Pre-Meeting Workshops

WEDNESDAY, January 23, 2:00–5:00 PM

Cultivating Interfaith Cooperation and Engaging Religious Diversity in Higher Education

The ever-increasing diversity of the United States means that we regularly encounter religious difference in everyday life. American citizens have a choice of how to respond to this unprecedented diversity. Rather than allowing apathy or intolerance to define the future of our democracy, we can choose to engage each other to build bridges across lines of difference.

American colleges and universities have a special role and responsibility to help our fellow citizens explore how to embrace our many differences while maintaining a common life together. Higher education brings people together across lines of religious difference through curricular, co-curricular, and community engagement opportunities. As such, campuses serve as both a laboratory for how diverse societies can thrive, as well as a launching pad for the next generation of leaders who can transform experiences with diversity into engaged and productive pluralism.

Interfaith Youth Core (IFYC) and AAC&U have embarked on a new partnership to increase attention to and capacity for engaging across lines of religious and secular difference in higher education. As part of this partnership, this workshop focuses on the importance of pro-active engagement of religious diversity and identity in higher education as a critical part of a robust liberal education. We will explore methods for prioritizing interfaith cooperation in areas such as strategic planning, general education, campus-wide learning outcomes, co-curricular programing, and assessment practices.

Using the most recent findings from the Interfaith Diversity Experiences and Attitudes Longitudinal Survey (IDEALS), we will discuss national trends and best practices for cultivating environments of welcome and engagement across lines of religious and secular difference in undergraduate education.  Campus leaders from different contexts will share ways they are integrating interfaith cooperation and engaging religious diversity in broad and deep ways. The workshop will include guided reflection on assets and challenges related to religious diversity on participants’ own campuses, workshopping ways to address and respond to growing religious diversity in context-specific ways, and sharing best practices for interfaith engagement in higher education.

Workshop Learning Outcomes

Participants will:

  • Understand the value of attending to religious and secular diversity on campus and creating a culture of interfaith cooperation.
  • Learn best practices for campus-wide commitment to religious diversity and interfaith cooperation and how they can be engaged at their institution.
  • Hear examples of interfaith engagement from diverse campus contexts.
  • Develop concrete strategies and gather resources for responding to religious diversity and prioritizing interfaith cooperation on their own campus.

Workshop Facilitators

Carolyn Roncolato, Director of Academic Initiatives, Interfaith Youth Core; Kevin Singer, North Carolina State University


Meeting in the Middle:
Connecting Institutional Structures for STEM Education Change

The need for improved instruction in university science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines is now widely recognized, especially at the undergraduate level. Although we have compelling evidence for instructional practices that increase student learning and success, the uptake of these practices across colleges and universities has so far been limited.

This workshop invites participants to use the results of new research, which highlights how units in the organizational middle ground—STEM departments, centers for teaching and learning, and STEM education centers, to name a few examples—can engage in coordinated educational development to support effective STEM education change.

In contrast to top-down (administrator-led) or grassroots (faculty-led) approaches, we will focus on middle-out approaches to faculty development and engagement with assessment data. Based on results from recent national surveys conducted by the Network of STEM Education Centers (NSEC) and the Association of Public and Land Grant Universities (APLU), along with data from the POD Network and examples from a range of public and private institutions of varying classification and size, workshop attendees will evaluate strengths and advantages of approaching STEM education change from middle-level institutional structures. Participants will be guided to develop strategies for ensuring that middle-level approaches stay connected to each other, to upper-level leadership, and to faculty “on the ground,” and how to address common challenges.

Workshop activities will help participants link and coordinate middle-level efforts on their campuses in order to increase their impact. The workshop will culminate with a break-out discussion focused on action planning, addressing STEM faculty development challenges based on participant affinity groups, such as institutional size, common issues, and overlapping goals.

This workshop’s focus on using existing institutional structures and linking mid-level efforts will benefit conference participants who are upper-level institutional leaders, department chairs, faculty, and directors and staff of centers.

