual programming has been designed around five topics that cover today’s and tomorrow’s priorities: centering racial equity, fostering teaching and learning excellence, leveraging our localness, listening in new ways in the age of big data, and anchoring a bold new access agenda.

Join the nation’s top community colleges for this virtual event happening February 16–19, 2021. Learn more and register here, before early bird registration ends on January 8.

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