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.

⸻ Look for sessions in these tracks: ⸻

Leadership and Professional DevelopmentDiversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Institutional Culture and ClimateStudent Retention and Success
What New Leaders Need to KnowSpecial Topics in Higher-Education Leadership
Exhibitor Spotlight

Leadership and Professional Development

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

Higher education institutions have long focused on the three pillars of the academic profession: teaching, learning, and research. However, as higher education institutions continue learning how to operate in a post-pandemic world, more attention has been placed on understanding the current state of faculty engagement. The goal of this session is to apply 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.

Stressed vs. Stretched: What’s the Difference and Why Does it Matter for Leaders?

Sarah Holtan, President, High-level Leadership, LLC
For all attendees

Stress that leads to burnout is a major concern for employees in higher ed. This session explores the causes of high rates of stress and burnout in employees and how leaders can navigate workplace stressors. By the end, participants in this session will be able to: differentiate between good stress (stretch) and bad stress (stress); identify personal triggers for stress and how stress leads to irrational thinking; appreciate the level and type of stress to maximize our outputs and performance; recognize the signs of burnout in ourselves and our team members; and design tactics to alleviate stress and burnout, and/or help us stretch.

Women Stepping Up to Lead: Three Different Perspectives

Kimberly Grainger, Maria Gallardo-Williams, and Diane Chapman, North Carolina State University
For attendees who have experience with this topic

In this session, three women university leaders discuss the transition from faculty to administration. The transition from faculty roles to administrative roles, although common, can be vastly different depending on one’s background and disciplines. Presenters in this session will discuss their experiences, challenges, and best practices from the unique lenses of their disciplines (law, education, and science), races, and gender orientation. Attendees will come away with strategies that can help to navigate the administrative landscape, including transferable skills that can be mastered by faculty who are interested in making the change to higher education administration.

Providing Meaningful Professional Development for Emerging Leaders

Melissa Knight, Lynn University
For attendees who are new to this topic

Professional development is becoming a necessary component in supporting higher education administrators as leadership roles continue to evolve since the pandemic. Employees desire more from their leaders than direction. They want a leader who is empathetic and who creates collaboration in a more inclusive and trusting environment while supporting their wellbeing. This session provides an overview of how training on the Core Competencies of Coaching can support leaders in developing the skills necessary for creating a positive working environment. Topics for higher education administrators include creating trust, understanding Emotional Intelligence, effective communication and enhancing student engagement.

Managing Conflict: A Leader’s Guide to Handling Challenging Situations

Sara Melita, George Washington University
For all attendees

Managing conflict well is essential. When overlooked, it can reduce productivity, damage trust, and slow down progress. This session will explore strategies for engaging in healthy productive conflict. We’ll compare various styles to help you become aware of the choices you and others make in conflict situations. You will also gain access to tools and techniques you can use in the most challenging situations. Join us to transform potential disputes into opportunities for collaboration and growth within our institutions.

Utilizing the Boyer Model for an Equitable Tenure Process

Jill Purdy, Cedar Crest College
For attendees who have experience with this topic

This presentation will focus on the integration of the Boyer Model of Scholarship into the promotion and tenure process. The view of promotion and tenure often remains “publish or perish”. As a small institution that focuses on teaching, scholarship, and service, we found the need for a more inclusive model. Utilizing the Boyer mindset of scholarship of discovery, integration, application, and teaching; we created a more equitable and comprehensive path. The learning goals of this session are to delineate the Boyer Model’s types of scholarship; itemize specific examples within this model; and discuss methods to mentor faculty through the process.

Significance Over Success: How to Develop Your Leadership Influence

Karie Solembrino, Wor-Wic Community College and George Ojie-Ahamiojie, University of Maryland Eastern Shore
For attendees who are new to this topic

Whether you are new to a leadership position or retain years of experience leading a team, you are faced with the challenges of creating significance over success. Leaders are pressured to deliver results, but this is not possible without first developing, supporting, and valuing your team. Expanding your leadership influence occurs when you prioritize bringing significance to others over personnel success. In this interactive session, we will discuss strategies to instill value and build team relationships while avoiding pitfalls that can sabotage your leadership efforts. We will explore methods to create positive influence within your organization.

Through Mid-Career and Beyond: Faculty Engagement and Professional Development

Lynne Texter, La Salle University
For attendees who have experience with this topic

Our faculty need to be engaged, current, and relevant at all stages of their careers to best support teaching and learning. While there are many formal and informal development opportunities for junior faculty, professional development often receives less attention once tenure has been achieved, although faculty may be exhausted, disillusioned, and unclear about their path forward. Leaders must support and encourage engagement and continued professional development. This presentation will: explore the challenges for mid-career faculty; propose ideas for continued engagement and professional development; enable participant reflection; and share best practices for institutions, leaders, and mid-career faculty.

