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 sessions with either an updated or reprised version of their top-scoring presentation. Finally, the advisory board sessions  are determined by board members to cover trends or topics not addressed by the general sessions and creates content in these areas.

Leadership and Professional Development

A Leader’s Guide for Getting Buy-In for Your Next Initiative

Jennifer Scott Mobly, Grove City College
For attendees who have experience with this topic 

While much attention has been given to creating change in higher education, little has been given to gaining the buy-in required for change implementation. Getting buy-in is a complex process that is fraught with emotions and steeped in political challenges as higher education leaders secure buy-in from multiple stakeholders, including faculty, staff, and administration. This session will equip you with an evidence-based framework to help you demystify the buy-in process, anticipate the common arguments used against good ideas, and implement proven strategies on how to respond to those arguments so you can lead change with greater impact and ease.

Advisory Board Session

Allied Leadership: Fostering Collaboration between Deans and Provosts

Tywana Chenault Hemby, Columbia College
For all attendees

The concept of “allied leadership” emphasizes the significance of promoting a mutual and productive professional relationship between a dean and provost in an educational institution. By cultivating this alliance, both leaders can work together towards a shared vision, aligning their goals and strategies to enhance the overall effectiveness of the institution. This session will explore the crucial role of allied leadership in driving organizational change that ensures effective communication, mutual trust, and shared decision-making. Attendees will gain insights into practical strategies for developing and nurturing this partnership, ultimately, paving the way for effective leadership and professional development within their own academic settings.

Invited Session

Budget Planning in a Time of Change

Elaine Carey, Oakland University
For attendees who have experience with this topic

Academic leaders frame their vision around goals and initiatives to promote a college. With changing demographics, the post-COVID environment, and other challenges, understanding university and college budgets are essential to academic leadership. This presentation focuses on university budgets and the significance of understanding the college and university budgets while planning for the future. Questions to be considered: Who are our students and how do their needs impact university and college budgets? What can be developed for a deeper understanding of the university budget and budgetary practices? How can deans effectively collaborate with budget managers and chief financial officers?

Coaching Skills for Academic Leaders: Bringing Out the Best in Yourself and Others

Susan Robison, Professor Destressor
For attendees who are new to this topic

The interpersonal aspects of academic leadership, e.g., annual reviews, performance evaluations, or other difficult conversations with faculty, can be especially challenging to the inexperienced chair/dean. In this interactive workshop, attendees will practice several powerful brain-based coaching skills drawn from improv games to increase skills and confidence for leadership that matters, such as transformational coaching conversations that build institutional collegiality, civility, and engagement. Participants will apply a structure for shaping such conversations (ASK – assess client motivation, set agenda, keep success continuous) in dyad practice and then can contribute to a facilitator/volunteer demonstration of these skills.

Four Magic Words for an Emotional Intelligence Self-Check

Barbara Lesniak, Southern New Hampshire University
For attendees who are new to this topic

Self-awareness is the foundational emotional intelligence skill, yet one of the hardest to develop. A five-year Harvard study revealed that, while 95 percent of people think they are self-aware, only 10 to 15 percent actually are. You need awareness to build awareness, which poses a challenging conundrum. Fortunately, four simple words are all you need for a self-check to make emotionally intelligent decisions. In this session, you will learn a short, powerful question that provides a self-awareness self-check, and practice using this question to evaluate your decisions and make a plan to share this tactic with others at your institution.

Leadership Models and Practices: Exploring New Paradigms from Diverse Contexts

Angela Carbone, RMIT University
For all attendees

In this session, seasoned academic leaders delve into diverse leadership paradigms, drawing from their research and experiences in a shifting higher education landscape. Presenters will contextualize their own leadership, presenting contemporary leadership models for participants to examine and apply to their own styles. Through individual and small group reflective activities, attendees will reflect on how these paradigms manifest in their current learning and teaching leadership roles and contemplate their influence on future approaches.

