2024 Presidents Institute Under the Big Tent: Independent Higher Education in a Democratic Society

January 4–7, 2024 Diplomat Beach Resort | Hollywood, FL


2024 Presidents Institute Under the Big Tent: Independent Higher Education in a Democratic Society



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The Council of Independent College’s 2024 Presidents Institute convenes at a time and place in which higher education is at the center of intense political debate. This year’s theme engages that debate: “Under the Big Tent: Independent Higher Education in a Democratic Society.” Join us on January 4–7, 2024, at the Diplomat Beach Resort in Hollywood, Florida, to affirm our shared commitment to the essential role of higher education in fostering civic values and highlight our distinctive and diverse missions and values as CIC member colleges and universities.

Beyond engagement with this year’s theme, CIC’s 2024 Presidents Institute offers presidents, presidential spouses and partners, and industry experts an opportunity to explore timely and relevant solutions to a range of pressing issues. Plenary panels will offer direction and strategic advice on the application of risk management principles to presidential decision-making and the impact of artificial intelligence (AI) on higher education. Additional sessions will address financial sustainability; diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI); workforce engagement; student needs; board relations; and career discernment among other subjects.

The Presidents Institute is your place to find inspiration, renew your vision and purpose, and build and deepen professional relationships.

Who Should Participate?

The Presidents Institute annually gathers more than 300 independent college and university presidents among nearly 700 total participants. Presidents, presidential spouses and partners, and industry sponsors are all eligible to register for the Institute. In addition to the main Program for Presidents, the Institute (January 4–7) includes a parallel Program for Presidential Spouses and Partners.

Just prior to the opening of the Presidents Institute, we also offer the New Presidents Program (NPP) on January 3–4, for CIC member presidents in their first or second year. NPP includes a parallel Program for Spouses and Partners of New Presidents as well.

Retired presidents, guests, and families are welcome to attend. See registration and participation details below.

Plenary Sessions

Independent Higher Education in a Democratic Society

How have politically charged legislation and polarizing campus perspectives recently affected independent colleges and universities? During this panel, CIC presidents discuss the crucial place of CIC member institutions in a functioning democracy.

Robin E. Baker, President, George Fox University
Elfred Anthony Pinkard, President in Residence, Council of Independent Colleges
L. Song Richardson, President, Colorado College
Stephanie Herseth Sandlin, President, Augustana University

A New Model for Managing Risk as a College or University President

Richard Ekman Keynote Address in Higher Education

Learn about cutting edge risk management principles to anticipate and overcome crises. Develop the tools needed to minimize the consequences of crises when they inevitably happen. Immediately following the plenary, apply these risk management principles in interactive case study sessions.

Juliette Kayyem, Belfer Senior Lecturer in International Security, Harvard Kennedy School of Government

Artificial Intelligence and the Responsibility of Higher Education

Are we losing the wisdom race in advancing AI? Or does AI provide new opportunities for a better world? Explore the present and future impact of artificial intelligence on higher education.

Jennifer Keating, Teaching Professor, University of Pittsburgh
Illah R. Nourbakhsh, K&L Gates Professor of Ethics and Computational Technologies, Carnegie Mellon University

The Policy Agenda for Independent Higher Education

It has been another year of intense political focus on higher education. The leaders of the two national associations serving independent colleges and universities will discuss the implications for the sector and the impact presidents and other leaders can have on policy and legislative agendas.

Marjorie Hass, President, Council of Independent Colleges
Barbara K. Mistick, President, National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities


President-Board Relations

January 7, 10:15 a.m.–3:30 p.m.

(Open only to currently serving college and university presidents)

This participatory workshop will provide a primer on foundational elements of the president-board relationship — including college bylaws, fiduciary responsibility, and institutional governance — and will address the president’s role in building and guiding an effective board. Using case studies and other materials, facilitators will lead discussions on a range of topics including board micromanagement and/or apathy among trustees; handling contentious conversations; the board’s constitution; term limits; presidential evaluation; fundraising; and strategic leadership, planning, and policy. The workshop is designed to be highly engaging and interactive, with many opportunities for presidents to ask questions and share their own experiences with one another in a confidential setting.