Invited Session

The Teaching Effectiveness Framework: A Toolkit to Align Professional Development, Goal Setting and Annual Review of Teaching

Jennifer Todd and Tonya Buchan, Colorado State University
For attendees who are new to this topic

Developed at our teaching and learning center, the Teaching Effectiveness Framework informs all decisions around faculty professional development, including a new badging system, and our recommended process for annual review of teaching. During this workshop we will present the Teaching Effectiveness Framework Toolkit which includes documents for department chairs and evaluation committees to use for the annual review of teaching process. We will share the progress we’ve made at our institution, where we started, and recommendations for adopting a similar process at your institution. Participants will leave with an action plan for first steps at their institution.

How a Fellowship or Leadership Development Program Can be Transformative

Jim Fatzinger, Vanderbilt University and Adolfo Santos, Texas A&M

This workshop, hosted by the Co-Chairperson on the American Council on Education (ACE) Council of Fellows Outreach and Engagement Committee and Assistant Provost at Texas A & M University Higher Education Center at McAllen, invites academic and administrative professionals from a variety of higher education institutions, to consider Fellowship opportunities which might support their next steps in leadership development. Specifically, the workshop learning goals include personal reflections and awareness of the American Council on Education (ACE) Fellowship, Fulbright Specialist Program, American Association of State Colleges and Universities Millennium Leadership Initiative, and Harvard Institute for Management and Leadership in Education Program.

Reflective Dialogue: Enhancing Engagement for Campus Leaders

Jonathan Kroll, Leadership Trainer
For all attendees

As institutional leaders, when we utilize a core practice from experiential learning—reflective dialogue—we can enhance our operations and optimize engagement with colleagues. This session is designed to provide a hands-on opportunity to explore reflective dialogue. Specifically, we will come to understand (a) what reflective dialogue is, (b) the power and importance of reflective dialogue as a cornerstone for our meetings and supervisory experiences, and then (c) craft opportunities to practice hosting reflective dialogue.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Advisory Board Session

Productivity for People Doing Equity Work

Stephanie Delaney, Renton Technical College
For all attendees

Equity work can be exhausting, and it can be difficult to see the progress you are making on multigenerational work like eliminating poverty or racial injustice. When added to the daily work of meetings and email, it can be easy to lose focus and energy. Learn about and explore a productivity framework that will enable you to make progress on your big equity work while balancing the day to day.

Creating a Student Support Program for Underrepresented Freshmen

Kasey Linde and Edgar Montoya, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
For attendees who have experience with this topic

Nebraska Business developed a recruitment and retention program for underrepresented first-time freshmen students called the Inclusive Business Leaders (IBL) program. IBL provides students with a scholarship, career development opportunities, academic tutoring, mentorship, and a dedicated course focused on inclusion within the field of business. Concepts covered in class prepare students to become inclusive leaders in their current and future endeavors. Attendees of this session will learn how to: structure a student support program; identify goals and outcomes; create curriculum; and utilize campus resources and private funding to support program initiatives.

Enhancing Staff Voice and Representation in Campus Decision Making

Christine Moskell and Jasmine Kellogg, Colgate University
For attendees who are new to this topic

Many colleges and universities have strong systems of student and faculty governance. Yet, staff members may be looking for increased say in campus decision-making processes. Such was the case at Colgate University, where a new Staff Affairs Council was recently created to enhance staff representation and voice in university affairs. Participants in this session will: learn how to approach the creation and implementation of a representative staff council; understand the ways a council can enhance staff collaboration, satisfaction, and sense of purpose; and consider how they might enhance staff voice and representation at their own institution.

Institutional Culture and Climate

Dialogic Approaches to Cultivating Positive Climate, Relationships, Communication, and Meaning

Grant Jackson, Texas Tech University
For attendees who have experience with this topic

Grounded in the scholarship and practices of positive and purpose-driven leadership, this session provides participants opportunities to learn practical, proactive, dialogic approaches to creating and maintaining positive climates, relationships, communication, and meaning, thus helping to cultivate the kind of organizational “soil” that can help leaders and followers in any area of higher education navigate the challenges of our times together. Attendees will be invited to engage in activities that will help them (a) identify and analyze aspects of their leadership and organizations that are easy to overlook and (b) reflect on what they feel are the most important goals, resolutions, and tangible “next steps” going forward.

