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SXSW EDU 2024 Highlights for Higher Ed Leaders

This March 4-7, SXSW EDU returns to Austin for a wide range of learning and mentorship experiences, performances, film screenings, future-focused competitions, and more. The event brings together "the brightest minds in education to tackle complex issues and drive impact to create a new tomorrow for learners everywhere," according to organizers.

The conference will begin by examining the debate over critical race theory in an opening keynote featuring Dr. Kimberlé Crenshaw, co-founder and executive director of The African American Policy Forum, and Dr. Jonathan Cox, vice president of the Center for Policy Analysis and Research at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation (CBCF). Presented in a fireside chat format, the keynote "invites attendees to explore the conceptual overview of CRT as well as the significance of integrating it into academia," SXSW EDU said in a news announcement.

A professor of law at both the University of California Los Angeles and Columbia University, Crenshaw is a scholar and writer on critical race theory (a term she coined) as well as civil rights, Black feminist legal theory, race, racism, and the law.

In his role at the CBCF, Cox develops public policy and research strategies to guide the organization's efforts to eliminate disparities in the global Black community. He is also a public scholar and educator, with 20 years of instructional and administrative experience across public and private K-12 and postsecondary institutions.

"SXSW EDU's mission has always been to offer discussions and perspectives on the matters impacting the state of education," noted Greg Rosenbaum, senior director of SXSW EDU. "Because critical race theory remains a significant topic in the field, it is fitting to open our 2024 conference and festival with a comprehensive discussion. We are thrilled that Dr. Crenshaw and Dr. Cox, two of the country's leading voices on African American representation, political discourse, policy, and justice, will join us to host this incredibly important and relevant keynote."

A number of sessions will continue the conversation on key topics for higher education technology leaders, from AI and immersive reality to tech innovation and the future of work:

The Creative Frontier: AI & the Making of Immersive Reality (March 4)
Maya Georgieva, futurist and senior director of the Innovation Center at The New School, will explore "the intersection of AI and the making of immersive worlds that blur the lines between the virtual and real" and spotlight emerging practices and projects from the next generation of creators.

Promise & Peril: The Potential of Our Community Colleges (March 5)
Learn how community colleges are tackling challenges such as dropping enrollments, pandemic learning loss, and diminishing public trust.

The Future of Work with Human & AI Coworkers (March 5)
Narine Hall, co-founder and CEO of InSpace Proximity, will explore how humans and AI be "coworkers" in the near future — with soft skills replacing formerly prized hard skills like coding and accounting.

Build, Buy, or Partner: HBCUs & Tech Innovations (March 5)
In this panel discussion, find out how "HBCUs are taking a range of approaches to technology acquisition, creation, and partnership in order to overcome financial barriers and provide their students with the academic and student success services that all students deserve."

For a look at the entire SXSW EDU Schedule and to register, visit

About the Author

Rhea Kelly is editor in chief for Campus Technology, THE Journal, and Spaces4Learning. She can be reached at [email protected].

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