Preliminary Schedule

10:30–11:30 a.m.
Introductions; College Bylaws, Fiduciary Responsibility, and Institutional Governance

11:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m.
President’s Role in Building and Guiding an Effective Board; Strategic Leadership, Planning, and Policy

12:30–12:45 p.m.
Box Lunches and Break

12:45–1:30 p.m.
Dealing with Micromanagement and/or Apathy

1:30–2:15 p.m.
Dealing with Contentious Topics or Trustees

2:15–2:30 p.m.

2:30–3:15 p.m.
Common Questions: Board Size, Committee Structure, Term Limits, Presidential Evaluation, Fundraising, Etc.

3:15–3:30 p.m.
Discussion of Future Meetings, Topics, and/or Seminars

Thomas L. Hellie, President Emeritus, Linfield University
Michele D. Perkins, Past President, New England College

Financial Challenges and Structural Deficits

January 7, 10:15 a.m.–3:30 p.m.

(Open only to currently serving college and university presidents)

This interactive workshop will equip presidents with strategies to analyze and address the most pressing financial challenges on campus. Sessions will help attendees understand the symptoms, origins, and severity of financial deficits, and guide them toward solutions. Drawing on guided sessions and case study exercises, participants will be able to better identify the contributions to deficits that derive from a range of financial practices including discounting tuition, deferred maintenance, enrollment management, annual giving, and program costs. They will also come away with a better understanding of the political and communications issues that come with resolving structural deficits.

Preliminary Schedule

10:30–11:30 a.m.
Symptoms and Origins of Structural Deficits

11:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m.
Cost Control

12:30–1:30 p.m.
Working Lunch

1:30–2:30 p.m.
Revenue Generation

2:30–2:45 p.m.

2:45–3:30 p.m.
Campus Applications

Mike Maxey, President Emeritus, Roanoke College
Paul Friga, Clinical Associate Professor of Strategy, University of North Carolina Kenan-Flagler School of Business; Senior Consultant and Practice Area Leader for Strategic Transformation of Public Higher Education, AGB Consulting

Preliminary Schedule

(Schedule subject to change)

January 3 January 4 January 5 January 6 January 7

7:15 a.m.–3:15 p.m.
New Presidents Program

7:30 a.m.–4:00 p.m.
Spouses and Partners of New Presidents Program

5:00–6:15 p.m.
Opening Plenary: Independent Higher Education in a Democratic Society

6:15–8:00 p.m.
Welcome Dinner

7:00 a.m.–4:45 p.m.
Spouses and Partners Program

7:00–8:30 a.m.
Affinity Meetings

8:30–9:45 a.m.
Plenary Session: A New Model for Managing Risk as a College or University President

10:00–11:30 a.m.
Risk Management Case Studies

  • Free Expression
  • Health Emergency
  • Campus Violence
  • Financial Emergency

1:00–2:15 p.m.
Concurrent Sessions

  • Cushion the Fall off the Enrollment Cliff
  • Lessons From Florida’s Politically Charged Climate
    (Open only to currently serving college and university presidents)
  • Overcoming Barriers to Radical Innovation
  • Nurturing Students from Recruitment to Career Launch
  • Thriving Through Community Relationships
  • Navigating Boardroom Politics

2:30–3:30 p.m.
Discussion Sessions

3:30–4:45 p.m.

4:45–6:00 p.m.
All-Institute Reception

7:00 a.m.–4:45 p.m.
Spouses and Partners Program

7:00–8:30 a.m.
Affinity Meetings

8:30–9:45 a.m.
Plenary Session: Artificial Intelligence and the Responsibility of Higher Education

9:45–10:30 a.m.

