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 DC will take place on January 22, 2020 from 8:30 AM to 4:00 PM at Constitution Hall on American University's campus.
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 President for Student Equity and Inclusion at Georgetown University
Dr. Adanna J. Johnson serves as the Associate Vice President for Student Equity and Inclusion and leads the Office of Student Equity and Inclusion (OSEI) at Georgetown University. The OSEI is an umbrella office for the Center for Multicultural Equity and Access, the Community Scholars Program, and the Georgetown Scholars Program. In her role, Dr. Johnson provides leadership for a broad range of work focused on student access and success, diversity and inclusion work with students, consults with schools and units across the institution, and contributes to Georgetown’s work with the American Talent Initiative.
Dr. Johnson completed her undergraduate degree in Psychology at Prairie View A&M University in Texas, and both her Master’s in Counseling and Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology at Marquette University. Prior to coming to Georgetown, she was a member of the Loyola University Maryland faculty as an Associate Professor of Psychology and Director of the African and African American Studies Program. At Loyola, she also co-chaired the institutional Racial Justice Training Implementation. She has published extensively on a range of topics, with a particular focus on cultural competence and recruitment and retention of underrepresented groups in higher education. She is a licensed psychologist and her extensive clinical experience further deepens the perspectives she brings to her work. Additionally, she is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated, is a certified Nia Technique dance teacher, and a comedian.
Vice President for Access and Enrollment Management at James Madison University
Donna Harper is the Vice President for Access and Enrollment Management at JMU. She has served in various positions at the university since graduating in 1977 including Assistant Dean of Students, Director of Health and Recreation, Associate Vice President for Students Affairs and Executive Assistant to the President. She has enjoyed the various roles and responsibilities she has had the opportunity to have and strives to encourage and support others at the university to find their passion. As an undergraduate she played field hockey and is a member of Alpha Sigma Alpha. She continues to be involved through the Duke Club and advising ASA. Donna also serves as the co-coordinator of the College Student Personnel Administration graduate program and teaches a graduate class in the program.
Donna enjoys working in the community and currently serves on the Rockingham Educational Foundation and The Community Foundation, serving as officers on both boards. She received her B.S. in Business, M.S. in Counselor Education/College Student Personnel Administration, and Ed.S. in Counselor Education from JMU. She and her husband, Randy, live in Port Republic and their two children also graduated from JMU. They both enjoy “babysitting” their two grandchildren (who already know how to say “Go Dukes!”).
Dean, School of Education at American University
Dr. Cheryl Holcomb-McCoy joined AU in 2016 as the Dean of the School of Education. Previous to this role, Dr. Holcomb-McCoy served as the Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs (central administration) and Vice Dean of Academic Affairs (in the School of Education) at Johns Hopkins University. She has held appointments as Professor and department chair at Johns Hopkins’ School of Education, Associate Professor of Counselor Education at the University of Maryland, College Park and Assistant Professor and Director of the School Counseling Program at Brooklyn College of the City University of New York.
Professional colleagues have recognized her with many awards for outstanding multicultural/diversity research, excellence in teaching, and exemplar service. She served as a Faculty Lilly Fellow at the University of Maryland and in 2016, she was selected as an American Counseling Association (ACA) Fellow for her significant contributions in scientific achievement and teaching/training. Because of her expertise in college advising and counseling, Dr. Holcomb-McCoy was selected to participate as a consultant to the Obama Administration's Reach Higher Initiative. In July 2014, she was one of the plenary speakers at the White House's Summit on Higher Education held at Harvard University.
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.
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 email@example.com 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 email@example.com 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.