Elevating women in higher education to new levels of personal and professional success

January 15, 2020 | Dallas, TX


›››››  2020  ‹‹‹‹‹
By Wisr


HIGHER is a series of professional development conferences designed to create space for conversations and connections that empower women in higher education to push through barriers to reaching their career goals and to pull other women up along the way. 

Offered in cities across the US, each year HIGHER equips hundreds of women in higher education with the resources and relationships to reach senior leadership positions. 

This is not your standard big-box conference. If you are eager to expand your local and national network of women in higher education, are questioning whether you want to build a career in higher education, or could simply use a burst of inspiration, HIGHER is for you.  










Join the national movement of women in higher education by participating in the unique, attendee-guided programming at HIGHER. Regardless of which city you attend, you'll walk away with a strong network of supportive women (and potential mentors!) in your field, increased clarity on the strengths and expertise you currently bring to your role, and a plan for how to take the next step in your career. 

Our day together is divided into 3 main sections:





Coupling space for individual reflection with structured partner sharing, this workshop will have you identifying the values, strengths, and interests driving your career. Gain insights about what types of environments you thrive in, share stories with fellow attendees, and define what success looks and feels like to you. 




Hear from 3 women leaders on what they've learned about navigating careers in higher ed. How have they cultivated their own unique leadership styles? What advice would they give to their younger selves? Learn what these outstanding women think the next generation of higher ed leaders needs to know. 




Take professional development into your own hands by writing your ideal future performance review, receive flash mentorship on a specific area you'd like to develop, such as negotiating a raise or requesting an opportunity to develop a new skillset, and leave with a concrete action plan for reaching your next professional goal. 


"These were some of the best speakers I've encountered. The value of gathering all of us cannot be overstated, and keeping it intimate also made it easier to engage."
"Overall very enlightening and empowering. Great atmosphere. Beautiful place and easily accessible. Why wouldn’t someone want to come?"
"Each session gave me direct takeaways where many expensive conferences do not! Extremely high value."
"Perfectly organized, well-thought out activities, opportunities for networking, and inspiring conversation. Thank you for this great opportunity!"
"I was truly impressed with this summit and I will encourage all women in higher ed to attend!"
"It was so inspiring to be among fellow women in higher education who have faced some of the same issues I am facing and learning from them."
"This opportunity allowed me to connect with other people who share some of my identities to talk about important issues that affect us!"
"In the absence of any real, practical, applicable, small formal opportunities for women in higher ed, this meets a need!"
"The personal, open, honest conversation was great! I feel so much more confident about my future due to idea-sharing with some seasoned women in the field."
"You all were extremely thorough, and I feel so empowered. The atmosphere and information was more valuable than any conference I've previously attended."



Date, Time, + Location


HIGHER Dallas will take place on January 15, 2020 from 8:30 AM to 4:00 PM at The Drawing Board.

Registration Cost


Regular admission costs $80 and includes the full day of programming, workshop materials, access to an online network of all previous HIGHER attendees, a healthy lunch, and refreshments. Discounted Early Bird and Team tickets are also available. Register here



HIGHER is intentionally capped at 55 attendees, so you'll have plenty of opportunities to shape the conversation, form meaningful relationships, and share your perspective. 

8:30 AM — CHECK IN



10:45 AM — BREAK






1:15 PM — BREAK

1:25 PM — HIGHER + BEYOND: Resources to Continue the Conversation



3:20 PM - ACT PLAN




LaQueta Wright 

Executive Dean of the School of Social Sciences at Richland College


Dr. LaQueta Wright serves as the Executive Dean for the School of Social Sciences and Wellness at Richland College in the Dallas County Community College District.   She taught full-time at Richland College for 16 years as a Professor and Lead Faculty for Sociology and served as the Program Coordinator for the Social Sciences, Studies in Cultural Diversity and African-American Black Studies programs at Richland College for over 7 years.  She is the Chair of the Richland College Minority Serving Institution Convening, a national conference that focuses on helping higher education institutions effectively use data to improve minority student success.  She is a graduate of the 2019 American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) John E. Roueche Future Leaders Institute and the 2013 Kaleidoscope Diversity Leadership Institute for women of color.  Prior to working at Richland College, Dr. Wright worked for Southern Methodist University for 10 years where she served as the Assistant Dean of Student Life; the Director of Intercultural Education and Minority Student Affairs and an Academic Advisor.  She is a member of the American Sociological Association, a Fulbright-Hays Fellow (Senegal, West Africa), a Global Citizenship Alliance Fellow (Potsdam, Germany), and a Life Member of the Texas Association of Black Personnel in Higher Education and the OU National Black Alumni Society.  Dr. Wright’s commitment to excellence has led her to facilitate local and national workshops on personal development, diversity, equity and inclusion, servant leadership,  community involvement and professional excellence.  She has contributed to the success of several college initiatives and community programs, including Achieving the Dream, Cooperative Learning, Global Education Advisory Council (GEDAC), Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP), Faculty in Support of Advising, the African-American Connections (AAC), Visions of Excellence (VOE), Intercultural Competence Training.  Sharing her talents to mentor faculty/staff, students and community volunteers, for Dr. Wright is a joy and a privilege.  She holds a BA in Journalism and a MA in Human Relations from the University of Oklahoma, and a PhD in Sociology from the University of North Texas.  


