Association for Collaborative Leadership

The resource for collaboration in higher education.



Keynote Speaker

Noe Ortega | Acting Secretary of Education, Department of Education, Pennsylvania

Noe Ortega was nominated to serve as Secretary of Education in October 2020. Prior to his nomination, he had served as the Deputy Secretary and Commissioner for the Office of Postsecondary and Higher Education (OPHE) at the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE). As commissioner for higher education, he led the work of the agency aimed at closing the postsecondary attainment gaps that have persisted among historically underrepresented populations and communities of color in Pennsylvania. Additionally, Mr. Ortega facilitated the efforts of the department to improve the diversity of Pennsylvania’s educator workforce and to ensure that every student of the Commonwealth has access to educators who have been trained in culturally responsive and culturally relevant approaches to teaching and learning in the classroom. 

Prior to joining PDE, Mr. Ortega spent eight years at the University of Michigan, where he held several academic and administrative roles. During his tenure he worked as the Assistant Director and Senior Research Associate at the National Center for Institutional Diversity and as the Managing Director for the National Forum on Higher Education for the Public Good. While most of his research focused on postsecondary access and success for all students, his most recent publications examine how public investment in higher education influences decision-making at colleges and universities. Additionally, Mr. Ortega spent nearly a decade working in the areas of financial aid and enrollment management at both public and private universities in Texas, and he also served as a P-16 Specialist for the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. Mr. Ortega also spent nearly seven years as director of a language institute in Japan where he trained teachers in the area of early childhood language acquisition.


Facilitators and Panelists

Charlie Barlow | Executive Director, Boston Library Consortium

Charlie Barlow is the Executive Director of the Boston Library Consortium (BLC), a consortium of 19 public and private academic research universities, liberal arts colleges, special research libraries, and state libraries in Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island. Through the BLC, Charlie works with library leaders and staff to facilitate high quality and cost-effective sharing of print and digital content and provide a forum to advance projects significant to academic and research libraries across New England.

Prior to the BLC, he served as the Vice President for Strategic Initiatives and Programs at the Associated Colleges of the Midwest. Charlie is an alumnus of UChicago, Cambridge, and Cornell, and previously held academic and administrative appointments at UChicago and Roosevelt University. He currently serves on the boards of directors for the Association for Institutional Research in the Upper Midwest, Friends of the Parks, Housing Choice Partners, and the National Public Housing Museum.


Kirsten Brinlee | Executive Director, Baltimore Collegetown Network

As executive director of the Baltimore Collegetown Network, Kirsten Brinlee oversees initiatives and programs to attract, engage, and retain outstanding students in Baltimore. Kirsten joined the organization in 2014 to lead and manage civic leadership programs. Under her strategic leadership, she added new program components for Collegetown LeaderShape and created Collegetown Underground and Collegetown Fellowship, programs which cultivate the next generation of civic leaders in Baltimore. Kirsten also oversees the vision for the organization, numerous engagement programs including the nationally-recognized Collegetown Shuttle, and a $1 million budget.

Prior to joining Collegetown, she worked as the assistant director at Johns Hopkins University's Center for Social Concern. At JHU, she managed alternative break programs, large days of service, and advised the student advocacy board and service student organizations. She relocated from Texas to Baltimore in 2012, and while in Texas worked at the University of North Texas's Center for Leadership and Service.

Karina Chavez | Executive Director, PCHE - Pittsburgh Council on Higher Education

Karina began her role as executive director of PCHE – Pittsburgh Council on Higher Education nearly six years ago, running the higher education consortium for the City of Pittsburgh and greater Pittsburgh region. PCHE’s members include Carlow University, Chatham University, CCAC – Community College of Allegheny County, Duquesne University, La Roche University, Pittsburgh Technical College, Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, Point Park University, Robert Morris University and University of Pittsburgh. Prior to her current role, she held student affairs positions including vice president of student affairs, associate vice president of student affairs, associate vice president of housing operations, student affairs business analyst and dean of student affairs. Her career began in the non-profit sector as a community mediator, mediation trainer, case manager and adolescent family therapist, in California and later in Sydney, Australia. Her focus and passion has been working with at-risk young people around access to services and education, suicidality, mental health, sexual violence, food and housing insecurity and leaving-care and after-care.

