The Way Up

Developing Women Leaders to Enhance Iowa Higher Education

Concurrent Sessions - 2023

Thursday, November 2

10:45 – 12:00      Contributed and Invited Presentations I

Creating Access for Students with Disabilities

Michelle Laughlin, Director, Access & Success, Drake University

More and more students entering higher education report having a disability. In this interactive session, participants will discuss various ways to best accommodate students to make college accessible. Participants will also discuss strategies to help students focus on their abilities and get the most out of their college experience.


Higher Education Leadership in Changing Times

Rachel Dykstra Boon, Chief Academic Officer, Iowa Board of Regents

Naomi DeWinter, EdD; President, Muscatine Community College; Vice Chancellor for Student Development
Amy C. Novak, EdD, President, St. Ambrose University
Marsha Kelliher, JD, LL.M, Former President (retired), Simpson College

The average tenure of a college president is now 5.9 years. Challenges such as public health emergencies, enrollment declines and political polarization create a high-pressure environment where it is a delicate balance between acting quickly and making decisions with strategic vision. The panelists will talk about their experiences in addressing emerging crises and in times of transition. In addition, they will address how a vision for the future serves as a guidepost through challenging moments.


Hands-on Technology – Tools and Tricks to Enhance Your Productivity

Magdalena Galloway, Instructor, Curriculum & Instruction, University of Northern Iowa

Whether you're a tech-savvy professional or just starting to embrace technology, this session offers something for everyone. We will have fun with AI and learn about simple and free tech tools to automate tasks, analyze data, alleviate stress, and make our lives easier. We'll touch on the concept of computational thinking—a cognitive approach inspired by the principles of computer science to gain a deeper understanding of how computational thinking can sharpen your problem-solving skills and improve critical thinking, enabling you to break down complex challenges into manageable components and approach them systematically. During this hands-on session, you'll have the opportunity to exchange ideas, share experiences, and unlock fresh perspectives on using technology to enhance productivity. PLEASE BRING YOUR MOBILE DEVICE.

Social Justice from Within: Including Student Voices Within Student Affairs  

Nina Grant, Vice President of Student Affairs, Hawkeye Community College
Rhonda McRina, Director of Student Connection and Experience, Hawkeye Community College

“For justice to occur, all voices must be heard. For justice to occur, all voices must be free to speak their truth. For justice to occur, we must attend to all voices”(Scheyett, 2021).

The broadest definition of social justice is the view that everyone should have just access to wealth, resources, opportunities, and privileges. The application of a social justice lens to higher education raises questions about and makes arguments for striving for equity and justice for all within the higher education community in light of existing disparities. These are important issues given that higher education systems were arguably designed by the privileged for the privileged and, despite ongoing efforts to promote equity, are still systems that are structurally hierarchical and inequitable in terms of power, access, and resources, which affects institutional policies, procedures, and processes. We will share some more equitable ways of working, thinking, and supporting students based on the acknowledgment that everyone has valuable expertise to contribute and how making room for student voices within and throughout student affairs can transform our campuses.


1:45 – 3:00        Contributed and Invited Presentations II

Emotional Intelligence in Leadership: on Humility, Brene Brown, and Neuroscience

Oksana Grybovych Hafermann, EdD, Chief of Staff, Professor, Office of the President, University of Northern Iowa

More than a decade ago, psychologist Daniel Goleman wrote in the Harvard Business Review, “The most effective leaders are all alike in one crucial way: They all have a high degree of what has come to be known as emotional intelligence. It’s not that IQ and technical skills are irrelevant. They do matter, but...they are the entry-level requirements for executive positions.” Since then, emotional intelligence has become recognized as a must-have leadership skill. When infused into servant leadership, it creates a relationship with self and encourages relationships with others in an authentic way. Emotionally intelligent leaders are more likely to stay calm under pressure, resolve conflict effectively, and respond with empathy. However, becoming aware and educated in emotional intelligence does not always come intuitively. This session will explore the core elements of emotional intelligence and offer strategies to improve your EI.


How to Navigate the Changing Legal Landscape in Higher Education

Rebecca Reif, Attorney, Ailers & Cooney

From Title IX to Constitutional free speech to ADA accommodation, higher education institutions confront daily legal compliance issues. In many of these areas, the law is subject to shifting agency guidance, new statutes and regulations, and court decisions. This presentation is designed not only to identify emerging trends in higher education law, but to present strategies for assessing and handling common and challenging scenarios.


What's it like to be LGBTQ on the Way Up?