10:30–11:30 a.m.
Discussion Sessions

1:00–2:15 p.m.
Concurrent Sessions

  • Balancing Mission and Marketplace
  • “First” in Their Role: Pioneering Presidents Breaking Barriers
  • Unlocking Latino Student Success
  • Successfully Sharing Services
  • Cultivating Policymakers as Major Donors
  • Nurturing Relationships with Federal Funders
  • A Discussion of John Silvanus Wilson’s Book Hope and Healing: Black Colleges and the Future of American Democracy
    (Joint Session with Spouses and Partners)

2:30–3:30 p.m.
Research Sessions

3:30–4:45 p.m.
Concurrent Sessions

  • Renewing Your Presidency
  • Spousal Service Arrangements: Negotiating Pay, Travel, and Tax
    (Joint Session with Spouses and Partners)
  • Combatting Workforce Disengagement
  • The Current State of Diversity Work
  • Meeting the Spiritual Needs of Students
  • Building an Executive Leadership Team

6:30–8:30 p.m.
Celebration of Independent Higher Education

7:45–8:30 a.m.
CIC Annual Business Meeting

8:45–10:00 a.m.
Plenary Session: The Policy Agenda for Independent Higher Education

10:15 a.m.–3:30 p.m.

  • President-Board Relations Workshop
  • Financial Challenges and Structural Deficits Workshop

Pre-Institute Programs

January 3–4, 2024

Please note: Pre-registration is required for these programs.

New Presidents Program

CIC’s New Presidents Program (NPP) runs concurrently with CIC’s Spouses and Partners of New Presidents Program. NPP provides the relevant tools and wise counsel that keep a young presidency on a smooth course. The agenda focuses on the practical needs and resources to help participants avoid early pitfalls while capitalizing on the opportunities that the first year represents. Ample opportunities for formal and informal conversations allow participants to build community.

Many of the more than 1,600 new presidents who have participated in the program since 1989 point to these features as particularly valuable:

  • Presenters are current or recently retired CIC presidents and spouses or partners who understand the needs of their new colleagues.
  • Professional networks are created as participants build relationships with colleagues who often continue to serve as informal advisors.
  • The program makes efficient use of time and represents excellent value.
  • Trusting friendships are established among participants providing confidential support and counsel on the most sensitive and consequential issues.
  • The concurrent and at times overlapping Spouses and Partners of New Presidents Program provides an opportunity for presidential couples to spend meaningful together.

Spouses and Partners of New Presidents Program

The Spouses and Partners of New Presidents Program (SPoNPP) runs concurrently with CIC’s New Presidents Program in advance of the Presidents Institute. The vision of the Spouses and Partners of New Presidents Program is for participants to:

  • Enhance their understanding of the role of presidential spouse or partner
  • Engage in fellowship with others serving in the same role
  • Acquire tools for success in the role

This program provides a supportive, intimate, and confidential environment for participants as they navigate the challenges and opportunities of their new role. A small team of experienced presidential spouses leads the group through a comprehensive exploration of the spouse and partner role and helps each participant understand how he or she can serve in that role most effectively and with personal fulfillment. Participants have the option to connect with experienced mentor/buddy volunteers who can offer ongoing advice, support, and encouragement.

Hotel Information

Diplomat Beach Resort
3555 South Ocean Drive
Hollywood, FL 33019
(954) 602-6000

All program sessions of the 2024 Presidents Institute will be held at the Diplomat Beach Resort.

