2017–2018 Presidential Vocation and Institutional Mission Participants Convene and Next Nomination Period Opens

Kicking off CIC’s eighth Presidential Vocation and Institutional Mission program for prospective presidents, 20 senior administrators, many with spouses, participated in the program’s summer seminar (see participants list). The leadership development program for aspiring college presidents seeks to increase the commitment across American higher education to personal vocation and institutional mission as fundamentally linked concepts for building and sustaining successful presidencies in independent colleges and universities. The summer seminar, held July 9–12, 2017, in Woodstock, Vermont, was the first main event of the year-long program that also includes a winter seminar, extensive readings, and consultations.

Reflecting on the seminar experience, Eric Anthony Forseth, provost of Dordt College (IA), said, “The seminar challenged me to think deeply about the responsibilities, purpose, and breadth of the vocation of a president. I am still mulling over sessions, discussions, and comments.” Participants will continue to have structured opportunities for reflection and dialogue about discerning the alignment of their personal vocation and the institutional mission of an institution they may lead one day, through ongoing conversations with program facilitators and the winter seminar, which will be held February 26–27, 2018, in Peachtree City, Georgia.

participants sit in chairs arranged in a large circle
The 2017–2018 Presidential Vocation and Institutional Mission summer seminar was held at the historic Woodstock Inn & Resort in Woodstock, Vermont.

Frederik Ohles, president of Nebraska Wesleyan University and CIC senior advisor, leads the program. Others who have thought deeply about matters of personal vocation and institutional mission as they relate to the college or university presidency—from both religious and secular perspectives—lend their expertise. Facilitators share their own vocational discernment process, offer personalized guidance to participants, and lead discussions on readings that vary from Abraham Lincoln’s “Second Inaugural Address” to Aristotle’s Ethics to recent David Brooks commentary. Facilitators include Joel and Trudy Cunningham, vice chancellor emeritus and former presidential spouse, respectively, of Sewanee: The University of the South (TN); Donna Carroll, president of Dominican University (IL); Rosemary Ohles, presidential spouse of Nebraska Wesleyan University; and Tim and Mary Ellen Summerlin, retired president and presidential spouse, respectively, of Schreiner University (TX).


CIC is now accepting nominations for the 2018–2019 Presidential Vocation and Institutional Mission program for prospective presidents. Senior administrators who currently serve CIC member institutions and who are contemplating a college presidency are encouraged to seek nomination by their president for this challenging and rewarding professional development opportunity. Participants are selected from nominations by current CIC presidents who believe their senior administrators have the potential to become effective presidents and may benefit from the reflective nature of the program. The nomination deadline is February 8, 2018.

CIC President Richard Ekman remarked, “The Presidential Vocation and Institutional Mission program is designed to help those likely to be future presidents achieve great things for their institutions and to avoid being ‘the right person in the wrong place.’ Of the 141 participants who have completed the full-year program for prospective presidents since its launch, 51 participants—or 36 percent—have been appointed as presidents.”

Spouses and partners are strongly encouraged to participate as full members of the cohort, which operates on the premise that each person has his or her own vocation. Coming to discern one’s calling can contribute significantly to a sense of fulfillment, whether in the role of presidential spouse or partner or in any other occupation.

The program is funded by a generous grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. The grant to CIC covers most participation costs, including program readings, accommodations, meals, and a travel stipend. Participants or their institutions are only responsible for a modest registration fee and travel expenses greater than the stipend. View more information and nomination materials or contact Harold V. Hartley III, CIC senior vice president, at (202) 466-7230 or hhartley@cic.nche.edu.


Albion College (MI)
Andrew French
Director of Community Action and Special Assistant to the President

Ashland University (OH)
Eun-Woo Chang

Champlain College (VT)
Laurie Quinn
Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs

Dordt College (IA)
Eric Forseth

Franklin & Marshall College (PA)
Joel Martin
Provost and Dean of Faculty

George Fox University (OR)
Rebecca Hernandez
Associate Vice President for Intercultural Engagement and Faculty Development

Georgetown College (KY)
Todd Rasberry
Vice President for Institutional Advancement

Hanover College (IN)
Christopher B. Gage
Special Assistant to the President and Director of Strategic Planning

Hastings College (NE)
Gary C. Johnson

Houghton College (NY)
Robert Pool
Vice President for Student Life and Dean of Students
Jarvis Christian College (TX)
Glenell Lee-Pruitt
Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

John Carroll University (OH)
Edward J. Peck
Vice President for University Mission and Identity

Lee University (TN)
Sara Campbell
Dean, School of Nursing

LeTourneau University (TX)
Steven Mason
Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs

Madonna University (MI)
Cam Cruickshank
Executive Vice President for Enrollment Management and University Advancement

Shenandoah University (VA)
Adrienne Bloss
Vice President for Academic Affairs

Texas Lutheran University (TX)
Debbie M. Cottrell
Vice President for Academic Affairs

The College of Saint Rose (NY)
Shai L. Butler
Vice President for Student Success and Engagement and Chief Diversity Officer

University of the Pacific (CA)
Stacy McAfee
Associate Vice President for External Relations, Strategic Partnerships, and Presidential Initiatives

Wheelock College (MA)
Adrian Haugabrook
Vice President for Student Success and Engagement

Announcing the 2018–2019 Presidential Vocation and Institutional Mission Program


Summer Seminar

July 8–11, 2018 • Woodstock, Vermont

Winter Seminar

February 25–26, 2019 • Atlanta, Georgia