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2022 HEI Presidents Conference

Reinventing and Reenergizing Higher Education in the Covid Age and Beyond

October 10-11, 2022

Waco, Texas


Dr. Johnette McKown, President, MCC

Mike Reeser, Chancellor and CEO, TSTC

Dr. James Hurley, President, Tarleton State University

Campus Reset After the Pandemic

There are lasting changes to community college campuses since the most challenging days of 2020-2022.  What appeared temporary is becoming the landscape for the long-term.  Speakers will talk about  how to maximize transformational opportunities,  how leadership is evolving, and how student and employee expectations have changed in the classroom and remotely.  At the same time we are resetting campuses for the pandemic, we are addressing diversity, equity, and inclusion and the social unrest that is pervasive across our nation.  We must be prepared to not only respond but to be leaders in innovation and collaboration.

Dr. Roger Parrott, President, Belhaven University, Jackson, Mississippi

Stop Planning and Start Leading

Opportunity Leadership is the art of achieving your mission by capturing change.  In 2002 I purposely began to let go of the iron grip all higher education leaders have on long-range planning, as the foundation of focus and energy. This shift opened growth, reach, and significance that would never have been imaginable if I had stayed welded to a conventional strategic planning process. And as a bonus, as president, it has brought a personal joy and freedom in leadership that I never thought possible. Opportunity Leadership is a fresh approach to building a campus culture poised to take maximum advantage of the opportunities you’re missing.

D. Thanos Smith

The Future Is Here:  Visionary Entrepreneuring Opportunities among Aerospace/ New
Technology Industry and Higher Education

We will explore the intersection between education and emerging technology. Technology has been constantly increasing and its relationship with educational institutions is waning. Tech companies are recruiting students before they graduate or bypassing the educational system altogether. Higher learning fees are logarithmically and exponentially increasing while school attendance is declining. What role can the academic institutions play in reimagining the school environment for 21st Century’s requirement for sustainable job opportunities? What partnerships need to be established versus complacency in the classroom? This session will address pitfalls, opportunities, and winning propositions to partner with emerging technology companies. The Paragon Universe founder and chief visionary officer of arguably one of the most significant companies of the 21st Century and futurist Dwight Thanos Smith will lead a remarkable interactive session from an industry insider’s perspective.

Dr. Monique Umphrey, Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor, Austin Community College

Agility in Action: Ushering in Alignment for Operational Excellence

Covid ushered in many additional complexities into the operational landscape for colleges and universities. Presidents are now expected to seamlessly adapt to these additional complexities while reinventing and reenergizing their institutions by launching initiatives to address demographic changes, enrollment challenges, and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion objectives. This keynote address will provide presidents with a framework for operational excellence that includes the development of a roadmap that outlines the key deliverables that will help them achieve their Northstar. Presidents will also be shown insights on how to work collaboratively with faculty and staff to establish entrepreneurial efforts to create new revenue streams.

Dr. Myk Garn, Assistant Chancellor for New Learning Models, University System of Georgia

Artificial Intelligence in Postsecondary Education: What's Driving the Bus? (and Where is it Going?)

Knowing whether you are facing an evolution or a revolution is critical to formulating responses matched to the speed and scale of transformation or disruption you are facing. Innovations like artificial intelligence drive, and are driven, by many factors. Understanding the principal drivers of change is essential to predicting and responding to their potential impact on the development and diffusion of AI-powered tools across the academic enterprise. This session will investigate five change drivers - and four potential scenarios resulting from their impact on innovation in the adoption and use of AI in postsecondary education.

Dr. William Wainwright, Chancellor, Northshore Technical Community College, Madisonville, Louisiana

Leading Outward in Crisis:  Not Your Typical Pandemic Recovery Story

In times of crisis, it is common to look inward to protect and preserve the college. College leaders today are challenged to lead outward in times of crisis ensuring college and community resilience. Dr. Wainwright will provide insights into innovative collaborations driven by college mission and centered on student success. One of Louisiana’s veteran Chancellors, he will share examples of workforce innovation, unprecedented external investment, the power of rural campuses, and the role of colleges as centers of community resilience in times of crisis. Challenges associated with serving disadvantaged adult learners further exacerbated by the Pandemic will be presented in an open discussion with attendees identifying both challenges and opportunities for future success.

Dr. Paul Illich, President, Southeast Community College, Nebraska

Leveraging a Resilient and Adaptive Organizational Culture to Pursue Opportunities Created by Adversity

This session will focus on the benefits of creating an institutional culture that embraces change, promotes calculated risk-taking, and encourages the reframing of failure as discovery that occurs during a successful journey. The presenter will discuss how Southeast Community College embedded a climate goal into its first strategic plan to maximize successful completion of multiple transformative initiatives via emotional intelligence and resiliency skills. The session will also include a discussion of how these skills were leveraged to stay fully operational during the pandemic and to pursue unique opportunities that were created by adversity.

