HIGHER is a series of free professional development summits designed to equip women in higher education administration with the tools, relationships, and confidence to thrive personally and professionally. These one-day experiences take a step towards diversifying leadership in higher education.
While women tend to find equal representation in lower-level managerial roles, top positions in higher education leadership fail to represent the movement toward a more diverse and inclusive future. It’s time for that to change.
Presidents at US colleges and universities
The opening workshop will have you reflecting on key themes, turning points, and people in your career. After discovering what those experiences reveal about your values, a partner exercise will help you reimagine how you can be your best self at work, at home, and everywhere in between.
Hear from women who hold senior leadership positions about their personal journeys. What did they wish they’d known at key milestones in their careers? What advice would they give to their younger selves? Learn how these outstanding women overcame barriers to reach where they are today.
After uncovering the biggest barriers women face, this interactive session will empower each attendee to design a plan for reaching their next major goal, whether it's an individual career ambition or a program for creating change on campus.
Associate Provost & Chief of Staff at University of Illinois at Chicago
Aisha El-Amin holds a PhD in Policy Studies in Urban Education from the University of Illinois at Chicago and a Masters of Education from DePaul University. Dr. El-Amin served 5 years active duty as a Military Police Office in the US Army. Additionally, Dr. El-Amin has served in several roles at University of Illinois at Chicago as a multi-million dollar education grant manager, director of The Council on Teacher Education, Associate Dean of Student Affairs in the College of Education and currently Associate Provost and Chief of Staff for the Provost.
Dr. El-Amin is passionate about issues of equity and justice in education. These passions have led her to become a State Board of Education Certified K-9th grade teacher, an adjunct professor, an elected public school board member, board member for Routledge journal, Religion and Education, and board member for Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) Chicago.
Vice President for Institutional Diversity & Equity at DePaul University
Elizabeth Ortiz, EdD, joined DePaul University in 2002 and is currently the vice president of Institutional Diversity and Equity.
Prior to her work at DePaul she was the director of Affirmative Action, Diversity and Employee Relations at Northern Illinois University. Her college and university experience spans more than 20 years in both the public and private sector, including the Chicago community college system. She has worked on diversity initiatives in several areas, including recruitment, retention, training, programming and climate issues for diverse students, faculty and staff. Ortiz also has worked extensively in issues of higher education and in particular raising awareness for Latino students, educators, community representatives and others who are committed to Latino representation and advancement in all aspects of higher education. She is in demand as a consultant, lecturer and workshop presenter on diversity issues and best practices.
Her professional service includes community and professional boards, which emphasize multiculturalism, as well as recruitment and retention initiatives for diverse student and workforce populations. She currently serves on the board of the Illinois African-American and Latino Higher Education Alliance (IALHE), is the first vice president of the National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education (NADOHE), and is the past-president of the Illinois Latino Council on Higher Education (ILACHE).
Co-Founder & CEO at Wisr
As a former first-generation college student, Kate is extremely passionate about improving educational outcomes for college students across the country. After working in Admissions and Career Services for the University of Chicago, Kate became interested in how technology can be used to support student outcomes. She returned to Northeast Ohio as VP of Business Development at DecisionDesk before founding Wisr in 2016. Wisr improves student and alumni engagement outcomes by facilitating alumni- to-student coaching and alumni-to-alumni career networking. In 2017 Wisr was recognized as most innovative education solution by Global Silicon Valley & Arizona State University.
Kate is heavily involved in Cleveland’s entrepreneurial community as the Chair of the JumpStart Leader’s Council. She has been recognized by WYCA Cleveland as a Distinguished Young Woman and Crain’s Cleveland as a Notable Woman in Entrepreneurship. Kate was a captain of the varsity volleyball team at the University of Chicago, where she received her BA and MBA. She was born and raised in Hartville, OH, and now resides in Rocky River. When she’s not working on building Wisr, Kate is probably spending time on Lake Erie, playing with her dog, or enjoying good conversation over a glass of wine.
Director of Marketing at Wisr
As Wisr’s Director of Marketing, Anna oversees the company’s digital and in-person marketing strategy. This includes programming design and coordination of the HIGHER summit series and Wisr Academy learning hub.
Prior to joining Wisr, Anna worked in Deloitte Consulting’s Human Capital practice. In her work as a human capital consultant, Anna focused on guiding her Fortune 500 clients - and their people - through transformational change. Whether managing enterprise communications, redesigning organizational structures, or developing culture and engagement workshops, her priority has always been to create space for people to be their best at work.
The summit will take place on June 18, 2019 from 8:30 AM to 4:00 PM in Chicago, IL. We'll gather on Loyola University's Lake Shore Campus at the Mundelein Center for the Fine and Performing Arts.
We provide all the materials you'll need in addition to a light breakfast, a catered luncheon, and an afternoon snack. Gluten free, vegetarian, and vegan options will be available.
The agendas for HIGHER summits vary to accommodate the special programming unique to each, but most follow the same general format:
8:30 AM — Check in
9:00 AM — Welcome and kickoff
9:30 AM— REFLECT Workshop: gain insights and map your future development through a personal inventory of your defining experiences
11:00 AM — Break
11:15 AM — INSPIRE Speaker Session: learn what senior leaders wish they'd known at key milestones in their careers
12:00 PM — Lunch and networking
12:45 PM — Introduction to resources
1:00 PM — INSPIRE Speaker Session: learn what senior leaders wish they'd known at key milestones in their careers
1:45 PM — Break
2:00 PM — ACT Workshop: identify solutions for the top challenges facing women in higher ed through an interactive workshop
3:20 PM — ACT Workshop: design an action plan for reaching your next big career goal
3:50 PM — Resources and feedback
4:00 PM — Closing remarks
This is an event for ambitious leaders, aspiring bosses, and community-builders. We welcome women in faculty and staff positions across all departments to join us. Due to high demand, we can only offer seats to women who are currently employed at an institution of higher learning. HIGHER attendees represent a variety of higher education institutions, including liberal arts colleges, research institutions, community colleges, and everything in between.
Yes! In fact, several leaders at a past summit used the event as an opportunity to reconnect with and invite peers they’d met at previous conferences, bond with new team members, and strengthen relationships with leaders across their campuses. To ensure you get the most out of the day, we recommend that your team's VP or Director joins for the day. Anyone who wishes to attend is required to register.
Our goal is to reach as many women in higher education as possible to support them in reaching their professional goals. To help us do that, we ask that if you'd like to attend again, you bring a colleague or peer at another institution who has not attended before.
Absolutely not. We believe that the most impactful development experiences come when you have the chance to build relationships with everyone in the room, talk candidly about the challenges that are keeping you up at night, and brainstorm solutions together. You can’t do that if there are 500 people in the room. Each HIGHER summit is intentionally capped at 50 attendees to allow for that close-knit, collaborative environment.
We believe that women benefit greatly from coming together to share their experiences and lessons. To make HIGHER as accessible as possible, attendance is free for all registrants. Your registration includes programming, resources, and meals for the day.
As a (female-led) company, Wisr spent a lot of time reflecting on the state of higher education leadership. Based on our interactions while bringing Wisr to market, higher ed isn’t reflecting the kind of diverse and inclusive future the world aspires to have. In our work, we consistently see equal representation of women in individual contributor or lower-level managerial roles, but more senior leadership positions often don't reflect that diversity. Women in higher ed administration are facing barriers to rising the ranks in their institutions, and we wanted to do something about it.
Yes! We offer HIGHER to institutions interested in a private professional development for their female faculty and staff. If you're interested in learning more about this offering, email Kate Volzer.