Thriving beyond the Narrative: Academic Leadership for the Future

75th Annual Meeting

American Conference of Academic Deans

Throughout history, Americans have viewed higher education as a gateway to opportunity, allowing people to step outside of their limited means and engage in continuous improvement from generation to generation. Higher education is no less important today, but it is increasingly challenged by narratives of bifurcation:  public good versus private good; transformational versus transactional; liberal learning versus vocational or technical training; elite versus non-elite.  Institutions of higher education must focus on resiliency through models that highlight innovation, creativity, flexibility, and adaptability. The challenge is how our respective institutions will move beyond the existing narratives and sustain a thriving model in support of the ideals of higher education.

ACAD Workshops
Wednesday, January 23, 2:00 – 5:00 p.m.

  • Navigating the University Budget: A Public and Private Perspective
  • Learning to Thrive “In-Between”: Succeeding as an Assistant/Associate Dean

ACAD 8th Annual Deans’ Institute
Wednesday, January 23, 8:45 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

The Deans’ Institute provides an opportunity for academic administrators to develop their leadership abilities in a supportive environment.  It is designed especially for deans, provosts, associate deans and associate provosts, and other academic leaders above the rank of department head.

The featured opening plenary speaker for the day is Jorge Gonzalez, President, Kalamazoo College. The closing speaker will be Marc Roy, Provost, Albion College. The Institute will also include a series of roundtable discussion opportunities on more than sixteen topics/themes.

The goals of the day-long institute are:

  • Advancing the leadership abilities of deans and academic administrators
  • Sharing valuable information about the current state of the deanship
  • Providing updates on important developments in the world of higher education
  • Creating networking opportunities

A full Institute program can be found by visiting the ACAD website at

ACAD Keynote Luncheon
Friday, January 25, 11:45 a.m.-1:15 p.m.

Thriving in the Dysfunction: Building a Culture of Collaboration

Rick CastalloRick Castallo, Professor of Educational Administration, California State University, Northridge

Dr. Castallo will share experiences and provide practical advice related to the role of leaders in higher education and the things they can do to improve the performance of effective, as well as less effective, faculty and staff. 

Rick Castallo is a professor of educational administration at California State University, Northridge.  Prior to his time in California, he spent twenty years in the same position at the State University of New York at Cortland.  In addition to his role as a professor, Rick has been a college administrator, department chair, public school teacher, and high school principal. Rick also cofounded the consulting firm Castallo & Silky, and in that role has worked with hundreds of leadership groups, faculties, and boards throughout the country in their efforts to make their organizations more effective.

ACAD Sessions

ACAD sponsored sessions are open to all attendees and include the following:

  • Student, Instructor and Program Strategies Aimed to Increase Persistence and Promote Resiliency of a Diverse Student Population
  • Examining our Persistently White Institutions: Helping Academic Leaders Create a Path Forward for Diversity and Hospitality
  • Collaboration versus Competition: A Tale of Four Deans
  • Liberal Education vs. Vocational Education: A False Dichotomy
  • STEMming the Tide of Enrollment Shifts from Humanities to STEM
  • Keeping the Balance: Supporting the Inner Lives of Academic Leaders
  • Class Deans: Developmental Advising as a Resiliency Initiative
  • Campus to Career: Resource Mapping to Promote Integration between Curriculum and Co-curriculum
  • Leading Collaborative Change for the Sustainable Future of Small, Private Colleges and Universities

ACAD and CCAS Joint Reception
Friday, January 25 5:30 p.m.

ACAD and CCAS (Council of Colleges of Arts & Sciences) are co-hosting a reception Friday evening. All are welcome to join us as we celebrate our new partnership.

A full program with a list of all ACAD sessions can be found on the ACAD website at