Concurrent Sessions

The Leadership in Higher Education conference represents the leading thinking on strategic issues in higher education today. Concurrent sessions are peer selected in several ways. After an open call for proposals, the conference advisory board members choose selected presentations through a rigorous blind review process. Outstanding presenters from the previous conference—as evaluated by conference attendees—return as invited presenters with either an updated or reprised version of their top-scoring presentation. Finally, the advisory board determines trends or topics not addressed by the general sessions and creates content in these areas.


Invited Presenters

Track: Issues and Trends in Higher Education

An Inclusive Classroom Framework: Resources, Onboarding Approach, and Ongoing Programs

Ann Marie VanDerZanden, Iowa State University

A taskforce of faculty, graduate, and undergraduate students worked under the direction the Iowa State University teaching center to develop a multi-pronged approach to build positive student learning experiences through creating inclusive classrooms. In this session, identify your own attitudes toward inclusion and determine how it impacts teaching, learn to enhance instructional skills that contribute to an inclusive campus environment, and learn about student support resources at our university. We describe how this campus-wide initiative moved from gathering stakeholder input to development of pre-workshop online training modules, supporting resources, and evaluation of the workshop offerings since the spring 2016 pilot.

Learning goals:

  • Discover the process followed and products created at Iowa State University
  • Learn best practices to further inclusive classroom initiatives
  • Develop a plan for a similar program at your institution
  • Implement a similar initiative at your home institution

Track: Issues and Trends in Higher Education

Streamlining Academic Affairs and Institutional Effectiveness Efforts

Monique Baucham, Columbus Technical College and Tanjula Petty, Albany Technical College

The goal of higher education institutions is to prepare students to become contributing members of society. If departments are to align to achieve student success, they cannot operate in silos. Departments must move beyond the scope of one office, one title, and one building, and move into collaborative efforts that produce significant assessment and planning best practices and data-driven decisions. When academic affairs meets institutional effectiveness, processes are streamlined, more stakeholder voices are expressed, and there is a common focus on maintaining accreditation and regulatory compliance for the benefit of all campus constituents.

Learning goals:

  • Overcome challenges when transitioning into a new assignment
  • Foster a culture of collegiality and collaboration
  • Facilitate a needs assessment
  • Maintain compliance for all campus stakeholders

Track: Evaluation and Program/Department Assessment

Best Practices in Assessment: Articulating Expectations

Katie Boyd, Auburn University

All regional accreditors require assessment. Unfortunately, on many campuses, assessment is viewed as a bureaucratic activity. One best-practice assessment strategy to make assessment more meaningful and manageable is to clearly articulate quality assessment expectations through the development of an “assessment rubric.” This rubric allows assessment practitioners to provide specific and actionable feedback about the quality of assessment in each program. At Auburn University, this feedback has made assessment interactive and less bureaucratic. This system also allows an assessment office to effectively maintain a pulse on the quality of assessment on campus and track improvements over time.

Learning goals:

  • Identify the essential elements of the assessment cycle
  • Discover the importance of clarifying quality assessment practice
  • Explore how faculty involvement in university-wide assessment efforts can impact an institution’s assessment culture
  • Apply at least one strategy from this session at your home institution


Advisory Board Presenters

Track: Best Practices for Deans and Department Chairs

More of The New Dean’s Toolbox

Thomas McDaniel, Converse College

We will examine the tools new deans need in their metaphorical toolbox to be successful in their leadership roles. It builds on the five tools discussed in a similar session at the previous Leadership in Higher Education conference in Atlanta in 2016, and includes such tools as WD-40, a flashlight, and a C-clamp. You are asked to suggest other tools that might help deans and other academic administrators.

Learning goals:

  • Effectively use 10 tools mentioned in the previous conference and in Academic Leader articles
  • Evaluate your own toolbox in terms of your abilities and needs
  • Discuss scenarios that offer opportunities to apply these tools
  • Determine what additional tools could be included in your personal dean’s toolbox

Track: Best Practices for Deans and Department Chairs

Managing Conflict Within the Department

Bob Cipriano, ATLAS –Academic Training Leadership & Assessment Training

Conflict is inevitable. Being disrespectful and uncivil is a conscious choice. What many people fail to realize is that there are many positive effects that conflict can have on the overall efficacy of a department. This workshop is highly experiential and participatory in nature. Topics will include anger: myths and realities, knowing your “hot buttons,” buying time in a conflict, what not to do in a conflict, methods to diffuse anger, ways to manage conflict, and how to turn a conflict into a problem to be solved.

Learning goals:

  • Effectively use 10 tools mentioned in the previous conference and in Academic Leader articles
  • Identify positive and negative effects of conflict
  • Productively and positively communicate with an angry person
  • Build a positive work environment
  • Understand the role of an academic leader in managing conflict
  • Turn a conflict into a problem to be solved


Selected Presenters

The Leadership in Higher Education Conference’s Call for Proposals Selected Sessions will be announced soon.