Karina obtained her undergraduate degree from the University of California, Irvine majoring in Social Ecology with an emphasis in Criminology, Law and Society and her Graduate Diploma in Family Therapy from The Institute for Relationship Studies, New South Wales, Australia.  She currently sits on the Board of Directors for PAAR – Pittsburgh Action Against Rape, CISPAC – Communities in Schools Pennsylvania Allegheny County, and Pittsburgh Arts & Lectures.


Jo Comerford | Massachusetts State Senator

Jo Comerford was elected to the Massachusetts Senate in 2018, representing a district that includes all the campuses of the Five College Consortium. She currently serves as the Senate Vice Chair on the Joint Committee on Higher Ed. She moved to western Massachusetts in the late 1990s after earning a master's of social work degree from Hunter College.

Before her election, Senator Comerford served as the executive director of the National Priorities Project--during which time it was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize for its work. In addition, she has led the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts, the western Massachusetts American Friends Service Committee and, most recently, served as a campaign director for MoveOn, focusing on such issues as gun safety and health care.


Regina Curtis | Executive Director of Resource Development

Greenfield Community College

Regina Curtis serves as the executive director of institutional advancement at Greenfield Community College in Western Massachusetts, working to support and promote the College through Foundation and Grants fundraising and Government/Community Relations. Prior to joining the college in 2005, she worked in the Massachusetts General Court, serving on the legislative staff of State Representative Stephen Kulik (D-Worthington) as District Coordinator for six years, a position she accepted after twenty years working in the fields of municipal government and human services.

Regina received her associate’s degree from Greenfield Community College, her bachelor’s degree from the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, and her master’s in business administration from Fitchburg State University.


Paula K. Davis, M.A., C.D.E*. | Assistant Vice Chancellor, Diversity

University of Pittsburgh's Schools of the Health Sciences

Paula K. Davis, M.A., C.D.E*. is Assistant Vice Chancellor for Diversity for the University of Pittsburgh’s Schools of the Health Sciences. Responsible for oversight of diversity and inclusion initiatives in Pitt’s six Health Science schools, Davis assumed her current position after serving the School of Medicine as Assistant Dean with responsibility for Admissions, Financial Aid and Diversity Programs. Davis’s career has centered on higher education administration including recruitment and admissions, financial aid, academic advising, alumni relations, and support services for diverse student populations.  

A two-time graduate of the University of Pittsburgh (BA, English; MA, Communications), and recipient of the 2003 Chancellor’s Affirmative Action Award, Davis serves the community as vice president of the board of the FISA Foundation, an organization that funds initiatives supporting women and girls and people with disabilities, and chairs the board of M-PowerHouse, a nonprofit founded to support students of color in STEAM. She also served two terms as northeast region director for the National Association of Medical Minority Educators.

The parent of a young adult on the autism spectrum, Davis is a staunch advocate for disability research and education.

Mindy Domb | Massachusetts State Representative

Mindy Domb was first elected to the Massachusetts House of Representatives in 2018, to represent the district that includes the town of Amherst, home to three Five College campuses. Before her election to the House, Representative Domb was the executive director of the Amherst Survival Center, and had led statewide programs to educate the staff of drug and alcohol treatment programs, jails, and homeless shelters on issues of HIV/AIDS, hepatitis, harm reduction, and opioid overdose prevention.

She earned a bachelor’s degree from Barnard College and completed graduate coursework in adult learning for a masters degree from UMass Amherst and Teachers College at Columbia University.

Corie Dugas | Executive Director, NELLCO Law Library Consortium, Inc. 

Corie Dugas is the Executive Director of NELLCO Law Library Consortium, Inc. She joined the organization in 2017 and works with 127 members institutions across the globe. A native Kansan and long-time St. Louisan, she now calls Upstate New York home.

Before joining NELLCO, she was the Executive Director of MALLCO and an Assistant Professor of Legal Research at Saint Louis University. In her free time, you’d likely find Corie reading thrillers, hunched over her sewing machine, or hiking the nearby mountain ranges.

Stephanie L. Fabritius, Ph.D. | President, Associated Colleges of the South 

Stephanie L. Fabritius serves as the president of the Associated Colleges of the South (ACS), where she relishes her work in developing collaborations among member institutions.  Prior to ACS, she served 12 years as vice president for academic affairs and dean of the college at Centre College. Stephanie also served 18 years at Southwestern University as a professor of biology (and eventually the Lillian Nelson Pratt Chair in the Sciences), and associate provost and the inaugural director of the Paideia Program. 

