2011 Conference

2023 Conference Attendees

The Way Up XXV Conference

"Celebrating 25 Years of Empowering Women: How far have we come?"

November 3-4, 2011

For twenty-five years, women in the State of Iowa have hosted The Way Up Conference to assist women in higher education institutions as they continue to develop their leadership and administrative skills and expertise. The conference has always been designed to provide value for presenters and participants as well as networking opportunities for all.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

 Book Table & Other Vendors
 Continental Breakfast
Welcome: Conference Planning Committee

Keynote Speaker

Narcisa A. Polonio
Association of Community College Trustees (ACCT)
Vice President, Education, Research & Board Leadership Services

"Moving From Aspirations to Action: One Woman's Journey and How it Reflects on the Status of Women in Higher Education"

10:30-11:45amContributed and Invited Sessions I
 Recognition Award
 Scholarship Awards
1:45-3:00pmContributed and Invited Sessions II
3:15-4:30pmContributed and Invited Sessions III
4:30-5:30pmComplimentary Social Hour; Silent Auction

Keynote Speaker

Susan Johnson
University of Iowa

"Four decades at the University of Iowa: what I have learned"

Silent Auction winners announced

7:00pmDinner reservations at nearby restaurants

Friday, November 4, 2011

8:45-10:00amContributed and Invited Sessions IV
10:15-11:30amContributed and Invited Sessions V

Closing Speaker

Colleen Jones
University of Nebraska
Consultant and Assistant Professor, Management

"With Consideration to Pencils and Rubber Bands..."

1:30pmConference Completed

The 2011 Way Up Conference will be held at the West Des Moines Marriott Conference Center, West Des Moines, Iowa.

You may wish to view the Marriott website.

The Marriott is a 100% smoke-free facility. See the hotel front desk for information about any outdoor smoking areas.
The West Des Moines Marriott Conference Center offers free wireless Internet access throughout the conference center.

See the Lodging Link for the conference rate for guest rooms.


The 2011 Way Up Conference will be held at the West Des Moines Marriott Conference Center, West Des Moines, Iowa.

You may wish to view the Marriott website.

A limited block of rooms is reserved at the West Des Moines  Marriott. To  make your reservations, please visit the Marriott website.
Enter dates for your stay; select  "special rates and awards"; and use the group code wucwuca to make your  reservation.

Rooms are only $99/night through October 18, 2011.

Note: The $99 rate is also available for Friday, November 4 for a  "Shop Til You Drop" special rate for The Way Up conference attendees.

The West Des Moines Marriott Conference Center offers free wireless Internet access throughout the conference center.

Back to 2011 Conference Materials

Thursday, November 3, 2011

9:30-10:15 am  Opening Keynote Speaker:

Dr. Narcisa A. Polonio
Association of Community College Trustees (ACCT)
Vice President, Education, Research & Board Leadership Services

"Moving From Aspirations to Action: One Woman's Journey and How it Reflects on the Status of Women in Higher Education"

Make your own luck by investing in your career advancement, working for your own success, and reaching for the top. Understand what is valued in Higher Education and manage your inventory of key elements to success.

Narcisa A. Polonio is the Vice President, Education, Research & Board Leadership Services at the Association of Community College Trustees (ACCT). ACCT has a long and distinguished history of providing outstanding services to boards of trustees.  Dr. Polonio is recognized as one of the leading authorities on community college governance and presidential leadership. She has facilitated over 300 board retreats and presidential searches.  She provides leadership for the ACCT's annual leadership Congress, publications, research projects and leadership services including Retreat Service; Interim President Service; the Governance Leadership Institute; and the Governance Institute for Student Success.

Narcisa previously served as the Chief Operating Officer for Replication and Program Strategies, Inc. (RPS) in Philadelphia, PA, and president of Harcum College (PA) and Hudson County Community College (NJ).  Other previous positions include Director of the Office of Community Colleges, New Jersey Department of Higher Education. Narcisa served for seven years as a faculty member for the Institute for Educational Management, Graduate School of Education, Harvard University.  

She has an extensive list of publications and speaks throughout the country on issues related to governance, leadership, and diversity.