Presidents Institute Room Rate:
$279 single/double per night
Deadline for CIC Rate:
Friday, December 1, 2023

Aerial view of Diplomat Resort from ocean

Hilton’s Diplomat Beach Resort provides a beachfront location that extends from the Atlantic Ocean to the Intracoastal Waterway. The hotel features bright guest rooms, two beachfront pools (including an infinity pool), and an ultramodern spa. The hotel also includes ten restaurants, two of which are celebrity chef-owned, and state-of-the-art fitness and entertainment areas. Additional features are beach and waterfront activities, such as fishing and jet skiing, off-property golf and tennis, as well as a Kids Club. Guests can explore the area by taking the Sun Shuttle, operated by Circuit. To schedule a ride, download the “Ride Circuit” app from the App Store or Google Play. Scheduled rides are $2 per person, or you may ride for free by stopping the nearest Sun Shuttle driver or by boarding the shuttle at one of the following designated stops:

  • City-operated “Garfield” Parking Garage at A1A and Connecticut Street
  • Johnson Street Mobility Hub at A1A and Johnson Street
  • City-operated “Nevada” Parking Garage at A1A and Nevada Street

The shuttle operates Sunday to Thursday between 10:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m. and Friday and Saturday between 10:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m.

The Presidents Institute registration and hotel reservation deadline is Friday, December 1, 2023. Please note that hotel reservations made after the deadline can be accommodated only on a space-available basis and may be at a rate higher than the CIC rate. Hotel rooms may sell out before the deadline, so participants are encouraged to register for the Institute and reserve their hotel rooms as soon as possible.
Hotel Reservation Procedure: Participants first need to register for the Presidents Institute. Upon paid Presidents Institute registration, participants will receive an Institute confirmation email that includes detailed hotel reservation instructions and a code to make a Diplomat Beach Resort reservation at the CIC discounted rate.
The CIC hotel rate of $279 for single or double occupancy may be available for rooms reserved for the period of December 28, 2023–January 10, 2024, for participants who would like to extend their stay. Please note that rooms reserved during extended dates are limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis. Guest rooms must be canceled up to 72 hours prior to arrival or a cancellation fee of up to one night’s stay will be charged. Also note that the hotel’s policy requires a daily credit card hold of $125 per room for incidentals. If a bank debit card is used, the available balance of the account will be reduced at the time of check-out.

Spa Services

Presidents Institute participants will receive a 15 percent discount on spa services offered at the Diplomat Beach Resort. To make an appointment, call (954) 602-8400 and indicate that you are with CIC.  Additional information is available online at the Diplomat Beach Resort.


The Diplomat Beach Resort is located approximately 10 miles (fifteen minutes) from the Fort Lauderdale International Airport (FLL) and twenty-two miles (30 minutes) from Miami International Airport  (MIA). Transportation to the hotel is available from both airports through several taxicab and shuttle providers located on the ground level just outside the baggage claim area. Taxicab fare from Fort Lauderdale International Airport is a zone rate of $35 one-way and shared ride shuttle fare is $13 each way. From Miami International Airport, the taxicab fare is approximately $75, and the shared ride shuttle fare is $37 one-way.

While reservations are not needed for shuttle service to the hotel, advance reservations are recommended when returning to the airport.

  • Go Airport Shuttle (Fort Lauderdale International Airport): (800) 244-8252
  • Super Shuttle (Miami International Airport): (305) 871-1000 


Only Lyft service is available from Fort Lauderdale International Airport. However, both Uber and Lyft services are available from Miami International Airport. 

Car Rental

Budget/Avis service is available at the Diplomat Beach Resort for guests who wish to rent a vehicle. Contact Budget/Avis at (754) 202-1182. View additional car rental information.

Hotel Parking

Valet parking at the Diplomat Beach Resort is $52 overnight. Self-parking is available at a daily rate of $41. A 15 percent discount will apply to these or prevailing rates for participants of the Presidents Institute. Please note the rates are subject to change. (Rates are as of April 2023.)

Registration Information

Please review the current CIC Health and Safety Guidelines and Requirements and the CIC Code of Conduct before registering for the Institute.

Registration and Payment Process

Please register for the Institute online. You may pay for the Institute by:

1. Credit Card

Submit a credit card payment online.

