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.
HIGHER Durham will take place on January 21, 2020 from 8:30 AM to 4:00 PM. Stay tuned for more details on the venue.
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
9:00 AM — WELCOME + KICK OFF
9:30 AM — REFLECT WORKSHOP
10:45 AM — BREAK
11:00 AM — INSPIRE SPEAKER 1
11:20 AM — INSPIRE SPEAKER 2
11:40 AM — INSPIRE SPEAKER 3
12:00 PM — LUNCH + NETWORKING
12:45 PM — INSPIRE PANEL Q+A
1:15 PM — BREAK
1:25 PM — HIGHER + BEYOND: Resources to Continue the Conversation
1:45 PM — ACT SOLUTION WORKSHOP
3:00 PM - BREAK + BUSINESS CARD SWAP
3:20 PM - ACT PLAN
3:40 PM — RESOURCES + FEEDBACK
3:45 PM — CLOSING REMARKS
Associate Vice Provost for Diversity Engagement, Training and Education at North Carolina State University
Stephanie Helms Pickett holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Radio & Television Broadcasting from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale; and a Master’s and Doctorate degree in Higher Education Administration from North Carolina State University. She has worked at private, public, single-sex, predominantly White and historically Black institutions of higher education, in residence life, commuter life, multicultural affairs, orientation, leadership, international student affairs, disability services, academic support services and as an Education Consultant with the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction.
Most recently, Dr. Helms Pickett was appointed as the Associate Vice Provost for Diversity Engagement, Training and Education in the Office for Institutional Equity and Diversity at North Carolina State University. Prior to the appointment, over the last 12 years, she served as the Director of Assessment and Professional Development, as well as the Director of the Women’s Center in the Division of Student Affairs at Duke University. Dr. Helms Pickett has held faculty appointments at Bennett College for Women, Walden University, Duke University and Grand Canyon University. Her research interests are in the areas of higher education policy, women’s engagement, cultural competency and leadership. She most recently served as board president of the Interfaith Prison Ministry for Women which engages in preparing incarcerated women for reentry. She is married, with two young adults.
She is a member of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro Graduate Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated. She is the author of three books, “Later Never Came Until Now,” “Her Name Is SHE” and “Worshipper in the Workplace.” Dr. Helms Pickett writes a weekly blog that may be found on the website, drhelmspickett.com.
President at Meredith College
Jo Allen, Ph.D., Meredith College Class of 1980, took office as the eighth president of the College on July 1, 2011. She is the first Meredith College alumna to assume leadership of the 128-year-old institution, one of the largest private colleges for women in the United States. Allen brought her extensive experience as a faculty member, administrator, and scholar to her current role.
A North Carolina native, Allen earned her Master’s degree from East Carolina University and her doctorate from Oklahoma State University. Both her M.A. and her Ph.D. are in English literature, with an emphasis in Technical and Professional Communication. Her B.A. from Meredith is also in English. She served as tenured associate professor of English at East Carolina University and tenured associate professor at North Carolina State University in addition to her administrative roles. Dr. Allen was an American Council on Education Fellow at the University of Virginia.
Allen previously served as senior vice president and provost, and tenured professor of English, at Widener University, in Chester, PA. There she oversaw academic and student affairs on four campuses in two states for approximately 6,500 students and more than 700 full- and part-time faculty. Other leadership positions held by Allen at East Carolina University and at North Carolina State University include special assistant positions for various projects, as well as associate vice provost and interim vice provost.
Allen has made numerous contributions to the advancement of higher education. She has been the featured speaker and facilitator at programs including the American Council on Education Chief Academic Officer’s Institute and the Pennsylvania State University's Academic Leadership Academy. She was a Commissioner for Middle States Commission on Higher Education, for whom she also led training workshops on assessment and led site visits for regional and international institutions’ accreditation. She also served on the Board of Trustees and has been a frequent site reviewer for the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) Commission on Colleges.
She has been recognized by Meredith College as a Distinguished Alumna and by East Carolina University as an Outstanding Woman of ECU.
Currently, she is chair of the Executive Board and serves on the Audit Committee and the Administration Committee for the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (NAICU). She is also the past treasurer and current vice chair of the North Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities (NCICU). She serves on the Presidents’ Council of the Cooperating Raleigh Colleges and on the Presidents' Council of USA South, Meredith's athletic conference. In addition, she is a member of the Raleigh Chamber of Commerce Board of Advisors.
Associate Vice President for Student Affairs & Dean of Students at Duke University
For the past thirty-eight years (except for a brief nine-month hiatus to practice law), Sue Wasiolek has worked in the Division of Student Affairs at Duke University. In her role as Associate Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students she has oversight
for student health, wellness education and programming, counseling and psychological services, crisis response, student conduct, and parent and student veterans’ programs. She has served for over thirty-five years as an academic advisor to freshmen and sophomores and has taught courses in education, law and cultural anthropology. Sue has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Science Education, a Master of Health and Hospital Administration and a Master of Law degree from Duke. She has also completed a Juris Doctor degree from North Carolina Central University and a Doctor of Education from the University of Pennsylvania.
Having served as a peer reviewer for the NCAA, Sue enjoys intercollegiate athletics from an intellectual and spectator perspective. Her master’s of law thesis was entitled “Intercollegiate Athletics and Federal Income Tax Policy” while her doctoral dissertation focused on the efficacy of the NCAA self-study certification process.
In 2008, Sue co-authored a book entitled, “Getting the Best Out of College,” with the second edition released in March 2012.
Sue currently resides in an all-freshman residence hall at Duke and loves it!
Director of the Women’s Center at Wake Forest University and Higher Facilitator
Steph Trilling (she/her/hers) serves as the Director of the Women’s Center at Wake Forest University. She is part of the Diversity and Inclusion Leadership Team and is co-chair of the Culture of Respect Initiative aimed at preventing sexual misconduct on campus. Steph is committed to bolstering gender equity on campus by fostering leadership opportunities for women and building a diverse and welcoming community where all individuals are valued, respected, and able to thrive. Prior to coming to Wake Forest, Steph was a staff clinician and the director of community awareness and prevention services at BARCC, one of the oldest and largest sexual assault service organizations in the country, She has served on local, statewide, and national coalitions related to gender based violence prevention and is a nationally recognized trainer on these topics. Outside of her work, she is invested in giving back to her community and currently serves on the Board of Directors for North Star LGBTQ Center in Winston-Salem, NC. She holds a Masters degree in Social Work from Salem State University and a Bachelor of Arts in History from UMASS Amherst.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
Early Bird Individual Registration (10 available tickets): $50
Regular Individual Registration: $80
Group Registration (5+ people): $50
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
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.
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 email@example.com.
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.
Of course, new moms are welcome at HIGHER! We will arrange a private space for pumping upon request. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to request a space.
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.