Narcisa attended Foothill Community College, CA and holds a BA in History from San Jose State University (CA), an MA from Stanford University (CA), an Ed.D. from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

11:45-1:30 pm   Lunch


The Way Up Scholarship and Recognition Awards:

* Carol Rocklin Kay Memorial Scholarships
* Eunice A. Dell Memorial Scholarship
* Recognition Award

5:30 - 7:00pm   Evening Social Hour with Dinner Speaker


Dinner Speaker

Dr. Susan R. Johnson
University of Iowa

"Four decades at the University of Iowa: What I have learned"    

Dr. Johnson will describe the challenges faced by women in medicine and academia, using examples from her own educational and faculty career;  describe the satisfactions of working in positions in which one can “lead from the middle;” and share her recommendations for effective ways women can prepare for a successful career in the academic setting.

Dr. Johnson received her B.S., M.D., and an M.S. in Preventive Medicine and Environmental Health from the University of Iowa. She completed residency training in Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics and then joined the faculty of that Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, where she is now Professor.  In 1999 she was given a secondary appointment in the Department of Epidemiology in the College of Public Health.

Dr. Johnson's clinical and research interests are in menopausal health issues. In the past she was the director of the menopause clinic in the University of Iowa Hospital and Clinics Women's Health Center.  She has been involved in several multicenter studies of menopausal health issues, including the NIH funded PEPI and the Women's Health Initiative trials. She is currently the Study Chair for the NIH sponsored observational study of the menopause transition, Study of Women Across the Nation (SWAN). Dr. Johnson has served on the data, safety and monitoring boards of several other multicenter clinical trials of various postmenopausal preventive drugs, and written numerous articles and chapters regarding these issues.  

Major administrative assignments have included: From 1981 through 1994, service on the University of Iowa's Institutional Review Board for 13 years, and service as chair from 1990 to the end of her term. From 1994 through the fall of 2003, she served as the Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs in the College of Medicine.  From 2005 - 2009, she served as the Associate Provost for Faculty at the university level. Currently she serves as a University of Iowa Ombudsman.


Friday, November 4, 2011

11:30 - 1:15 pm Lunch

Closing Speaker:

Dr. Colleen Jones
University of Nebraska
Consultant and Assistant Professor, Management

"With Consideration to Pencils and Rubber Bands..."

Colleen Jones is an educator, entrepreneur and consultant, specializing in leadership, organizational behavior and development, learning organizations and managerial and executive training.  She also serves as President of the Melvin W. Jones Foundation.

Dr. Jones earned the Doctorate of Business Administration degree in Organizational Behavior from The George Washington University School of Business and Public Management (Department of Management Science).  She also holds a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from the University of Iowa in Accounting and Quantitative Analysis; and a Master of Business Administration degree in Management and Finance from The University of Southern California.  

Dr. Jones received an American Fellowship from the American Association of University Women to underwrite her doctoral research project titled, "Learning to Lead:  A Study of the Developmental Paths of African-American Women College Presidents." That dissertation was recognized by the Academy of Management's Women in Management Division with the Best Dissertation Award Runner-Up Certificate.

Dr. Jones is an Associate Professor of Practice in Management at The University of Nebraska - Lincoln.  From 2004 to 2009, she served as the Assistant to the Chancellor for Organizational Development, and maintained a part-time academic appointment.  In 2009, she returned to full-time teaching in the College of Business.  

Dr. Jones is a certified administrator and consultant for the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) which she utilizes in her teaching, research and consulting activities.  Her research interests include:

  1.  Leadership development
  2. Access and advancement of women and people of color in executive positions
  3. Cognitive style assessment
  4. Creating environments to enhance learning
  5. Workplace spirit and spirituality
  6. Stress management and
  7. Organizational communication issues (e.g., networking, conflict resolution)

She has contributed to three books; developed an instructional CD-ROM for leadership development and has articles appearing in the Journal of Management Education and Management Learning.

Thursday, November 3

10:30 – 11:45      Contributed and Invited Presentations I

Workplace Relationships are ... EVERYTHING!!!

Deb Oliver, Mount Mercy University

Ultimately, isn't it the quality of our relationships (inside the workplace and personally) that defines our lives? Building strong, healthy relationships through effective communication is the primary work of any leader. When you have the trust of others and they believe that by collaborating with you their results will improve, that connection is electric.  This session will coach you to be the best possible version of yourself and will help you to improve your capability to build strong, effective, valuable interpersonal relationships.

What About Me? Creating the Next Generation of Female Leaders

Julie Snyder-Yuly, Iowa State University

We talk about the lack of and need for women leaders. We advocate for ourselves, our colleagues and our mentors. We research and teach on topics of women and leadership. While all of these things are important for the future of women's leadership, we often inadvertently forget about the women we are ultimately trying to open doors for.  The purpose of this session is to examine ways we can work with our future female leaders to help them develop self-efficacy, leadership skills and an understanding of why it is important for them to take on leadership roles now and in the future.