Erica Spiller, Vice President of Student Affairs, DMACC

Susan Harper, Director, Center for LGBTQIA+ Student Success, Iowa State
Jocelyn Krueger, Collections Manager/Registrar, Grinnell College Museum of Art
Susan Hill, Department Head, Philosophy & World Religions, University of Northern Iowa

These professionals will discuss various issues that LGBTQ higher education professionals face in today's workplace and higher ed environment.


Deliver on Your Promises: Identifying and Removing Systemic Barriers for Historically Excluded Students

Janine Baeza, Associate Director of Freshman Recruitment & Access, University of Northern Iowa
Jesús Lizárraga Estrada Ed.D., Director of Student Success & Retention, University of Northern Iowa

This interactive session will provide participants with data and implications for policy and practice in higher education impacting historically excluded populations from enrolling and completing postsecondary education. Presenters will provide examples of successful initiatives they have implemented to best serve and assist historically marginalized students.


3:15 – 4:30        Contributed and Invited Presentations III

AI in Higher Education: Unleashing Potential, Navigating Impact

Ivy Schuster, IT Training Specialist and Software Contract & Licensing Manager, Grinnell College

Disa Cornish, PhD, CHES, Associate Professor, Public Health, University of Northern Iowa
Maggie Jesse, Executive Director, ITS Office of Teaching, Learning & Technology, University of Iowa
Joshua Moris, MISM (Master's of Information Systems Management), Instructor of Computer Science, Clarke University

This panel discussion will delve into the world of Conversational AI, focusing on its nature, applications, and profound implications for higher education. In this session, esteemed experts and thought leaders will shed light on the revolutionary technology of Chat GPT, providing insights into what it is, how it can be effectively utilized, and its transformative potential in the educational landscape. Moreover, the panelists will explore the ethical considerations, privacy concerns, and social implications that accompany the integration of Conversational AI in educational settings. This thought-provoking discussion aims to equip participants with the knowledge and foresight necessary to harness the power of Chat GPT responsibly, ensuring its positive impact on higher education while upholding the values of inclusivity, equity, and academic integrity. (This session's title and description were generated by Chat GPT.)


Fostering a Culture Where Diverse Perspectives are Valued 

Trevalova Augustin, MSW, Office of Asian and Pacific Islander Affairs, Iowa Dept. of Human Rights
Ilima Young-Dunn, LMSW, Professor and Chair of Human Services, Des Moines Area Community College
Fransisco Mota, MSW Candidate at University of Iowa; Early Services Program Caseworker, Orchard Place PACE Center

A diverse campus community holds the promise of enriching the learning experience of all students. It further helps all of us understand multiple perspectives and new ideas, thus enriching our lives. Join us to learn more about Iowa's rising student demographics and why continuing DEI efforts are both important and possible in today's higher education world.


How to Thrive in a Multi-Generational Workplace

Katharine Johnson Suski (she/her), Assistant Vice President for Enrollment Management & Executive Director of Admissions and New Student Programs, Iowa State University

The workforce is constantly evolving, while the higher education workplace can be slow to change. The structure of many offices in higher education, which often includes undergraduate and graduate student team members, leads to several generations working alongside one another. This session will offer practical tips for leading and working in a multi-generational team, so everyone can not only survive, but thrive.


Exploring Engagement and Retention of First-year Gen Z Post Pandemic

Danielle Martinez, Director of Student Retention, University of Iowa
Tina Arthur, Director of Orientation Services, University of Iowa

How is Gen Z showing up in their first year after experiencing part of their high school years in a virtual world and global pandemic? Explore trends, successes, and challenges first-year students are experiencing and see how the University of Iowa uses data to connect with students in a changed world.  Click here for Presentation.

Friday, November 3

8:45 – 10:00       Contributed and Invited Presentations IV

Navigating the Changing Landscape of Credentialing in Higher Education

Danielle McGeough, Interim Director of Women's and Gender Studies, University of Northern Iowa
Gabriela Olivares Cuhat, Associate Dean of Research and Curriculum Development of the Graduate College, Research Integrity Officer, University of Northern Iowa
Marcy Seavey, STEM Coordinator, Academic Affairs, University of Northern Iowa
Alicia Rosburg, Professor of Economics, Interim Department Head of Economics & MBA Program Coordinator, University of Northern Iowa

Alternative and micro-credentials encourage lifelong learning and open pathways for students with a diverse set of backgrounds, needs, and career goals. In this highly interactive session, we'll explore the diverse range of alternative and micro-credential options available to students and professionals seeking to build their skillsets. Whether you're interested in badges, bootcamps, certificates or other forms of non-traditional credentialing, this session will provide valuable insights and strategies for navigating the changing landscape of credentialing in higher education. Presenters will share their journey learning about alternative credentials as a part of the University of Northern Iowa Academic Positioning.  Click here for Presentation.


