Catch up on our Higher Education Webinar Series

Over the course of April, we have been thrilled to host a series of short webinars aimed at expanding the conversation around issues that challenge the current state of the higher education sector. I, alongside a network of highly esteemed academics and industry experts, most of which I can proudly say are Senior Advisors to the firm, have convened to take on a range of topics, from navigating supplier diversity to understanding the relationship between HBCUs and economic development, as well as how organizations can prepare for the uncertain times, which we all seem to be facing more and more regularly.  

In our first webinar, I was joined by Adam Glaser who posed the question, ‘how should institutions proactively adapt to the way people are obtaining workforce skills and credentials in the 21st century?’ Building off that conversation, we explored innovation ecosystems with Bernadine Hawes and how these new ways of collaborating are table stakes to regional economic competitiveness going forward. 

We know that when diversity is ingrained in decision-making at all levels of a process, better ideas are generated that consider all the intrinsic characteristics of those involved in the activity, paving the way for a more equitable opportunity. Our third session explored just that. Angela Dowd-Burton laid out a compelling case for supplier diversity programs and how the impacts are far reaching. Most recently, we were joined by Dr. Jamie Green and Dr. Joseph Whittaker to discuss the role of HBCUs in economic development. 

Higher education has been inundated with challenges in recent years. There’s no doubt that the pandemic has been a major disruptor of the 20’s, however these issues often pre-date our current landscape. Many have been exacerbated by new uncertainties, compounded by changing preferences, as well a growing public concern on the overall value of a college degree and whether institutions of higher learning are contributing to, or alleviating these societal challenges. 

Despite all of this, the value and pursuit of knowledge remains essential. Higher education is at an inflection point and while at times these growing pains may feel uncomfortable, they serve as a catalyst for a brighter, more connected future.  

Now more than ever has there been an urgent need for convening the types of sessions ESI is offering to share collective wisdom, offer up innovative strategies, and find new opportunities for collaboration that reinvigorate the industry and prepare students for the uncertain challenges of tomorrow. As we head into May, we hope you will join us for the second leg of this series. Our remaining four sessions will touch on Chinese students in American institutions, organizational leadership, sustainability, and energy efficiency. To learn more about each session and register, please click here. 

Over the years, ESI has proudly supported universities, hospitals, and groups of universities and hospitals. Our analytical capabilities have often played a critical part in an institutions’ messaging to stakeholders – elected officials, the local business community, and its own network of students, employees, and alumni – because we help demonstrate how institutions are major economic engines, generating opportunity at a local level and ensuring the sustained economic competitiveness of the regions they reside. 


Lee Huang, President & Principal | [email protected] 

Lee Huang brings over 20 years of experience in economic development experience to ESI public, private, institutional, and not-for-profit clients. He leads consulting engagements in a wide range of fields, including higher education, economic inclusion, environmental sustainability, historic preservation, real estate, neighborhood economic development, non-profits, retail, state and local government, strategic planning, tax policy, and tourism/hospitality, and is a sought-after speaker on these and other topics.

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