Forum for Presidents and Foundation Leaders


Thursday, January 24 – Friday, January 25



2:15 – 2:30 pm


  • Lynn Pasquerella, President, AAC&U
  • Richard Guarasci, President, Wagner College


2:30 – 3:45 pm

Reframing Narratives of Value in the New Media Landscape

  • Debra Humphreys, Vice President for Strategic Engagement, Lumina Foundation
  • Kirk Carapezza, Education Reporter, WGBH


4:00 – 5:15 pm

Better Left Unsaid?
Building Competitive Advantage When What We Believe About the Liberal Arts Isn’t Enough

  • William Craft, President, Concordia College, Moorhead
  • Rogan Kersh, Provost, Wake Forest University
  • Mary Papazian, President, San Jose State University
  • David Strauss, Principal, Art & Science Group


5:15 – 5:30 pm

Closing Remarks

  • Lynn Pasquerella, President, AAC&U


7:00 – 8:30 pm

Please join us for the Presidents'  Reception



8:30 a.m.

Threats to General Education and the Liberal Arts

Scott JaschikScott Jaschik
Inside Higher Ed



8:45 – 10:00 am

Articulating the Value Proposition: Shared Goals Among Foundations, Government, and Higher Education

  • Barry Pritzker, Senior Director, Foundation and Corporate Relations, Skidmore College
  • Nancy Cable, President, University of North Carolina Asheville
  • John Ottenhoff, Interim Chief Operating Officer, Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges
  • Muriel Poston, Division Director, National Science Foundation
  • Eugene Tobin, Senior Program Officer, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation


10:15 – 11:15 am

Civic Engagement and Student Success

  • Phoebe Haddon, Chancellor, Rutgers University-Camden
  • Stephen Townsend, Commanding General of U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, United States Army

11:30 am –12:15 pm

Higher Education Predictions for 2019

  • Richard Garrett, Chief Research Officer, Eduventures


– 2:00 p.m.

Why the Job Market Needs Humanists

George AndersGeorge Anders
Editor at Large
LinkedIn, and author of You Can Do Anything: The Surprising Power of a "Useless" Liberal Arts Education


The Presidents' Forum is open to all presidents and foundation leaders.  No additional registration fee is necessary to participate in Forum sessions on Thursday and Friday, but the Presidents' Breakfast and Presidents' Luncheon both carry an additional fee.


2:30 - 5:30 p.m.

Higher Education Leadership in a Time of Polarization and Anxiety: Tools to Clear Minefields, Restore Trust, and Foster Open Inquiry

Jonathan Haidt, New York University, and co-author of The Coddling of the American Mind: How Good
Intentions and Bad Ideas are Setting Up a Generation for Failure

Deb Mashek, Harvey Mudd College, and Heterodox Academy

Leading a college or university has always been challenging, but the job of a college president has become much more difficult in the last few years due to: 1) a giant leap in 2016 of America’s already increasing political polarization that amplified the political passions of students and faculty, as well as efforts of off-campus groups to attack universities, and 2) the arrival of Gen-Z students (born after 1995); a generation with rapidly rising rates of anxiety and depression. Fear and despair are incompatible with the culture of higher education, which requires curiosity, intellectual humility, love of learning, and relationships of trust among students and professors. While many leaders want to facilitate campus cultures that are conducive to learning, it isn’t always clear how to do so within one’s local context.

In this workshop, Haidt and Mashek will draw upon psychological theory and campus practice to explain 1) how many members of Gen-Z became “fragile” rather than “antifragile”; 2) how social media created an “economy of prestige” that supports the toxic new “callout culture,” and 3) how educators and administrators can satisfy students’ need for safety in ways that assuage rather than amplify anxious beliefs, while stoking students’ desires for exploration, learning, and challenge. Workshop participants will develop strategies for use on their own campuses that will include 1) measuring the expression climate to establish baselines and trends, 2) reviewing and improving existing policies and practices to foster open inquiry and trust, and 3) developing a narrative, grounded in their own institutions’ values and history, that can be used in speeches and written communications to define the institution’s goals, values, and moral culture that will facilitate learning, discovery,
growth, and inclusion.

 Additonal information about the seminar is available here.


AAC&U thanks the following sponsors for their support of the Presidents’ Forum

Presidents Trust Sponsors