The Way Up

Developing Women Leaders to Enhance Iowa Higher Education

Keynote Speakers - 2023

Thursday, November 2, 2023

9:45-10:30 am  Opening Keynote Speaker:

Dr. Marjorie Hass
President, Council of Independent Colleges

"Women Leading Change"

Successful higher education leaders create meaningful change even in the face of challenge, uncertainty, and resistance. In this presentation, Dr.Hass describes the essence of change leadership and provides success tools for leaders at every stage and role within an institution.


Marjorie Hass is a philosopher, leader, award-winning teacher, mentor, author, and an influential thinker in independent higher education. She has led the Council of Independent Colleges since 2021. Hass is inspired by CIC’s impact on hundreds of member institutions and the more than two million students they serve. She is committed to ensuring CIC remains a valuable resource to help independent colleges and universities live out their unique missions vibrantly and fully. She guides CIC's programming to ensure it engages a diverse membership; supports member financial health and innovation; and strengthens CIC's role as a champion of independent higher education. A philosopher by training, Hass earned bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees in philosophy from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She has published widely on the philosophy of language, logic, and feminist philosophy and speaks frequently on leadership, shared governance, and the independent sector in higher education. She is the author of A Leadership Guide for Women in Higher Education (Johns Hopkins Press, 2021). Insightful and relevant, Hass combines first-hand leadership experience with data-informed analysis. She has a deep understanding of the challenges presidents face and compassion and admiration for the work they and other campus leaders do. Before joining CIC, Hass served as president of Rhodes College and of Austin College. She also served at Muhlenberg College as a member of the philosophy faculty and as provost. Hass was a member of the CIC Board of Directors from 2012 to 2016. She also has served as a board member of the Association of American Colleges & Universities and as former chair of the board of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities. She is currently a member of the Board of Trustees at Brandeis University.

12:00-1:30 pm   Lunch

The Way Up Scholarship and Recognition Awards:

* Carol Rocklin Kay Memorial Scholarship
* Eunice A. Dell Memorial Scholarship
*“Iowa Community Colleges Support The Way Up” Scholarship

* Recognition Award

5:30 - 7:30pm   Evening Banquet with Dinner Speaker

Dinner Speaker

Mo Collins
Entrepreneurial Communities

"Women Rising: A Way Forward into Disruptive Times"

An array of emerging technologies promise to disrupt education in the coming decade. Across the country, women in higher ed are guiding our institutions through these tumultuous times as we reimagine our institutions, our communities and our lives in the opening days of Artificial Intelligence, Virtual Reality, the Internet of Things and more. 


Mo Collins is the CEO at Entrepreneurial Communities, a ten-year old consultancy supporting entrepreneurs and the communities where they thrive. Her team delivers research, speaking and feasibility studies for entrepreneurial ecosystems. Mo is well known in the entrepreneurship speaking and education field. She develops curriculum and delivers courses for the International Economic Development Council (IEDC), the OU Economic Development Institute and universities and chambers of commerce in fifteen states. She is a popular speaker at the intersection of women, technology and entrepreneurship. 

Prior to Entrepreneurial Communities, Collins held progressive, senior-level roles at the University of Northern Iowa. She led the development of two business incubators and the launch of multiple award-winning tech-based entrepreneurship resources, several of which were scaled and licensed. She built the Iowa Annual Survey of Small Business and Entrepreneurs and co-authored multiple peer-reviewed publications and white papers based upon those findings.   Mo has earned personal and professional awards for her field work from the International Economic Development Council (IEDC), the University Economic Development Association (UEDA), the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO), The Technology Association of Iowa, MidAmerican Economic Development Association and multiple awards from the Association of Small Business Development Centers (ASBDC).


Friday, November 3, 2023

11:30 - 1:30 pm Lunch

Closing Speaker:

Dr. Toyia Younger
Senior Vice President for Student Affairs
Iowa State University

 “But I Don’t Wanna Change!”

We all know that change is inevitable. But many of us—including myself—can be hesitant to adopting new processes, procedures, work dynamics, relationships…the list goes on! We all have a lot going on in our lives and change is just one more thing to worry about. How do we navigate uncertainty in the work that we do? Together, we can share experiences and ideas of how change has been successful and help ease the burden of accepting that we must change in order to thrive and survive.  


Dr. Toyia K. Younger assumed the position of Senior Vice President for Student Affairs at Iowa State University on August 17, 2020.  In this role, she provides strategic leadership to the Division of Student Affairs, which encompasses a broad and diverse portfolio of student-centered departments, offices, and teams organized into three units that include Campus Life, the Dean of Students Office, and Student Health and Wellness. With over 650 professional staff and 800 student employees, the Division of Student Affairs shares one common goal: challenge and empower students to succeed as productive citizens and leaders in a diverse community.

Dr. Younger’s research and areas of expertise focus on higher education opportunity and access including community colleges, transfer students, college readiness and preparation, and underserved student populations. She serves on the Advisory Board for the National Institute for the Study of Transfer Students and is an executive committee member of the Council on Student Affairs at the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities.  An expert on a wide range of higher education topics, Dr. Younger has also been invited to serve as a keynote speaker and given numerous presentations at a variety of regional, national, and international conferences focused on student affairs, leadership development, community colleges, and transfer students.

Dr. Younger formerly served as the Vice President for Leadership Development and Partnerships at the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) from 2016-2020 where she provided oversight for the creation and delivery of programs that advanced the mission and priorities of nearly 400 state colleges and universities across the United States. Dr. Younger also served as the Associate Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs with the Minnesota State College and University System (Minnesota State) from 2014-2016. In this role, she served as the chief student affairs officer for the system and provided support and advocacy for all student affairs functions on 31 college and university campuses.  In addition to her student affairs responsibilities, she also served as the interim Chief Diversity Officer providing overall leadership and direction for developing, implementing, and monitoring programs and processes that promoted and sustained access, diversity, and equity throughout the system.  She has also held positions as Assistant Provost at Towson University in Maryland and Director of Student Affairs for the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities.  A native of Flint, Michigan, Dr. Younger holds a doctorate in Education Policy from the University of Maryland College Park, a Master of Arts in Counseling and Student Development from Trinity University, and a Bachelor of Arts in Social Relations from Michigan State University. 



Back to 2023 Conference Materials