Preparing Department Heads for Academic Leadership

Julia Morrison, Mississippi State University
For attendees who have experience with this topic

As the stress associated with academic administrator roles continues to mount, universities must embrace new strategies to address high levels of burnout among these critical roles. Administrative training can be a powerful tool in preparing faculty to take on supervisory roles. Studies indicate that those who better understand the role and are better prepared to assume the associated duties have higher levels of job satisfaction and longer tenure in the role. This session describes the leading training needs of department heads based on a study conducted at Mississippi State University and recommends a training protocol to address these needs.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Bold Leadership to Foster Students’ Sense of Belonging

Iona Ringgold, Towson University
For attendees who are new to this topic

Research shows that when higher education students do not feel a sense of belonging, this negatively impacts academic and social outcome success and is especially true for students from marginalized groups. Although higher education instructors are uniquely situated to meet this need, they lack a sense of agency in advancing social justice initiatives. In this workshop, participants will engage with research and each other to further their understanding of the importance of student belonging and how activating instructor agency can create the kinds of positive culture shifts that are the goal of many college and university strategic plans.

Building an Inclusive Ecosystem in a Shifting Environment

Rachel DiSesa and Anchalee Phataralaoha, University of Florida
For all attendees

This session will provide strategies for building an ecosystem within shifting DEI environments. Drawing on evidence-based approaches, the presenter will outline tactics aligning with evolving institutional policies while building allyship at a land-grant Primarily White Institution. Using a cyclic framework of planning, strategizing, implementing, and evaluating, session leaders will share examples of engagement opportunities through the varied lenses of students, faculty, staff, and alumni. Participants will gain an understanding of practices to nurture collective belonging during periods of DEI policy transition.

Equitable Leadership: Utilizing Restorative Practices to Address Conflict

Patricia Gagliardi, Southern Connecticut State University
For attendees who are new to this topic

Academic leaders are often confronted with challenging interpersonal conflicts to manage. Institutional orientation and pre-employment trainings help familiarize employees with policies and procedures, but frequently fail to provide pragmatic, hands-on practices that manage existing conflicts and preempt potential issues. Integrating restorative practices into an organizational culture—especially in the academy—can be challenging. This session will provide a brief overview of basic restorative practices contextualized for academic leaders. Participants will actively participate in small group discussions using foundational restorative practices, and learn through action while leaving with resources to learn more.

Inclusive Excellence at NAU: How to Effectively Integrate Diversity and Inclusion Initiatives in a Volatile Climate

Justin Mallee, Northern Arizona University
For attendees who have experience with this topic

This presentation will provide attendees an opportunity to see first-hand how a new Vice President for Inclusive Excellence was able to obtain institutional buy-in and involvement from faculty, staff, and students on incorporating inclusive excellence within the institution. This case study presentation will show attendees the current national and political climate and how NAU shifted its focus from DEI initiatives to DEI integration. This presentation will allow attendees to develop ideas and plans to further their diversity and inclusion work at their institution.

Invited Session

Navigating the New Landscape of Equity and Inclusion

Molly Kerby, Western Kentucky University
For all attendees

If you are a mid-level leader in higher education, you are not a stranger to the push and pull experienced between senior leadership and your constituents. This is precisely the tug of war felt among those of us doing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) work. Higher education has spent years building equitable and inclusive practices targeting historically marginalized populations and, while the climate seems dire, most are finding inventive ways to hang onto successes, progress, and momentum. Two of the most common approaches in traversing the anti-inclusion pressures are developing a peoplefirst culture and embracing the notion of targeted universalism.

The Access & Opportunity Revolution: Global Learning, Intercultural Fluency, Career Readiness

Antoinette Boyd, Maryville University
For attendees who have experience with this topic

Global learning, intercultural fluency, and career readiness are vital to the success of our graduates. The current climate, within our academic institutions and the larger society as a whole, has caused us as educators to view our work differently and re-evaluate our practice to ensure our students are adequately prepared for the diverse, ever-changing workforce. Along with building industry-specific knowledge and skills, it is important that students learn to be good stewards, advocates, and change agents who are self-aware, mission-driven, and willing to positively influence and contribute to individual and collective global and societal issues. So, how do we prepare students for the workforce and ensure the workforce is prepared for them? Through active learning, professional projects, industry partnerships, and real-world case studies, we’ve implemented strategies that foster the attainment of requisite skills and competencies needed to maximize student success.