Elizabeth Palacios 

Dean for Student Development at Baylor University


Dr. Elizabeth (Liz) D. Palacios currently serves as the Dean for Student Development at Baylor University. She is a native of San Antonio, Texas, and has over 38 years of experience in higher education. Dr. Palacios received both her bachelor’s degree in business administration and master’s degree in student services and professional counseling at Baylor University. Since 1981, she has served in various areas at Baylor including graduate minority recruitment in the Graduate School and community service in the Department of Student Activities. In 2002, she earned her Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin in School Psychology and joined the faculty in School of Education. Dr. Palacios taught undergraduate courses in secondary education and graduate courses in school psychology and educational administration. In 2006, she was named Dean for Student Development in the Division of Student Life overseeing Multicultural Affairs, Community Engagement and Service, and the Academy for Leadership Development. She currently teaches in the Higher Education and Student Affairs graduate program at Baylor. In 2015, she was charged with leading the Division of Student Life in both student leadership education and development as well as cultural competency, diversity, and inclusion. In 2016, she was named the first Special Assistant to the President on Diversity at Baylor University. In 2018, she was elected President for the Texas Association of Chicanos in Higher Education, a statewide organization focused on the promotion of Latina/os in higher education as scholars and leaders. Dr. Palacios has authored numerous publications, presentations, a book chapter in the National Association of School Psychologists primer on training and research on multiculturalism in the schools, and in 2018, a book chapter in the NASPA book on Latino/a/x Student Affairs leaders in higher education. She served as an inaugural faculty member for the NASPA Escaleras Leadership Institute for Hispanic Student Affairs professionals. She serves on various national, regional, and local boards on higher education, retention, diversity, and leadership development. Dr. Palacios is married to her college sweetheart, Robert Palacios, and they have two married sons, a married daughter, three grandsons, and five granddaughters. Her husband and three children are all Baylor graduates.


Sandra Harper 

President at McMurry University


Dr. Sandra S. Harper, a native of Dallas, Texas, began serving as the President of McMurry University on October 1, 2013. Prior to her McMurry appointment, Harper served as the President of Our Lady of the Lake College in Baton Rouge, Louisiana from 2006-2013 and as the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs and Professor of Communication at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi from 1998-2006. Harper’s other administrative posts included serving as the Vice President for Academic Affairs at Oklahoma City University and as the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at McMurry University. Harper served as a faculty member in the communication and theater department at McMurry University from 1985-1995.

Harper received her B.S. degree from Texas Tech University and her M.S. and Ph.D. from the University of North Texas. Harper also completed the Harvard Management Development Program and the Governor’s Executive Development Program at the LBJ School of Public Affairs at The University of Texas. Harper is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) Commission on Colleges and chairs a compliance and reports committee. She is the chair of the Independent Colleges and Universities of Texas (ICUT) and she also serves on the boards of the National Association of Schools and Colleges of The United Methodist Church, the Educational and Institutional Insurance Administrators, Inc. (EIIA), the Abilene Chamber of Commerce, the Abilene Industrial Foundation, and the Grace Museum. Harper was elected to serve on the United Methodist University Senate for the 2017-2020 quadrennium.

In 2011, Harper was named a Distinguished Alumna by the Texas Tech University College of Education. She is listed in Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who of American Women, and Who’s Who in American Education. Harper has received the Management Excellence Award from the Society for the Advancement of Management, the Y Women in Careers Award from the Corpus Christi YWCA, the Outstanding Faculty Award and the Outstanding Administrator Award from McMurry University, and the American Association of University Women Abilene Branch Women of Outstanding Achievement.


Erin Battle  

HIGHER Facilitator | Program Manager, Washington Center at the College of William & Mary


Erin Battle is a two-time graduate of The College of William & Mary. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and Linguistics in 2013 and her Master’s Degree in Education with an emphasis in Higher Education in 2015. During graduate school, Erin worked in the Office of Undergraduate Admission as an admission specialist, reading applications, conducting high school visits, and recruiting students. Erin joined the W&M Washington Center in 2016 as a Program Coordinator and now serves as a Program Manager. In her role with the W&M Washington Center, Erin manages a summer program, the DC Summer Institutes, manages all of W&M’s student and faculty housing in DC, and administers the Pamela Harriman Foreign Service Fellowships. In her spare time, Erin coaches volleyball at West Springfield High School in Springfield, VA.




