Aspiring Presidents, Spouses Complete Personal Vocation and Institutional Mission Program; CIC Announces New Cohort

Group photo of participants sitting and standing in rows
Participants in the 2016–2017 Presidential Vocation and Institutional Mission program gathered for their final seminar in February.

​Twenty senior college and university administrators, nearly all accompanied by a spouse or partner, prepared for the final seminar of CIC’s 2016–2017 Presidential Vocation and Institutional Mission program by reading texts that varied from Jim Collins’s Good to Great and the Social Sectors, to a translation of Rainer Maria Rilke’s poem “Wendung,” to a selection from Wendell Berry’s Hannah Coulter. The shared literature, however, was not all that brought the participants together. This second seminar of the yearlong program, held February 27–28, 2017, in Peachtree City, Georgia, further developed relationships built since the cohort’s first gathering in July 2016 in Woodstock, Vermont. The program’s inclusive and confidential environment enables prospective presidents and their spouses or partners to discuss personal and often spiritual questions about their potential future as a college or university head.

The distinctive premise of CIC’s long-running Presidential Vocation and Institutional Mission program is the recognition that vital questions about presidential leadership are often personal or spiritual. Such questions involve knowing what makes work fulfilling and meaningful and finding joy in that work. Participants address the possibility that one becomes a president because he or she has felt called to accept the responsibility. The readings and group discussions seek to facilitate a better fit between the president and the institution that she or he may serve in the future, resulting in longer and more fulfilling presidencies and better outcomes for the campuses. In addition to the two seminars, program participants engage in phone consultations with program facilitators and often consult with each other informally.

After leaving the February seminar, Susan Agre-Kippenhan, vice president for academic affairs and dean of faculty at Linfield College (OR), expressed, “It’s remarkable to think how much we accomplished in such a short time. The group came together in Georgia as if we had left Vermont only a few days earlier, yet we had clearly been thinking, talking, and reflecting during the six intervening months. The meeting helped me first crystalize and then further my thinking in conjunction with my spouse and the other participants. The community is the greatest resource.”

Three participants in the 2016–2017 cohort already have been appointed to presidencies: Susan M. Donovan, executive vice president of Loyola University Maryland, is president-elect of Bellarmine University (KY); Harry Dumay, senior vice president for finance at Saint Anselm College (NH), is president-elect of Elms College (MA); and Travis Feezell, provost of the University of the Ozarks (AR), is president-elect of Hastings College (NE). They join a list of 47 participants from previous program years, representing more than 35 percent of program participants, who have gone on to become college presidents.

CIC senior advisor for the program, Fred Ohles, president of Nebraska Wesleyan University, served as the seminar director. He was joined by Donna Carroll, president of Dominican University (IL); Joel and Trudy Cunningham, vice chancellor emeritus and former presidential spouse, respectively, of Sewanee: The University of the South (TN); Rosemary Ohles, presidential spouse of Nebraska Wesleyan University; and Tim and Mary Ellen Summerlin, chancellor and retired presidential spouse, respectively, of Schreiner University (TX).

In March, CIC selected 20 senior administrators, most with spouses and partners, for participation in the 2017–2018 Presidential Vocation and Institutional Mission program (see list below). They were selected from a pool of highly qualified candidates who were nominated by their presidents. The cohort will participate in a summer seminar held July 9–12, 2017, in Woodstock, Vermont; a winter seminar held February 26–27, 2018, in Peachtree City, Georgia; and a series of telephone consultations in fall 2017 and spring 2018.

CIC’s Presidential Vocation and Institutional Mission program is generously funded by Lilly Endowment Inc. For more information, visit the program site.

CIC Announces 2017–2018 Presidential Vocation and Institutional Mission Program Participants

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