 “They are Essential”: Exploring the Femtor (and Mentor) Role in Higher Education

 Kayla Lucht, Ed.D,. Communication Professor, Des Moines Area Community College

Despite community colleges being a feminized space (Ward & Wolf-Wendel, 2017), women are still marginalized (Aiston & Fo, 2021) in senior-leadership positions (ACE, 2017) and as faculty members, who play a key role in the institution. One way women faculty members navigate their careers and overcome these gender inequities and barriers is by having a femtor (female mentoring) network to help guide, support, and empower them. In this highly interactive session, participants will be asked to participate in activities and discussion as a way to explore the reality of femtor networks, how we build them, and how we use them.  Click here for Presentation.


Women of Color in Higher Education: An Open Discussion

Rashandra Oatis,  Administrative Assistant to the Dean of Manufacturing & Skilled Trades, Scott Community College

Angela Ibrahim-Olin, Associate Dean, Accountability and Care, University of Iowa
Jeanette Thomas, Education Consultant for Equity, Iowa Department of Education, Bureau of Career and Technical Education
Revathi Rajagopal (Raja-go-paul) Vongsiprasom (Vong-see-prah-sum), Dean of Opportunity and Engagement, Western Iowa Tech Community College
Camelia Rubalcada, Dean of Student Success, Hood College
Dr. Dalila Sajadian, Director of Learning Support Division, North Iowa Area Community College

This panel session is a focus on issues impacting women of color in historically white institutions in Iowa. Discussion will evolve around identity, gender, class and policy implications influencing the lived experiences of black and brown women in higher education administration. The conversation will also include in-depth discussion with session attendees who are encouraged to interact and discover best practices and strategies of practicing inclusive leadership through an equity lens. Panelists will be asked to share recommendations for personal self-care and professional development plans.


Thriving at Work: Strategies for Maximizing Your Personal Wellbeing and Support of Others

Trisha Welter, MPH, Associate Director, Student Wellness, The University of Iowa

The last few years have been difficult for so many reasons, with many variables beyond our control. What can we do for ourselves and others amid challenging times like these? This session will focus on how to thrive at work, with strategies for personal wellbeing, as well as tangible steps for improving the wellbeing of those you work with. We all have the potential to positively influence our workplace culture.


10:15 – 11:30      Contributed and Invited Presentations V


A White Middle-Class Professor Unpacks Her Backpack of Privilege: A Transformative Learning Experience

Marti Doyle, PhD, MSW, Social Science and Bioethics Professor, Mercy College of Health Sciences

Transformative learning involves developing ways to challenge students to critically examine their current attitudes, assumptions, and beliefs. It can be challenging to provide transformative opportunities for students to understand how factors such as race, religious beliefs, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, and gender identity can affect access to critical societal resources.  Students are often reluctant to examine how their own social statuses have provided them with privileges that are often inaccessible to others. This presentation will demonstrate how educators can use Peggy McIntosh’s “ White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack” to unpack their own privilege backpack as a way of modeling how students can examine the role privilege may have played in their own individual life chances.


Change Management Essentials: How to Mobilize Your People Around Change When Stakes are High

Blair Wagner, Asst. Director of Change Management and Consulting, University of Iowa

Even well-planned initiatives with good solutions won’t succeed if your employees don’t get on board. Join us as we explore how to mobilize your people around change to deliver the expected outcomes. We’ll cover how to effectively manage change on two levels: the organization and the individual employee. We’ll clarify key roles in typical higher ed change initiatives and explore who needs to do what. You’ll learn the #1 reason employees resist change and what you can do to help them embrace change.


Are you retirement ready?

Darlas Shockley, EdS, Executive Dean, Emeritus, Indian Hills Community College

Kim Linduska, Ph.D., Executive Vice President, Emeritus, Des Moines Area Community College
Mike Finley, aka The Crazy Man in the Pink Wig, Executive Director with The Giving Solution
Kristin Griffith, SHIIP/SMP Director, Iowa Insurance Division

Whether retirement is just around the corner or years from now, it is never to early to start planning. The average American spends roughly 20 years in retirement. We spend our lives working hard and dreaming of the day we can retire. Planning for retirement means more than dreaming, it means begin strategic and focused.  Click here for Mike Finley's Q&A after the conference.


Mental Health Support: What are Students Saying?

Dr. Heidi L. Clark, EdD, MSN, RN, Grand Canyon University

As we identify our own personal support systems, which are foundational to mental health, what are students identifying as a valuable attribute on campus? The session is an opportunity to dive deeper into understanding the multifaceted attributes of supporting students’ mental health.  Click here for Presentation.



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