Annual Meeting Highlights


The Carol Geary Schneider Lecture on Liberal Education and Inclusive Excellence

Wednesday, January 22, 7:00–8:30 p.m.

HARPER_web.jpgShaun R. Harper is the Clifford and Betty Allen Chair in Urban Leadership, Provost Professor, Rossier School of Education and Marshall School of Business, and Founder and Executive Director, USC Race and Equity Center at the University of Southern California.  He studies racial, gender, and LGBT issues in corporations, law firms, Hollywood production companies, K-12 schools, and universities, and is considered an expert on college sports.

Harper has consulted with more than 200 businesses and institutions on strategies related to equity, diversity, and inclusion, has published over 100 peer-reviewed journal articles and other academic publications, and has procured $13 million in research grants. He is presently working on his 13th publication, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion in Business.

Harper spent a decade at the University of Pennsylvania, where he was a tenured full professor. Prior to becoming a faculty member, Harper was Assistant Director of MBA Admissions for the Indiana University Kelley School of Business.


The Carol Geary Schneider Lecture on Liberal Education and Inclusive Excellence was established in 2016 to honor the visionary leadership of AAC&U’s president from 1998-2016, Carol Geary Schneider.

Delivered biennially at the Association’s annual conference, the lecture advances contemporary understandings of liberal education that are grounded in the mission and values of the Association, namely, to make liberal education and inclusive excellence the foundation for institutional purpose and educational practice in higher education.


Thursday, January 23, 9:45–11:15 a.m.

Up for Debate?: The Enduring Value of Liberal Education








An open discussion—moderated by AAC&U President Lynn Pasquerella—with speakers Andrew Delbanco, President, The Teagle Foundation and Alexander Hamilton Professor of American Studies, Columbia University; Mary Dana Hinton, President, College of Saint Benedict; and Scott Jaschik, Editor, Inside Higher Ed

AAC&U thanks Strada Education Network for its sponsorship of the Opening Plenary.


Saturday, January 25, 10:30-11:30 a.m.

Shaping Spaces Safe Enough for Pragmatic Liberal Education: Pressures and Possibilities

roth_web.jpgMichael S. Roth, President, Wesleyan University

Michael S. Roth— historian, curator, author, and public advocate for liberal education—is the 16th president of Wesleyan University and former president of California College of the Arts.  He is the author of six books, including Beyond the University: Why Liberal Education Matters (Yale University Press, 2014), winner of AAC&U’s 2016 Frederic W. Ness Book Award, which recognizes outstanding contributions to the understanding and improvement of liberal education. President Roth’s newest book is Safe Enough Spaces: A Pragmatist’s Approach to Inclusion, Free Speech, and Political Correctness (Yale University Press, 2019), which addresses some of the most contentious issues in American higher education, including affirmative action, safe spaces, and questions of free speech.


Thursday, January 23, 8:00–9:30 a.m.

Sweig_web.jpgJulia Sweig, former Nelson and David Rockefeller Chair and Director for Latin America Studies, Council on Foreign Relations, is a practitioner, entrepreneur, scholar—three unique skills honed in 30 years of experience in policy think tanks, business, and academia. All three came in particularly handy over the past decade: as one of the foremost U.S. authorities on Cuba, Sweig leveraged her relationships to position herself at the crossroads of foreign policy and business during the historic opening of relations, formerly unimaginable in our generation. Sweig’s ability to synthesize and communicate complex foreign policy issues for laypeople, achieving accessibility without sacrificing substance, has made her a popular primetime guest on CBS, CBSN, NBC, MSNBC, ABC, CNN, PBS, BBC, NPR, and even Comedy Central’s Colbert Report.

hass.jpgModerator: Marjorie Hass, President of Rhodes College, will draw on her own research on women's leadership in conversation with Julia Sweig. 



Thursday, January 23, 12:30–2:00 pm

Silver_web.jpgMariko Silver is President and Chief Executive Officer of the Henry Luce Foundation, former president of Bennington College, and a recognized thought leader for her writings on experiential learning, the future of work, institutional innovation, and diversity in leadership. Silver served in the Obama Administration as Acting Assistant Secretary and Deputy Assistant Secretary for International Policy for the US Department of Homeland Security and, prior to that, served as Policy Advisor for Economic Development, Innovation, and Education in the administration of Arizona’s governor Janet Napolitano.  Silver has worked with governments, non-profits, and industry leaders in the United States with a particular emphasis on East Asia, India, and North America, as well as across Latin America, and is an expert in institutional transformation, organizational change, and intercultural program development.


Friday, January 24, 12:30-1:45 p.m.

Still Standing:
Leadership & Resilience in Turbulent Times

Carroll_web.jpgDonna M. Carroll, President, Dominican University

The relentless pressures on higher education today can squeeze the joy out of leadership if resilience-building strategies are not part of your toolbox. Academic leaders face a particular set of challenges, sandwiched between the expectations of presidents and faculty, public opinion and student outcomes, and mission and market. How do you cope in these turbulent times? Where are the opportunities and pitfalls? What strategies can amplify your leadership contribution? President Carroll will share some practical wisdom and present a framework for grappling with the pace and complexity of academic leadership today.