Leadership in Higher Education Conference 2024 Conference Tracks and Descriptions

The 2024 Leadership in Higher Education Conference focuses on both academic and administrative leadership with six unique conference tracks.

Sessions in this track focus on building and refining innovative approaches to higher-education leadership in support of student success; building faculty collaboration; addressing conflict resolution; promoting innovation through research; fostering needed curricular change; mentoring faculty; establishing equitable promotion and tenure processes; and building a positive working and learning environment. Sessions in this track may also address new trends or developments in higher education.

Higher education administrators are working to implement holistic programs to accommodate today’s diverse students, faculty, and staff. This track allows higher-education professionals to share the ways they are responding to campus issues, such as structural diversity, change management, transformation of institutional culture, and diversity skills and competency training programs; and student needs, such as housing and food insecurities, mental health concerns, neurodiversity, sexual identity, disabilities, immigration concerns, and racism. Presentations may also address how institutions are supporting diverse staff and faculty or making institutions places that can retain diverse employees.

The culture of a university consists of the set of values that helps the university’s faculty, staff, students, and administrators understand which actions are considered acceptable and which actions are considered unacceptable. Climate looks at the present moment: what is the atmosphere like for members of the faculty, staff, students, and administrators? Culture has an historical basis: who are we and what are our values based on where we have been? Leadership must foster a known set of values indicating their importance to key stakeholders in order to facilitate the operational efficiency of the university. This track includes presentations on managing and improving institutional culture and climate and dealing with the problems that arise at the department and college level.

Student success is a gauge of institutional success, and—as such—for accrediting agencies, the public, contributing alumni, and students and their families, it is an indicator of the institution’s overall product. Presentations in this track focus on overcoming challenges to retention, such as escalating costs, declining state support, and a shrinking student population; creating successful retention strategies through student-focused efforts in admissions, financial aid, academic advising, course management, or residential living; and promoting student success by supporting high-risk students, adult learners, academic assistance, health and wellness counseling, and more. 

This track is a boot camp for new leaders. Sessions within the track are specific to the main skills required for successful leadership at a higher-education institution, including hiring; development and retention; budgeting and finance; academic policymaking; program development, evaluation, and assessment; mediation and problem solving; fundraising and development; communication; and mentoring.

With the complexity of leadership roles and responsibilities at different institutions, sometimes our work doesn’t fit neatly into a single category. Sessions in this track represent topics not clearly defined in another track, such as implications of technology, effective budgeting, fundraising and development, legal and regulatory issues, curriculum planning and development, or the future of higher education.