Truth: Black Feminist Leadership Development for Women of Color

Kelly Mack, American Association of Colleges and Universities
For attendees who have experience with this topic

It is predicted that the future of leadership development will be shaped by curricula that are personalized and customized to a leader’s lived experience (Moldoveanu & Narayandas, 2019). This prediction ushers in an era of bolder and far more daring leadership development models that will challenge conventional beliefs about what leadership development actually is and prioritize new voices, particularly those of women of color in STEM fields. This session will explore a novel approach toward employing culturally responsive leadership development for women of color through strategic thought mapping, safe brave space building, and providing access to executive coaching.

Institutional Culture and Climate

An Ounce of Prevention: Knowledge Management as a Method to Reduce the Cost of Turnover

Josh Vossler, Chicago State University
For attendees who have experience with this topic

Effective Knowledge Management (KM) increases organizational efficiency and insulates against the loss of institutional memory. This session provides an overview of the concepts of knowledge management and organizational learning, illustrating the potential advantages KM offers. Attendees will engage in reflection and discussion activities, identifying barriers to KM and successful strategies for promoting, implementing, and sustaining KM at unit and systems levels of organizations. At this session, attendees will be able to identify key concepts of organizational learning and knowledge management, outline costs involved with the loss of institutional memory, and design steps toward implementing and supporting KM.

Advisory Board Session

Loneliness and The Academic Department

Bob Cipriano, Atlas Leadership Training
For all attendees

Loneliness is a universal emotion that is both complex and unique to everyone. It has no single and widespread cause. Loneliness in the context of college was pervasive and of great concern even before the pandemic. This presentation will give attendees the requisite knowledge to emphasize mental health support by updating the health guidelines to offer pragmatic strategies for dealing with loneliness for faculty and students.

Understanding Cultural Diversity in Higher Education: Enhancing Institutional Success through Inclusivity

Pamela Matzner, Stony Brook University
For attendees who have experience with this topic

In the realm of higher education leadership, adopting a culturally informed guidance approach entails acknowledging the impact cultural identity has on the experiences of students, faculty, and staff. This inclusive perspective recognizes and addresses the cultural biases that shape the guidance provided by higher education leaders and professionals, fostering an environment where diverse cultures are considered. It is crucial to understand the cultural reasons students might hesitate to seek advice or remain at an institution. This session emphasizes the importance of integrating diverse cultural perspectives within leadership, addressing unconscious biases and acknowledging how privilege impacts service to our student body. Through interactive dialogues and activities, leaders will examine their biases, concurrently crafting an action plan to cultivate comprehensive cultural awareness that permeates from leadership down to the student body across the institution. This awareness is vital for efficiently supporting a campus community that embraces diverse backgrounds.

Student Retention and Success

Achieving High Student Retention through Rigorous Academic Support and Leadership

Diann Cameron Kelly, Adelphi University
For attendees who have experience with this topic

Achieving a retention rate above the national average (76%) takes vision, leadership, and collaboration. This session articulates what is necessary to develop and implement a strategic retention plan. Adelphi University created and implemented a strategic retention plan and in two years increased retention from 82% to 85%. Much of it is due to rigorous academic support and outreach. Attendees will learn how to design and implement academic enrichment and outreach initiatives that capture retention.

Student Experience Matters—and So Does Yours

Gill Hunter, Eastern Kentucky University
For attendees who have experience with this topic

Customer-centered businesses know employee engagement powers customer experience. This session applies that philosophy to higher education. Attendees will consider their experience at their institution and their colleagues’ experiences. They will also explore how experience is shaped, how perspectives can be collected and shared, and how institutional leaders act on employee experience data. Finally, attendees will apply that thinking to students—including how students are customers and how they are not—and other constituent groups, including alumni, prospective students, families, community members, donors, and legislators. Session attendees will understand customer experience and plan for collecting and responding to experiences at their institutions.

Student Stress, Wellness & Mental Health: Examining Retention Interventions

Ryan Barnhart, Education Affiliates
For attendees who have experience with this topic

Exploring the critical nexus between student stress, mental health, and academic retention, this presentation delves into multifaceted interventions. Focused on higher education, it aims to elucidate strategies fostering student well-being and, subsequently, academic persistence. Three pivotal learning goals include: dissecting the intricate relationship between stress, mental health, and student retention; evaluating diverse intervention models tailored to mitigate stressors and bolster mental health support; and highlighting effective implementation strategies for these interventions. Attendees will glean insights to shape institutional practices, empower student resilience, and fortify retention efforts amidst the complex landscape of student stress and mental health challenges.

Trauma informed academic advising: Cultivating student wellness and resiliency

Karen Gordes, University of Maryland Baltimore
For attendees who are new to this topic

Experiences of trauma are widespread in our student populations and have a negative impact on learner performance. This session will review the six principles of a trauma-informed advising approach to support relationally-focused, culturally sensitive student advising. Strategies will be provided on how advisors can foster meaningful connections, and avoid re-traumatization including guidance on real-time, first line of support for students presented with a traumatic experience. Attendees will be able to describe the application of a trauma-informed conceptual framework to academic advising to support student wellness and resiliency in learners with diverse trauma experiences.

What New Leaders Need to Know

Developing a Framework for Valuable and Productive 1:1 Meetings

Ashley Moran, College for Financial Planning
For attendees who are new to this topic

Effective communication, active listening, goal setting, and feedback mechanisms are key components of effective one-on-one meetings. By establishing clear objectives, setting an agenda, and promoting open dialogue, one-on-one meetings between faculty, staff, and students can become strategic tools for promoting engagement, fostering academic and professional development, and contributing to the overall success of higher education institutions. During the session, we will discuss opportunities to maximize the effectiveness of one-on-one interactions, ultimately leading to improved learning outcomes, enhanced support systems, and a more enriching academic and professional experience.

Everyone’s an Imposter: Embracing Imposter Syndrome in Higher Education

Barbara Lesniak, Southern New Hampshire University
For all attendees

Imposter syndrome feels lonely, but a Heriot-Watt University study found that almost 40% of leaders have frequent “imposter feelings.” That number jumps to 45% for younger leaders, and women score a whopping 54%. Even former First Lady Michelle Obama admits to “…that feeling that you shouldn’t take me that seriously,” reflecting this issue’s magnified impact on BIPOC professionals. Like all feelings, imposter syndrome and its accompanying anxiety happens for a reason. This session will help you embrace the inner voice that whispers, “You shouldn’t be here,” and calm it by using lessons to strengthen your confidence and leadership skills.

The T.H.R.E.A.D Model for Soulful Leadership Communication

Leonie Mattison, Pacifica Graduate Institute
For attendees who are new to this topic

In today’s volatile environment, leaders face pressure to react swiftly to societal and organizational challenges. This workshop explores proactive strategies for soulful leadership communication. The T.H.R.E.A.D model is inspired by in-depth psychological principles of balancing reflection, discernment, and authenticity in leadership communication to navigate complexities, foster curiosity, critical thinking, purposeful engagement, and collaborative change. Aimed at new leaders, this session equips participants with tools to align communication with institutional values, enhancing integrity, mental health, and inclusivity amidst adversity. Attendees will understand the T.H.R.E.A.D Model to cultivate the ability to pause and evaluate, fostering discernment in response to challenges. Additionally, attendees will apply Depth Psychological Principles to uncover past experiences to inform forward-thinking decision-making and insights into their leadership style.