2. ACH Transfer

Please select the “pay by check” option and use the following account information for your ACH payment:

Council of Independent Colleges
Routing number: (ABA) 021052053
Account number: 99387090
Addendum: CIC 2024 Presidents Institute
ACH confirmations may be sent to: cicaccounting@cic.edu

3. Wire Transfer

Please select the “pay by check” option and use the following account information for your wire transfer payment:

Council of Independent Colleges
Banking Institution: Truist
Routing number: 054001547
Account number: 0005163140944
Wire confirmations may be sent to: cicaccounting@cic.edu

4. Check

Mail a check payable to “Council of Independent Colleges,” with a memo indicating the check is for the 2024 Presidents Institute and a printout of your online registration page, to:

2024 Presidents Institute
Council of Independent Colleges
One Dupont Circle, NW, Suite 320
Washington, DC 20036-1142

Registration Fees

The Presidents Institute registration fee includes all program sessions and resources, except for optional events and workshops. In addition, the registration fee covers all Institute breakfasts and lunches as well as the Welcome Dinner, All-Institute Reception, and the Celebration of Independent Higher Education.

CIC Member RateNonmember Rate
Presidential Spouse or Partner$598$853
Retired President$671N/A

Not a CIC member? In addition to reduced registration fees for the Presidents Institute, view the full list of member benefits.

New Presidents Progr​am​ (January 3–4)

CIC Member RateNonmember Rate

Spouses and Partners of New Presidents Program​ (January 3–4)

CIC Memb​​​er RateNonmember Rate
Presidential Spouse or Partner$348$348

Optional Workshops and Opportunities (January 7)

(Advance registration is required as each option has a limited number of spaces.)

CIC Memb​​​er RateNonmember Rate
Workshop: President-Board Relations (10:15 a.m.–3:30 p.m.)$85$85
Workshop: Financial Challenges and Structural Deficits (10:15 a.m.–3:30 p.m.)$85$85

Retired President Eligibility

CIC welcomes retired presidents who wish to participate in the Presidents Institute and remain involved in discussions of professional matters with former colleagues. Retired presidents who work for a sponsoring firm should participate in the Institute as one of the firm’s representatives, not as a retired president. Questions about eligibility to register as a retired president should be directed to Jeff Woods, CIC vice president for member engagement, at jwoods@cic.edu.

Guests, Families, and Childcare

All daytime sessions during the Presidents Institute, including breakfast and lunch sessions, are open to registered participants only.

  • Tickets may be purchased onsite for unregistered presidential spouses and partners for the opening night Welcome Dinner on January 4.
  • Family members are invited to participate in the All-Institute Reception on the evening of January 5; no tickets are necessary for this event.
  • Tickets may be purchased at the time of online registration or onsite for adult guests for the Celebration of Independent Higher Education dinner on January 6.

Children’s activities are available through the Diplomat Beach Resort’s Kids Club. Arrangements can be made directly with the hotel by calling (954) 602-6000.

Dress Guidelines

Business casual or resort casual wear is appropriate throughout the Institute.

CIC Conference Registration and Cancellation Policies

Please note that CIC requires full payment by check, credit card, ACH, or wire transfer at the time of registration.

Refunds of the registration fee (less a $50 processing fee) will be given for cancellations received in writing, including email, no later than December 1, 2023. Refund requests received between December 2 and December 15 will incur a charge equal to 25 percent of the total registration fee. Requests received after December 15, 2023, and “no shows” are ineligible for a refund. All refunds will be issued after the Institute. Please send cancellation requests to the attention of Alonso De Los Rios, CIC conference coordinator, at adelosrios@cic.edu.

Participants must cancel their own hotel reservations. Canceling your Institute registration does not cancel your hotel reservation. Please follow the directions on the hotel reservation confirmation to cancel or contact the Diplomat Beach Resort at (954) 602-6000 or (855) 689-2911. Reservations can be changed without a fee or canceled for a full refund up to 72 hours before anticipated arrival.

Contact Information

If you have registration questions, contact CIC by phone at (202) 466-7230 or by email at conferences@cic.edu.