Concurrent Sessions

Please note the information here is current as of October 7, 2011. As additional speakers and sessions are confirmed, they will be added.

10:15-11:30 a.m.

Developing Trustees as Fundraisers
A college president with extensive background in fundraising and a fundraising consultant who serves as a trustee of a liberal arts college will discuss effective strategies to engage trustees in fundraising. Traditional approaches focus on helping trustees acquire fundraising skills. This session will also address what the president can do to engage trustees and enlist their enthusiasm for the college’s mission and needs in the service of raising funds.
  • Richard H. Dorman, President, Westminster College (PA)
  • Ted R. Grossnickle, Senior Consultant and Founder, Johnson, Grossnickle and Associates, Inc.

National Media Perspectives on Higher Education
Higher education journalists will discuss how they determine which issues to cover, trends they predict, stories they expect to report in the coming months, how changes in the news industry are affecting reporting, and how smaller colleges can generate more attention from the media.
  • Daniel de Vise, Higher Education Reporter, Washington Post
  • Mary Beth Marklein, Higher Education Reporter, USA Today
  • Liz McMillen, Editor, The Chronicle of Higher Education
Presidential Dos and Don’ts
The college presidency presents challenges for which there is no clear road map. Many lessons are learned by trial and error. In this session, a former college president and author of a forthcoming book, On Being Presidential: A Guide for College and University Leaders, will be joined by two current presidents—a veteran now serving in his second presidency and another early in his first presidency. Together, they will offer insights gained from their varied experiences, which are likely to be useful to both seasoned presidents and those new to the presidency.
  • M. Lee Pelton, President, Emerson College
  • Susan Resneck Pierce, President Emerita, University of Puget Sound
  • R. Owen Williams, President, Transylvania University
The President’s Role in Revising the Liberal Arts Curriculum
How can the college president be a champion of the liberal arts against market forces that favor professional, technical, and technological education? Three presidents serving in very different institutional contexts will describe their roles in leading a revision of the curriculum on their campuses in a manner that maintains fidelity to the arts and sciences while developing a modern curriculum that seeks to develop effective leaders for the 21st century. From increasing rigor, to cutting the number of majors in half, to introducing entrepreneurship into the curriculum, these innovative approaches offer valuable lessons.
  • Kevin M. Ross, President, Lynn University
  • B. David Rowe, President, Centenary College of Louisiana
  • Michael P. Schneider, President, McPherson College
Understanding Your Discount Rate
Discount rates are an important though often misunderstood metric for every college or university president. This session will provide information that will help presidents to evaluate the institution’s discount rate and to educate important constituent groups, from faculty and administrators to trustees, about the myriad factors that influence tuition discounting. The challenges of comparing a college’s rates with those of other institutions or national averages will also be discussed.
  • Jack P. Calareso, President, Anna Maria College
  • John W. Dysart, President, The Dysart Group, Inc.


11:45 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.

Building a Fundraising Case for Financial Aid: The Data Can Lead the Way
Successful fundraising involves a match between the donor’s values and interests and the needs of the institution. Colleges and universities that demonstrate the impact of scholarship gifts in shaping the profile of the entering class can make a strong case for increased donor support. In this session, the methodology behind making this case will be shared and experiences with this approach to fundraising will be discussed.
  • Marjorie Hass, President, Austin College
  • Kathy Kurz, Vice President, Scannell & Kurz, Inc.
Championing First-Generation and Low-Income Student Success
Contrary to popular stereotype, lower-income students, many of whom are first-generation college-goers, comprise a higher percentage of the enrollment at smaller private colleges than at larger public universities. Furthermore, the overall success rate of these students at private colleges is comparatively very high. Presidents will learn about successful strategies for recruiting, retaining, and graduating low-income and first-generation college students. Effective approaches to developing partnerships among high schools, access organizations, and colleges in support of underserved students will also be addressed.
  • Jerry Fuller, Executive Director, Associated Colleges of Illinois
  • Karen Gross, President, Southern Vermont College
  • Jay McGowan, President, Bellarmine University
Crisis Management Strategies
What does the president need to know about the college’s crisis management plan? Given that crises are difficult to anticipate, what is the best approach to updating the plan? How can the president as the chief spokesperson for the institution project the right message to the media and campus community? A former executive with responsibility for global crisis management in a multinational corporation and an experienced college president will discuss key points to consider.
  • James Austgen, former Vice President and Director of Human Resources, Motorola Corporation
  • Margaret L. Drugovich, President, Hartwick College
Cutting Tuition: An Old Strategy for the New Liberal Arts College?
With the lingering effects of the recession limiting what students and parents are able to pay for college, many presidents wonder what to do about annual tuition increases. A few colleges have had success in significantly cutting tuition and simultaneously restructuring grant aid. Three presidents who have led these efforts will discuss the pros and cons of reducing tuition.
  • John McCardell, President and Vice Chancellor, Sewanee: The University of the South
  • Miriam R. Pride, President, Blackburn College
  • Anne C. Steele, President, Muskingum University
Getting the Right Fit: Ensuring Student Success through an Effective Enrollment Management Strategy
What do presidents need to know about maximizing the effectiveness of enrollment management and financial aid in order to ensure student success? How can presidents make sure that the admissions staff is striving for the best fit between prospective students and the institution’s academic program, mission, and campus culture? What practical approaches can be used to reinforce not only student matriculation, but also progression and graduation?
  • Catherine R. Cook, Chief Executive Officer, Miller/Cook & Associates, Inc.
  • Rosalie M. Mirenda, President, Neumann University
Presidents “Open Mike”
This open forum is an opportunity for presidents to raise burning questions and issues. Discussion is expected to be candid and broad—ranging from specific administrative matters, to institutional structure and staffing, to policies that affect the entire sector, to the relationship between presidents’ professional and personal lives. Advice will come from participating colleagues.
  • William T. Luckey, Jr., President, Lindsey Wilson College
Shared Governance
Although not legally bound by the First Amendment, independent colleges and universities frequently borrow constitutional principles, such as the separation of powers in the concept of shared governance or of due process in faculty contracts. What do presidents need to know to respond to “constitutional” expectations of the academic community in institutional decision-making and practice? What is the extent of the president’s authority and its limitations in the shared governance arena of independent colleges and universities?
  • Rodney A. Smolla, President, Furman University


8:30-9:45 a.m.

Effective Board Retreats
Despite the slow economy and lean administrative budgets, the annual board of trustees retreat may still be worth the expense. The selection of retreat venues, approaches to the agenda, and the use of outside facilitators will be discussed. Participants will exchange proven practices with presidents who remain bullish on board retreats.

  • Charles W. Pollard, President, John Brown University
  • John C. Reynders, President, Morningside College
Enhancing the Career Placement of Liberal Arts Graduates
While students graduating in liberal arts fields have the essential skills being sought by employers—critical thinking, problem solving, effective communication—most major national corporations are no longer recruiting at campuses of small or mid-sized private colleges and universities. One strategy to help students secure positions is to develop partnerships that lead to internships and more effective job placements with local businesses. Another effective approach is for colleges to create a single state-level network to work with corporate recruiters and create online candidate pools from among seniors at their various campuses.
  • Ronald L. Carter, President, Johnson C. Smith University
  • Daniel A. DiBiasio, President, Ohio Northern University
  • Thomas R. Morris, President, Virginia Foundation for Independent Colleges
Emerging Trends in Family Foundations: Philanthropy from the Eyes of the Donors
A growing number of U.S. families have foundation assets in excess of $25 million with giving rates that continue to increase, even during downturns in the economy. A college president who formerly served as executive director of the Joe Torre Safe at Home Foundation examines the changing role of family foundations in the philanthropic sector. Three case studies will be analyzed by looking through the eyes of the donors. Learn how to educate your board and major stakeholders about the creation of family foundations, giving trends, and the next generation of philanthropists.
  • Steven R. DiSalvo, President, Marian University (WI)
Evaluating the Senior Leadership Team: Setting Goals, Developing Esprit de Corps, and Evaluating Performance
The effectiveness of the senior leadership team is key to the success of the president and the institution. What should presidents expect from the vice presidents in each area? What are the most effective ways to develop senior campus leaders? How can presidents best build esprit de corps as well as shared vision and goals? Evaluating the senior leadership team with an eye to best practice is critical to moving the institution forward. Presenters will discuss a variety of approaches and best practices in setting standards and goals as well as evaluating performance for the president’s direct reports.
  • Lori Bettison-Varga, President, Scripps College
  • Richard L. Torgerson, President, Luther College
  • Katherine Haley Will, Senior Consultant, Witt/Kieffer Higher Education Practice, and Past President, Gettysburg College
When Does Debt Turn into Financial Risk?
A new science building or student center can have powerful appeal for many stakeholders as well as be a strategic investment in the institution’s future, even when funded in part by borrowing. While the actual return on investment can be difficult to define, there are methods of quantifying the financial risk an institution takes when it assumes debt. Unfortunately, many small and mid-sized private colleges have higher levels of debt than is recommended. Presenters will discuss measures to monitor financial risk and strategies to avoid too much debt. Traditional guidelines for determining how much debt is manageable may no longer apply as markets become more unpredictable and risk is harder to assess.
  • A. Richard Kneedler, President Emeritus, Franklin & Marshall College and Operating Officer, Ann Duffield & Colleagues
  • Michael Williams, President, The Austen Group


11:30 a.m. - 12:45 p.m. 

Lessons from the Community College Linkage Project
How can creating opportunities for two-year transfer students seeking four-year degrees be a pathway to cultural change, new demographic markets, and enrollment stabilization and growth at private colleges and universities? Building upon the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation’s Community College Transfer Initiative, the Edvance Foundation, with support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, is about to establish regional transfer centers linked into a national cross-state transfer network for community college graduates seeking baccalaureate degrees. Presenters will discuss why this new Community College Linkage Program can help private colleges and universities become more nimble, adaptable, and relevant.

  • Brian C. Mitchell, Past President, Bucknell University and Director, Edvance Foundation
  • Lynn Pasquerella, President, Mount Holyoke College
  • Mary Pat Seurkamp, President, Notre Dame of Maryland University
Making the Case for the Liberal Arts: Developing an Effective Marketing Strategy
The marketplace demands a compelling case for the outcomes of a liberal arts education that is easily grasped by prospective students and their parents. This case must be shaped by the college’s primary champion—the president—and it needs to be delivered in a way that is consistent and coordinated with today’s sophisticated interactive technology. While execution of the marketing strategy must be delegated widely throughout the campus community, a deep strategic understanding of the college’s mission should rest with the president, the board, and senior leadership.
  • David R. Anderson, President, Saint Olaf College
  • John T. Lawlor, President, The Lawlor Group
  • George E. Martin, President, St. Edward’s University
  • Abu Noaman, President, Elliance, Inc.
Presidential Transitions: Timing, Succession, and Other Considerations
As important as it is to know when to leave a presidency, it is also useful to know how to leave and prepare the way for your successor. From the standpoint of the incoming president, it is important to consider how to honor the work of one’s predecessor while not being bound by that legacy. Careful planning between the outgoing and incoming presidents and with the trustees is also necessary. Two sets of presidents who recently collaborated on their own presidential transitions will share insights from their experiences as a foundation for a broader conversation among session participants.
  • Jeff Abernathy, President, Alma College
  • Theodore E. Long, President Emeritus, Elizabethtown College
  • Carl J. Strikwerda, President, Elizabethtown College
  • Saundra J. Tracy, Past President, Alma College
The College Student Gender Gap
With women comprising an increasing majority of college students nationwide, the role of gender has garnered renewed public interest. Based on the results of a nationwide study of the distinctions between female and male college students, this session will focus on gender differences in student backgrounds, characteristics, and dispositions, as well as how women and men experience college differently. Strategies for how presidents can address these differences will be discussed.
  • MaryAnn Baenninger, President, College of Saint Benedict
  • Linda J. Sax, Professor of Higher Education and Organizational Change, University of California at Los Angeles, and author of The Gender Gap in College: Maximizing the Developmental Potential of Women and Men (2008)
The Digital Age of Learning in the Liberal Arts
What’s the role of digitization in liberal arts education? In what ways are new learning tools and technologies shaping learners’ expectations and classroom instruction? How can digital and freely available educational content most usefully enrich the distinctive curriculum offered at private liberal arts colleges and universities? Participants will discuss opportunities for presidential leadership to foster campus-wide innovation and adoption of emerging digital content and technologies.
  • David Byer, Senior Manager, Education Leadership and Policy, Apple Inc.
  • Roger Casey, President, McDaniel College
  • Pamela Fox, President, Mary Baldwin College
  • Annie Mitchell, Senior Institutions Manager, K–20 Marketing Apple Education


8:45 - 9:45 a.m.


Lessons from Thriving Colleges
Initial findings of a long-term research project suggest that thriving colleges and universities balance courageous and collaborative leadership, apply risk-taking grounded in trust, and use strategic plans to guide decision making. The participating presidents will provide case examples and share how the institution created and experienced momentum as it headed toward a specific and institutionally unique goal.

  • Thomas Kunkel, President, St. Norbert College
  • Mark Lombardi, President, Maryville University of Saint Louis
  • Joretta S. Nelson, Vice President, Performa Higher Education
  • Kim S. Phipps, President, Messiah College
New Digital Tools for Presidential Leadership
The use of social media has become pervasive and presidents are increasingly expected to communicate with students, alumni, and other key constituents in new ways. How has higher education incorporated social media as a communications tool, and how can presidents make the most effective use of these technologies?
  • Michael Stoner, President, mStoner
  • Robert L. Wyatt, President, Coker College
New Program Integrity Regulations and Institutional Autonomy: What Is at Stake?
The new Federal “Program Integrity” regulations are far-reaching—ranging from permissible contracts for enrollment management to measurement of “gainful employment” to the definition of credit hours—and have implications for independent colleges and universities. Particularly significant is the growing responsibility given to states and accrediting bodies, which is likely to change the ways many independent institutions carry out their work. This session will address issues that are most likely to affect independent institutions and strategies for their effective management.
  • Michael B. Goldstein, Higher Education Co-Practice Leader, DowLohnes PLLC
  • Paul J. LeBlanc, President, Southern New Hampshire University
Presidential Contracts and Compensation
What should presidents consider when negotiating a contract renewal? Are there noteworthy trends or norms regarding employment conditions and compensation? What governance concerns, laws, and disclosure rules should be observed? What special considerations should be brought into play as a president nears retirement? These and other pertinent questions will be addressed by an attorney who specializes in executive compensation and contracts in tax-exempt settings.
  • Michael P. Connors, Partner, Smith & Downey, P.A.