Preconference Workshops

The Leadership in Higher Education Conference offers four half-day preconference workshops. The cost is $339 per workshop. The half-day workshops are held Thursday, October 10 in the afternoon before the conference begins.

Enrollment is offered during conference registration.
If you have already registered for the conference and would like to add a workshop to your registration, call 608-246-3590 to enroll.

Thursday, October 10, 1:00 pm4:00 pm

Leadership Bootcamp: Developing Academic Leadership Skills in Higher Education

Sara Zeigler and Russell Carpenter, Eastern Kentucky University

This preconference workshop focuses on developing academic leadership skills. Academic leaders are often asked to take on roles, tasks, or projects with little or no formal (or even informal) training or preparation in this area. Being an academic leader can be challenging without intentional approaches, skill development, periodic assessment, self-assessment, and intentional reflection. Many academic leaders are expected to lead, guide, and mentor full-time staff members, tenure-track faculty, tenured faculty, or committees of a variety of configurations. Based on years of higher education academic experience as faculty members and university leaders, the facilitators will guide participants through a multi-step process of leadership skill development and strategies that prioritize practical approaches participants can readily apply and transfer to their own contexts.  Participants will:

  • Examine current higher education leadership needs and priorities in light of challenges and trends;
  • Define and navigate professional relationships and boundaries (e.g., mentoring, coaching, and supervising);
  • Prioritize leadership decision making;
  • Explore approaches for expanding leadership skills in higher education scenarios;
  • Discuss leadership scenarios and potential outcomes;
  • Identify leadership strategies and skills; and
  • Develop a leadership action plan for use across a variety of academic contexts.
Sara Zeigler, Eastern Kentucky University

Sara Zeigler, PhD, serves as provost and professor of political science at Eastern Kentucky University. Her work has appeared in the Journal of Political Science, Feminist Formations, and the Journal of Political Science Education, among others. Zeigler earned her BA at Reed College and her MA and PhD at UCLA, all in political science. Zeigler’s research focuses on gender politics and equality jurisprudence. With Russell Carpenter, she is the co-founder of the EKU Provost’s Leadership Institute and Provost’s Faculty Internship Program. 

Russell Carpenter, Eastern Kentucky University

Russell Carpenter, PhD, is assistant provost and professor of English at Eastern Kentucky University. Carpenter serves as editor-in-chief of the Journal of Faculty Development. Carpenter has written or edited a wide range of books, including Engaging Millennial Faculty, Studio-Based Approaches for Multimodal Projects, Writing Studio Pedagogy, and Sustainable Learning Spaces. With Sara Zeigler, he is the co-founder of the EKU Provost’s Faculty Leadership Institute and Provost’s Faculty Internship Program.

Thursday, October 10, 1:00 pm4:00 pm

Communication Strategies to Build Understanding, Enhance Engagement, and Navigate Difficult Conversations

Lynne A. Texter, La Salle University

Higher education leaders in every division and at every level must communicate effectively with a wide variety of internal and external stakeholders to support and advance strategic goals and initiatives and to animate the institutional mission. Leaders need to pursue every opportunity to improve their ability to communicate consistently, accurately, and effectively to enhance engagement, foster understanding, and build constructive relationships. They also must work to avoid or mediate the negative behaviors and communications that can impede progress.

This preconference session will expand understanding of how leaders can communicate more effectively and will provide guidance about how you can put this knowledge into practice at your institution. You’ll learn about different communication approaches/styles and how you can communicate and work more effectively with others, including those who have different and/or difficult styles or those who are resistant to change/new ideas. We’ll also provide a framework for how to engage in difficult conversations to address challenges and pursue opportunities to yield positive outcomes. In this preconference session, participants will:

  • Discuss communication challenges, opportunities, patterns, and choices;
  • Identify and reflect on your communication approaches/styles and those of your colleagues;
  • Identify communication goals and the key characteristics of internal and external audiences that will help you to shape and deliver effective messages;
  • Consider elements that will help you to communicate more effectively with those who have different and/or difficult styles;
  • Learn a framework to prepare for, facilitate, and debrief from difficult conversations to address challenges and pursue opportunities to achieve your goals and improve your outcomes.
Lynne Texter, La Salle University

Lynn A. Texter, PhD, is associate professor emerita at La Salle University and a senior consultant with Summit Search Solutions. A mission-centered academic leader and award-winning educator with 25+ years of experience in the U.S., Czech Republic, Switzerland, and Greece, Texter teaches courses, facilitates trainings, and consults with higher education institutions and nonprofit organizations on a variety of topics, including leadership, relationship-building, effective workplace communication, and change management.  She completed the Management Development Program at Harvard University, received her PhD from the University at Buffalo, and earned her MA from the Newhouse School at Syracuse University.