Ubuntu: Building Communities of Belonging inside Academic and Student Affairs

Heather Moore Roberson, Allegheny College
For attendees who are new to this topic

Scholarly discourse about diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) has become commonplace in higher education since the rise of contemporary social movements and the creation of the chief diversity officer role at the end of the 20th century. Yet, treating DEI as a separate, stand-alone initiative is completely unsustainable. To transform larger institutional cultures and climates, predominately white campuses must make explicit commitments to DEI that are part of the fabric of a college or universities’ mission, values, and strategic plans. This presentation includes recommendations that can be applied to academic affairs, student and residential life, service learning, and community engagement.

Invited Session

Burnout Is a Culture Problem: A Primer for Leaders

Rebecca Pope-Ruark, Georgia Institute of Technology
For all attendees

Faculty and staff burnout, a problem long before the pandemic, is now rampant, playing a key role in the Great Disengagement and The Big Quit. Manifesting as exhaustion, cynicism, and feelings of reduced professional efficacy in individuals, burnout is a problem created by cultures of overwhelming stress, and therefore, one that must be addressed at organizational and personal levels. In this session, we will examine what burnout is, how higher ed culture fosters burnout in faculty and staff, and in what ways leaders—both positional and grassroots—can encourage cultural change for the well-being of the institution and its people.

Invited Session

Using Systems Thinking to Increase Campus Innovation

Katherine Sanders, Sanders Consulting and Patrick V. Farrell, Lehigh University
For attendees who have experience with this topic

Hiring a diverse, multi-talented staff is just the first step in evolving our institutions. A necessary next step is for the institution to evolve in response to the needs and visions of that diverse talent.  To do this, we need to rethink many of the structures and processes that have supported the past but may not support the future. We’ll use real-life examples of incremental change to common academic structures (e.g., hiring committees, faculty development, and the creation of a new college) to show how systems thinking can increase campus innovation and improve campus culture.

Student Retention and Success

Mentoring with Accountable Grace

Ashanti Bryant Foster, Prince George’s Community College
For all attendees

Students are responsible for completing assignments and requesting support when needed, however, all students aren’t accessing the available resources. Now that many campuses are returning to new-normal conditions, Accountable Grace (AG) is necessary. Accountable Grace is the delicate balance of grace and accountability for self and others. Ag, or silver, shares characteristics that faculty, staff members, and students need to fully support student success. In this workshop, participants will explore The Silver AG Effect, reflect on current practices, and practice mentoring conversations with real-time feedback.

Rising Behavioral Health Problems among College Students

Anita Hazelwood, University of Louisiana at Lafayette
For attendees who have experience with this topic

This presentation will help the audience to identify the various causes and the major types of mental/behavioral issues among college students, including how certain populations are more vulnerable than others. The presenter will give examples of ways that colleges are combating mental health/behavioral health issues in their student population. Attendees will: be able to identify risk factors for behavioral/mental health issues; review types of behavioral/mental health issues; examine vulnerable populations; and consider ways to combat behavioral/mental health issues among college students.

What Counts: Retention Work’s Multiple Methods

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

Retention rates are about numbers; institutions report them as a percentage, disaggregating data to track various populations of students. Behind each data point is a person. Influencing retention rates requires multiple methods: initiatives with a wide reach and individualized, comparatively inefficient, interventions supporting single students. Institutional efforts overlook realities of students’ situations, presuming barriers or viewing student survey information in the aggregate, without a plan for using what students report to shape their experience and outcomes. In this session, participants will identify quantitative and qualitative methods that influence retention for all students and form plans for responding to student needs.

Stuck in the Middle: Uplifting the Anonymous Layer of Leaners

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

High performing online students get reinforcement through their grades, while low performers typically have access to a wide array of supports. Students in the middle rarely get the same level of attention. This anonymous layer of learners earns Bs and Cs while juggling work and family responsibilities or facing bigger challenges like anxiety, depression, chronic illness, or housing insecurity. In this session, you will learn how to identify these students and provide them with meaningful recognition that helps them feel seen, increases their sense of belonging, and increases their odds of successful class and program completion.

What New Leaders Need to Know

Advisory Board Session

Effective Unit Advocacy: Making Compelling Arguments for Resources

Craig Hlavac, Southern Connecticut State University
For all attendees

Academic leaders are tasked with representing their department or division within the institution, a role that requires being an effective advocate. Acquiring and maintaining resources and support is a complicated feat, and one that requires data-informed arguments, political acumen, and creativity. This session will provide academic leaders with specific, data-informed strategies for advocating on behalf of your division. Enrollment data, common academic metrics, and budget data will be discussed. Participants will be encouraged to share with one another successful advocacy efforts and begin to develop a plan for acquiring new resources for their academic unit.

Leading Diverse Teams

Marcine Pickron-Davis, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine
For attendees who are new to this topic

Managers, department heads, and administrators in leadership positions will gain practical tools to help them lead diverse, equitable, and inclusive teams. This interactive workshop is specifically designed to accommodate learners from diverse backgrounds as well as learners from different starting knowledge points (new to the topic or social justice warriors). We will explore social identity in the workplace, examine inclusive leadership, and develop a toolkit to implement change management strategies. We will explore best practices for equitable organizational processes and norms and inclusive behavioral practices in teams.

We Have to Talk: Navigating Difficult People & Conversations

Lynne Texter, La Salle University
For all attendees

We dread and often avoid the difficult conversations we need to have about the topics, behaviors, and communications that negatively impact our students, our colleagues, and our departments/institutions. Handling these situations can be a particular challenge for new leaders, who may need to address ongoing issues left by previous leaders. We’ll discuss how you can improve your ability to engage in productive conversations to strengthen working relationships and yield more positive outcomes. Participants will learn: approaches to different types of difficult people; components of difficult conversations; and how to prepare for, conduct, and follow-up on conversations.

Special Topics in Higher-Education Leadership

Advisory Board Session

Internship Programs as a Path to Faculty Leadership Development

Sara Zeigler, Russell Carpenter, Dominic Ashby, José Juan Gómez Becerra, Mike Lane, Jade Robinson, and Curtis Streetman, 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 a 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 takes precedence. The importance of faculty leadership skill development, however, is among the greatest needs moving forward, especially at the associate professor and professor levels. Through this session, participants will: reflect on the leadership needs of faculty; explore approaches for expanding leadership skills for faculty through individualized programming; discuss valuable resources and tools for developing individualized leadership skills; and examine the experiences of faculty internship participants and applications for use in a variety of institutional contexts. Participants will leave this session with an understanding of internship program design and a toolkit of concepts for implementation at their own institutions.

Ethical Leadership in Higher Education 101

Clotilde Dudley-Smith, Quinnipiac University
For attendees who have experience with this topic

Great leaders know there is always room for improvement. Ethical leaders are necessary drivers for success in their organization. Every team member has an ethical responsibility to take their duties seriously, hence, the job of the leader is to promote ethical accountability. Higher education involves a well-composed curriculum, with ethical leaders, and participants who cooperate with the leader to achieve the desired goal. We will explore the principles and elements of ethical leadership to achieve this goal. Participants will learn how to improve ethical skills through discussion and small group activities.

Stay or Go? An Honest Conversation about Wellbeing for Campus Leaders

Gretchen Oltman and Vicki Bautista, Creighton University
For attendees who have experience with this topic

Are you ready to quit your campus leadership role? This session provides a safe space to have an honest conversation about the challenges of being a campus leader. We will identify the causes of stress and burnout on campuses today. Attendees will begin designing a personal plan to support their own well-being and that of those that they lead.

Leveraging Artificial Intelligence for Transforming Higher Education

Kathy Burlingame, Galen College

The rapid advancements in Artificial Intelligence (AI) have unleashed a multitude of possibilities and some challenges for higher education. This session aims to bring together stakeholders to explore the transformative potential of AI in teaching and learning. By responsibly leveraging AI technology, educators can impact students’ learning as technology continues to evolve. In the realm of higher education, AI is revolutionizing pedagogical approaches, students’ experiences, and administrative processes. Students need to be able to navigate the professional environment where AI is being used. Educators must adapt their teaching and assessment methods to students’ competencies by leveraging technology while not compromising ethical and academic standards. This session will give the audience some strategies to navigate this new paradigm.

Exhibitor Spotlight

Pie-in-the-Sky or Pie-on-your-Plate: Effective Master Planning for Your Campus

Mike Garvey, BHDP Architects
For all attendees

“To Plan or Not To Plan, that is the question.” Had William Shakespeare penned his classic works in our day, as the Dean of the English Department at a modern university, he may well have been forced to ask his iconic question that way. Shifting student demographics, enrollment roller coaster rides, student loan battles, technological changes, and a global Pandemic have profoundly impacted Higher Education in just a short span of time—and by extension, the traditional business and planning models that have served institutions reliably for decades. Indeed, the diverse and unpredictable headwinds of the modern era have pushed campus executives to confront hard truths as they develop new strategies that exhibit an astute stewardship of resources to advance their institution’s mission.

