Plenary Sessions

The Leadership in Higher Education Conference will present two plenary sessions and an advisory board panel discussion. Hear from innovative professionals with engaging thoughts on trends and opportunities in higher education today.

Opening Plenary

Thursday, October 6, 2022 ǀ 5:15–6:00 pm

The Futures of Higher Education

By Andrew Delbanco, Columbia University

Coming out of the pandemic (we hope!), how should we conceive—or reconceive—the mission of our colleges and universities? What do we owe to our students, and how can we best serve them? In particular, how can colleges and universities prepare them for democratic citizenship at a time when our democracy is in peril? Andrew Delbanco, President of the Teagle Foundation and Alexander Hamilton Professor of American Studies at Columbia University, will ask us to grapple with these pressing questions.

Know your presenter:

Andrew Delbanco is Alexander Hamilton Professor of American studies at Columbia University and president of the Teagle Foundation. He earned his AB, MA, and PhD degrees from Harvard University.

Delbanco was elected president of the Society of American Historians for 2021–2022. His most recent book, The War Before the War: Fugitive Slaves and the Struggle for America’s Soul from the Revolution to the Civil War (Penguin Press, 2018), named a New York Times notable book, was awarded the Anisfield-Wolf prize for “books that have made important contributions to our understanding of racism and human diversity,” the Lionel Trilling Award, and the Mark Lynton History Prize, sponsored by the Columbia Journalism School and the Nieman Foundation at Harvard.

His essays appear in The New York Review of Books, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Nation, and other periodicals, on topics ranging from American literature and history to contemporary issues in higher education.

Delbanco has been a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences since 2001. That same year he was named “America’s Best Social Critic” by Time Magazine.  In 2006 he was honored with the Great Teacher Award by the Society of Columbia Graduates, and in 2013 he was elected to the American Philosophical Society. He holds honorary degrees from Ursinus College, Occidental College, and Marlboro College. In 2012, he was awarded a National Humanities Medal by President Barack Obama.


Saturday, October 8, 2022 ǀ 9:15–10:00 am

Effective Communication for Academic Leaders

By Leila Brammer, University of Tampa

Academic leadership requires employing and developing both individual and collective communication capacities. From responding to faculty and student concerns, facilitating decisions, mediating conflicts, navigating free expression, participating in shared governance, advocating for resources, and promoting higher education, a variety of daily situations demand nuanced capacities to respond well. Communication holds the power potential to transform old and new conflicts, institutional decision making, teaching, and campus life.

Equipped with effective communication practices, academic leaders can manifest, model, and build capacities for engaging across, with, and about differences and disagreements and working together to understand and address pressing challenges. This plenary presents a theory-based approach to transformative processes and practices that cultivate and advance productive and inclusive communication within higher education.

Know your presenter:

Leila Brammer, PhD studies freedom of expression, public discourse, and effective advocacy. In her work, she builds frameworks in which campus/community members come to understand problems from multiple perspectives and work together to develop evidence-based approaches to address challenging issues. She established a nationally-recognized civic learning and engagement curriculum and a community-based public deliberation and dialogue program. As the inaugural director of the University of Chicago’s Parrhesia Program for Public Discourse, she developed curricula, programming, and outreach to advance the Chicago Principles of Freedom of Expression and foster the capacity for vigorous, inclusive, and productive discourse in the classroom, campus, and civic life. Currently, she is a teaching professor in communication and media studies at the University of Tampa.