In just about two weeks 200-300 of the country’s leading Urban and Metropolitan university presidents, senior administrators, and faculty members will come together for the 16th annual CUMU conference.  The 2010 conference is titled “Aligning the Metropolitan University with Business, Government, and the Nonprofit Sectors,”  and according to the host President, Dr. John Welty, “invites a broad discussion of the ways in which the key contributors to a dynamic and successful urban mission work together.”

The backdrop for this year’s conference is the Central Valley of California on the campus of California State University, Fresno.  Towson University, specifically DECO, actually serves as the Headquarters for CUMU and I serve as the Executive Director, which allows me to connect with colleagues and institutions like Towson from around the country.  I thought I’d share the top 5 things I’m most looking forward to at the 2010 Conference:

1. Hearing the key-note address from Richard Florida—I’ve been a long time fan of him and think the “Rise of the Creative Class,” was one of the most important books in the past 5 years.

2. Participating in the concurrent sessions—with over 100 presentations at this year’s conference, I’m bound to walk away with lots of ideas.

3. Seeing the response to the new Resources Portal—Nicole Schiraldi will demo this new online portal will allow an easy exchange of innovative practices and programs between CUMU members.

4. Listening to Congressman Chaka Fattah, Chair of the Congressional Urban Caucus—Congressman Fattah will be  providing an update on what’s happening on the Hill relevant to urban higher education issues.

5. Interacting with the CUMU Executive Committee at our annual meeting—this group of dynamic Presidents are the energy behind the CUMU mission and just getting to be in the room is a pretty cool experience for me.

After writing this I’m even more excited about the upcoming conference!