Both Southwestern University and Centre College are member institutions in the ACS. In 2002-2003, Stephanie was an American Council on Education (ACE) Fellow at Bowdoin College. She holds a B.S. in biology from Pepperdine University, and a Ph.D. in biological sciences (ecology, evolution, and behavior) from Purdue University.

Rich Fitzgerald | County Executive, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania 

The county’s top elected official, Rich Fitzgerald is in his third and final term as County Executive. Widely recognized for his work ethic, Rich is one of the county’s biggest champions and is well known for bringing together people and organizations on regional issues. Under his leadership, the county has concentrated on economic development and job creation and boasts high-quality jobs and a diverse and growing economy.

During his tenure as County Executive, the county has supported its needs without a property tax millage increase. At the same time, the county’s bond rating has been upgraded five times and is at its highest level since 1983. The county’s buildings, facilities, vehicles, and parks are being upgraded and becoming greener. The county is continuing its investment in our future by reducing reliance on fossil fuels, including renewable resources in our mix of energy, and participating in an energy consortium. Its facilities continue to utilize LED lighting, electric cars are being added to our fleet, and recycling efforts have increased. Through unique partnerships, the county continues to build a strong workforce while investing in our infrastructure, collaborating with our municipalities, and providing opportunities for all residents.

Recognizing that not everyone is sharing in successes, Rich has set priorities focused on workforce development, connecting residents to jobs by improving public transportation and infrastructure, and investing in expanded outreach and services through a newly-renamed Department of Equity and Inclusion. Rich is also continuing his commitment to increasing diversity through his hires, promotions, board appointments and more.

Marita Gilbert, Ph.D. | Associate Dean, Diversity and Campus Inclusion

Michigan State University, College of Osteopathic Medicine

Marita Gilbert, PhD is a scholar-practitioner guided by diverse experiences in higher education that bridges theory and praxis to facilitate transformative change. As the senior equity, inclusion and diversity officer of the College, she is responsible for strategically shaping, operationalizing, and integrating programs and services that support and enhance the College environment, particularly in support of those who have been historically marginalized or underrepresented. 

Dean Gilbert was previously the Dean, Institutional Equity and Inclusive Excellence (CDO) at Juniata College. She received her PhD in Kinesiology from Michigan State University, and taught the subject at her alma mater before moving into administration.

Dr. Chris Howard | Eighth President, Robert Morris University 

Dr. Chris Howard is the eighth president of Robert Morris University near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

He is a distinguished graduate of the United States Air Force Academy and earned a doctorate in politics as a Rhodes Scholar from the University of Oxford. He also has an MBA with distinction from Harvard Business School, and in 2018 he received the school's Alumni Achievement Award. Dr. Howard's service to his country began as a helicopter pilot, then as an intelligence officer, where he was assigned to the elite Joint Special Operations Command. He served in Afghanistan in the Air Force Reserve and was awarded the Bronze Star. He also served as the Reserve Air AttacheĢ to Liberia.

Dr. Howard aims to make RMU the preferred strategic partner for corporations, organizations, professionals, and aspiring professionals in the Pittsburgh region and beyond. The university is nationally ranked by U.S. News & World Report and in 2019 opened the UPMC Events Center, the new home to the university's NCAA Division I basketball and volleyball teams. That project is part of the RMU 100: Ready to Rise fundraising campaign, which will raise $100 million by the time RMU celebrates its centennial in 2021.

Sam Masinter | Interim Chief Public Affairs Officer, Smith College

Sam Masinter serves as the interim chief public affairs officer of Smith College. He oversees the Office of College Relations/Public Affairs, which is responsible for campus communications, media relations, alumnae and development communications, publications, digital communications and social media, community relations and government relations.

Before coming to Smith in 2011, he served as assistant director and acting director of public affairs at Amherst College, where he earned his bachelors' degree.

Keith A. Marshall, Ph.D. | Executive Director, Big Ten Academic Alliance

Keith Marshall, Ph.D. was named Executive Director of the Big Ten Academic Alliance in June, 2017. Keith began his administrative career as the Assistant to the Associate Dean in the College of Applied Health Sciences in 1995 before moving to the Office of the Provost in 1997. During his 19-year tenure in the Provost's office, Keith served as a Staff Associate, Assistant Provost for Academic Affairs, Executive Director of the Campus Center for Advising and Academic Services, and Associate Provost for Enrollment Management.

