The Way Up

Developing Women Leaders to Enhance Iowa Higher Education

Concurrent Sessions - 2017

Thursday, November 2

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

Supporting Immigrant and Refugee Students on Campus During a Time of Uncertainty

Annique Keil, Executive Director, Global Engagement and International Programs, Drake University
Lee Seedorff, Senior Associate Director, University of Iowa
Catherine Schaff Stump, Professor/ ELA Coordinator, Kirkwood Community College

A panel discussion addressing the issues facing immigrant and refugee students during this time of changing immigration laws and attitudes.  How can students feel safe, welcome, and engaged on campus in this new and sometimes frightening political arena?  How can faculty and administration be supportive?  How are international students responding?  Are these changes affecting enrollment?  Time will be allowed for Q and A from the audience.    Click here for their presentation.


Growth Mindset: Setting the students up for success

Ms. Latricia Hylton, Math Coordinator, Academic Learning Cente
Ms. Raquel Zuniga, Retention & Academic Advsior, College of Education Student Advising
Ms. Kathleen Peters, Academic Learning Support & Retention Coordinator, Academic Learning Center
University of Northern Iowa

Three presenters will share how they created a pathway for undergraduate student success using advising, classroom instruction, and support services. This collaborative approach integrated their different personal and professional experiences, techniques, and philosophies to empower students with varying intersectionalities to develop and function with a growth mindset. Attendees will have an opportunity to participate in activities geared toward identifying resources and strategies for creating a pathway for student success.  Click here for their presentation.


Mothers Are Leaders: The Strategies and Skills Needed to Maintain Balance

Colette Atkins, Dean of Business and Information Technolog
Brooke Strahn-Koller, Dean of Social Science
Jennifer Bradley, Executive Dean of English and Art & Humanities
Kirkwood Community College

Kimberly Battle-Walters Denu writes: "Every mother is a leader—whether she is in the workplace or at home. However, those mothers who also lead outside of the home have an opportunity to provide a unique perspective of leadership in the workplace, due to their roles as mothers, and the distinctive attributes and skills that mothers bring." Join three academic mother-leaders to discuss the book Mothers Are Leaders edited by Kimberly Battle-Walters Denu and Janet S. Walters. The book offers insights on flexibility, prioritizing, mentoring, strategic leadership, change, nurturing, defining reality, authenticity, and preparation and training. You do not have to have read the book to join this rich discussion.


Gaining Confidence in Addressing Poor Behavior

Kacy R. Webster, M.Ed. Kaplan University- Market President – Iowa

Learning how to confidently communicate with others about the behaviors that negatively impact you and negatively impact your organization's success takes skill. Come learn more about the SBI technique and let's practice. Whether it is Peer-to-Peer, Supervisor-to-Employee; Employee-to-Supervisor or Faculty-to-Student, this technique will help you begin to master the art of interpersonal communication while minimizing conflict. Come prepared to engage, laugh and address this serious topic!


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

The Dos and Don’ts of Advocacy as an Employee of an Institution of Higher Education

MJ Dolan, Executive Director, Iowa Association of Community College Trustees (IACCT
Gary Steinke, President, Iowa Association of Independent Colleges and Universities
Steve Ovel, Legislative Consultant
Kimberly Heffernan Moss, Board and Governmental Relations Coordinator, University of Northern Iowa

From funding to policy, legislative decisions are made that dramatically impact higher education in Iowa. In this “advocacy 101” session, panel members share their advice and answer questions about how you can make an impact on public policy and stay within state and federal laws.


We Need Engaged Citizens: How to Embed Civic Mindedness into All Areas of Higher Education

Dr. Ashley Farmer-Hanson Assistant Dean for Student Life & Director of Civic Engagement, Buena Vista University
Dr. Julianne Gassman Associate Professor,Director of Engagement, University of Northern Iowa
Emily J. Shields Executive Director, Iowa Campus Compact

This program session will highlight the civic mission of institutions of higher education and outline examples of how institutions embrace civic action and embed it into the institution’s strategic plan. Participants will learn how to tailor their discipline, teaching and profession to support the development of civic-minded graduates. All professionals on campus will learn how to connect their work to better their communities.  Click here for this presentation.


