November Institute for CAOs Will Focus on Teamwork and Strategic Problem-Solving

CIC’s 2020 virtual Institute for Chief Academic Officers and Academic Team Members will be held November 7–10. The theme—“Managing the Moment: Forging the Future”—points to academic leaders’ tactical challenges under current circumstances and the strategic thinking necessary for their institutions to emerge in a stronger position. As always, the Institute will offer participants ample opportunities to share ideas with colleagues and with leading scholars. Participants, both experienced academic leaders and those newer to their roles, will explore forward-looking models for the future they wish to create for their students and their institutions.

“This year’s event will be CIC’s first virtual Institute. Thanks to a flexible and engaging technological platform, the meeting promises to provide the meaningful interaction—in small groups, affinity group gatherings, concurrent sessions, and plenary addresses—that has long been a hallmark of CIC programming,” said Kerry Pannell, CIC vice president for academic programs.

The Institute will focus on group problem-solving strategies as teams respond to new pressures and challenges. Immediate questions that chief academic officers in the COVID-19 era are confronting will be explored in small-group discussions, for example on “Redesign of the Academic Calendar,” “Pass/Fail Policies for Online Learning,” “Approaches to Budget Cuts,” and “Town-Gown Collaboration during the Pandemic.” Panels of CAOs will discuss other topics of specific interest to academic leaders, such as how to support student mental health, develop leadership teams, and strive for racial justice in the curriculum and on campus.

Bryan Alexander headshotThe Institute will begin on November 7 with a keynote address by Bryan N. Alexander, senior scholar in the Center for New Designs in Learning and Scholarship at Georgetown University and author of Academia Next: The Futures of Higher Education (2020). His work highlights both the promise and extraordinary challenges independent colleges face in the coronavirus era.  
Sandy Baum headshotSandy Baum, senior fellow at the Urban Institute and the author of Student Debt: Rhetoric and Realities of Higher Education Financing (2018), will lead off the second day of the Institute. Baum has spent her career examining the true costs and benefits of higher education. She advocates for the value proposition of independent colleges and universities and will exemplify how to invest limited institutional resources to achieve the greatest impact on student outcomes.

David Thomas headshotDavid A. Thomas, president of Morehouse College (GA) and coauthor of Race, Work, and Leadership: New Perspectives on the Black Experience (2019), will be the plenary speaker on November 9. His work on the role of mentorship and diversity in the world of business before he assumed the Morehouse presidency has been modeled extensively to advance the careers of women and members of minority groups. His lessons for the effective work of teams of colleagues in an organization are especially important as independent colleges and universities become more inclusive.

Judith Eaton headshotJudith Eaton will be the featured speaker at the Women’s Brunch. She has “done it all” in higher education, as one of the first women to occupy many of the leadership roles she has taken on in her career. Since 1997, she has been a champion of student achievement and quality assurance in higher education as president of the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.

The Institute will also offer four workshops. One on the fundamentals of college finance is designed for provosts and deans interested in learning more about the subject. Two workshops—“Conflict Resolution for Academic Administrators” and “Paving the Way for Federal and Foundation Grants”—will offer opportunities for CAOs and their academic team members to work together on issues critical to their campuses. In addition, CIC and its Online Course Sharing Consortium partner Acadeum will jointly present a workshop on ways to use course sharing to enhance college curricula and support students in their completion goals. (This year, the Workshop for New CAOs, traditionally held on the first day of the Institute, will be held the week prior to the Institute.)

Chief academic officers are encouraged to participate in the Institute with members of their academic leadership teams. Registration for the Institute opened in late July, and the early registration deadline to take advantage of the reduced fee is October 9. View detailed registration information.