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.


The full list of concurrent sessions will be posted in July.

Invited Sessions

Well-Being and Well-Thinking: How to Stay Healthy in Academia
Seena Haines, The University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy, Jenny Van Amburgh, Northeastern University, and Susan Stein, Sue M. Stein Consulting, LLC

Literature demonstrates substantial symptoms of burnout evident in a variety of professionals and students enrolled in professional degree programs. This is correlated with higher rates of depression, job dissatisfaction, and intent to leave the position of employment. This session will explore strategies and solutions aimed to improve work life balance, individual and organizational vitality, and foster job satisfaction. Relevant solutions provided can apply to diverse settings in the workplace. Participants in this session will discuss the internal and external drivers that impact individual and organizational wellbeing in the workplace; review techniques of applying the principles of motivating people and creating vitality through workplace appreciation strategies; and develop and individual and organizational development plan to implement selected strategies in the respective workplace settings.


Leading an Equitable Department or Unit
Annie Soisson and Donna Qualters, Tufts University

Almost every higher education institution is trying to diversify and retain faculty who are more representative of their students, and of the overall changing U.S. demographics. This diversification requires serious conversations about how we evaluate scholarship, service and teaching among applicants, and how we can more equitably lead departments once we have hired diverse candidates. This session will help leaders explore the leadership needs of a diverse department, assess their own current department practices in relationship to equity and inclusion, and begin to create a plan to address areas that need attention to create a more equitable environment. By the end of the session, participants will understand the characteristics and challenges of leading an equitable department/unit and generate ideas for moving forward to create more equity in their department/unit.

Audience: Department chairs, program directors, lab directors, deans


Secret Boss Training: How to Observe and Evaluate Teaching
Thomas Tobin, University of Wisconsin – Madison

From the author of Evaluating Online Teaching, this interactive session for department chairs, deans, and other campus leaders prepares participants to observe and evaluate the teaching practices of their colleagues in a consistent and informed fashion, one that relies on participants’ subject expertise as a foundation. Come to this session to take away four “secrets” of how best to observe and evaluate your colleagues’ teaching practices: identify teaching behaviors, know when to evaluate, assess in a measurable way, and learn how to evaluate tech-enhanced teaching.

Audience: New department chairs


Leadership in the Age of Uncertainty: Design and Implementation Strategies for the Educational Future
Jon Garon, Nova Southeastern University

The P-20 educational environment is presently challenged by changing student demographics, financial stresses, adaptive courseware, online learning, other new technologies, regulatory upheaval, leadership turnover, and faculty uncertainty. This session will identify the key changes reshaping educational organizations and the strategies that deans and department chairs can use to harness these changes in order to improve learning outcomes and increase the satisfaction for both students and institutional stakeholders. After participating, you will be able to identify key drivers changing schools and colleges; craft a strategy for strategic improvement; provide concrete leadership strategies to manage primary challenges; emphasize techniques to enhance student learning outcomes; and increase buy-in for faculty, staff, and senior administration.


Considering Your Personal Well-Being: What Academic Leaders Need to Know
Vicki Bautista and Gretchen Oltman, Creighton University

Academic leadership is a lifestyle that interweaves a multifaceted connection between personal, professional, and administrative responsibilities. This complex relationship can challenge academic leaders, both emerging and veteran, to separate professional and administrative needs from their personal well-being. In managing numerous roles ranging from mentor, teacher, administrator, visionary, and colleague, and handling personnel issues, it is imperative that academic leaders consider their own role in promoting well-being for those they lead, as well as for themselves. In this interactive session, participants will be introduced to multiple definitions of well-being, learn the connection between leadership practices and well-being, and explore strategies to promote well-being within an academic leadership setting for both themselves and for those they lead.


Pure Heart Leadership
Shana Garrett, Walden University

Pure Heart Leadership is leadership approach that encourages an authentic style while recognizing the individuality and strengths of leaders. This leadership model was developed based on more than 20 years of professional experience within higher education while blending several key psychology theories of Carl Rogers and Albert Bandura into a mindfulness approach to working with others. This model is one of encouragement and empowerment and is truly rewarding in both self and team development. It provides both the leader and the mentee with an honest evaluation of how you present as a leader as well as connecting and leading others. Participants will learn to develop an Authentic Leadership Approach as a dean; learn strategies to develop faculty teams at several levels: chair, program director, core faculty; fin a mindful approach to managing teams within the academic environment; and how to extend the team collaboration across departments.

Audience: New deans


Advisory Board Sessions

Seven Practical Branding Strategies for Women in Higher Education
Tanjula Petty, assistant provost of academic affairs, Alabama State University

Research reveals that women in higher education constantly continue to be an underrepresented population at the administrative levels of leadership in the positions of dean, chief academic officers, provost, and president (Gallant, 2014). There are many women who are aspiring to leadership positions in higher education. Additionally, there are numerous motives identified by researchers for the persistence of the underrepresentation of women in the top ranks of leadership in higher education institutions. Experienced leaders will share practical advice to women pursuing leadership roles in higher education that will lead to overcoming challenges and being successful in their respective careers.

The overarching goal of the session is to help women who desire to seek leadership roles explore their personal, organizational, and community spheres of influence and empower them to embrace practical strategies to maneuver successfully within institutions. To this end, the workshops and discussions will focus on the following five crucial areas for learning:

  1. Understand the importance of developing your niche in higher education
  2. Gain confidence in making career and leadership choices
  3. Understand the importance of building a support network
  4. Share and acquire useful tips and strategies
  5. Network with women with a variety of experiences


Meeting Faculty Where They Are: Promoting Innovative Pedagogy Across Campus
Oliver Dreon, Millersville University

In this session, we will discuss a multi-faceted professional development approach to promoting innovative pedagogy across campus. Recognizing that the diverse needs of the campus community requires multiple approaches to build faculty capacity, Millersville University has structured complimentary professional development opportunities to meet faculty “where they are.” This session will outline each of the professional development activities and discuss how the structure and focus address different faculty needs.


Open Educational Resources: What does the research say?
Oliver Dreon, Millersville University

We will examine the published research on Open Educational Resources (OER) and their impact on student success. The session will also review the research on faculty adoption of OERs and describe obstacles to adoption that have emerged.


The Purpose of an Education: Understanding the Cyclical Nature of Higher Education History and What it Means for the Decades Ahead
Jennifer Patterson Lorenzetti, Hilltop Communications

We are living in a time in which the purpose of university education seems to have changed. The focus on educating a well-rounded human being has been supplanted by educating one who is ready to hit the ground working. However, we've been here before. The history of higher education is the story of pendulum swings between educating for workforce development and focus on classic and newly-defined elements of a liberal education. In this presentation, we will examine those historic swings with an eye to lessons we can learn as we plan the next decades of curriculum and institutional focus.
Attendees will:

  • Understand the historic tension between workforce development and liberal education
  • Explore predictions that history allows us to make about the future of curriculum and institutional focus
  • Discuss changes seen at their own institutions to allow the group to develop an overall sense of the current state of colleges and universities and how this fits in with historical theory