Russell A. Kavalhuna, J.D., Henry Ford College, Dearborn, Michigan

What I Learned about Leadership from Picking Up Garbage (and other lessons from watching leaders in a winding leadership journey)

I have enjoyed studying the leaders I have served in various roles, from being a garbage collector, an airline pilot, and a federal prosecutor. I noticed that great leaders do the same things, despite leading teams in very different missions. I have tried to implement these lessons in my current role as a college president. I encourage leaders to build their own list of what Great Leaders Do (or do not do). I will share some items on my list that I am working to implement. I hope to learn what is on your list.

Dr. Brad Johnson, President, College of the Ozarks, Point Lookout, Missouri

Strategic Innovation Initiatives:  Developing a Program Economic Analysis for Academic and Work Education Programs at College of the Ozarks

This session will discuss the development of a Program Economic Analysis (PEA) dashboard to provide a comprehensive view of the academic portfolio and work stations and empower college leaders to make data-informed decisions based on timely and accurate data on course economics and program economics, student enrollment trends and key metrics on course offerings. College of the Ozarks’ unique approach to the vocational training and the offsetting of tuition payment are accomplished through students’ work hours. Integrating key margin data from the PEA platform will provide a comprehensive analysis to help leadership asses financial validity.

Dr. Michael Fischer, President, York County Community College, Wells, Maine

Dr. Jennifer Laney,Dean of Students, York County Community College, Wells, Maine

Cait Grant, Director of Economic and Workforce Development

Who We Want to Be: Changing College Culture and Processes to Transform and Reenergize a College

In March 2020, Michael Fischer became York County Community College’s thirteenth president in the school’s 25-year history. Faced with seven years of declining enrollment, changing state demographics, shifting workforce development needs and a global pandemic, the need for organizational change was evident. Join Dr. Fischer as he details how the YCCC’s Project Reimagine initiative has reenergized and transformed the institution’s approach to serving students and industry, leading to an increase in students served, credentials of value earned and overall enrollment.

Dr. Amanda Lee, President of Bladen Community College, Dublin, North Carolina

Reinventing Graduation:  A Covid-Influenced New Approach to Commencement

As a rural institution within a vibrant community, Bladen Community College proudly serves a diverse student population throughout southeastern North Carolina, with a deep commitment to helping each student meet their personal education and career goals. The college is home to approximately 1,370 full-time equivalent students enrolled in curriculum, occupational extension and basic skills courses and workforce development programs. BCC is dedicated to an open-door policy and to meeting the educational and cultural needs of the people of Bladen and surrounding counties.

Dr. Devin Stephenson, President, Northwest Florida State College, Niceville, Florida

Dr. Cristie Kedroski, Senior Vice President, Northwest Florida State College

Dr. Deidre Price, Vice President, Academic Affairs, Northwest Florida State College

Bryan Brooks, Chief Communications Officer, Northwest Florida State College, Niceville, Florida

Using 4DX to Transform and Reenergize a College 

Northwest Florida State College shares its college-wide implementation of The 4 Disciplines of Execution, which catalyzed the organization by providing clarity of vision, a cadence of accountability, and a shared purpose across the campus that accelerated the institution’s ability to respond to the pandemic. Discover how this framework led to an institutional culture that prioritizes innovative instructional practices, renewed a commitment to data, and seamlessly integrated the College’s budgeting and personnel model into its strategic planning process to ensure a thriving organization. 

HEI Conference Featured Session

Dr. Lori Baca, Chairperson of Business Administration, Northern New Mexico College

Sara McCormick, Career Services Director, Northern New Mexico College

Dr. Johnathan Fuentes, Vice President of Academic Partnerships, Odessa College

Jacqui Gore, Vice President of Advancement, Business & Governmental Relations, Odessa College

Gordon Freedman, President, GoEducate

Tim Johnson, Chief Marketing Officer, GoEducate

John Hadad, Director of Business Partnerships and Implementation

Breaking Down Education-to-Employment Barriers and Increasing Enrollments by Deep-
Linking Individuals, Programs, Pathways and Open Jobs

Join representatives of Odessa College and Northern New Mexico College as they discuss how they’ve consolidated internal and external workflows from recruitment and outreach to managing enrollment, student success, counseling, alumni re-engagement, and, sped up and deepened their work with employers. By developing end-to-end processes with Austin-based GoEducate’s education-to-employment platform, these two colleges are joining others in deploying fully operational regional ecosystems.


Hear first-hand how Odessa, Northern and others are using GoEducate’s Opportunity Technology to link middle school and high school career exploration with robust enrollment, recruiting and talent pipeline management in a singular-process, accelerating student matriculation, and talent acquisition and placement.

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