Rural Student Success Unconference


rural_2022

 

Join the University of Georgia for our second annual virtual rural student success conference: Exploring Rural Student Identity in America: An unConference on Practice, Research, and Innovation. Guided by this theme, the 2022 unConference will focus on three core areas: rural student identity, policy impacting rural students, and inclusive curricular and co-curricular pedagogy for the rural student community in higher education. There will be  keynote addresses by national experts in these three areas, and opportunities for participants to discuss these topics and more in breakout discussion sessions.

Our keynote speakers this year will be Rural Student Identity: Dr. Darris Means - University of Pittsburgh, Dr. Sonja Ardoin - Appalachian State University,  Jenay Willis - University of Pittsburgh, Ty McNamee - Teachers College of Columbia; Rural Student Policy: Dr. Stephen Pruitt - Southern Regional Education Board; and Curricular and Co-curricular Pedagogy: Dr. Andrew Crain - University of Georgia. For more information on all of our keynote speakers, see our FAQ below.

 

Registration is closed!

  

Frequently Asked Questions

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 second 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.

Attendees can expect a welcoming and engaging environment where you will hear from 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.

If you'd like to view past keynotes, please click the hyperlinks in the past program schedule below.

Thursday, March 3rd, 2022 

9:00 AM - Welcome by President Jere W. Morehead

9:10 - 10:40 AM - Keynote: Rural Student Identity: A Panel Discussion

  • Featured speakers: Dr. Darris Means - University of Pittsburgh, Dr. Sonja Ardoin - Appalachian State,  Jenay Willis - University of Pittsburgh, Ty McNamee - Teachers College of Columbia

10:45 AM – 11:45 AM - Pick-Your-Discussion Room  

11:45 AM-1:00 PM - Lunch Break  

1:00 PM - Reconvene 

1:10 - 2:25 PM - Keynote: Rural Education and Workforce: The Case for Making Rural a Policy Priority

  • Featured speaker: Dr. Stephen Pruitt - Southern Regional Education Board

2:30 - 3:30 PM - Pick-Your-Discussion Room

3:45 - 4:45 PM - Student Voices & Rural Stories panel 

 

Friday, March 4th, 2022 

9:00 - Reconvene 

9:15 - 10:30 AM - Keynote: At Home, In the Classroom: Inclusive Pedagogy for Rural Students

  • Featured speaker: Dr. Andrew Crain - University of Georgia

10:35 - 11:35 AM - Pick-Your-Discussion Room  

11:45 AM – 12:00 PM- Closing 

Sonja ArdoinDr. Sonja Ardoin is a learner, educator, facilitator, and author. Proud of her rural hometown of Vidrine, Louisiana, her working-class, Cajun roots, and her first-generation college student to PhD journey, Sonja holds degrees from LSU, Florida State, and NC State. She currently serves as program director and associate professor in the student affairs administration program at Appalachian State University. She considers herself a scholar-practitioner of higher education and studies social class identity, college access and success for rural and first-generation college students, student and women’s leadership, and career preparation and pathways in higher education and student affairs.

 

 

 

 

Andrew CrainDr. Andrew Crain is the Director of Experiential Professional Development in the University of Georgia Graduate School and a researcher who explores issues of rural access and equity within postsecondary education, particularly college choice, experiential learning, the STEM talent pipeline, and  policy development related to rural education. Andrew holds a PhD from the Louise McBee Institute of Higher Education at UGA and master’s and bachelor’s degrees from Missouri State University. He has previously published work in The Rural Educator, the Journal of First-Generation Student Success, the Journal for STEM Education Research, the NACE Journal, and the Journal of Higher Education. Andrew is a native of St. James, Missouri – the “Forest City of the Ozarks” – and his views on rural life are influenced by his own upbringing in small-town Missouri and rural Georgia.

 

 

Tyler McNameeTy McNamee is a doctoral candidate in Higher and Postsecondary Education at Teachers College, Columbia University. Concurrently, he serves in numerous higher education research roles. Growing up as a poor and working class student on a farm/ranch in Wyoming greatly influenced Ty's research interests, which focus on higher education access and equity for rural students, particularly those from poor and working class backgrounds, as well as college teaching and learning and faculty development at rural postsecondary institutions. His research has been funded by national organizations, such as the ECMC Foundation, College Student Educators International (ACPA), the Association for Orientation, Transition, and Retention in Higher Education (NODA), and the National Resource Center for the First-Year Experience and Students. 

