Digital Innovation in Education: Dealing With Now and Dreaming for Tomorrow

Institutions of higher education play a vital role in preparing students for future success and cultivating research and scholarship that impact communities here and abroad. Over the past six months, these institutions have grappled with how best to meet the challenges of the moment while continuing to address issues that existed before the pandemic, including those relating to teaching and learning. Fortunately, thoughtful individuals are leading colleges and universities to meet these challenges. Some of those individuals will be present on our upcoming panel.

In this hour-long webinar, panelists will discuss:

  • Some of the challenges and opportunities present in remote learning generally and what that experience has been like during COVID-19 specifically  
  • Relevant issues relating to financial assistance, retention and recruitment of students, innovations in the delivery of content, etc.
  • How institutions of higher education can leverage science, tech and design to expand educational opportunities
  • The issues that have become more acute as a result of the pandemic, and how institutions are addressing those issues
  • How institutions that already had strong online presences have been able to transition into an environment where remote learning has become more prominent, if not essential, for most students

Date and Time
Tuesday, October 20

Ned Sherman, Partner, Manatt, Phelps & Phillips
Ajita Menon, President and CEO, Calbright College
Luke Tate, Managing Director, Office of Applied Innovation, Arizona State University

About our Speakers:

​​​​​Mario Cardona, Associate, Manatt, Phelps & Phillips
Before joining Manatt, Mario served as a senior policy advisor on President Obama’s White House Domestic Policy Council. In that role, he helped develop the administration’s legislative strategy, budget proposals and policy initiatives focused on education. Prior to his service in the White House, Mario served as an advisor to senior members of the U.S. Senate, including as a principal advisor to the chairman of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. Mario has also served as an adjunct lecturer on federal policy at the University of California, Irvine.

Ned Sherman, Partner, Manatt, Phelps & Phillips
Ned is a partner and leader of Manatt’s digital and technology consulting and transactions practices. He is a noted digital innovator and represents clients in the legal and nonlegal aspects of digital and growth strategy, marketing, and business development. Ned is the founder of a leading event organizer and digital publisher, and has personal experience with virtual education, having received a master’s degree from HEC Paris through a fully online program using several LMS applications.

Ajita Menon, President and CEO, Calbright College
As president and CEO of California’s new online community college, Ajita’s job is to lead the college to help underserved Californians gain greater economic mobility and to provide skilled talent for hiring employers. Ajita has dedicated her career to supporting government agencies, higher education institutions and systems, and nonprofit organizations to drive better and more equitable outcomes in higher education and workforce training. Prior to relocating to California, she served in the Obama administration as special assistant to the president for higher education policy on the White House Domestic Policy Council, where she led efforts to expand college opportunity, affordability, innovation and completion, ensuring more Americans could access the knowledge and skills needed to succeed in the nation’s growing economy. She has also held senior roles in the federal government at the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. House of Representatives, in addition to her more recent work as senior advisor to the chancellor of California Community Colleges.

Luke Tate, Managing Director, Office of Applied Innovation, Arizona State University
Luke’s team at ASU leverages emerging scientific, technological, design and policy innovations to expand access to educational and economic opportunity. He is also Professor of Practice in ASU’s School for the Future of Innovation in Society and a nonresident fellow at the Urban Institute. Prior to joining ASU, Luke most recently served as special assistant to the president for economic mobility on President Obama’s White House Domestic Policy Council, where he ran a team working on economic mobility, urban policy, poverty, technology and access to opportunity, open data, housing, homelessness, and long-term disaster recovery. He also held senior roles at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Prior to joining the Obama administration, he did community development and educational work in Nicaragua and worked on community policy in the Office of the Governor of Arizona.

If you would like to receive an audio transcript of this webinar due to accessibility issues, please email us at

This program does not constitute legal advice, nor does it establish an attorney-client relationship. Views expressed by presenters are strictly their own and should not be construed to be the views of Manatt or attributed to Manatt.



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