Managing the Moment: Forging the Future

2020 Institute for Chief Academic Officers and Academic Team Members 11/7/2020 11/7/2020 11/7/202011/10/202011/10/202011/10/2020 Virtual Event

About the Institute

 The theme of CIC’s 2020 Institute for Chief Academic Officers and Academic Team Members—“Managing the Moment: Forging the Future”—highlights academic leaders’ tactical challenges in our country’s current circumstances and the strategic thinking necessary for their institutions to emerge from the crisis in a stronger position. As always, the Institute will offer participants plentiful opportunities to share ideas with colleagues and with leading scholars. Participants, both experienced and newer academic leaders, will explore forward-looking models for the future they wish to create.

Who Should Participate?

CIC invites chief academic officers of all independent colleges and universities to participate in this annual Institute. Chief academic officers also are encouraged to invite senior members of their leadership teams—for example, associate and assistant vice presidents/provosts and academic deans—to participate with them in the Institute to enhance their collaboration in the current challenging and rapidly changing environment. Experienced academic administrators will lead many of the interactive concurrent sessions.

This year’s Institute should provide excellent opportunities for professional development for your colleagues as well as the opportunity for you to see old friends, hear from colleagues who have been grappling with—and often solving—the same issues that many of us are facing, and interact with nationally recognized experts. The Institute will intentionally focus on group problem-solving strategies as teams respond to new pressures and challenges. Among the focused topics will be many of the immediate questions that chief academic officers in the COVID-19 era confront, including “Redesign of the Academic Calendar,” “Pass/Fail Policies for Online Learning,” “Approaches to Budget Cuts,” and “Town-Gown Collaboration during the Pandemic.”

Virtual Format

This year’s Institute will be CIC’s first virtual CAOI. Thanks to a flexible and engaging technological platform, the Institute promises to provide the meaningful interaction—in small groups, affinity group meetings, concurrent sessions, and plenary addresses—that has long been a hallmark of CIC programming.

The virtual format offers many advantages and encourages broad participation.
  • The elimination of travel reduces both the time and expense of team participation.

  • The availability of on-demand content allows participants to deepen their experience; they can catch up on sessions they might have missed, review important content on demand, and readily access supplemental materials such as handouts or video presentations.

  • Networking tools allow participants to connect with each other and with sponsors to schedule one-on-one or small group meetings easily and conveniently.

  • Concerns about viral exposure are entirely removed.

  • CIC is able to offer a rich and important program at a significantly reduced registration fee.

Featured Speakers

Bryan Alexander headshotBryan N. Alexander

Senior Scholar, Center for New Designs in Learning and Scholarship, Georgetown University

Bryan N. Alexander is a widely respected futurist who is in demand as a speaker and consultant. His work focuses on how technology transforms education. Currently, he is a senior scholar at the Center for New Designs in Learning and Scholarship (CNDLS) and an adjunct professor at Georgetown University.

From 2002 to 2014, Alexander served the National Institute for Technology in Liberal Education (NITLE) as senior fellow, director of emerging technologies, and co-director of a regional center. He began his academic career as an assistant professor at Centenary College of Louisiana, where he organized an information literacy initiative and established multi-campus interdisciplinary courses.

Quoted regularly in the national press, Alexander has been interviewed by the Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, and U.S. News & World Report, among others. His most recent book, Academia Next: The Futures of Higher Education, was published by Johns Hopkins University Press in January 2020. He has already begun work on Universities on Fire: Higher Education in the Age of Climate Crisis (2022). Alexander received his BA, MA, and PhD degrees in English Literature from the University of Michigan.

Sandy Baum headshotSandy Baum

Senior Fellow, Urban Institute, and Research Professor, George Washington University Graduate School of Education and Human Development

Sandy Baum is a senior fellow at the Urban Institute and a research professor at the George Washington University Graduate School of Education and Human Development. She also is professor emerita of economics at Skidmore College and has written and spoken extensively—including at several CIC events—on issues of college access, college pricing, student aid policy, student debt, affordability, and other aspects of higher education finance.

Baum has coauthored the College Board’s annual publications, Trends in Student Aid and Trends in College Pricing, since 2002. She also coauthors the series Education Pays: The Benefits of Higher Education for Individuals and Society. Baum chaired the College Board’s Rethinking Student Aid study group, which issued comprehensive proposals for reform of the federal student aid system in 2008; the Rethinking Pell Grants study group, which issued recommendations in 2013; and a Brookings Institution study group that issued its report, Beyond Need and Merit: Strengthening State Grant Programs, in 2012. Recent work includes studies of how behavioral economics can inform student aid policy; a meaningful definition of college affordability; and tuition and financial aid strategies for broad access public institutions. She is the lead researcher on the Urban Institute’s college affordability website and is the author of Student Debt: Rhetoric and Realities of Higher Education Financing (2016) and coauthor, with Harry J. Holzer, of Making College Work: Pathways to Success for Disadvantaged Students (2017).

In 2014, Baum was a co-recipient, with Michael S. McPherson, of the Allen P. Splete Award for Outstanding Service from CIC. The award honors significant contributions to higher education and recognizes national leadership through ideas and commitment on behalf of private colleges and universities. Baum earned a BA in sociology at Bryn Mawr College, where she is a member of the board of trustees, and a PhD in economics at Columbia University.

Judith S. Eaton headshotJudith S. Eaton

President, Council for Higher Education Accreditation

Judith S. Eaton is president of the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), the largest institutional higher education membership organization in the United States. She has served as CHEA’s president since shortly after its founding in 1996.

A national advocate for academic quality through accreditation, CHEA is an association of degree-granting colleges and universities. It provides recognition to the other institutional and programmatic accrediting organizations, as well as a comprehensive source of information on accreditation and its value to society. The CHEA International Quality Group provides an international forum to address issues of quality assurance throughout the world.

Prior to her work at CHEA, Eaton served as chancellor of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities, as president of the Council for Aid to Education, the Community College of Philadelphia, and the Community College of Southern Nevada, and as vice president of the American Council on Education. She has held teaching positions at Columbia University, the University of Michigan, and Wayne State University. Eaton has written numerous books and articles on higher education and accreditation-related topics and addresses accreditation and quality assurance at conferences and meetings in the United States and internationally. Her recent publications include “Combatting Academic Corruption: Quality Assurance and Accreditation” in International Higher Education (2018) and “Quality, E-Learning and Alternative Providers of Higher Education” in Cross-Border Higher Education and Quality Assurance (2016).

David A. Thomas headshotDavid A. Thomas

President, Morehouse College

David A. Thomas is president of Morehouse College. He is an expert on workplace diversity and equity and is consulted widely for advice on organizational change. Previously, Thomas was dean of the McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University, where he diversified the faculty and staff of the McDonough School of Business, led major revisions of the curriculum, expanded the endowment, and increased research funding. Earlier, he was senior associate dean and H. Naylor Fitzhugh Professor at Harvard University. He began his academic career at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

Thomas’s scholarly work has been published in the Journal of Organizational Behavior, Administrative Science Quarterly, Harvard Business Review, and Business Ethics Forum. He has coauthored two books related to his work on diversity, equity, and inclusion. Breaking Through: The Making of Minority Executives in Corporate America (1999) provides lessons for companies that wish to diversify their executive ranks. Leading for Equity: The Pursuit of Excellence in Montgomery County Public Schools (2009) outlines the way districts can transform schools to overcome achievement gaps for diverse groups of students. His most recent publication is a volume coedited with Laura Morgan Roberts and Anthony J. Mayo: Race, Work, and Leadership: New Perspectives on the Black Experience (2019).

Thomas serves on several boards, including the American Red Cross, Commonfund, and DTE Energy. Previously, he served on the boards of Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Cambridge Trust Company, and the Posse Foundation. He has been a consultant on cultural diversity, mentorship, and organizational change for 100 of the Fortune 500 companies and has worked with nonprofit and government organizations. He received a bachelor’s degree in administrative sciences from Yale University, a master’s degree in organizational psychology from Columbia University, and master’s and doctoral degrees in organizational behavior also from Yale University.

Schedule Information

The virtual Institute will be held November 7–10, 2020. Each day of the Institute will have a plenary, small group discussions, concurrent sessions, and opportunities to meet with other academic administrators and Institute sponsors. The schedule of this year’s Institute has been designed to recognize that participants will be located in multiple time zones and will be combining Institute participation with their ongoing campus and personal responsibilities.

Each day’s schedule includes ample opportunities to organize one-on-one or small-group meetings with colleagues or sponsors, to access on demand content from previous sessions, and to enjoy social interactions.

Saturday, November 7

Sessions will run from noon to 6:00 p.m. EST, including:

  • Bryan Alexander keynote address at 12:45 p.m.
  • Concurrent Sessions at 2:00 p.m.
  • Receptions at 4:30 p.m.

Sunday, November 8

Sessions will run from 12:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. EST

  • Sandy Baum plenary address at 12:30 p.m.
  • Concurrent Sessions at 2:00 p.m.
  • Workshops at 3:30 p.m.

Monday, November 9

Sessions will run from noon to 5:30 p.m. EST

  • David A. Thomas plenary address at noon
  • Concurrent Sessions at 1:30 p.m.
  • Concurrent Sessions at 3:00 p.m.
  • Workshop at 3:00 p.m.

Tuesday, November 10

Sessions will run from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. EST

  • Judith S. Eaton women's brunch discussion at 11:00 a.m.
  • Discussion Groups and Concurrent Session at 11:30 a.m.
  • Concurrent Sessions at 1:00 p.m.
  • Plenary panel of chief academic officers in conversation about the future of independent higher education at 2:30 p.m.
  • Discussion Groups at 4:00 p.m.
  • Concurrent Sessions at 5:00 p.m.

Concurrent Sessions

Below are listed just a few of the concurrent sessions that will take place during the Institute. Additional sessions and panelists will be featured over the summer and fall as they are confirmed.

Community College Pathways

Because transfer students are a growing component of many independent colleges’ student populations, clear pathways for the efficient transfer of courses toward majors and graduation requirements are keys to their success. Community college students are especially in need of these pathways to assure timely progress to bachelor’s degrees. With enhanced advising and collaboration between institutions, transfer students’ success is improved. CAOs of institutions that are participating in CIC projects that are supported by the Teagle Foundation will describe how they strengthened community college pathways at their institutions and will outline lessons learned for other CAOs interested in developing similar programs.
Featuring Steven Stahl, Provost, Baldwin Wallace University, and additional panelists

Curricular Adaptation to the COVID Crisis

The pandemic spurred many colleges and universities to adapt schedules, programs, and courses during this unprecedented challenge for higher education. Several CAOs of colleges that successfully changed their operations for the fall term will describe how they transformed their curricula to create better learning opportunities for students at a time when flexibility is essential. This session will help participants generate concrete new ideas for their campuses in light of the likelihood of ongoing needs for change under uncertain conditions.
Featuring Eric Boynton, Provost and Dean of the College, Beloit College, and additional panelists

How to Set Up a Science Pedagogy Seminar on Your Campus

The goal of CIC’s Seminars on Science Pedagogy is to enhance the effectiveness of science education at participating institutions. Faculty members learn interactive techniques and exercises developed in conjunction with cognitive scientists for use in the classroom. Could a Seminar work on your campus to invigorate science instruction? How can CAOs support faculty members who are trying new methods or techniques, including the transformation of courses into interactive online offerings? How can the enthusiasm for change in science education be generated and sustained? Participants in the 2019 Seminar will share lessons learned and discuss how an institution can provide opportunities for science faculty to participate in a seminar experience on their own campus.
Featuring Susan Singer, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, Rollins College; Katherine M. Whatley, Senior Advisor for Academic Programs, CIC; and an additional panelist

Legal Issues Update

It is critical, especially in the current regulatory and political environment, for senior campus leaders to be up-to-date in their understanding of key legal issues in higher education. An experienced higher education attorney will offer an update on the most important legal issues likely to affect independent colleges and universities in the near future.
Natasha J. Baker, Founder, Novus Law Firm

Support for Student Mental Health

To provide an excellent learning environment, whether in-person or online, institutions must prioritize students’ mental health needs. Butler University and Goucher College have implemented examples of “wrap-around” services as outlined in the Jed Foundation’s signature program, Jed Campus. By reforming policies across all aspects of students’ experience and implementing programs in a holistic way, the risks to students’ mental health have been mitigated on their campuses. Chief academic officers from both campuses will discuss how they manage fall semester uncertainty and what approaches their campuses find most valuable.
Elaine Meyer-Lee, Vice President for Academic Affairs, Goucher College
Kathryn Morris, Provost, Butler University


​Advanced Online Course Sharing Applications

This workshop will focus on how independent colleges and universities can use the CIC Online Course Sharing Consortium in the context of the COVID-19 challenge to improve retention and graduation rates. The workshop will offer applications organically developed by CIC institutions and an alternative approach to program review, the goal of which is not to cut programs, but to deliver the maximum number of programs with efficiency and the greatest possible course diversity.
Featuring Robert Manzer, Chief Academic Officer, Acadeum, and additional panelists

Developing a Grant Seeking Strategy in the Current Environment

Federal and foundation grants can provide extensive support for curricular reform, faculty professional development, and student research at independent colleges and universities. Recent challenges for higher education mean greater opportunity for funding. At the same time, however, campuses may have greater need and foundations may be reconsidering their priorities. This workshop will outline proven grant-getting strategies with approaches that have worked for CIC member institutions.
Catharine E. O’Connell, Provost and Dean of the College, Illinois College
Jessica Gerrity, Vice President, McAllister & Quinn

Dispute Resolution for Academic Administrators

Led by an experienced higher education attorney who is a college president, this workshop will feature practical and accessible dispute resolution tools that can be used to identify, manage, and resolve the conflicts encountered by academic leaders, including those related to pandemic, personnel, and human resources issues.
Kathleen Rinehart, President, Cardinal Stritch University

Fundamentals of Finance for CAOs and Deans

Budget processes that can be difficult in the best times are even more challenging now. In CIC’s recent study of CAOs, budgeting and financial management emerged as topics that place increasingly high demands on a chief academic officer’s time and attention. Understanding the details of college finances will help academic administrators manage resources, establish priorities, and proactively create budgets for strategic plans.
Presenter to be confirmed


​​CIC is grateful to the following sponsors (to date) for their support of the Institute: