More than 325 participate in 2022 We All Rise conference on equity & completion, hosted by Tennessee Board of Regents

We All Rise - Stories That Elevate

More than 325 faculty, administrators, students and staff from across Tennessee public higher education participated in the 2022 We All Rise, The Biennial Conference on Equity and Completion, Oct. 19-20 with the overriding goal of increasing student success and completion rates.

We All Rise - Stories That Elevate

The conference, hosted by the Tennessee Board of Regents since 2006, is the state’s oldest, largest and most comprehensive public higher education convening focused on equity and diversity. It provides faculty, administrators and staff in Tennessee’s community and technical colleges and locally governed universities opportunities to learn from and network with state and national experts who work in the areas of equity, inclusion, faculty, staff and student engagement, and increasing the success and completion rates of all students.

This year’s We All Rise theme is “Stories That Elevate.” Throughout the two days of plenary and breakout sessions, attendees heard stories of perseverance that motivate, stories of challenges and obstacles that prompt educators to examine how to better serve students and communities, stories about innovative best and promising practices, and stories of student experiences. Twenty-two students participated in this year’s conference.

The 2022 conference, held in Murfreesboro, was the first conducted in person since 2018. The 2020 biennial conference was held virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Keynote speakers were veteran John Quiñones, veteran ABC News correspondent and host of the network’s What Would You Do? program, and J. Luke Wood, Ph.D, vice president of student affairs and campus diversity at San Diego.

Quiñones’ presentations focus on his odds-defying journey, celebrate the life-changing power of education, champion the Latino American Dream, and provide thought-provoking insights into human nature and ethical behavior. Wood’s research focuses on factors affecting the success of boys and men of color education, with a specific focus on early childhood education and community colleges.

“The conference has not been held in person since 2018, and as we all know, so much has changed and continues to change since that time. We know that over the last four years, our students, our employees and our communities have been impacted by a variety of forces that were either unanticipated or outside of our control. But what has not changed is the commitment of all of us in this room to helping students be successful – and increasing the education attainment levels of Tennesseans,” TBR Chancellor Flora W. Tydings said in her welcoming remarks Wednesday.

At the conclusion Thursday afternoon, Dr. Wendy Thompson, TBR vice chancellor for organizational effectiveness and the conference’s leader, said, “We were pleased to provide this opportunity and to receive overwhelmingly positive responses from the conference participants.

“Including students in the conference this year and allowing them to experience how faculty, administrators and staff were engaged in exploring new ideas on ways to improve the student experience was extremely impactful to the students, as was including the student voice in many of the conversations,” Thompson said.


The College System of Tennessee is the state’s largest public higher education system, with 13 community colleges, 27 colleges of applied technology and the online TN eCampus serving approximately 140,000 students. The system is governed by the Tennessee Board of Regents.