Currently holding an appointment as Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology, Keith earned a B.S. and M.S. from Texas A&M University and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Illinois, where his dissertation focused on the history of racial identity formation.



Kiernan Mathews, Ed.D. | Executive Director and Principal Investigator 

Collaborative on Academic Careers in Higher Education

Kiernan Mathews, Ed.D., is the Executive Director and Principal Investigator of the Collaborative on Academic Careers in Higher Education (COACHE), a research-practice partnership based at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Through COACHE, Kiernan works with academic leaders to advance equity in the professoriate through the effective use of data for institutional change.

His writing and speaking engagements explore the condition of minoritized faculty at colleges and universities, particularly concerning leadership development, shared governance, and turnover. He holds a doctorate from the University of Pennsylvania, a master’s from Harvard, and a bachelor of arts from the University of Houston.


Suzanne K. Mellon | 10th President, Carlow University 

Suzanne K. Mellon is the 10th president of Carlow University, a private liberal arts university located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Dr. Mellon has held a variety of higher education executive positions and holds the rank of professor. Her research has been on cancer survivorship. She currently serves as vice chair of the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Pennsylvania, and a member of the board of directors of the Council of Independent Colleges, the Pittsburgh Branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, and the Pennsylvania Economy League. She is the current chair of the Pittsburgh Council on Higher Education Presidents’ Council, a member of the Executive Committee of the River States Conference’s Council of Presidents, and an ex officio member of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. Additionally, she is a member of the International Women’s Forum Western Pennsylvania Chapter, the Conference for Mercy Higher Education Presidents Council, and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Higher Education Working Group. She also serves as a site visit team chair for the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Dr. Mellon has earned many awards, including being named a Most Admired CEOs & Top Executives (2009), and Women of Influence (2019) by the Pittsburgh Business Times’, and one of Oakland Catholic High School’s Leading Ladies. Dr. Mellon holds a BSN from the University of Michigan, an MS from Ohio State University, and a PhD from Wayne State University. She also holds a certification from the Harvard Graduate School of Education’s Institute for Management and Leadership in Education.


Yvette Morneau | Director of Business Services and Treasurer, Five Colleges, Inc. 

Yvette Morneau is currently the Director of Business Services and Treasurer of Five Colleges Inc. (FCI). Yvette has been associated with FCI since 1990, originally as a technical accounting consultant, before shifting into a part time role as Assistant to the Treasurer - which eventually became a full time position.

She was promoted to her current role in 2018 and is responsible for maintaining the accounting and fiscal operations of the consortium. She holds a BS from Babson College, with a major in accounting, and is a Certified Public Accountant.


Elizabeth Moy | Executive Director

Southeastern Pennsylvania Consortium for Higher Education 

Beth Moy is Executive Director of the Southeastern Pennsylvania Consortium for Higher Education (SEPCHE) representing eight independent colleges and universities in the Philadelphia region: Arcadia University, Cabrini University, Chestnut Hill College, Gwynedd Mercy University, Holy Family University, Immaculata University, Neumann University and Rosemont College. Implementing the vision of the SEPCHE Presidents, Beth works with campus leaders, faculty and staff to improve teaching and learning and advance personal and organizational effectiveness through collaboration. Beth manages consortium development efforts in partnership with community, foundation and government organizations. Beth has held positions at Moore College of Art & Design as an Academic Planning Consultant and former Director of Development and Capital Campaign Director launching and managing its $15 million capital campaign through its expansion to $30 million. She brings over eight years of experience in public policy and legislative advocacy having served as Director of Special Projects and former Director of

Constituent Services for Philadelphia City Councilwoman-At-Large Happy Fernandez. Beth serves as Vice President of the Association for Collaborative Leadership. She is an officer of the Valley Forge Tourism and Convention Board and Montgomery County Industrial Development Authority. Beth has presented nationally and internationally on various topics related to collaboration in higher education. Beth has an undergraduate degree in English from the University of Texas at Austin and a masters degree from the School of Social Administration at Temple University.


Deborah Obalil| Executive Director

Association of Independent Colleges of Art & Design

Deborah Obalil has over twenty years experience as a leader in the national arts and culture industry. She was appointed the Executive Director of the Association of Independent Colleges of Art & Design (AICAD) in June 2012, and then President in fall 2015. Prior to her appointment with AICAD, Deborah operated a successful boutique arts management consulting firm, Obalil & Associates, for four years.