What I Wish I Knew Before Becoming a Dean

Ugena Whitlock, University of South Carolina Upstate
For attendees who are new to this topic

An experienced department chair at a large university should be plenty prepared to assume a deanship, right? This thoughtful and humorous presentation considers what the presenter wishes she had known before she became dean of a college of education and human performance at a small regional institution. What are major differences between the positions? What essential skills and knowledge must one know to move into deanship and have a smooth transition? How does one even begin to find a dean job that fits? What should one absolutely not do? Can a new dean recover from a rocky start?

Special Topics in Higher-Education Leadership

Considering the Human Implications of Change in Postsecondary Education

Louise Chatterton, St. Lawrence College
For attendees who have experience with this topic

At the intersection of Schein’s (2017) stages and cycle of learning/change (with a particular focus on learning anxiety and psychological safety), and the work of Heifetz and his associates regarding the six leadership behaviors of Adaptive Leadership, a model emerges for approaching change that can be applied at the departmental or institutional level of postsecondary institutions. This model takes into consideration the human implications of change that are particularly relevant when managing change in higher education. In this session, participants will reflect on their own responses to change and evaluate their readiness for the six leadership behaviors of Adaptive Leadership.

Forward-Thinking Leadership: Integrating AI to Revolutionize Higher Education and Career Preparedness

Daryl Green, Langston University
For attendees who have experience with this topic

In an era where Artificial Intelligence (AI) and automation are reshaping the global landscape, higher education leaders are tasked with navigating these changes to foster innovation, ensure effective management, and prepare students for the future workforce. This session explores the strategic integration of AI and automation in educational practices, offering insights into developing adaptive leadership strategies that support faculty, enhance student success, and align with institutional goals. Following the session, attendees will be able to equip educational leaders with AI and automation trends affecting higher education. They will also be able to share research-based strategies for integrating AI into curriculum and administrative processes. Finally, attendees will be able to facilitate discussions on ethical considerations and leadership challenges in the digital transformation era.

Internship Programs as a Path to Faculty Leadership Development

Sara Zeigler, Russell Carpenter, Alison Buck, Ashley Cole, Heather Fox, Marie Manning, and Timothy Wiggins, Eastern Kentucky University
For attendees who are new to this topic

This session focuses on strategies for developing individualized leadership skills in faculty. Academic administrators at a variety of levels are often in position to support, mentor, and guide faculty as they prepare for various levels of responsibility within and across the institution. Success in priority areas of teaching, research, and service often take precedence. The importance of faculty leadership skill development, however, is among the greatest needs moving forward, especially at the associate professor and professor levels.

The Provost’s Faculty Internship Program at Eastern Kentucky University (EKU) is designed to develop leadership skills at the university level among faculty. As a complement to the University’s Provost’s Leadership Institute, the program’s goal is to build exceptional leadership by supporting individual faculty development, while enhancing academic culture and capacities. Through this program, faculty participate in a range of mentoring and learning opportunities, collaborate with colleagues in the Office of the Provost and other academic and administrative offices across campus, while assuming leadership roles on critical campus strategic initiatives and projects, designed in conjunction with individual interests and longer-range career goals.

The Provost’s Faculty Internship Program is designed to 1) increase awareness of faculty leadership skills, 2) provide practical opportunities for faculty leadership skill development, and 3) design tailored leadership skill development for faculty. In this session, representatives from the Office of the Provost, along with faculty internship participants, offer practical advice and perspective for program design complemented by reflections and applications.

Advisory Board Session

Leadership Approaches for Faculty Engagement in Higher Education

Russell Carpenter, Eastern Kentucky University and Kevin Dvorak, Nova Southeastern University
For all attendees

In this interactive session, facilitators will guide participants through the application of current research on faculty (dis)engagement to help academic leaders at all levels better understand the complexities of faculty engagement and develop strategies for improving faculty engagement at their institutions. Facilitators will engage participants in conversations and activities that focus on defining faculty engagement within institutional contexts, identifying barriers, and recognizing what they can (and cannot) control at their institutions. Participants will develop a leadership action plan for engaging faculty based on institutional needs, goals, and contexts.

