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.
Dean of the School of Arts, Science & Business at Chatham University
Dr. Darlene Motley, formerly the Dean of Chatham College for Graduate Studies, became the inaugural Dean of the School of Arts, Science & Business, where she oversees the majority of Chatham’s current undergraduate programs as well as several graduate programs in the Sciences and Business. Dr. Motley joined Chatham in 2013 after successive career progressions at Robert Morris University (RMU) where she concluded her tenure there in the role of Associate Dean for the Business School.
Her career at RMU faculty positions included achieving the position of full Professor with tenure, Program Director of Human Resource Management and the Department Chair of Management. She holds a Ph.D. in Organizational Behavior with a minor in International Business from the Katz Graduate School of Business at the University of Pittsburgh, an M.B.A. from the University of Chicago where she also completed an exchange at the London Business School, London England, and a B.S in Industrial Engineering from the University of Pittsburgh.
Upon Dr. Motley's appointment to her current role, Chatham's President, Dr. Esther Barazonne, stated, “Dr. Motley has distinguished herself as the Dean of Chatham’s College for Graduate Studies since joining Chatham. She will play an integral role in leading and overseeing our high-quality liberal arts and business programs at the undergraduate and graduate level. We look forward to her continued excellence and leadership as she undertakes this new and important position.”
Senior Vice Chancellor for Engagement and Secretary to the Board of Trustees at the University of Pittsburgh
Dr. Kathy Humphrey serves as the University of Pittsburgh’s Senior Vice Chancellor for Engagement and Secretary of the Board of Trustees. In these roles, she oversees the University’s internal and external relations, focusing on facilitating business engagement, strategic initiatives and partnerships and government interaction at all levels.
Dr. Humphrey has earned numerous awards and recognitions throughout her career, including the YWCA Tribute to Women Leadership Award, 2016 Nellie Leadership Award and distinction as one of the New Pittsburgh Courier’s “50 Women of Excellence.” She also earned the Pitt African American Alumni Council’s Sankofa Award, which honors community members who have offered outstanding education support to students of African descent.
Outside the University, Dr. Humphrey serves on the Board of Directors of the Three Rivers Adoption Council, Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh, Leadership Pittsburgh and Forbes Funds. She also serves on the Executive Committee of the International Women’s Fellows of Pittsburgh.
In 2013, the U.S. Secretary of Transportation appointed Humphrey to the Advisory Council for the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy where she served for four years.
Dr. Humphrey earned a Bachelor of Science at Central Missouri State University (now the University of Central Missouri), a Master of Arts at the University of Missouri-Kansas City and a doctorate in educational leadership at Saint Louis University. She also maintains a faculty appointment in Pitt’s School of Education.
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.
Kate is heavily involved in Cleveland’s entrepreneurial community as the Chair of the JumpStart Leader’s Council and serving on the DigitalC Fund Advisory Board. Kate was a member 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, but now resides in Rocky River. When she’s not working on building Wisr, Kate is probably practicing yoga, 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 May 21, 2019 from 8:30 AM to 4:00 PM in Pittsburgh, PA. We'll gather on the University of Pittsburgh's campus at the William Pitt Union.
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.