The firm provided consultation and facilitation in strategic business planning, marketing research and planning, and board development for non-profit arts organizations, independent artists of all disciplines, and creative for-profit ventures. Deborah has also served as Executive Director of the Alliance of Artists Communities and Director of the Arts Marketing Center & Research at the Arts & Business Council of Chicago.


Jeff Oberg | Director of Operations, Big Ten Academic Alliance 

Jeff Oberg is the Director of Operations for the Big Ten Academic Alliance. Serving as an internal operational leader, Oberg is also the chief financial officer and oversees communications, IT, and HR. On the programmatic side, Jeff facilitates collaborations among procurement professionals across the Big Ten universities and has led numerous cross-functional initiatives that have created significant value for member institutions.

At the Big Ten Academic Alliance for the last 10 years, Oberg has more than 35 years of experience in higher education leading operational support functions, both in academic and administrative areas, where he has served in various capacities including Assistant Dean for Administration at the University of Illinois College of Engineering, and Director of Shared Administrative Services in Illinois’ Facilities and Services. In these various roles, Jeff has gained extensive hands on experience in managing the implementation of shared services and developing technology solutions. A participant in the inaugural ACL Summer Institute, Jeff is a graduate of the University of Illinois and is a registered CPA.


Sarah Pfatteicher| Executive Director, Five Colleges, Inc. 

Sarah Pfatteicher has been the executive director of the Five College Consortium since 2018. A graduate of Five College member Smith College, Sarah earned her doctorate in the history of science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1996.

In the years since, she served in a number of teaching and administrative roles at the University of Wisconsin, most recently as associate dean for academic affairs and as a research professor in civil and environmental engineering.

In her time at Five Colleges Sarah has spear-headed development of a strategic roadmap to guide the consortium while allowing it to be nimble and responsive to campus needs. She serves on the board of ACL.


Dr. Mac Powell | Senior Vice President of the Commission on Colleges and Universities 

Dr. Mac Powell serves as Senior Vice President of the Commission on Colleges and Universities. Prior to joining the Commission, he served as president of three universities, including John F. Kennedy University, where he led the institution’s successful efforts to become a service-learning institution and a federally recognized and funded Hispanic Serving Institution. Dr. Powell has contributed to the strategic direction of higher education through his research and through service as Chair of the American Council of Education’s Commission on Educational Attainment and Innovation, Commissioner on the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Commission, graduate of the WASC Assessment Leadership Academy, and Chair of the Council of Applied Master’s Programs in Psychology.

Dr. Powell holds bachelor's degrees in philosophy and sociology; master's degrees in business, sociology and clinical psychology; and a PhD in sociology from the University of Missouri. He is the author of over 50 articles, three books and two book chapters on the subjects of education, clinical psychology and performance psychology. His recent scholarship focuses on the role of accreditation in consumer protection, educational attainment, and the challenges of rising tuition costs for students. Dr. Powell can be reached at mpowell@nwccu.org.

Anita Rios | Owner, Rios Consulting, LLC

Anita Rios is the founder of Rios Consulting, LLC, where she provides customized talent acquisition and development services and consultation to colleges and universities. She also provides executive coaching to individuals who want to grow their careers. Anita has over 30 years of organization development and talent management experience working in higher education. 

She earned her masters degree in Human Resource Development from the University of Minnesota and is a certified professional in learning and performance (CPLP) with additional certifications in: EQi, MBTI, DiSC, StrengthsFinder, and TTI Talent Insights.



Claire Ramsbottom | Executive Director, Colleges of the Fenway 

Claire A. Ramsbottom is Executive Director, Colleges of the Fenway, Inc. (COF) in Boston, Massachusetts. In 1996, she was hired to help create the newly formed COF. Formally incorporated in 2003, COF is focused on increasing opportunities and enhancing services for students and managing costs. Prior to joining COF she worked in higher education administration for 15 years at SUNY Cortland, Simmons University and Wheaton College, and as a recruiter in private industry. While at Wheaton she was extensively involved in the college’s transition from an all-women’s college to a coeducational institution. She earned a BA from Framingham State University and M.Ed. in Higher Education Administration from Springfield College.

