Blogpost: Presenting uLEAD at AAHHE

By Marisol Ramos

Several members of the immigration research team at the National Forum attended the American Association of Hispanics in Higher Education (AAHHE) Conference in San Antonio, TX on March 28-30th, 2013.  This year’s AAHHE was special, as the National Forum had the opportunity to unveil for the first time: the uLEAD Network.  While we were happy to share the website with committed practitioners and researchers, we were overjoyed by the great feedback and response we received at AAHHE.

According to the mission of AAHHE, the association views itself as an agent of change for improving education, thus enabling Hispanic students to fully participate in a diverse society, given the shifting demographic changes affecting American society.  Similarly, the uLEAD Network grows out of our tradition of work on access to higher education and our commitment to providing tools that enhance leaders’ ability to create positive change in their institutions.  Our missions, while slightly different, seek to further create and open channels of access to higher education for underrepresented populations.  When the National Forum was invited to present on the uLEAD Network at the AAHHE conference, we were confident that members of AAHHE would provide great feedback to our work.

Days before the presentation, the entire National Forum Team worked diligently to make sure the uLEAD network was ready to be launched at the AAHHE conference.  Members of the Communications Team, for example, worked on editing and uploading videos to the site, while others worked on preparing templates for materials on the site including our training modules and outreach materials.  Other members of the team edited and contributed content to the site including adding additional dates to our immigration history timeline and conducting voiceovers for presentations, while others looked up state admission and registration policies and made sure the website content was up-to-date.  Meanwhile, our website developer was available at all hours to make sure the website was accessible to users and had no missing links. In other words, team members at the National Forum went above and beyond to make sure the uLEAD site was ready for launch date.

It was all worth it.  During our presentation, we walked through the website and discussed the features and functionality of the site to attendees of the uLEAD workshop.  At first there was a dead silence in the room as attendees looked at the presenter click through the pages.  But if you looked closely, the room was actually filled with awe and wonder, as if the attendees knew the possibilities that a site like the uLEAD site could have in their work.  When we concluded the presentation, there was no standing room for spontaneous conversation that took place across the room.  Emails and business cards were exchanged and commitments were made by both presenters and attendees to contribute in some way to site whether by taping a podcast, serving as resource or referring someone to the site.

We are ecstatic about the possibilities the uLEAD website can have in promoting access to higher education.  We invite you to visit our website at uleadnet.org.

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