Who attends EDUCAUSE conference?

EDUCAUSE is one of the largest and most influential higher education technology conferences in the United States. The annual EDUCAUSE conference attracts thousands of IT leaders, faculty, administrators, and industry experts from colleges, universities, and educational institutions across the country and around the world.

What is the EDUCAUSE conference?

The EDUCAUSE conference is the flagship event of EDUCAUSE, a nonprofit association focused on advancing higher education through the use of information technology. The multi-day conference features keynote presentations, educational sessions, panel discussions, and a large exhibition hall where vendors demonstrate new products and services aimed at the higher education market.

Key topic areas covered at the EDUCAUSE conference include:

  • Enterprise IT and infrastructure
  • Teaching and learning with technology
  • Institutional strategy and leadership
  • Data analytics and digital transformation
  • Student success initiatives enabled by technology
  • Cybersecurity and IT policy issues
  • Emerging technologies and their higher education applications

In addition to the educational program, the conference provides excellent networking opportunities to connect with peers at other institutions across roles and functions.

When and where is it held?

The EDUCAUSE Annual Conference is held each fall, usually during October or November. Recent and upcoming conference locations include:

  • 2022: Denver, CO
  • 2023: Washington, DC
  • 2024: Chicago, IL

The conference typically takes place at large convention or conference centers that can accommodate thousands of attendees.

Who are the main attendees?

EDUCAUSE attracts a very diverse audience of higher education professionals from across the United States and around the world. Here is a breakdown of the primary roles represented in the EDUCAUSE audience:

IT Leaders

This group makes up the largest segment of EDUCAUSE attendees. It includes CIOs, CTOs, vice presidents, directors, and managers overseeing central IT strategy and services at colleges and universities of all types and sizes. Their teams are responsible for enterprise systems, infrastructure, networks, academic technology, user support, data management, and other core technologies and services.


Faculty attendees are interested in evolving pedagogy and instructional models enabled by technology. They range from individual instructors to deans, department chairs, directors of teaching and learning centers, and other academic technology leaders. Faculty participate in sessions focusing on instructional design, active learning spaces, educational applications, and strategies for supporting students and faculty.

Higher Education Executives

This group includes presidents, chancellors, provosts, chief strategy officers, chief financial officers, and other senior administrators who set institutional vision and policy. They participate in high-level discussions on IT strategy, governance, innovation, and major technology initiatives aligned with institutional goals.

Technology and Service Providers

The EDUCAUSE Expo Hall features around 400 exhibitors showcasing products, services, and solutions for higher education. These vendors include well-known technology companies and specialized firms focused on the campus market across categories like software, hardware, infrastructure, security, consulting services, and more.

What are the attendee demographics?

In terms of demographics, EDUCAUSE attendees represent:

  • Institution type: Primarily four-year institutions, including major research universities, regional comprehensives, liberal arts colleges, and community colleges.
  • Institution size: Schools of all sizes, from less than 1,000 students to mega-universities with over 50,000 students.
  • Location: Mostly US-based, with some international participation. Institutions located near the conference host city tend to have higher attendance.
  • Roles: A cross-section covering IT, academic, administrative, and support functions as described above.

EDUCAUSE also aims for diversity in terms of gender, ethnicity, age, and other demographic factors. Accessibility and inclusion are conference priorities.

How many people attend?

Annual conference attendance ranges from 5,000-7,000 participants depending on location. The exhibit hall alone can draw around 3,000 attendees.

Here are the registration numbers from recent conferences:

Year Location Number of Attendees
2022 Denver 5,300
2021 Philadelphia 5,800
2020 Virtual 3,200
2019 Chicago 7,200

As the table shows, in-person events generally draw over 5,000 attendees. The 2020 virtual conference had lower turnout due to the pandemic but allowed broader global participation through the online format.

Why do people attend?

There are many reasons higher education professionals make attending the EDUCAUSE conference a priority each year. The primary motivations include:

  • Staying current – The conference provides an efficient way to stay up-to-date on new technologies, trends, best practices, and emerging issues relevant to higher ed IT and technology use in teaching and learning.
  • Networking – Developing connections with peers at other institutions is a valuable benefit. The conference facilitates networking through sessions, special events, social media, and informal interactions.
  • Problem-solving – Attendees can get advice and insights from colleagues who have faced similar challenges in areas like enterprise IT, instructional technology, analytics, student systems, and more.
  • Exploring innovations – The Expo Hall offers exposure to cutting-edge products and glimpse upcoming innovations relevant to higher education.
  • Advancing strategic goals – Institutions send teams to align around shared priorities and work towards major initiatives in areas like digital transformation, strategic planning, student success, and modern infrastructures.
  • Professional development – Individuals build skills, gain new perspectives, and expand their professional networks through conference learning and engagement opportunities.

Overall, the conference helps attendees enhance their practices, build connections, and gain insights to help their institutions thrive in a climate of constant change. Participants return to campus with new ideas, collaborators, and a refreshed commitment to advancing their institution’s mission through effective use of technology.

How are institutions represented?

The EDUCAUSE community includes over 2,100 colleges and universities across more than 30 countries. Here is how different institutional sectors are represented among EDUCAUSE members and conference participants:

Institution Type Percentage
Doctoral Universities 25%
Master’s Colleges & Universities 18%
Baccalaureate Colleges 17%
Associate’s Colleges 13%
Special Focus Institutions 8%
Other Institutions 19%

Doctoral universities have the strongest representation, but the conference attracts a well-balanced mix of institutions across sectors, educational missions, size, and geographic region.

What are some first-timer tips?

For those attending EDUCAUSE for the first time, here are some tips to make the most of the experience:

  • Review the session schedule in advance and create a plan to target sessions that align with your role and interests.
  • Make a list of vendors and exhibitors you want to visit in the Expo Hall.
  • Connect with fellow attendees through the conference app and social media like Twitter.
  • Join scheduled meetups for first-timers to meet people and ask questions.
  • Attend the opening and closing events to connect with the broader community.
  • Set up short meetings with vendors, colleagues from other institutions, or peers you meet through networking.
  • Balance your schedule with both structured sessions and open time for impromptu networking.
  • Take notes on big takeaways and follow up on specific ideas or actions after you return home.

Approaching the conference with clear goals, an open mindset and a willingness to engage with fellow attendees sets you up for a productive and rewarding experience as a new EDUCAUSE participant.


In summary, the EDUCAUSE annual conference brings together several thousand IT leaders, faculty, administrators, and other higher education professionals for an intensive learning and networking event focused on the effective use of technology across teaching, learning, and administration. Attendees represent colleges and universities of all types and sizes looking to exchange ideas, connect with peers, explore innovations, and advance strategic goals enabled by technology. While the conference location changes each year, the community spirit and shared mission of using IT to advance higher education creates energy and engagement that inspire attendees to return year after year.