 

 

 

 

Darris MeansDr. Darris R. Means is an Associate Professor of Higher Education at the University of Pittsburgh. Darris examines economic, social, and educational conditions that shape postsecondary education access and success for Black students, specifically rural Black students. His research has been funded by the National Academy of Education, Spencer Foundation, and National Science Foundation, and his research appears in The Review of Higher Education, Teachers College Record, Journal of College Student Development, Journal of Research in Rural Education, The Rural Educator, and Journal of Diversity in Higher Education. He is the co-editor of Case Studies for Student Development Theory: Advancing Social Justice and Inclusion in Higher Education. Darris is also the Chair of the Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Ad-Hoc Committee for the American Educational Research Association’s Rural Education Special Interest Group.

 

 

Stephen PruittDr. Stephen Pruitt took office as the sixth president of the Southern Regional Education Board in July 2018. During his career, Pruitt built education policy, assessment and instructional background at the local, state and national levels. He started his education career as a high school chemistry teacher in Fayette County, Georgia, and then served in several leadership roles at the Georgia Department of Education. As senior vice president for Achieve, he worked closely with state agencies and educators around the country to improve science education. Before coming to SREB, he was Kentucky’s state commissioner of education. 

 

 

 

 

Jenay WillisJenay Willis is a doctoral student in Higher Education at the University of Pittsburgh. Her current research agenda highlights college access, success, transition, and persistence among rural Black students. As a Southern rural Black woman, her lived experiences inform her scholarship. Jenay fosters inclusive spaces through conversations, research, and teaching to uplift the experiences and narratives of the respective student population. Her research appears in Diverse Issues in Higher Education and The Rural Educator.  

Details about the 2023 unConference will be posted at a later date.

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!

Please note that registration for the 2022 unConference is now closed.

Registration rates for the 2023 unConference will be posted at a later date.

Please note that registration for the 2022 unConference is now closed.

We are only accepting online credit card payments. 

UGA employees can pay via two methods: (1) you can pay via personal credit card and be reimbursed by your department or (2) your department can pay the registration fee directly through an intra-university payment. If you would like to have your department process payment this way, please have your business manager email us at rural@uga.edu to coordinate payment details.

Registration for the 2022 unConference is now closed.

Details about the 2023 unConference will be posted at a later date.

 The 2022 unConference will be held virtually.

Details about the 2023 unConference will be posted at a later date.

All other unConference questions can be emailed to rural@uga.edu

 

 

Past unConference Schedules and Videos

*Click the red hyperlinks below to view keynotes and panel from 2022.

Thursday, March 3rd, 2022 

9:00 AM - Welcome by President Jere W. Morehead

9:10 - 10:40 AM - Keynote: Rural Student Identity: A Panel Discussion

  • Featured speakers: Dr. Darris Means - University of Pittsburgh, Dr. Sonja Ardoin - Appalachian State,  Jenay Willis - University of Pittsburgh, Ty McNamee - Teachers College of Columbia

10:45 AM – 11:45 AM - Pick-Your-Discussion Room  

11:45 AM-1:00 PM - Lunch Break  

1:00 PM - Reconvene 

1:10 - 2:25 PM - Keynote: Rural Education and Workforce: The Case for Making Rural a Policy Priority

  • Featured speaker: Dr. Stephen Pruitt - Southern Regional Education Board

2:30 - 3:30 PM - Pick-Your-Discussion Room

3:45 - 4:45 PM - Student Voices & Rural Stories panel 

 

Friday, March 4th, 2022 

9:00 - Reconvene 

9:15 - 10:30 AM - Keynote: At Home, In the Classroom: Inclusive Pedagogy for Rural Students

  • Featured speaker: Dr. Andrew Crain - University of Georgia

10:35 - 11:35 AM - Pick-Your-Discussion Room  

11:45 AM – 12:00 PM- Closing 

*Click the red hyperlinks below to view keynotes and panels from 2021.

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