Advisory Board Session

Let It Go: Building Trust to Delegate in Academia

Gretchen Oltman, Creighton University
For all attendees

Leaders in higher education settings often have difficulty delegating their responsibilities, often thinking it’s just easier to complete a task themselves than to put it in someone else’s hands. This session explores how to build a delegation-friendly environment in academia—one in which trust to delegate is built, the importance of time management is prioritized, and leaders are empowered to make strategic decisions about where to put their time and effort. Participants will devise an individual plan identifying tasks that might be delegated, how to build a delegation pipeline in their environment, and ideas on where more impact can be created when delegation is done well.

Navigating AI: Demonstrating Leadership Through Your University’s Ongoing Response

Scott Phillips, The University of Alabama at Birmingham
For attendees who have experience with this topic 

Addressing the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies within universities presented both unprecedented opportunities and challenges in 2023. This presentation aims to provide leaders with a roadmap for guiding and evaluating their university’s ongoing response to AI. It will review the current state of AI in the university, identify new opportunities, discuss how to engage stakeholders, consider how to empower faculty and students, and navigate the minefield of encouraging AI use and training while satisfying the demands of academic integrity. Effective leaders can guide their universities’ responses to AI, unlocking its transformative potential while mitigating associated risks and maximizing benefits.

Invited Session

Re-imagining Approaches to Major and Career Support for Today’s College Students

Joseph A. Kitchen, University of Southern California
For all attendees

The promise and purpose of earning a college degree has garnered increased attention as colleges and universities face mounting pressure from the public, policymakers, and students to demonstrate the value of a college education. One key role of postsecondary education is to prepare students for meaningful, fulfilling careers. Yet, few have interrogated traditional approaches to major and career support or meaningfully addressed shortcomings in their effectiveness for today’s increasingly diverse college students. This session is a call to action for higher education leaders to re-imagine delivery of major and career support. Effective, data-driven, equity-oriented support practices that meet the needs of todays’ diverse students as they navigate their major and career pathways in college will be presented. Specific guidance for academic leaders will be discussed and research-informed resources for policy and practice will be shared.

Research-Backed Techniques for Effective, Efficient, and Inclusive Hiring

Laura Lohman, North Central College
For attendees who have experience with this topic

Facilitated by a senior-certified human resources professional, this session leads participants to learn and apply proven, research-based techniques to hire effective candidates in current and challenging hiring conditions. Attendees will learn to write and effectively prioritize appropriate qualifications to build a strong and diverse applicant pool, and recognize and avoid common pitfalls that exclude qualified applicants and reduce the diversity of your applicant pool. Attendees will be able to create an efficient, focused, inclusive selection process along with applying a wider range of screening tools based on the qualifications required. Finally, attendees will be able to write reliable and valid interview questions.

Strategic Leadership at HBCUs: Navigating #TheHardReset Post-Reaccreditation

Yaw Adoo, Morris Brown College
For attendees who are new to this topic

This session explores transformative leadership in the aftermath of reaccreditation, focusing on Morris Brown College’s remarkable journey. As department chair of business, I will share insights on fostering resilience, collaboration, and community engagement to rebuild trust. We will delve into strategies for leading diverse teams of students, faculty, and staff, emphasizing the unique challenges and opportunities at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). Attendees will gain practical tools for navigating post-reaccreditation landscapes, inspiring academic excellence, and cultivating a shared vision for sustained success.

Advisory Board Session

Surviving the Great Upheaval: How Leaders can Navigate the Inevitable Changes in Higher Education

Stephanie Delaney, Renton Technical College
For all attendees

In the book, The Great Upheaval, Arthur Levine offers compelling evidence for why “business as usual” will no longer work in higher education. How can leaders take the information offered by Levine and operationalize it so that their institutions are positioned for success? In this engaging session, you’ll assess your institution’s current position and determine priorities for moving forward in the best direction. Attendees need not have read the book.

Exhibitor Spotlight

Session information coming soon.