Leading higher education to a more inclusive, just, and equitable future

Statement on the Tennessee Three

Dear SFHE Members,

I know that many of us have been watching with concern as recent events have unfolded in Tennessee politics. We have heard from some of you with questions about what this means for the SFHE summer conference that has been planned for Nashville this summer. 

As an organization, SFHE is dedicated to being an incubator and advocate for ideas, strategies, and pedagogies that lead higher education to a more inclusive, just, and equitable future. As such, we are committed to combatting racism and to supporting democracy at all levels of government.

Given the advanced stages of planning, contracting, and payment for the summer conference, we are not in a position to move or cancel the summer conference at this time. However, we want to assure SFHE members that we are doing all that we can with both our financial and programmatic support as an organization to uphold our foundational values even as we move forward with a conference in Nashville.

These actions include the following:

  1. Continuing to hold the conference at Vanderbilt University, a private university that is not directly affiliated with Tennessee state political structures
  2. Continuing to host a site visit to Fisk University, a historically Black university in Nashville
  3. Inviting you, our SFHE members, to submit a proposal that explores the intersections of politics, protest, and justice within the context of the “Tennessee Three.” Given these late-breaking events, we are extending the deadline to submit a presentation proposal to May 15.

While we understand that some members might have lingering discomfort about this conference location, we believe that it may nonetheless be more important than ever to offer our physical presence as allies in the struggle to combat racism and preserve democracy. We are grateful for the ways SFHE members have devoted their lives and work to these causes throughout the past, and we hope that you will join us by offering the witness of your presence in Tennessee this summer.


Melly Howard, President of SFHE


The Society for the Future of Higher Education (SFHE) is an incubator and advocate for ideas, strategies, and pedagogies to lead higher education to a more inclusive, just, and equitable future. In order to fulfill our mission, we have committed to three years of programming focused on diversity, equity, and inclusion.


SFHE invites scholars from a variety of institutions to develop innovative ideas to lead higher education to a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive future. Through our annual conference and programs, members have the opportunity to create teams, receive feedback on projects, and meet with mentors who can offer advice and encouragement.


SFHE hosts an annual conference over a long weekend, typically in mid-July. We rotate our locations among college campuses in different regions.  Our conference prioritizes in depth discussions in varied disciplines, time and space for work on innovative ideas, and informal time to network and socialize.

Our Work

Reading for the Common Good
Spring 2023 Selection

Our selection for the Spring 2023 Reading for the Common Good program is The Education of Black People by W.E.B DuBois. Suggestions for selected chapters and supplementary materials will be provided. This selection is tied to our #2023 Conference theme, Du Bois, Higher Education. and Justice.” An SFHE member must lead the group, but anyone can participate. Groups can meet online or in person.

Members are encouraged to form discussion groups of 8-10 colleagues and meet regularly. Let us know if you have a group and we’ll provide the books!

To participate, contact Sandy at smcallister@sfhe.us


Click below to see recordings of some of our programs and presentations.

Latest News

  • RFP Deadline Extended
    Deadline to submit proposals in response to our RFP has been extended to May 15th!