Lead From Where You Are

Marybeth C. Stalp, Professor of Sociology and Department Head of Sociology, Anthropology & Criminology
Joyce Morrow, University Registrar
Lisa Riedle, Professor of Technology and Department Head of Department of technology
University of Northern Iowa.

In today’s work world, careers are less linear than ever before, with multiple options facing workers (and women workers) at every turn. How does one manage one’s career in this environment with so many possibilities? These panelists from the University of Northern Iowa provide three different paths within academic leadership, all commonly sharing the thread of conceptualizing careers not in ladder form, but as Sheryl Sandberg states in her book, Lean In, careers are “a jungle gym” with many possible paths, some up, down, some sideways, but all important. Additionally, the panel will focus on how these panelists learned to “lead from where you are” to get used to how leadership “feels” and to help one see oneself as a leader, broadly defined.


Negotiate Like a Woman: Getting What You Want (and Deserve)

Dr. Sarah Fisher Gardial, Tippie College of Business, University of Iowa, Dean & Professor of Marketing

In this session, we will explore the salary differences that exist between men and women and consider at least one factor that we can control: our negotiation skills. Negotiating is not something women naturally do, but it can be learned. A step-wise process to improve salary and other negotiations will be presented.  Click here for Dr. Gardial's presentation.



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

Higher Ed in These Turbulent Political Times: Why can't we get over it… 

Rekha Basu, Des Moines Register opinion columnist, distributed nationally by Tribune Content Agency
Dr. Naomi DeWinter, President, Muscatine Community College
Gwennette C Berry, Assistant to the President & Chief Diversity Officer, University of Northern Iowa

A panel discussion of our current political climate from fake news to use of social media from an inside and outside perspective.  Why is the climate of the country and climate on campus obsessed with what is happening politically and not getting past it?  What is the role of Higher Ed in these turbulent times and how does one navigate through all this stuff?  Is it a time of bridges or barriers for women?  What has been the roll of the media in all of this?  Time will be allowed for audience participation in Q and A.


Get some Grit:  Promoting Resilience with Today’s College Student

Melissa Sturm-Smith, Drake University

From the Harvard Business Review to the latest NASPA blog,  resilience is a hot topic.  In this session, participants will examine the concept of resilience, consider its relationship to student success and persistence, and learn about strategies being employed across a range of institutions.  Participants will also have the opportunity to learn from each other – sharing practices in place at their institutions and challenges faced in addressing this issue. 


Succumb, Survive or Thrive: Leading Through Financial Droughts Determines the Outcome

Suzette Radke, Vice President for Finance and Administration, Buena Vista University

Colleges and universities facing financial challenges continue to headline the higher Ed news. Far too often, the dollar amounts are the focus without due consideration to our human capital. This interactive session will focus on a holistic view of leading during financial challenges--budgeting, staff reductions, planning for and following up on the necessary changes. In particular, focus will be given to how to work with our human capital (the people) when budget cuts are necessary.


Putting your Strengths to Work

Kate Sojka, Director, On Iowa! Program
Emily Kleinmeyer, HR Administrator,
University of Iowa

The Clifton StrengthsFinder is an assessment and set of tools, backed by extensive world-wide research by Gallup Inc., that identifies your talents and provides customized results highlighting what makes you unique and powerful. It is “the language to live the life you were meant to.” In this session we will explore the theory and foundation behind StrengthsFinder and start you on the path to success “by turning your talents into strengths” ( If you have taken the assessment prior to the conference please bring a list of your top five strengths to this session.  Click here for this presentation file.


