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. Dr. Nunez emphasized the importance of servant leadership and creating a supportive and results-oriented environment in which students from different walks of life can thrive. She further discussed several pathways for higher education leaders to succeed in these challenging times. 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 conference 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).

The Society of North American Scholars (SNAS) is a 501c3 nonprofit organization, incorporated in the State of New Jersey. The board of directors includes Dr. Onur Asan (Stevens Institute of Technology), Dr. Hasan T. Arslan (Western Connecticut State University), Dr. Zeynep Isik-Ercan (Rowan University), Dr. Levent Koc (New York Academy Education Services), Dr. Ozlem Yasar (New York City College of Technology), Dr. Necmi Biyikli (University of Connecticut), Dr. Selcuk Acar (University of North Texas), Dr. Sabah Bushaj (SUNY Plattsburgh), Dr. Umit Karabiyik (Purdue University) and Dr. Omer Topaloglu (Fairleigh Dickinson University). SNAS is an academic community for social impact! It aims to provide data-driven and research-based insights into social issues our communities face.

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