Workshop Facilitators

Cassandra Volpe Horii, Founding Director, Center for Teaching, Learning, and Outreach, California Institute of Technology; Gabriela Weaver, Vice Provost for Faculty Development and Director, Center for Teaching Excellence and Faculty Development, University of Massachusetts Amherst; Deborah Carlisle, STEM Education Post-Doctoral Research Associate, Center for Teaching Excellence and Faculty Development, University of Massachusetts Amherst; Mathew Ouellett, Executive Director, Center for Teaching Innovation, Cornell University; Daniel Reinholz, Assistant Professor, Department of Mathematics and Statistics, San Diego State University

This workshop is presented by the Professional and Organizational Development (POD) Network

Workshop Resources


ACAD Workshop
Navigating the University Budget:
A Public and Private Perspective

This workshop will provide insight into university budgeting from the perspective of the Provost at a large institution (Georgia State University) and Vice President for Academic Affairs at a small one (Agnes Scott College).  Communication with faculty and staff about budgetary issues, especially in periods of rapid institutional change, are essential for keeping things running smoothly on the academic side of the house. We will discuss revenues and expenses, along with ways to manage uncertainty in each within a framework of shared governance in public and private institutional settings. The conversation will include Q&A with a focus on sticky situations that can arise and some possible approaches toward satisfactory resolutions.

Workshop Facilitators

Kerry Pannell, Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the College, Agnes Scott College; Risa Palm, Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs, Georgia State University


ACAD Workshop
Learning to Thrive “In-Between”
Succeeding as an Assistant/Associate Dean

Assistant/Associate Deans are often caught “in-between”: in-between the faculty and the Dean, in-between different departments and/or faculty, in-between Academic Affairs and other offices at the institution, and even in-between career steps.  This “in-betweenness” creates challenges (mistrust, lack of power, confusion), but it also opens opportunities to build bridges that can lead to institutional transformation and professional growth.

In this interactive session, participants will consider many elements of associate deaning—such as entering administrative work, (re)building trust with faculty colleagues, launching and leading academic initiatives, working across the entire institution, supervising staff, prioritizing a seemingly-endless workload, managing “up”, communicating with grace, and preparing for one’s next professional step.  Using case studies and shared insights, the group will explore the challenges of this work and develop practical strategies that can apply to a variety of institutional settings.  This is a valuable development and networking opportunity for both new and not-as-new Assistant/Associate Deans.

Workshop Facilitators

James M. Sloat, Associate Provost and Associate Dean of Faculty, Colby College; Marcia France, Dean of Undergraduate Studies, Duke Kunshan University; Maryse Jayasuriya, Associate Dean for Student Affairs, College of Liberal Arts, University of Texas at El Paso



Nudging Toward Equity:
How Faculty Work is Taken Up, Assigned, and Rewarded in Academic Departments

Many faculty and academic leaders experience the way in which work gets done in academic departments as unfair. Some faculty step forward over and over again and do the lion share of department service or administrative roles while others skate or shirk collective responsibilities. Important work done on behalf of the department is invisible, and there are few benchmarks or standards to acknowledge exemplary performance. Women and under-represented minority groups are found to engage in a greater share of service and mentoring work and face career penalties and dissatisfaction as a result.

Leaders often find themselves in the awkward position of wanting to make sure workload is fair and collectively shared, but also needing to ask the willing faculty to complete important tasks. Whether it be to get needed department work done, to ensure fairness and equity, especially for diverse faculty, or to reward and recognize those who go above and beyond, academic leaders need to create new cultures and systems for division of labor.  But how, as campus leaders, do we engage our faculty and leadership teams in creating the conditions and work practices that will ensure workload fairness and satisfaction?

Workshop leaders will share the latest research on the implicit biases and conditions shaping workload allocation and concrete solutions. Participants will engage in case studies and think through different ways to examine equity issues in faculty workload. We will consider different kinds of data that might be collected to consider equity issues, make work activity data transparent, and identify organizational practices and policies that design for greater equity in divisions of labor.

Workshop Facilitators

KerryAnn O'Meara, Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs and Graduate Studies in the College of Education, Professor of Higher Education, and Director of the ADVANCE Program at the University of Maryland, and P.I. of the NSF-funded ADVANCE IHE-PLAN, Faculty Workload and Rewards Project;  and Audrey Jaeger, Professor & Alumni Distinguished Graduate Professor and Executive Director, National Initiative for Leadership & Institutional Effectiveness, University Faculty Scholar at North Carolina State University