She also serves as a pastoral associate for her local church. She is certified in mediation, DiSC Indra and the Myers Briggs Type Inventory. She serves as President of the Association for Collaborative Leadership. She co-authored several chapters for ACL books and materials. She frequently consults on collaborations and higher education consortia. She is a founding faculty member of the ACL Summer Institute.


Kevin Sightler | Director of Substantive Change

Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

Kevin Sightler is director of substantive change at the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).  He and his team manage all substantive change reviews including new academic programs, off-campus instructional sites, mergers and consolidations, program closures, joint and dual academic programs, competency-based educational programs, and others.  Kevin joined SACSCOC in 2014 from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where he was founding director of the Illinois Professional Science Master’s. 

He was professor of management and entrepreneurship at Kennesaw State University where he also served as associate dean for graduate business programs and managed the institution’s AACSB International accreditation.  Kevin holds a Ph.D. in industrial management from Clemson University.


Colin Tudor | Secretary to the Board & Assistant Vice President for Community Relations

The Claremont Colleges Services

Colin joined TCCS as the Secretary to the Board and Assistant Vice President of Community Relations in 2019. In the role as Secretary to the Board, Colin provides executive management support and research assistance to the board of directors, as well as executive management support to the Council of The Claremont Colleges. As the Assistant Vice President of Community Relations, Colin works to strengthen relationships and build partnerships within the City of Claremont, the broader Claremont community, and the local region.

Colin holds a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy and Psychology from Claremont McKenna College and a Master of Arts degree in Public Administration from the University of La Verne. Colin is on the Board of Directors for the Claremont Chamber of Commerce and the University of La Verne MPA Advisory Board.


Andrew Lootens-White | Vice President, Accreditation Relations

Higher Learning Commission

Andrew Lootens-White joined the Commission in 2007 and has served in several capacities, including as HLC’s Chief Operating Officer from 2013 to 2020. Today as Vice President for Accreditation Relations, Dr. Lootens-White is the HLC staff liaison to over 100 colleges and universities and also provides leadership and guidance related to HLC’s online Assurance System and HLC’s Annual Conference program. In his work, he encourages colleges and universities to mobilize the efforts of faculty, staff, and students to accomplish collectively-valued goals – a vital concept in both higher education and accreditation spheres.

Dr. Lootens-White previously worked as the director of academic technology and a writing-across-the-curriculum faculty liaison at the University of Missouri. He also has served in a state-wide academic affairs role at the Missouri Department of Higher Education. He earned a B.S. in Secondary Education, English Education, a M.Ed. in Secondary Education, Language Arts, and a Ph.D. in Instructional Theory and Practice from the University of Missouri.


Brian Williams | Vice President of Faculty Development and Grant Programs 

Associated Colleges of the Midwest 

As Vice President of Faculty Development and Grant Programs at the Associated Colleges of the Midwest, Brian works with consortial and college leadership to create and execute programs that promote faculty development and student learning. He also manages the ACM’s grant-seeking strategies and the resulting portfolio of grant-funded projects. 

Prior to the ACM, Brian served as a higher ed/non-profit administrator and educator, including stints as Vice President for Advancement at Knox College, Antioch College, and The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis. He also taught on the writing faculties at Northwestern and Cornell University law schools.

An attorney by training, Brian had the honor of serving as Judicial Clerk to Judge Michael S. Kanne, United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, prior to a brief time in practice.

Brian holds a BA in American Studies from Knox College, a J.D. from Indiana University - Bloomington, and an MA in American History from the University of Wisconsin - Madison.

Jessica Wise | Training and Development Director, Higher Education Recruitment Consortium

Jessica Wise is the Training and Development Director for the Higher Education Recruitment Consortium (HERC). In this role she oversees HERC’s diversity, equity, and inclusion programming HERC’s member institutions.

As an independent consultant, Jessica brings 20 years of program development, strategic communication, and coalition building experience to help her clients create programs that have a lasting impact on individuals, teams, and institutions. 


Cole Woodcox | Executive Director, Council of Public Liberal Arts Colleges 

Let's talk about a liberal arts education! Cole has served as the executive director for the Council of Public Liberal Arts Colleges (COPLAC) since 2017. 

Before that, he worked as a department chair and professor of English at Truman State University in Missouri. 

He has been involved with local and statewide historic preservation for decades. In his spare time is a cat dad, hikes, and explores what new foods you can add togarashi to.


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