Featured Speakers

The 2014 Presidents Institute features a strong lineup of speakers addressing this year's theme, “Leading Wisely: Linking Tradition and Innovation.”

Keynote Address  •  Saturday, January 4, 5:00–6:15 p.m.
The Case for a Liberal Arts Education in the New Economy
(Cosponsored by Stevens Strategy and ARAMARK Higher Education)

Independent colleges and universities have a remarkable track record of preparing students for meaningful employment in a wide range of fields. The traits that employers say they seek in employees are those exhibited by liberal arts graduates: critical reasoning, analytical skill, ability to solve problems, experience working in teams, and effective written and oral communication. Yet much of the rhetoric in the media and among policy makers focuses on “workforce development” as if the demonstrated record of liberal arts graduates does not exist. How can presidents of independent colleges and universities make a strong case for the education their institutions provide in the new economy? A long-serving corporate leader with extensive expertise in marketing, advertising, and communications, who also understands the value of a liberal arts education, will offer guidance for college presidents on the perception of liberal arts institutions by key constituencies outside the academy.

Ann M. Fudge is former chairman and CEO of Young & Rubicam Brands, a global network of marketing communications companies. Previously, she served as president of the Beverages, Dessert, and Post Division of Kraft Foods. She also served on Kraft’s management committee and led many businesses including Maxwell House Coffee, Gevalia Kaffe, Kool Aid, Crystal Light, Post cereals, Jell-O desserts, and Altoids. Before that, she spent nine years at General Mills, where she began as a marketing assistant and rose to the level of marketing director. Fudge presently serves on the boards of directors of General Electric, Novartis, Unilever, and Infosys. She is a trustee of the Brookings Institution and serves on the boards of the Rockefeller Foundation and the Council on Foreign Relations. She also serves on the Finance Committee of the Harvard Corporation and is chair of the U.S. Program Advisory Panel for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. She has served on the boards of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, Liz Claiborne, Allied Signal, Honeywell, and Marriott International. President Obama appointed Fudge as a member of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform that issued “The Moment of Truth” report. She currently serves on the Foreign Affairs Policy Board of the U.S. Department of State. Fudge was named one of Time magazine’s Global Business Influentials, received a Legacy Award in business from Black Enterprise magazine, and was named by Fortune magazine as one of the 50 most powerful women in American business. She earned her BA from Simmons College and an MBA from the Harvard Business School.

Chair: Helen G. Drinan, President, Simmons College

Plenary Session  •  Sunday, January 5, 8:30–9:45 a.m.
Fostering a Life of Inquiry, Virtue, and Social Commitment
(Sponsored by Credo)

Although American higher education is rooted in the liberal arts, this distinguishing feature recently has been viewed with skepticism by students, parents, and other observers who believe that professional preparation and workforce development are the more fundamental purposes of undergraduate education. Moreover, persistent economic pressures are forcing private colleges to reconsider traditional small classes in favor of large lectures and online instruction. Is an undergraduate education merely the accumulation of job-related knowledge and skills or is there a larger purpose—to develop creative thinkers, compassionate leaders, committed citizens, and a more just society? There is much speculation about leadership of independent colleges in these challenging times and how to sustain the value of this labor-intensive—and thus more expensive—enterprise. The renowned New York Times op-ed columnist will address the role of liberal arts colleges in fostering a life of inquiry, virtue, and social commitment.

David Brooks became an op-ed columnist for the New York Times in 2003. Previously he was a senior editor at the Weekly Standard, which he joined at its inception in 1995. Prior to this appointment he worked for nine years at the Wall Street Journal where he last served as op-ed editor. He also was posted in Brussels, covering Russia, the Middle East, South Africa, and European affairs; was editor of the book review section; and filled in for five months as the Journal’s movie critic. He began his career as a police reporter for the City News Bureau, a wire service owned jointly by the Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun-Times. Brooks has been a contributing editor at Newsweek and the Atlantic Monthly. He is currently a commentator on PBS NewsHour, National Public Radio’s All Things Considered, Charlie Rose, and NBC’s Meet the Press. He is the author of The Social Animal: The Hidden Sources of Love, Character, and Achievement (2011). His other books are Bobos in Paradise: The New Upper Class and How They Got There (2000) and On Paradise Drive: How We Live Now (And Always Have) in the Future Tense (2004). Brooks is the editor of the anthologies Backward and Upward: The New Conservative Writing (1996) and The Best American Essays 2012. He also has contributed to the New Yorker, Washington Post, Public Interest, Times Literary Supplement, New Republic, and Commentary among others. A member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Brooks also is senior fellow at the Jackson Institute for Global Affairs of Yale University. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in history from the University of Chicago.

Chair: Marjorie Hass, President, Austin College

Plenary Session  •  Monday, January 6, 8:30–9:45 a.m.
What Presidents Need to Know about Increasing Demands for Public Accountability and Governmental Regulation
(Sponsored by Metz Culinary Management)

The increasing demand for public accountability of higher education has resulted in the federal government acquiring significantly more authority in academic decision making—a domain that in the past has been the responsibility of either colleges and universities or institutional and programmatic accreditors. Among the changes recently imposed by both federal and state governments are distance-learning regulations, definition of the credit hour, transfer-of-credit rules, and guidelines for student-learning outcomes. What do independent college and university presidents need to know about these and other anticipated changes in government regulation? The president of the Council for Higher Education Accreditation will offer a fresh perspective on these issues based on her advocacy for voluntary accreditation and quality assurance to the U.S. Congress and Department of Education.

Judith S. Eaton has served as president of the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) since 1997, one year after its formation. The largest institutional higher education membership organization in the United States, CHEA is an association of 3,000 degree-granting colleges and universities and a national advocate for self-regulation of academic quality through accreditation. Prior to her work at CHEA, Eaton served as chancellor of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities, where she was responsible for leadership and coordination of 32 institutions serving more than 162,000 students statewide. Previously, Eaton was president of the Council for Aid to Education, the Community College of Philadelphia, and the Community College of Southern Nevada. She also served as vice president of the American Council on Education. In addition, she has held teaching positions at Columbia University, University of Michigan, and Wayne State University. Eaton serves on a range of boards and has authored numerous books and articles on topics in higher education and accreditation. She received both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Michigan and holds a doctorate from Wayne State University.

Chair: Haywood L. Strickland, President, Wiley College

Closing Plenary Session  •  Tuesday, January 7, 10:00–11:30 a.m.
Can the Liberal Arts Be Taught Effectively with Technology?
(Sponsored by Hardwick Day, Inc.)

Small classes with intense teacher-student interaction is one key to the success of a liberal arts education. The high cost of this approach, however, has motivated some institutions to explore technology-based approaches to teaching and learning. How well do these pedagogies work? Is “disruptive innovation” the only way to address rising costs in higher education? How can college presidents choose from among the many alternatives to traditional methods which ones to adopt and which to resist? A lively panel discussion on the role of technology in teaching and learning will include two CIC presidents who pioneered the use of technology to achieve successful results and two leading authorities on the current frontiers of rethinking the wise balance between technology and tradition.

Edward L. Ayers has been president of the University of Richmond since 2007. Previously he was dean of the college and graduate school of arts and sciences and the Hugh P. Kelly Professor of History at the University of Virginia. A noted historian, he is the author of ten books on the American South, including In the Presence of Mine Enemies: Civil War in the Heart of America (2004), which received the Bancroft and Beveridge Prizes for distinguished writing in American history. His book, The Promise of the New South: Life After Reconstruction (2007), was a finalist for both the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize. Ayers’ digital archive project, “The Valley of the Shadow: Two Communities in the American Civil War,” has been used in thousands of classrooms around the world, and he works closely with the Digital Scholarship Lab at the University of Richmond on a digital atlas of American history. Ayers also is a co-host of “BackStory,” a nationally syndicated public radio show that ties history to the present day. In 2003 he was named the National Professor of the Year by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. A graduate of the University of Tennessee, he holds a PhD in American studies from Yale University.

Arthur F. Kirk, Jr. assumed the presidency of Saint Leo University in 1997 after serving as president of Keuka College for 13 years. Under his leadership, Saint Leo has become a leading provider of online learning, and its enrollment has more than doubled to over 16,000 students. Previously he served as executive vice president and chief financial officer of Misericordia University and director of development and planning for Raritan Valley Community College. Kirk is vice chair of the board of directors of the Council of Adult and Experiential Learning; a member of the National Commission on the Regulation of Distance Learning; on the advisory council of presidents of the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges; and a member of the NCAA Division II Presidents’ Council. He has served as president of the Florida Association of Colleges and Universities and chaired the presidents’ council of the Independent Colleges and Universities of Florida. Kirk authored chapters in President to President, Volumes II and III and writes a blog on higher education for the Huffington Post. He received a bachelor’s degree in history and a master’s degree in administration and supervision from Kean University and holds a doctorate from Rutgers University.

Candace Thille is assistant professor of education and senior research fellow in the Graduate School of Education at Stanford University, where she applies results from cognitive science to the design, use, and evaluation of open web-based learning environments. Until recently she was the founding director of the Open Learning Initiative at Carnegie Mellon University, a position she held since the program’s inception in 2002. Her research focuses on applying results from the learning sciences to the design, implementation, and evaluation of open web-based learning environments. Thille serves as a redesign scholar for the National Center for Academic Transformation; as a fellow of the International Society for Design and Development in Education; on the Assessment 2020 Task Force of the American Board of Internal Medicine; on the technical advisory committee for the Association of American Universities’ STEM initiative; and on the Global Executive Advisory board for Hewlett Packard’s Catalyst Initiative. She served on a U.S. Department of Education working group, co-authoring the “National Education Technology Plan,” and on the working group of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology that produced the “Engage to Excel” report for improving STEM education. She holds an AB from the University of California, Berkeley, an MS from Carnegie Mellon University, and an EdD from the University of Pennsylvania.

Robert Zemsky is professor of higher education at the University of Pennsylvania and serves as chair of The Learning Alliance, a broad coalition of experts assisting institutions of higher learning in striking the balance between market success and public mission. For 20 years he served as the founding director of Penn’s Institute for Research on Higher Education. Zemsky was a member of the U.S. Secretary of Education’s National Commission on the Future of Higher Education. He has served as co-director of the National Center on the Educational Quality of the Workforce; as a senior scholar with the National Center for Postsecondary Improvement; as chair and convener of the Pew Higher Education Roundtable; and as senior editor for Policy Perspectives, a publication of the Pew Higher Education Research Program. He also served as a founding member of the national advisory board for the National Survey of Student Engagement. He is a trustee of Whittier College and served for 25 years as a trustee of Franklin & Marshall College. The author of numerous publications, Zemsky’s most recent book is A Checklist for Change: Making American Higher Education a Sustainable Enterprise (2013). Other books include Thwarted Innovation: What Happened to e-learning and Why with William Massy (2004), Remaking the American University: Market Smart and Mission Centered with Gregory Wegner and William Massy (2005), and Making Reform Work: The Case for Transforming American Higher Education (2009). He holds a BA from Whittier College and an MA and PhD in history from Yale University.

Chair: Steven C. Bahls, President, Augustana College (IL)