To examine the state of campus master planning as a key component of an institution’s mission, BHDP Architecture recently surveyed more than 100 college and university presidents and CFOs around the United States. Their feedback on campus master planning—what works, what doesn’t, how it’s changed, and much more—was captured and analyzed. In an overarching sense, the research begins to address the tension between “pie in the sky” ideas and planning, versus bite-size strategies that are realistic and achievable. The analysis of this research will be shared with the audience in a way that yields actionable steps and helpful insight for them to take away as they address opportunities and challenges present in strategic and master planning at their own campuses.

Conflicts on Campus: The Leader’s Roles, Responsibilities and Opportunities

Richard Birke, JAMS
For all attendees

When conflict arises on campus—be it among or between faculty, students, staff and the community—all eyes are on the leaders. At a minimum, leaders must be well-versed in the prevention, management, and resolution of conflict, and to succeed more fully, they must be skilled in deploying a wide array of tools and approaches—mostly in a public or semi-public environment. In this session, a 25-year veteran of the classroom with 35 years of conflict resolution experience will share key insights into the most effective approaches to leading from conflict to consensus.

The Future of Digital Assessment: Interactive Examinations, Assessment Equity and Originality Checking

Roe McFarlane and Az Abusam, Inspera
For all attendees

In a digital learning environment where the majority of course materials are digital, progressing to a digital assessment environment seems like a natural transition. However, the explosion of digital content for learning has not necessarily resulted in digital innovation for examinations. Learn how to leverage interactive assessment elements to measure a student’s knowledge, how one can provide an exam experience that eliminates grading bias, while ensuring exam integrity and how to address academic integrity through originality checking tools. The presentation will explore:

  • Current trends and give an outlook for digital assessment technologies
  • Opportunities for interactive assessment types, accessibility experiences and expanded grading features
  • Implementing new indicators of intelligence into exams
  • How ChatGPT can generate and expand question bank content
  • Academic integrity challenges including generative AI detection and originality checking

Smart Partnerships: How to Navigate Vendor Collaborations for Academic Success

Kamilah Lewis, Noodle

For all attendees

Skeptical about external vendor partnerships? You’re not alone. While the benefits of collaboration are undeniable, navigating these waters requires a discerning approach. In an era where collaboration is pivotal, it’s not just about forming partnerships—it’s about forming the right ones. Join Noodle’s Chief Partnership Officer, Stephen Green, as he shines a light on the nuanced art of building partner relationships that truly benefit both sides. He’ll dive deep into the essentials of risk mitigation, ensuring you’re armed with the knowledge to identify potential pitfalls and avoid costly mistakes. Attendees will uncover key strategies to ensure collaborations amplify institutional goals, rather than compromise them. Walk away with a pragmatic roadmap, designed to help academic leaders critically evaluate, kick-start, and nurture vendor partnerships into successful long-term alliances that elevate both the institutions and its educational goals.

Why Holistic Student Services is the Key to Retaining More Students

Manuela Ambrosino, Upswing

For all attendees

Imagine a higher education landscape where students have access to holistic student services designed to address their academic and personal needs. Now imagine all of these holistic services can be accessed in one single platform. In this presentation, we’ll explore how Upswing, an online, wraparound student services platform, provides a suite of services that nurture every aspect of a student’s journey. Upswing offers 24/7 academic help, mental wellness support, SMS-based engagement, and so much more, ultimately reducing the barriers to graduation. Join us to learn how Upswing is shaping the future of higher education support.

Transforming Course Material Access and Affordability

Ryan Peterson, Follett Higher Education

For attendees who have experience with this topic

Texas State University (TSU) launched an Inclusive Access program in Spring 2019 to improve textbook affordability, increase convenience of course material access, and ultimately make a difference in student outcomes. This fall, the program will expand to Equitable Access, ensuring students across all courses receive their materials by day one of class. Eric Algoe, Vice President for Finance and Support Services, will share new data and findings from TSU’s first Equitable Access semester. Attendees will learn best practices for launching a course materials program that ensures academic freedom, addresses key financial considerations, and meets student needs.

Magna Quest: A Pathway to Transformative Teaching

Karin Van Voorhees, Magna Publications
For all attendees

For 50 years, professional development programs from Magna Publications have helped faculty become better teachers. Today, our faculty professional development is a dynamic, engaging, and meaningful learning experience that directs thinking, behavior, and action toward transformative teaching. In this session, Magna’s editorial director will present a new way of learning with our products—a guided development plan for classroom teaching, active learning, online teaching, inclusive teaching, and career development. After the presentation, there will be time for conversation and feedback. This session is for anyone responsible for faculty education and development.