The Way Up

Developing Women Leaders to Enhance Iowa Higher Education

Keynote Speakers - 2022

Thursday, November 3, 2022

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

Elizabeth J. Whitt
Professor, Department of Sociology
University of California, Merced

Which Way is Up?

 Evidence of profound changes in our lives as leaders, and women, in higher education surrounds us – even bombards us – on a daily basis. As individuals and as communities of educators we are called to create clear pathways for the success of our students and our institutions, but how do we do that when it seems our old maps don’t fit the new and sometimes scary territory in which we find ourselves? We begin the conference by exploring some new and some not-so-new challenges, and taking a fresh look at our opportunities, on the way up.


Dr. Elizabeth J. Whitt is a professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of California, Merced, where she also served as Vice Provost and Dean for Undergraduate Education. She also was an academic administrator focused on undergraduate student success at Saint Louis University and The University of Iowa, and served as a graduate faculty member in higher education and student affairs at The University of Iowa, University of Illinois at Chicago, Iowa State University, and Oklahoma State University.  Professor Whitt’s research and scholarship focus on institutional conditions for student success; cultures in colleges and universities; partnerships between academic affairs and student affairs; and issues and trends in student affairs practice and effectiveness.


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

Chiquita D. Loveless, MBA (she/her/hers)
Director, Diversity, Inclusion, and Social Justice
(Center for Multicultural Education)
University of Northern Iowa

Press through the Mess

Integrity, character, trust, and discipline all play key roles in life's journey as well as who we aspire to be in our career fields.  Shortfalls and challenges come and go, so are we truly becoming our best when we allow others to distract us?  Do we quit when things become stressful or do we continue to press to move the trajectory forward for us and those to come?  Take a journey with me after serving through the enlisted and officer ranks in the military then working hard to becoming my best in the various career fields encountered afterwards.


Chiquita Loveless (she/her) is formerly from Chicago, IL.  She holds a BA in Business Administration from Georgia Gwinnett College and a Master's in Business Administration from St. Leo University.  Chiquita serves as Director for Diversity, Inclusion, and Social Justice at the University of Northern Iowa.  Prior to assuming her current role, she served as Associate Director for Military and Veteran Student Services.  

She served 23 years in the U.S. Navy retiring as a Communication Officer/Chief Warrant Officer 2. Her tours of duty included Commander Naval Special Warfare Command, served on two aircraft carriers and an amphibious assault ship, and numerous overseas deployments to include Operation Iraqi Freedom. She served as the Equal Opportunity Officer and Sexual Assault Victim Advocate for several tours.  Reporting directly to her Commanding Officers. Upon retiring, Chiquita was a former Director for VETCONNEXX, an all-veteran call center located in Atlanta, GA, prior to joining the University of Northern Iowa
staff in 2018.

Chiquita is the recipient of the 2021 Cedar Valley MercyOne Heroes Among Us "Military" award. She is married to Yolando Loveless, a 30-year retired Navy Chief Warrant Officer 4, who currently serves as the Executive Director for Black Hawk County Veterans Affairs.


Friday, November 4, 2022

11:30 - 1:30 pm Lunch

Closing Speaker:

Kristie Fisher
Iowa Valley Community College District

A Leadership Journey: Lessons Learned in Challenging Times

 Seldom is the path to a leadership role linear or smooth like a newly constructed freeway. Far more often the path is interrupted by challenges and diverges from our original path more like a windy, back road. Dr. Fisher will share lessons learned from her challenges, detours and wrong turns.


Dr. Kristie Fisher has served as President of the Iowa Valley Community College District (which includes Marshalltown Community College and Ellsworth Community College) since 2019. Prior to joining Iowa Valley, Kristie spent 5 years in a leadership role at ACT (an international non-profit focused on education and workforce needs) and 15 years in the community college arena including nearly a decade as Vice President, Student Services at Kirkwood Community College. Kristie is a first-generation college student who earned an Associates degree at Kirkwood Community College before completing her Bachelors degree at the University of Iowa. As a working adult, she later earned a MBA (University of Iowa) and PhD (Iowa State University).


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