Program for Presidential Spouses and Partners

Monday, January 5, 7:15 a.m.–4:00 p.m. and Tuesday, January 6, 7:30 a.m.–3:00 p.m. and Wednesday, January 7, 7:45–9:45 a.m.

(Sponsored by TIAA-CREF)

Developed by an advisory group of presidential spouses and partners, the Program for Presidential Spouses and Partners runs concurrently with the program for presidents and provides opportunities to share information and advice. Spouses and partners of presidents also are welcome at sessions for presidents, unless otherwise noted. As additional speakers and sessions are confirmed, information will be added to the CIC Presidents Institute website.
 

Monday, January 5

7:15–8:15 a.m.
Breakfast with Discussion Groups
Breakfast is provided for all registered presidential spouses and partners. Discussions are organized by years of service. Participants will determine the discussion topics.
First-Year Spouses and Partners
Cheryl E. Perkins, Presidential Spouse, Virginia Union University
Mary L. Trettin, Presidential Spouse, Northland College
 
Second-Year Spouses and Partners
Carole L. Williams, Presidential Spouse, Fisk University
 
Third–Fifth Year Spouses and Partners
Sharon Kazee, Presidential Spouse, University of Evansville
 
Sixth–Tenth Year Spouses and Partners
Michelle Dorsey, Presidential Spouse, Texas Lutheran University
 
Eleventh Year and Above Spouses and Partners
Sheila J. Garren, Presidential Spouse, Lynchburg College
 
10:15 a.m.–1:00 p.m. • Welcoming Luncheon Address
Presidential Spouses and Partners: Identity, Privacy, and Relationships
How can presidential spouses and partners find ways to serve their institutions that complement their own identities and interests? How and with whom should the spouse or partner of a new president establish friendships in their new community? What are effective practices to overcome feelings of loneliness and isolation? How do spouses or partners who have their own independent careers carve out time and space for both roles? What are the blessings and pitfalls of serving as a member of the faculty or staff at the institution where the spouse or partner is president?  A scholar of relationships who also is the spouse of a retired president will address these questions.
 
Ellen Cole currently serves as professor of practice at The Sage Colleges. She is a professor of psychology emerita at Alaska Pacific University and from 1995 to 2009 served as presidential spouse during the presidency of her husband, Douglas M. North. Her areas of research include women and gender, retirement and aging, and sexuality. She is a fellow of the American Psychological Association and has received a number of awards. Cole has authored numerous journal articles, including one with Pamela Trotman Reid, president of the University of Saint Joseph (CT), on the lives of wives of college and university presidents. Cole earned a BA in psychology from Boston University, an MEd in counseling from Harvard University, a PhD in counseling psychology from Union Institute, and an MA in applied positive psychology from the University of Pennsylvania.

Chair: Terry Aretz, Chair, Spouses and Partners Task Force, and Presidential Spouse, Mount St. Joseph University
 

Monday, January 5, 2:00–4:00 p.m. • Workshop for Presidential Spouses and Partners
Please note that advance registration is required for this workshop. Please pre-register for the workshop.

Presidential Spouses and Partners: Overcoming Isolation
The spouse or partner of a college president has a distinctive role on campus and in the surrounding community. The role can result in isolation and make it difficult to form close friendships. How does one determine who is trustworthy and who merely wants access to the president or to insider information? Participants will have the opportunity to share their experiences and strategies for reaching over the barriers that accompany the role of presidential spouse or partner. The facilitator, a presidential spouse for 22 years, will present tips from personal experience, her research, and other studies.
Ellen Cole, Professor of Practice, The Sage Colleges
Chair: Terry Aretz, Presidential Spouse, Mount St. Joseph University
Fee: $40


Tuesday, January 6
 
7:15–8:15 a.m.
Breakfast with Discussion Groups
Breakfast is provided for all registered presidential spouses and partners. Several Roundtables are designated for participants to discuss specific topics.
Creative Tips for Thrifty Events
Michelle Dorsey, Presidential Spouse, Texas Lutheran University
 
Engaging Trustee Spouses and Partners
Robin S. Reynders, Presidential Spouse, Morningside College
 
Friend-Raising for the Institution
Norman G. Knight, Presidential Spouse, Pacific Union College
 
Male Spouses and Partners
Roger Fell, Presidential Spouse, The University of Findlay
 
The Presidential Spouse or Partner as Faculty Member
Karen Klassen Harder, Presidential Spouse, Bluffton University
 
Traveling with Alumni
Sheila J. Garren, Presidential Spouse, Lynchburg College

10:15–11:30 a.m. Concurrent Sessions
Handling Challenging Situations and Conversations
Presidential spouses and partners sometimes find themselves in challenging professional and social activities, from the reception where they know no one to the dinner where they are seated next to someone who is openly hostile to the college. What are effective strategies for handling new situations and conversations? Are there pleasant ways to respond to criticism of you, your spouse or partner, or your institution without becoming outwardly defensive or annoyed? How can the spouse or partner disengage gracefully from a conversation that is inappropriate, offensive, or too lengthy? This interactive session will include opportunities for role-playing in several situations.
Michelle Dorsey, Presidential Spouse, Texas Lutheran University
Sharon Kazee, Presidential Spouse, University of Evansville
Chair: Roger Fell, Presidential Spouse, The University of Findlay
 
