Leadership in Higher Education Conference 2021 Conference Tracks and Descriptions

Submissions to this track should focus on building and refining innovative approaches to academic leadership in support of student success; building faculty collaboration; addressing conflict resolution; promoting innovation through research; fostering needed curricular change; mentoring junior faculty; establishing equitable promotion and tenure processes; and building a positive working and learning environment. Submissions to this track can also address new trends or developments in higher education that affect academic leadership. Please designate if your session is for new or mid-career leaders.

Higher education administrators are working to implement holistic programs to accommodate today’s diverse students, faculty, and staff. This track will allow higher-education professionals to present and share the ways they are responding 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 colleges are supporting diverse staff and faculty, making institutions places that can retain diverse employees, or Title IX compliance.

Evaluation and assessment are important issues for academic leaders, as states, accrediting bodies, students, and parents all look for evidence of quality. Academic leaders must understand how to work with accreditors, identify trends in state assessment and compliance, and carry out strategic planning for evaluation and assessment. It is of great importance for departments to constantly and consistently evaluate and assess their programs. This track will include best practices, proven strategies, and models for designing and executing an evaluation plan.

How do we recruit and support administrators, staff, and faculty throughout their careers? This track considers the tools, resources, programs, behaviors, and leadership skills needed to hire, promote, and sustain vibrant and engaged administrators, staff, and faculty across ranks, disciplines, and institutional settings. Submissions to this track should address issues related to faculty development, assessment, mentoring, promotion and tenure, annual reviews, coaching, or other topics related to academic personnel and their concerns.

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 we are and what are our values on the basis of where we have been?

Academic leaders 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 will include presentations on managing and improving institutional culture and climate and dealing with the problems that arise at the department and college level. Presentations about managing challenges to culture and climate during the shifts in teaching caused by the COVID-19 pandemic are welcome.

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 will focus on overcoming challenges to recruitment and retention, such as escalating costs, declining state support, and a shrinking student population; creating successful recruitment and retention programs 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.

With the complexity of leadership roles and responsibilities at different institutions, sometimes our work doesn’t fit neatly into a single category. Submissions for this track can bridge multiple other topical areas or represent a topic 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. Presentations about leading change initiatives during the upheaval to standard university practices caused by responding to the COVID-19 pandemic are welcome. Submissions for this track must make distinct connection to the roles of higher-education leaders.