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.
Chief Diversity and Belonging Officer at Bowling Green State University
Jennifer McCary is currently Chief Diversity and Belonging Officer at Bowling Green State University, where she previously served as Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs and Title IX Coordinator. She is a nationally recognized expert in Title IX and sexual assault prevention and education and has proven a tremendous asset to BGSU.
Previously at Gettysburg University, McCary was responsible for coordinating and implementing the college’s Title IX compliance efforts and overseeing its sexual assault prevention, education, and adjudication efforts. She has experience in writing, monitoring, and enforcing policies on sexual misconduct and relationship violence for students, faculty and staff, and leads and implements campus-wide training, education, and outreach efforts related to Title IX, bystander intervention, sexual misconduct, relationship violence, and stalking.
Provost and Executive Vice President of Academic Affairs at Ball State University
Susana Rivera-Mills became provost and executive vice president for academic affairs at Ball State University in July 2018. As provost, she oversees all aspects of our academic mission, including supporting leadership for all academic units. She plays a crucial role in the development and implementation of our strategic plan.
She brings extensive administrative experience, and her passion to connect universities to their communities. Susana’s goal is to create a learning environment where all students can access a high-quality education and succeed in order to reach their full potential.
Before coming to Ball State, she served as vice provost for academic programs and learning innovation at Oregon State University. There, she served in other key positions including dean of undergraduate studies and was professor of Spanish linguistics and diversity advancement.
As a first-generation college student, Susana understands the transformative power of education. She earned her bachelor’s in Spanish and a master’s in Spanish linguistics from the University of Iowa. Her doctorate is from the University of New Mexico. Susana’s research focuses on Latino communities, Spanish language and culture, issues in sociolinguistics, as well as online teaching and learning.
In addition, she is a strong advocate for the advancement of women in leadership positions. Susana has been involved in developing mentoring and leadership programs for faculty and students, building community partnerships, advancing student engagement and success strategies, promoting internationalization, participating in engaged research, and advancing initiatives around equity and inclusion.
When she is not busy at work, she spends her time with her family hiking and biking, and walking with the family dog, Boomer, a Bernese Mountain Dog.
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.
The summit will take place on August 27, 2019 from 8:30 AM to 4:00 PM in Toledo, OH. We'll gather at The Summit Conference Center in downtown Toledo.
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.
Attending the summit is 100% free for all women working in higher education. To reach a wide spread of women, registration is limited to ten (10) individuals per institution. You'll receive a confirmation email after registering followed by additional details approximately two weeks before the summit.