Who will be attending the conference?  ▾

Each HIGHER conference brings together roughly 50 women who work at nearby institutions of higher learning. We welcome women in faculty and staff positions across all higher education areas and levels to join in this close-knit professional development experience. 

In 2019 alone, more than 1,000 women from 300+ institutions attended HIGHER in cities across the US. While a majority of 2019 attendees were Dean or Director-level, attendees more junior in their careers also found the conference highly beneficial for better understanding various career paths in higher education and connecting with similarly ambitious peers.

Wisr welcomes participants of diverse backgrounds, including those of diverse gender identities. We are committed to championing the careers and personal wellbeing of all women, including cisgender and transgender individuals. When we use the term “women” it is wholeheartedly inclusive of transgender women.

What topics will we discuss at HIGHER?  ▾

The conference will cover issues affecting women's opportunity for advancement in higher education, including negotiation skills, bias and discrimination, pay equity, mentorship and sponsorship, networking, confidence and imposter syndrome, and more. The program is not designed as a lecture. Rather, sessions are highly interactive, allowing attendees to guide the conversation.

Is there space for conversation around intersectionality?  ▾

Absolutely yes. While HIGHER is organized around the larger umbrella of women in higher education, attendees are encouraged to share their unique intersectional perspectives. This is an opportunity to inform, listen, and learn from one another, even if our experiences may differ. 

Why is each conference capped at 55 attendees?  ▾

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 conference is intentionally capped at 55 attendees to allow for that close-knit, collaborative environment.

What does it cost to attend HIGHER?  ▾

Regular admission for one individual costs $80. A limited number (10) of Early Bird tickets are available on a first-come, first-served basis and cost $50.

We also encourage institutions and teams to take advantage of HIGHER's discounted group rate. The group rate for 5 or more people is $50 per person. One person can register for their team. To take advantage of the group rate:

- There must be 5 or more in the group
- All registrations will be paid with a single credit card
- All email addresses must have the institution’s domain name

Pricing Overview
Early Bird Individual Registration (10 available tickets): $50
Regular Individual Registration: $80
Group Registration (5+ people): $50

How can I register for HIGHER?  ▾

We're thrilled you're ready to join the HIGHER movement! Tickets for each city are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Registration for all upcoming conferences can be found here.

After submitting payment, you will receive an email confirmation. If you do not receive an email, reach out to higher@wisr.io to confirm that your space has been reserved. (Check your spam folders, too. Those can be pesky!)

If the city you're interested in attending is at capacity, please join the waitlist. We'll notify you as soon as space becomes available. 

Why isn't HIGHER going to be free in 2020?  ▾

We were incredibly fortunate to be able to offer HIGHER as a free professional development opportunity in 2019 – its inaugural year. To make the series as sustainable as possible, moving forward, these will be ticketed events as there are many costs associated with putting on a national conference series including facilities, rentals, technology, AV, meals, refreshments, program development, production, printing, labor, and Wisr team travel. We are committed to setting registration fees as low as possible to remain accessible while creating an optimized attendee experience.

I can no longer attend. Can I cancel or transfer my registration?  ▾

Attendees can receive refunds up to 30 days before the conference date. This can be done by re-accessing your online registration. In the unlikely event that the conference is cancelled, travel and accommodation costs will not be refunded.

If you can no longer attend this date but would like to transfer your registration to another HIGHER city, please contact higher@wisr.io.

Can you help me coordinate travel and accommodations?  ▾

All travel, including airfare and local accommodations, is the responsibility of conference attendees. Logistics related to public transportation and parking will be shared with conference registrants in the weeks prior to the event date.

Will there be a private room for nursing mothers?  ▾

Of course, new moms are welcome at HIGHER! We will arrange a private space for pumping upon request. Please contact higher@wisr.io to request a space. 

Who is Wisr and why are you organizing HIGHER?  ▾

Allow us to introduce ourselves! Wisr is an education technology company based in Cleveland, Ohio. We build networking software that colleges and universities typically use to connect their students with alumni for mentorship. <

As a (female-led) company, we've spent a lot of time reflecting on how technology can democratize access to opportunity. It's why Kate Volzer, our founder, feels so passionate about the potential for Wisr to support the academic and professional careers of first-gen, under-represented, and military students. It's also why, when we learned more about the lack of representation of women in senior leadership positions in higher education, we felt compelled to do something about it. 

In January 2019, we launched the HIGHER series in 23 cities across the US. The goal was to impact the careers of 500 women. We were amazed and inspired by the thousands of women who wanted to join the movement. Our role at each conference is not to tell you how to fix the problems in higher education. Rather, we work to create space for women to come together to share lessons learned and strategies with each other.  As part of our commitment to women in higher education, we also created the HIGHER Network, the largest digital community of women in higher education. All attendees have access to join the network to share resources, seek mentorship, and expand their national networks.