Rising to the Top: Iowa's Women Leaders in Higher Education (Panel discussion)


Dr. Gloria J Gibson, University of Northern Iowa
Dr. Robin Shaffer Lilienthal, Marshalltown Community College and IVCC Grinnell
Dr. Kim Linduska, Des Moines Area Community College
Dr. Deborah Loers, Wartburg College

Back by popular demand! Ever wonder what it takes to become a successful leader in higher education? Learn how four different women leaders from four different institutions rose through the ranks in the last 25 years. This experienced panel will share many valuable experiences they have had in their roles as higher education leaders. Participants will be encouraged to ask questions to help broaden their understanding of successful leadership.

Connecting the "Connected Generation" with Their Learning:  Classroom Strategies for Engaging the Tech Generation

 Karla Brown, Hawkeye Community College

As educators, we know that our students are using social media to stay connected with each other, but how do we connect them with the material in our courses?  This session will focus on research-based principles and concrete strategies to promote active involvement, collaborative learning, and critical thinking.


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

Using Technology to Increase the Personal Touch in Student Services: An Innovative Approach

Kristie Fisher, Kirkwood Community College

Technology is everywhere in our lives and it is a valuable tool in serving our students. With the virtues of technology come the concerns of losing the personal touch that connects us to our students. This session will explore some examples of Kirkwood Community College's implementation of technology in an effort to increase personal contact where it is most needed.

Women at the Academic Center: The Dean's Experience

Lisa Nolan, Dean of Veterinary Medicine, Iowa State University
Sandy Cassady, Dean of Education and Health Sciences, St Ambrose College
Kathleen Van Steenhuyse, Dean of Social Sciences and Career Option Programs, Kirkwood Community College

A panel of women deans from the Regent universities, private colleges and community colleges will discuss their personal and professional development that aided them in their career advancement. They will also describe their leadership experiences while in the role of Dean and offer advice and guidance to women who aspire to become deans in the future. This session is sponsored by IOWAWHE (Iowa Network for Women in Higher Education). The mission of the IOWAWHE is to facilitate the development of women leaders in higher education through conversations, collaboration and mentoring across the state.

Leading the Charge for Continuous Improvement

Vicki Baum, Indian Hills Community College 
Bonnie Slykhuis, Des Moines Area Community College

Whether you approach continuous improvement with Lean or Six Sigma, there are leadership strategies that will help make implementation efforts both effective and sustainable.  The session will kick off with the obvious question, "Why Lean?" and include success stories from the college environment.  The focus will be to explore the role of leaders at various levels and critical success factors for implementation in education.

Teaching Leadership:  Framing our Future

Julie Rothbardt, St. Ambrose University

The business environment is changing faster than it ever has in modern history, and organizations are looking for protean leadership to help organizations adapt and grow in such an exciting and dynamic environment.  With the demographic challenges that many organizations will be facing over the next several decades, it is important that scholars and business people have an understanding of just exactly what leadership is and why it is important to focus on this subject that has been written about, discussed, reviewed, assessed.  Higher education institutions have taken an active role in pursuing the study of leadership across disciplines and as a stand-alone field of study.  Although the theories of leadership are an important foundation for this field of study, an experiential and interactive approach to learning is vital for students to have a practical learning outcome as they bring this experience outside the classroom.  In this session, we will explore different ways to incorporate the process of learning about leadership into the classroom to help develop leaders for our future.


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

21st Century Networking

Todd Coleman, Wartburg College

Relationship building and networking skills are the foundation of both our professional and personal worlds. In today's global world having a robust network in place in necessary to sell products, identify job opportunities and grow your reach of influence.  This session will focus on networking tips to assist you throughout life in connecting to individuals who can help you in accomplishing your life objectives. Learn how new technology is combined with traditional networking to create a networking environment with no boundaries.

Preparing Students to be Financially Sound Graduates

Renae Mulder, University of Northern Iowa

Financial stress is one of the top three reasons students do not succeed at college.  As a result, financial literacy is becoming a critical part of the education process for college students.  What does it mean to live like a student?  What is the right amount a student should borrow to attend college?  What can be done to help students successfully navigate loan repayment options?  Join this session to get the answers and find out what one university is doing to prepare their students to be financially sound graduates.

