Rural Student Success Unconference

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Join colleagues for a national conversation on March 19-20, 2021 hosted by the University of Georgia: Redefining Rural Students Success and Wellbeing: An unConference on Practice, Research, and Innovation. This virtual event will feature three keynote speakers discussing the past, present, and future of rural student success in American higher education. After each featured speaker, there will be facilitated discussion/idea rooms for attendees to share best practices, innovative ideas, and research. The unConference will highlight  rural students  sharing their experiences in higher education as well as a closing panel for summarizing ideas from the event and charting  future pathways to support rural students.  

For this gathering, we borrow the concept of the unConference from the technology and business worlds and will focus not on formal research presentations but on conversations with researchers, practitioners, policy makers, students, and the community. This will be the University’s inaugural national convening on the status of rural access into and through higher education and support for students once they arrive on campus—one we believe will inspire new considerations on policies and practices for the future of rural student success.

Spaces are limited so please click on the appropriate link below to register. Once you have completed your registration information, you will receive a separate link to pay your registration fee ($100 for non-UGA participants; $90 for UGA employees; free for UGA students). A "One Day" rate is available for $45 and allows you to attend either Friday or Saturday.





unConference at a Glance

Friday, March 19th, 2021

10:00 AM - Welcome

10:15 - 11:30 AM - Keynote: Rural Student Success & Wellbeing: Where have we been? 

Featured speaker: Dr. Nicholas Hillman - University of Wisconsin, Madison

1:00 - 2:30 PM - Pick-Your-Discussion Room on Pathways To & Through Higher Education

2:45 - 3:30 PM - Student Voices & Rural Stories panel


Saturday, March 20th, 2021

9:00 AM - Reconvene

9:10 - 10:25 AM - Keynote: Rural Student Success & Wellbeing: Where are we now? 

Featured speaker: Dr. Darris Means - University of Pittsburgh

10:30 AM - 12:00 PM - Pick-Your-Discussion Room on Pathways To & Through Higher Education

1:00 PM - Reconvene

1:10 - 2:25 PM - Keynote: Rural Student Success & Wellbeing: Where do we go next? 

      Featured speaker: Dr. Maria Luna-Torres - AgriLife Extension, Texas - A&M

2:30 - 3:45 PM - Pick-Your-Discussion Room on Pathways To & Through Higher Education

3:45 - 4:30 PM - Rural Futures: An ideas exchange panel moderated by Beckie Supiano of The Chronicle of Higher Education

*All times listed are in Eastern Standard Time.


Keynote Speakers

Nick HillmanDarris MeansMaria Lena-TorresBeckie Supiano



Frequently Asked Questions

The concept of the unConference is borrowed from the technology and business worlds. Instead of the traditional focus on formal research presentations, we will create space for meaningful exchanges and conversations with researchers, practitioners, policy makers, students, and communities.

Attendees can expect a welcoming and engaging environment where you will hear from three keynote speakers with aligned, facilitated breakout discussion sessions centered on various subtopics on rural student success. Attendees will be able to select the breakout sessions that are of most interest to them.

The unConference will be held on March 19-20, 2021.

Anyone who is interested in rural student success is welcome to attend the unConference including faculty, staff, and students, researchers, policy makers, parents, supporters, and others!

Non-UGA participant: $100

UGA faculty and staff participant: $90

UGA student participant: Free

A "One Day" rate is available for $45 and allows you to attend either Friday or Saturday.

We are only accepting online credit card payments (this includes all UGA participants). We cannot accept interdepartmental transfers at this time.

Attendees can register online. The links are available above!

UGA students can register to have free access to view Keynote Speakers and the Student Panel.

If you wish to participate in the discussion breakout sessions, you may volunteer to participate as a Zoom Room Administrator (who allows participants to enter and exit the Zoom room) or a Session Note Taker (who critically listens to discussions and takes notes to assist the conference planners in synthesizing information) without paying the conference fee.

For 2021, the unConference will be held virtually via Zoom.

All other unConference questions can be emailed to


 The Redefining Rural Students' Success and Wellbeing unConference is supported by a State-of-the-Art Conference Grant from the Office of the Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost.