Plenary Speakers

The 2015 Institute for Chief Academic and Chief Advancement Officers features a diverse lineup of speakers who will discuss this year's theme of “Mission, Message, Market―and Money: The Academic Affairs/Advancement Partnership."

Featured plenary speakers this year include:
Saturday, November 7
Keynote Address
“The Liberal Arts: Purpose, Value, Meaning, and Civic Responsibility”
John Churchill will address the importance and contributions of the liberal arts, as pursued in American colleges and universities, to the country’s economy and its political, civic, and cultural life. How can we best equip future generations of Americans from all economic and social strata with the deliberative capacities and dispositions that will enable them to make good decisions, both as individuals and citizens? In private and in public life, we need the ability to evaluate competing claims on our attention and allegiance. We need to learn to engage in civil discourse about what—on considered reflection—we ought to want and how resources should be distributed. Higher education needs to equip citizens with both the desire and the capacity to reflect critically and imaginatively about ends and means, about choosing them and maintaining integrity along the path. The liberal arts are the key to achieving that aim.

John Churchill is secretary of the Phi Beta Kappa Society, the nation’s oldest academic honorary society. As secretary, he is the society’s chief executive officer and the head of its national office and serves as leader of the society’s National Arts and Sciences Initiative. Churchill is a leading national advocate for liberal arts education as an intrinsic good and as preparation for a life of purpose, value, meaning, and civic responsibility.

Churchill’s scholarly interests include the works of the philosophers Ludwig Wittgenstein and David Hume and topics in the history of philosophy, the philosophy of religion, and the philosophy of liberal arts education. He has published dozens of articles in journals in the U.S. and the U.K., book chapters in the U.S. and Germany, and essays and stories in the popular press and college magazines. Churchill has served on the board of directors of the American Conference of Academic Deans and as an editor for the Thomist, Southern Journal of Philosophy, International Philosophical Quarterly, and Choice magazine. He was a Danforth Foundation associate, president of the National Humanities Alliance, and moderator of the CIC Colloquium for Chief Academic Officers.

Churchill was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa at Rhodes College, studied as a Rhodes Scholar at the University of Oxford, and earned a PhD at Yale University in 1978. He formerly was vice president for academic affairs and dean of the college at Hendrix College, where he also served as professor of philosophy and twice as interim president. In 2015, Hendrix named him dean and professor emeritus.

Chair: Elizabeth Paul, Executive Vice President and Provost, Stetson University, and Chair, CIC CAO-CAdO Task Force

Sunday, November 8
Plenary Session
“Philanthropy and the Liberal Arts”

From his vantage point as president of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation—the largest funder of liberal arts education in the United States—Earl Lewis is able to observe the current relationship between philanthropy and the liberal arts and the changing priorities of donors. He will discuss his insights into emerging issues and comment on how chief academic and chief advancement officers can work together more effectively for the benefit of their institutions and in support of the liberal arts across the nation.

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation provides more financial support for education and scholarship in the arts and humanities than the National Endowment for the Humanities and the National Endowment for the Arts combined, much of it directed toward liberal arts colleges. Program areas emphasize measures that address faculty development, curricular renewal, pedagogical innovation, and undergraduate research in the humanities. The program in Higher Education and Scholarship in the Humanities supports a network of domestic and international consortia organized around the complementary research and teaching missions of research universities and liberal arts colleges.

A social historian, Lewis has held faculty appointments at the University of California at Berkeley, the University of Michigan, and Emory University, where he served as provost and executive vice president for academic affairs and Asa Griggs Candler Professor of History and African American Studies. In recent years, Lewis has championed the importance of diversifying the academy, enhancing graduate education, re-visioning the liberal arts, exploring the role of digital tools for learning, fostering collaboration among institutions, and connecting universities to their communities.

The author or co-editor of seven books as well as the 11-volume The Young Oxford History of African Americans (with Robin D.G. Kelley, Oxford University Press, 1995–1997), Lewis has written extensively on aspects of American and African American history, most recently Defending Diversity: Affirmative Action at the University of Michigan (with Jeffrey S. Lehman and Patricia Gurin, University of Michigan Press, 2004). Lewis has been a member of several academic and community boards, founding co-editor of the award-winning book series American Crossroads (University of California Press), and, since 2008, a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Lewis earned an undergraduate degree in history and psychology from Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota, and a PhD in history from the University of Minnesota.

Chair: Sue Cunningham, President, Council for Advancement and Support of Education

Monday, November 9
Plenary Session
“Paying for College”

Sandy Baum will discuss the institution’s role in how students pay for college and how institutional merit- and need-based aid fit into the federal student aid landscape. How can colleges and universities help students and their families plan responsibly to fund four years of college? How should institutions think about student debt? How can student decision-making patterns be incorporated into the design of student aid policies? Better understanding of how institutional pricing and aid policies fit into the overall picture of college financing will help chief academic and chief advancement officers plan for the future.

Baum is senior fellow at the Urban Institute and research professor at the George Washington University Graduate School of Education and Human Development. She has written and spoken extensively on issues of college access, college pricing, student aid policy, student debt, affordability, and other aspects of higher education finance.

Baum has co-authored the College Board’s annual publications Trends in Student Aid and Trends in College Pricing since 2002. She also co-authors 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; a Brookings Institution study group that issued its report, Beyond Need and Merit: Strengthening State Grant Programs, in May 2012; and the Rethinking Pell Grants study group, which issued recommendations in April 2013. Her 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 to public institutions. Baum is a member of the board of the National Student Clearinghouse. In 2014, she was a co-recipient, with Michael S. McPherson, of CIC’s Allen P. Splete Award for Outstanding Service. The award honors significant contributions to higher education and recognizes national leadership through ideas and commitment on behalf of private colleges and universities.

Professor emerita of economics at Skidmore College, 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.

Chair: Dominic A. Aquila, Provost, University of St. Thomas (TX)

Tuesday, November 10
Closing Plenary Session
“Mentoring, Motivating, and Making It Work”

In his work as a faculty member, department chair, and dean at Parsons The New School for Design, Tim Gunn developed a philosophy of teaching and mentoring that he has used effectively on the Emmy Award-winning reality TV show Project Runway and on Under the Gunn. Based on honesty, empathy, authentic curiosity, encouragement, and optimism, Gunn’s philosophy carries lessons for all who mentor developing professionals—whether they are students, faculty members, staff members, or peers. Gunn will discuss his methods, what he views as the key difference between teaching and mentoring, the long-term impact of great mentoring, and how failure often leads to great opportunity, with examples from his broad and diverse experience.

Gunn is a fashion consultant, television personality, and actor. He served Parsons for 25 years before joining Liz Claiborne as its chief creative officer in 2007. His work on Project Runway began in 2004, followed by Under the Gunn on the Lifetime network and Tim Gunn’s Guide to Style on the Bravo network. Gunn received a Primetime Emmy Award in 2013 for his work on Project Runway.

Gunn is author of four books, Tim Gunn: A Guide to Quality, Taste, and Style (with Kate Moloney, 2007), Gunn’s Golden Rules: Life’s Little Lessons for Making It Work (with Ada Calhoun, 2010), Shaken, Not Stirred (2011), and Tim Gunn: The Natty Professor: A Master Class on Mentoring, Motivating, and Making It Work! (with Ada Calhoun, 2015). He holds a BFA in sculpture from the Corcoran College of Art and Design.

Chair: S. Georgia Nugent, Interim President, The College of Wooster