I Heard You the Second Time! (Why Listening Should be Your First Priority)

Jayne Morgan, University of Northern Iowa

Listening, as a skill, is sorely under-developed among us humans.  This shortcoming leads to losses in time, money, productivity, reputation, and respect. With poor listening, mistakes and misunderstandings occur, all because the interpretation process starts off on the wrong foot!  This program will help you unlearn bad habits so you can receive messages with better accuracy for a smoother functioning workplace. It's time to get your ears on!  Take away how to . . . Overcome listening barriers that cause distorted message reception;  Interpret messages right the first time for greater efficiency;  Prevent costly mistakes and relationship damage;  Build trust and cohesion within the team.

Making Learning Matter for Millennials

Leigh E. Zeitz, University of Northern Iowa

Are your students engaged in learning? Today's millennials want learning to be relevant, meaningful and interactive. They want to experience the empowerment of knowledge instead of the boredom of lectures.  They live in a connected world that must optimize through social media. They are the first generation to reach maturity during the digital age and they look at the world differently.  This interactive session will explore your students' needs and demonstrate strategies for getting them engaged. Bring your laptop and/or telephone because they will be your tools of interaction.

Friday, November 4


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

Brand Watching

Connie Cross, Connie Cross Communications

This session gives you a chance to check the essential elements of higher ed branding against your institution's brand. Has your institution collected necessary research for a brand plan? Where is your college or university in its brand plan? What could enhance its brand? How can your college accomplish this? What is your role? Participants will have a chance to share successes and road blocks and how to navigate them.

Fierce Female Leaders Using Fierce Conversations

Susan Kalsow, Buena Vista University

In this session, you will learn the following:

Key principles of Fierce Conversations created by Susan Scott
An overview of the four conversations that can make or break a leader and an institution
The story of how one college administrator used the concepts and principles of Fierce Conversations to change the culture and eventually the results.

Managing Meetings Successful

Mary Gill, Buena Vista University

Professionals on average spend anywhere from a third to three-fourths of their work week in meetings. When most people are invited to yet another meeting, they are far from overjoyed because most will identify a feeling of time wasted, unclear purpose for why a meeting was held, and/or not knowing what to do with the information from the meeting as among the biggest frustrations of meetings they experience.  This session will provide a mixture of hands-on analysis of how to prevent common meeting challenges as well as present participants with easy steps as to how to maximize the effectiveness of meetings. Among the topics addressed are: how to prepare for successful meetings, steps in creating an effective agenda, tips for skillful management of meetings, best conclusions and follow-up steps to meetings as well as basic organizing communication systems to keep meetings moving along productively and clearly.

Initiatives in Distance Education: Looking Backward and Looking Forward

Anne Zalenski, University of Iowa 
Dian Gottlob, University of Iowa

In this presentation we will very briefly summarize the history  of distance education at the University of Iowa, and then describe:

  1. The changes we have brought to the program in the last 8 years, as well as the shift in student demographics
  2. The programs we have which are heavily subscribed to by women
  3. Our outreach program which offer women throughout the state opportunities previously lacking
  4. we will feature several student profiles


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

The Queen's Speech: Enhance Your Presentation Skills, Improve Your Life

Jill Rhea, Buena Vista University

Do you cringe when you are asked to give a presentation?  Do feel good about your speaking skills but wonder if there are tips that might help you be even more successful?  This may be the session for you! This interactive session will address the importance of excellent presentation skills for women, describe the connection between great leadership and strong speaking skills, and offer pragmatic guidance to enhance your current presentation skills - whatever your skill level. 

Helping Diverse Students

Valerie Garr, University of Iowa

This session will provide participants with the necessary knowledge, skills, and strategies to develop culturally proficient classrooms and also explore how to enact a standards base culturally relevant curriculum. Participants will leave with a greater understanding of how to engage fellow teachers, parents, students, and administrators in critical conversations about cultural proficiency. The session will also highlight how to develop the capacity to implement and sustain a culturally responsive classroom setting.

Working with Millennials

Karen Anderson, Mercy College of Health Sciences

The Millennial generation is challenging the workplace more powerfully than previous generations.  We accommodated them when they came to college but must we accommodate them in the workplace?   Generational differences can result in problems at work.  Learn how to interact with this "flip-flop" and "ear-bud" generation to accomplish your organization's goals.  We will explore generational characteristics, what motivates each generation, how they define success, their communication styles, and how Boomers and Gen Xers can effectively interact, manage, and work with Millenials.