Volunteer Contracts
Some campuses have standard contracts that all volunteers, including the presidential spouse or partner, must sign before participating in college or university activities. What are the advantages of having a contract for volunteers? How can the contract protect both the college and the spouse or partner? What issues and situations should be addressed in the contract? Who signs on behalf of the college? How are conflicts over the contract resolved? Models of volunteer contracts will be shared in this session led by a presidential spouse and a higher education attorney.
Darron Farha, Vice President and General Counsel and Secretary to the Board of Directors, Valparaiso University
Veronica Heckler, Presidential Spouse, Valparaiso University
Chair: Sheila J. Garren, Presidential Spouse, Lynchburg College
 
11:45 a.m.–1:00 p.m. Concurrent Sessions
(Boxed lunches will be available.)
Balancing Family and Institutional Responsibilities
The families of college presidents are faced with challenges of balancing family and work responsibilities. The presidential family may include young children, tweens, teenagers, adult children, grandchildren, or aging parents or other relatives, each with a particular set of needs. The presidential spouse or partner also has a responsibility to support the president and to be engaged with the institution and its constituencies: students, faculty members, staff members, alumni, donors, trustees, and members of the community. Three relatively new presidential spouses with recent relevant experience will share strategies for balancing family and institutional responsibilities.
Marcia Millet, Presidential Spouse, Stillman College
Prema Samhat, Presidential Spouse, Wofford College
Jennifer Troha, Presidential Spouse, Juniata College
Chair: Traci Corey, Presidential Spouse, Olivet College
 
Joint Session With Presidents
Tax Issues for Presidential Couples: Housing Benefits and Expense Reimbursements
Applicable federal tax laws are important for college and university presidents and their spouses and partners to understand in order to keep accurate records and avoid unpleasant surprises at tax time regarding housing benefits and expense reimbursements. What are the right questions to ask? How can the institution and the presidential couple address questions about the presidential home, official entertainment, and travel for the spouse or partner in order to reduce complexity and expense when tax returns are filed? A tax attorney and presidential couple will lead the discussion.
Pamela J. Gunter-Smith, President, York College of Pennsylvania
Thaddeus J. Lewkowicz, Member, Bond, Schoeneck & King, PLLC
J. L. Smith, Presidential Spouse, York College of Pennsylvania
Chair: Robert Haring-Smith, Presidential Spouse, Washington & Jefferson College
 
1:15–2:00 p.m.
Networking and Discussion Session I
Presidential spouses and partners are invited to gather for informal discussion and sharing of “best practices.” Topics will be determined by participants and may include:
  • Balancing Family and Institutional Responsibilities (follow-up);
  • Communication within the Presidential Partnership; and
  • Managing the Presidential Home.
Co-Facilitators: Robert Haring-Smith, Presidential Spouse, Washington & Jefferson College, and Cheryl E. Perkins, Presidential Spouse, Virginia Union University
 
2:00–2:15 p.m.
Refreshment Break
 
2:15–3:00 p.m.
Networking and Discussion Session II
Presidential spouses and partners are invited to gather for informal discussion and sharing of “best practices.” Topics will be determined by participants and may include:
  • Handling Challenging Situations and Conversations (follow-up);
  • Ideas for Entertaining Faculty and Students; and
  • Recommended Reading for Presidential Spouses and Partners.
Co-Facilitators: Sharon Kazee, Presidential Spouse, University of Evansville, and Norman G. Knight, Presidential Spouse, Pacific Union College
 

Wednesday, January 7
 
7:30–8:30 a.m.
Breakfast with Discussion Groups
Breakfast is provided for all registered presidential spouses and partners. Several Roundtables are designated for participants to join colleagues to discuss specific topics.
Connections through Cooking
Margaret Bain, Presidential Spouse, St. John Fisher College (NY)
 
Refreshing and Renewing Your Role: Bringing Back the Fun
Marylou Habecker, Presidential Spouse, Taylor University
 
Starting a Student Ambassadors Group
Michelle Dorsey, Presidential Spouse, Texas Lutheran University
 
Sustainable Living: How Can the Presidential Couple Support Sustainability Efforts on Campus?
Mary L. Trettin, Presidential Spouse, Northland College
 
What I Wish I Had Started Early in My Time as a Presidential Spouse or Partner
Mary Sallee, Presidential Spouse, William Jewell College

8:45–9:45 a.m. Concurrent Sessions
Healthy Tips to Manage Stress
There are healthy ways to manage stress that enhance the beneficial effects of stress (motivation, growth) while minimizing the deleterious effects (overconsumption of food and drink, wakefulness, illness). A presidential spouse who also is a medical doctor will present advice for living well with stress.
John Przybylski, Presidential Spouse, Regis College (MA)
Chair: Carole L. Williams, Presidential Spouse, Fisk University
 
Joint Session With Presidents
Planning for Retirement: Are You Ready?
A president’s retirement means major changes for the institution and for the president or presidential couple. The steps a president takes in the months leading up to retirement can help ensure a smooth transition. Too often, the needs of the institution distract the retiring president from addressing personal retirement needs. Presenters will explore the personal issues—including compensation and benefits, post-retirement employment, and housing—that should be addressed to prepare for this significant life event.
L. Jay Lemons, President, Susquehanna University
Kathleen Owens, President, Gwynedd Mercy University
Rian M. Yaffe, Founder and Chairman, Yaffe & Company, Inc.
Donald A. Zamborsky, Presidential Spouse, Gwynedd Mercy University
Chair: Carol Ann Mooney, President, Saint Mary’s College (IN)