Regional Conference

HighEdWebNE to provide feast of ideas April 25

In its second year, HighEdWeb New England is showing anything but a sophomore slump, bringing a full menu of presentations to Johnson and Wales University in Providence on Friday, April 25.

The conference is sold out — but still accepting spots on its waiting list because its one-day format and solid lineup of speakers has made it an attractive destination, said conference co-chair Cindy Sabato, also coordinator of advertising and marketing at the University of Rhode Island.

“For a short, one-day commitment at a very economical cost, HighEdWeb New England is a great dip of the toe into the vast waters that are High Ed Web,” Sabato said. “This was true for our office last year at the University of Rhode Island, and we wound up sending a whole team to Buffalo as a result.”

The range of professionals presenting and attending makes the conference a great confluence of ideas and experiences, she added.

“Every school and office has its people who aren’t necessarily techie, web or social media people, but who either contribute indirectly to that work or are impacted by that work in their own roles,” Sabato explained. “For me personally — as marketer/communicator mostly — learning about website accessibility and a little of what happens on the back-end of websites made a huge difference in how I’ve approached my work on our websites. Conversely, there are also the folks who are all techie who will benefit tremendously from looking at their websites through the marketing and recruitment lens.”

Succeeding on the web requires teamwork and understanding of the people that make it happen, “whether we’re creating code or content, doing social media or designing,” Sabato said. “When we understand each other’s roles, challenges and operations better, we all create a better experience for our audiences. And really, the user’s experiences is what our work is all about — that alone either supports or undermines our institutional brands.”

Keynote speaker Jason Pamental, the co-founder of h+w design described by Sabato as a “self-professed web and typography nerd,” is a professional who has “been successful in just about every area of the web, is super passionate about our work and loves teaching,” she noted. “Because of his broad-based background in all things web, he is able to bring together the rather disparate technical, aesthetic, functional and strategic sides of the web in a compelling way.”

The conference presents breakout sessions loosely organized into three tracks: design/content, marketing/communication and technical. Attendees can hear from those who work in their own areas or explore topics in other parts of web operations under that format.

The conference also will include a series of 10-minute post-lunch lightning talks that will provide “lots of nibbles of fast-paced content to keep the creative juices flowing … energy levels high, and ideas percolating,” Sabato said. “Plus, it’s a great way to fit a few more awesome presentation proposals into a short period of time.”

Organizers are thrilled that “the entire slate of presentations is really, really very good,” Sabato said. “We’re looking forward to seeing some new and familiar faces at the podium.”

Sabato admitted being hosted by a renowned culinary arts campus is part of the appeal. “I’ve been to a lot of conferences in my time, and let me just say that HeWeb conferences are the only conferences where I look forward to the food as much as I look forward to the content,” she said.

For more information on the feast that is HighEdWeb New England, visit

Photo by CthulhuWho1 (Will Hart), Flickr.

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By Tim Nekritz

Tim Nekritz is Link's Chief Editor and the communications director for SUNY Oswego, where he also teaches a class on blues history. In his spare time, he is an active musician, booker and promoter who leads a monthly Songwriters Circle.