The Way Up

Developing Women Leaders to Enhance Iowa Higher Education

Keynote Speakers - 2017

Thursday, November 2, 2017

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

Dr. Barbara Decker,
President, Mercy College,
Des Moines, Iowa

"Meaningful Leadership: Transforming Our Relationships"

This session will engage participants to lead purposeful lives in their professional and personal interactions with others. Meaningful Leadership recognizes the value of the human potential through work, home, and social relationships formed throughout one’s life. The program will be guided by profiles of women in higher education whose leadership styles have effectively influenced and fostered development and growth within their respective colleges and universities. Key attributes of Meaningful Leadership will be shared to develop and shape relationships which are intentional, inspiring, and promote integrity and respect for others. A personal reflection describing how our life experiences can contribute to and transform our relationships into a Meaningful Leadership style will be offered. Through an interactive process, this session will provide a mutually, beneficial opportunity to explore and assess current relationships, while advancing quality, meaningful collaborations with others.

Dr. Barbara Decker was appointed as the second President of Mercy College of Health Sciences in Des Moines in April 2006.   Under Decker’s leadership, Mercy College has expanded facilities, increased the breadth and diversity of academic programming, and strengthened the ministry as a Catholic college.  During her presidency, Decker honored Mercy College through the establishment of three separate endowment funds.  President Decker graduated from Drake University with a bachelor’s degree in history and sociology, followed by a master’s degree in public administration and a doctoral degree in law. She was admitted to the Iowa State Bar in 2000. Her scholastic honors include Phi Beta Kappa and Pi Alpha Alpha (a national honor society for public affairs and administration).  President Decker is a recipient of the 2007 Distinguished Master of Public Administration Alumnus Award from Drake’s College of Business & Public Administration and received the Robert D. Ray Ambassador Award from the Iowa Commission on Latino Affairs in 2006.               

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

Dr. Kris De Welde
Director of Women's and Gender Studies and Professor of Women's and Gender Studies and Sociology.
College of Charleston, South Carolina

"The Fictions and Failures of Self-Empowerment for Women Leaders in Higher Education"

** Sponsored by the University of Northern Iowa

Our Thursday Banquet speaker will address organizational complexities that often encumber academic women’s advancement in their careers and into leadership positions.  She will discuss why individual empowerment approaches to women’s leadership are appealing, but also part of the problem.  In addition to heeding helpful advice to advance our own careers, women leaders should be aware of the structural constraints that impact many women, and especially multiply marginalized women.  With a focus on organizational approaches that attend to intersectionality, Dr De Welde  will share intervention strategies that serve to advance individual women, as well as provide opportunities for broader equity and more inclusive academic justice.

Currently, Dr. Kris De Welde, Ph.D., is Director of Women's and Gender Studies and Professor of Women's and Gender Studies and Sociology at the College of Charleston.  She most recently served as Associate Dean of University-wide Programs and Faculty Engagement and Professor of Sociology at Florida Gulf Coast University. She earned her doctorate at the University of Colorado, Boulder in Sociology with a Graduate Certificate in Women's Studies.  Her research interests include intersectional inequalities in higher education, reproductive rights, and the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning.

Dr De Welde’s co-edited/ authored book (with Andi Stepnick of Belmont University) titled Disrupting the Culture of Silence: Women Navigating Hostility and Making Change in Higher Education (2015), received a 2015 Choice award for Outstanding Academic Title. She has presented at dozens of professional and academic conferences, including delivering the keynote address for the Women in Academia Conference (2016).

De Welde was awarded the 2016-2017 Sociologists for Women in Society Feminist Activism Award for her sustained commitments to social justice within and beyond the academy. She has organized and facilitated workshops on diversity/inclusion/justice concerns in higher education over the last ten years.   De Welde teaches a variety of courses including Gender Studies, The Family, Sociological Theory, Qualitative Research Methods, Foundations of Civic Engagement, and specialty courses on Interdisciplinary Gender Perspectives, Gender in STEM fields, and the Sociology of Food.  In her free time she enjoys cycling, yoga, the beer her husband makes, and her ridiculous cats.


Friday, November 3, 2017

11:30 - 1:15 pm Lunch

Closing Speakers:

Dr. Erika Kirby &
Dr. Sherianne Shuler
Professors of Communication Studies
Creighton University, Omaha

“Go Forth and Set the World on Fire: Passion and Inspiration amidst Everyday Routines"

For many of us, conferences bring a sense of energy and focus that are so motivating…and then it is hard to keep up that passion and enact those plans for action when we leave the conference "bubble" and return to our daily lives. Dr. Erika Kirby and Dr. Sheri Shuler will offer some ideas-and seek ideas from participants as to how to move toward action and stay inspired once The Way Up conference has commenced.

Erika Kirby (Ph.D., University of Nebraska-Lincoln, 2000) and Sherianne Shuler (Ph.D., University of Kansas, 1998) are faculty in the Department of Communication Studies at Creighton University. They both study and teach on issues of organizational communication with a focus on gender and social justice. For Erika, that has led to publishing scholarship on work-life "balance" and diversity, and she also teaches classes on power and privilege. For Sheri, that has led to publishing scholarship on emotion and representations of women, and she also teaches classes on leadership.



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