Thursday, October 10, 1:00 pm4:00 pm

Leading Change in the New (Ab)normal

Jeffrey L. Buller, ALPHA Leadership Training

The world of higher education strikes many academic leaders as different now from what it was prior to the COVID pandemic. Some members of the faculty and staff see it as their inalienable right to work from home as much as they wish. Students sometimes expect the program adjustments made during the pandemic to continue even after the reasons for those adjustments have passed. Legislatures are demanding more and more data that our programs are “worth their cost.” And other aspects of the academic world have changed as well. Many of our campuses are divided by toxic polarization. Free speech and academic freedom are being widely challenged. The frequency of campus shootings in the United States has increased many students’ levels of anxiety and fear. Programs in diversity, equity, and inclusion are at times being shut down. We find ourselves working in an environment where we’re simultaneously buffeted by the speed of change all around us and struggling to lead desirable changes ourselves. How do academic leaders flourish in such an environment? For many years, the leading mechanism that colleges and universities have used to bring about significant changes on their campuses has been strategic planning. But is strategic planning still the best way for us to move our programs and institutions forward? In this workshop, we’ll explore the nature of change in higher education today and examine several proven ways in which academic leaders can become more effective in handling the changes imposed upon them while leading the types of change they believe their programs need.

Jeffrey L. Buller, ALPHA Leadership Training

Jeffrey L. Buller, PhD, is widely recognized as one of the most effective promoters of academic leadership development in higher education. He is the president and CEO of ALPHA Leadership Training. Previously, he served as the director of Leadership and Professional Development and dean of the Wilkes Honors College at Florida Atlantic University. Buller has more than 35 years of academic leadership experience in positions ranging from department chair to vice president for academic affairs at Loras College, Georgia Southern University, and Mary Baldwin College, in addition to Florida Atlantic. Buller is the author of 26 books on higher education and academic leadership, and more than 200 articles, essays, and reviews.

Thursday, October 10, 1:00 pm4:00 pm

Navigating the Possibilities, Policies, and Pitfalls of Generative AI

Oliver Dreon and Jennifer Shettel, Millersville University

This workshop will examine the power and possibilities of Generative AI (GenAI), Artificial Intelligence (AI) based tools that offer responses to prompts. While GenAI is viewed by some as being disruptive within the educational landscape, it can also offer new opportunities for engaging and empowering students in the learning process. Beyond strategies and considerations for incorporating this emerging technology in collegiate classrooms, the workshop will also discuss how university policies and processes need to respond to account for this emergent technology.

Oliver Dreon, Millersville University

Oliver Dreon, PhD, is a professor of educational foundations at Millersville University of Pennsylvania. From 2013–2020, Dreon served as the director of the Center for Academic Excellence. He is the co-author of the book Authentic Instruction with Technology: A Student-Centered Approach, the co-editor of the book, Teacher Education for Ethical Professional Practices in the 21st Century, and co-author of The Power of Blended Learning in the Sciences. Dreon has spent nearly 30 years teaching in various educational environments and provides regular professional development and consultation on online and blended learning. His work examines how technology can be used to support student development through physical, online, and hybrid learning spaces.

Jennifer Shettel, Millersville University

Jennifer Shettel, EdD, is a professor in literacy education and chair of the Department of Early, Middle, & Exceptional Education, Millersville University. Shettel is an active member of the International Literacy Association (ILA) and the National Council for Teachers of English (NCTE). Prior to joining the faculty at Millersville in 2008, Shettel spent 16 years in K–12 public education, as a classroom teacher, reading specialist, and literacy coach. Shettel’s research interests includes expanding the understanding of developmental reading as well as the intersection of literacy and technology.