Next Wave Conference

The Next Wave offers focused, collegial opportunities for leaders to come together and explore current trends, often in technology and the commercial web, and to look to the future of higher education.

Through events and publications, our partner organizations understand the landscape, develop strategies, and find ways to collaborate and to thrive. While it is not possible for us to gather in person during the pandemic, we have the opportunity to learn and pursue inspiration together online. In 2021, we are hosting a virtual event series and will publish the occasional blog post or paper. If you would like to be added to our email list for future events or wish to recommend topics or speakers, please reach out to Heidi McGregor, ITHAKA’s VP, Communications.

The Next Wave 2021


The events of the past year have brought to the fore issues that are at the core of our shared mission to improve access to education and knowledge not just for the privileged few, but for everyone. This is easy to say and difficult to do, but the time for action is now. Throughout 2021, we will bring to you people who are leading change through their actions on campus, in the classroom, through the library, as part of organizations, and as national advocates driving racial and socioeconomic equity to higher education.

We encourage you to sign up for events and read works that intrigue you and to share them with others in and beyond your organizations. Events will be recorded and linked here to enable asynchronous learning. You can also talk with us and one another on Twitter using #ithakatnw2021. We will announce events and content here and via email on an ongoing basis.

Advancing Equity from the University to America’s Prisons
March 23, 2021

Poet, scholar, and advocate, Reginald (Dwayne) Betts shares his personal journey, perspective on ways to address racial inequities in higher education and cultural institutions, and his ambitious Million Book Project — an initiative that will bring curated 500-book Freedom Libraries to prisons in every state in the U.S., Washington D.C., and Puerto Rico. Laura Brown, former JSTOR Managing Director and now Senior Advisor for Ithaka S+R, moderates.

Democratizing Access to Education
February 3, 2021

Watch Ithaka S+R Managing Director Catharine Bond Hill in conversation with Shai Reshef, President, University of the People, the first non-profit, American-accredited, tuition-free online university. UoPeople is dedicated to opening access to higher education globally. Its enrollment grew dramatically in 2020 to more than 50,000 students from 200 countries and territories, and includes underserved populations like refugees and undocumented immigrants. The discussion focuses on how the pandemic and growing economic and social inequities are shaping UoPeople and the lessons from their approach that might guide the work of others.