Friday, November 3

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

Engaged by Day—Connected by Night: Technology Trends in Higher Education

Nikki Buzzell-Garnica,District Program Developer for Education, Education Department Coordinator & Instructor, Eastern Iowa Community Colleges

Engage, connect and build lasting relationships with your students in and out of the classroom from Padlet to Plickers to Zooming and Tweeting.  Participants will discover ideas they can put to use immediately upon return to their classroom.  Content for this session will be delivered through a cooperative learning environment approach, in which participants interact not only with the facilitator, but other participants as well.  All are encouraged to bring an electronic device (i.e. laptop, tablet, iPad, smart phone) to practice new ideas with others.


Climate of Higher Education in Iowa

Anne Howsare Boyens, Provost, DMACC-Urban
Jeneane Beck, Assistant Vice President for External Relations, University of Iowa
Mark A. Nook, President, University of Northern Iowa
Jeff Charis-Carlson, Higher Education reporter, Iowa City Press-Citizen

What is the current landscape of higher education in Iowa and what changes are on the horizon? In this session, the panel will explore what challenges and opportunities face higher education in Iowa. Time will be allowed for Q & A.


Navigating the Way: Roundtable Session for Women of Color

Melissa Payne, Dean of Students, Kirkwood Community College

Women of Color in Higher Education offer unique contributions to their institutions, professions, and communities. Come together with other women of color for a time of team building, networking and support. Consider and wrestle with key questions facing women of color in higher education and come prepared to share the ways you manage to juggle the challenges and leverage the opportunities.


Start where you are: How little changes can have a big impact on your career

Chrystal Stanley, PhD, Drake University

For many of us, work is a requirement, until we discover the opportunity that allows us to follow our passion. We’ve all read advice on how to be more efficient and harder working in the office. But ultimately, our happiness is just as important as the documents we draft and the spreadsheets we email out. So, how do we effectively walk the line between being professionally productive and personally happy, and how might this impact our career? This session just might have the answers.   Click here for Crystal Stanley's presentation.



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

Brag and Steal

This is an opportunity to for conference attendees to share their best practices or come back to the office with a new bag of tricks! Best Practices can be related to the topics of professional growth, academics, administrative, student affairs, or current topics in higher education. We are limited to 5-10 minutes per topic. Not interested in bragging? Don't miss this opportunity to steal some ideas that might spark a conversation or a new whole new initiative. Space is limited to 10 topics and will be filled on a first come, first served basis. Please email Sarah Freestone at with a brief description of your best practice if you plan to attend this session to BRAG. All are welcome to STEAL!


Authentic Leadership

Dr. Dawn Bratsch-Prince, Associate Provost for Faculty, Iowa State University
Dr. Ellen Kabat Lensch, Vice Chancellor of Economic & Workforce Development, Eastern Iowa Community College
Dr. Regina Matheson, Associate Vice President for Academic Grants and Sponsored Programs, St. Ambrose University

Three experienced leaders will briefly describe how they have maintained their personal style as they have navigated the various leadership positions they have held. They will discuss the difficulties of remaining true to oneself (and therefore being authentic). They will give their ideas about whether the percentage of women administrators in colleges and universities can increase given the current higher education climate in our country.


I Love My Job! Impacting Employee Attitudes

Dr. Jane Bradley, Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs, Hawkeye Community College

As the need for qualified employees in higher education grows, it is more important than ever to develop and retain our talented employees. Hawkeye Community College engages employees in many ways to provide opportunities for personal and professional growth. Practices of employee engagement at Hawkeye will be shared and attendees will participate by the sharing of best practices for employee engagement at their own institutions.


That would have been the perfect response!

Melissa Payne, Dean of Students, Kirkwood Community College

Participants will explore options for navigating the professional world without being trapped in the two places women often find themselves: being stereotyped as the shrinking violet who needs to be taken care of or being stereotyped as the aggressive “bitch” who must be managed. Through identifying options, role playing and exploring identity, participants will answer this question: how can I be assertive in a way that gets my point across, leaves my colleagues feeling respected, and allows me to be authentically me?



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