Leading in the Academic World

Marilyn Drury, University of Northern Iowa
Sandy Cassady, St. Ambrose University
Marlene Sprouse, Indian Hills Community College

Leading in the academic arm of the academy creates unique challenges that may not in the other realms of the academy. This panel of presenters will share their experiences with leadership from the academic perspective. Topics will include strategies for leading faculty; what does and does not work, strategies for overcoming obstacles, creating opportunities out of obstacles as well as many personal anecdotes for leading in academia.  There will be plenty of time for questions.

The following scholarships and awards will be presented at The Way Up Conference.  Click the links for more details about each recognition:

The Way Up Conference Thanks You for your Sponsorship!


Buena Vista University Logo

Buena Vista University

Buena Vista University's Mission Statement: We develop students for life long success through innovation and imaginative academic and professional preparation.

Iowa Coordinating Council

The Iowa Coordinating Council for Post High School Education is composed of representatives of the Presidents and Trustees of public and private colleges and universities in the State of Iowa. In addition, the Iowa College Student Aid Commission, the Iowa Department of Education, and Iowa Public Television are members.

UIOWA logo

University of Iowa

Mission: In pursuing its missions of teaching, research, and service, the University seeks to advance scholarly and creative endeavor through leading-edge research and artistic production; to use this research and creativity to enhance undergraduate, graduate, and professional education, health care, and other services provided to the people of Iowa, the nation, and the world; and to educate students for success and personal fulfillment in a diverse world.

ISU logo

Iowa State University

Mission: Create, share, and apply knowledge to make Iowa and the world a better place. We must prepare the leaders of our nation and the world. To make the world a better place, Iowa State will call upon its great strengths in student-centered education, global collaboration, and transformational basic and applied research. Iowa State will lead in developing more sustainable ways to produce and deliver safe and nutritious food, water, materials, and energy; integrate the protection of plant, animal, and human health; and care for our environment. We will design tools and infrastructure that will create entrepreneurial opportunities. The major changes sweeping the world are creating extraordinary opportunities for Iowa State to capitalize on its land-grant mission and be at the forefront in addressing our common, global challenges.

UNI logo

University of Northern Iowa

The University of Northern Iowa provides transformative learning experiences that inspire students to embrace challenge, engage in critical inquiry and creative thought, and contribute to society.

Drake University

Drake University

Drake's mission is to provide an exceptional learning environment that prepares students for meaningful personal lives, professional accomplishments, and responsible global citizenship. The Drake experience is distinguished by collaborative learning among students, faculty, and staff and by the integration of the liberal arts and sciences with professional preparation.


Des Moines Area Community College

DMACC provides quality, affordable, student-centered education and training to empower Iowans of all ages and backgrounds to pursue life's opportunities and achieve their career dreams.


Eastern Iowa Community Colleges

The Eastern Iowa Community Colleges deliver high-quality education and training that prepare a skilled workforce, provide affordable access to higher education, and build and strengthen our communities.  The Eastern Iowa Community Colleges will be the first choice for education, training, and partnerships that strengthen Eastern Iowa.

HCC logo

Hawkeye Community College

Hawkeye Community College is a globally informed community of successful lifelong learners.  Hawkeye Community College will be recognized for educational excellence, exceptional student services, and responsiveness to diverse communities.

IHCC logo

Indian Hills Community College

Indian Hills Community College changes lives by inspiring learning, diversity, social enrichment, and regional economic advancement.


Iowa Central Community College

Iowa Central Community College promotes intellectual discovery, physical development, social and ethical awareness, and economic opportunities for all through an education that transforms lives, strengthens community, and inspires progress.

ILCC logo

Iowa Lakes Community College

Mission Statement: To provide opportunities for quality lifelong learning and promote economic development for our communities. Campuses in Algona, Emmetsburg, Estherville, Spencer and Spirit Lake.


Iowa Valley Community College District

Iowa Valley Community College District is committed to providing quality learning experiences, ensuring student success, responding to diverse community needs, and building community partnerships.

Kirkwood Logo

Kirkwood Community College

Kirkwood Community College identifies community needs; provides accessible, quality education and training; and promotes opportunities for lifelong learning 

Northeast Iowa Community College

Northeast Iowa Community College

Northeast Iowa Community College provides accessible, affordable, quality education and training to meet the needs of our communities.


Southwestern Community College

Southwestern Community College exists in order that Area XIV community members have opportunities to gain skills and knowledge sufficient for successful employment, higher education achievement, or adult and continuing education.

Kemin logo

Kemin Industries, Inc. (Scholarship Sponsor)

A bioscience company, Kemin is committed to improving health and nutrition of the world with functional products that deliver maximum efficacy through superior science.