The First SNAS Academic Conference was a Success!

The Society of North American Scholars (SNAS) organized its first academic research conference on October 8, 2022. The virtual gathering attracted an interdisciplinary network of scholars who presented their scholarly work related to the conference theme, “Balancing Rigor and Relevance: The Role of Social Impact in Academic Research.” Defined as an effect on, change, or benefit to the economy, society, culture, public policy or services, health, the environment, or quality of life, beyond academia (HEFCE, 2014), social impact is a growing priority for academics. Criticism for elitist perceptions, political biases, large and underutilized endowments, and ever-growing tuition rates challenges academics to increase their emphasis on social impact (Gamoran, 2018). The conference program featured 24 presentations consistent with this sentiment. Four presentations on open access resources in higher education, the role of ESG for businesses, the interactions between socio-economic status and student success, and expanding impact beyond academia are highlighted on the SNAS YouTube page.

The conference started with the SNAS president Dr. Omer Topaloglu’s opening remarks that included the organization’s mission and brief history. The highlight of the day was without question the keynote address given by Dr. Elsa Nunez, the president of Eastern Connecticut State University. Her inspiring talk, entitled “Equity on College Campuses and Its Impact on Research,” can also be found on the SNAS YouTube page. In addition, a panel of judges rewarded Dr. Zeliha Ozdogan of Penn State Harrisburg with the Best Abstract Award for her submission on open-access educational resources. The event concluded with a membership meeting and future directions. To stay in the know and participate in future SNAS events, become a member here! Connect with SNAS on Linkedin and Twitter!

Gamoran, A. (2018). The Future of Higher Education Is Social Impact. Stanford Social Innovation Review.

HEFCE (2014). Research Excellence Framework 2014: The Results. Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE).

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