Presidents Institute Plans Return to In-Person Gathering


Recovery; Reckoning; Reinvention

CIC’s 2022 Presidents Institute will be held in-person, January 4–7, 2022, at the JW Marriott Marco Island hotel in Marco Island, Florida. The Institute’s theme, “Recovery, Reckoning, Reinvention,” addresses the extreme conditions colleges and universities have operated under for more than a year, impacted by the global pandemic, new economic constraints, repeated instances of racial injustice, increasing economic inequality, and shifting demographic and operating conditions.

Four plenary sessions will anchor the program. On January 4, Jelani Cobb, Ira A. Lipman Professor of Journalism at Columbia University, staff writer at the New Yorker, and author of Substance of Hope: Barack Obama and the Paradox of Progress, will provide an inspiring keynote address about “The Half-Life of Freedom: Race and Justice in America Today.” His remarks will provide up-to-the-moment reflections and analyses of the complex dynamics of race and racism in America, their impact on higher education, and how presidents can motivate campus and civil authorities to take greater strides toward racial justice and equality.

On January 5, Richard J. Light, Carl H. Pforzheimer Professor of Teaching and Learning at Harvard University Graduate School of Education and co-author of the forthcoming book Becoming Great Universities: Small Steps for Sustained Excellence, will discuss cost-effective strategies presidents can employ to enhance student life and learning. Based on interviews with presidents, deans, and others across hundreds of colleges and universities, Light will present affordable approaches to build a culture of innovation on campus, improve learning outcomes, help students from under-resourced high schools succeed in college, and attract students who may not be considering colleges far from their home communities.

Seven speaker headshots
Presidents Institute Featured Speakers: Jelani Cobb of Columbia University and the New Yorker; Richard J. Light of Harvard University Graduate School of Education; Thasunda Brown Duckett of TIAA; Debbie Cottrell of Texas Lutheran University; Isiaah Crawford of University of Puget Sound (WA); Charles W. “Chip” Pollard of John Brown University (AR); and Marjorie Hass of CIC

Thasunda Brown Duckett, the new president and chief executive officer of TIAA, one of two Black women currently leading a Fortune 500 firm and the fourth Black woman to serve as a Fortune 500 CEO, will discuss “The View from TIAA: What College Presidents Can Expect Near-Term.” Duckett has led large corporate firms through financial recovery with an emphasis on diversity and inclusion and now is guiding TIAA to secure retirements and provide outcome-focused investment solutions to millions of people working in higher education, health care, and other mission-driven organizations. She will share her insights on opportunities and challenges for higher education on January 6.

A special closing plenary on January 7, “The Future of the Independent College Presidency,” will feature a panel of distinguished presidents, including Debbie Cottrell of
Texas Lutheran University, Isiaah Crawford of University of Puget Sound (WA), and Charles W. “Chip” Pollard of John Brown University (AR). Considering how the presidency has been changing due to external and internal pressures that were accelerated by the pandemic, panelists will address vital questions such as: How has the presidency changed and which of these changes are likely to be lasting? What is the impact on presidents’ capacity to undertake this leadership role for an extended period? And what new or underutilized skills are needed and how can presidents prepare?

The 2022 Presidents Institute will be the first for Marjorie Hass as president of CIC. No stranger to the annual Institute, she spent 12 years as an independent college president, most recently of Rhodes College (TN) and prior to that of Austin College (TX). She also served as CAO of Muhlenberg College (PA). In addition to presiding over the Institute, Hass will host a special session, “A Conversation with the New President of CIC,” on January 5. She is interested in hearing from member presidents about how CIC can support their work and their institutions now and in the near future.

The Institute also features numerous other forums for presidents to discuss mutual concerns, hear from experts, and network with colleagues who face similar opportunities and challenges. Concurrent sessions, most led by member presidents, will address practical aspects of leading independent colleges and universities. Optional workshops will provide hands-on opportunities to tackle strategic issues in greater depth. Meetings of affinity organizations and roundtable discussions will afford informal settings for frank conversation. Refreshment breaks and daily receptions will offer occasions to network, renew friendships, and make new connections. And sponsoring firms will make available industry-leading expertise and provide generous financial backing to underwrite Institute costs.

Spouses and partners are welcome and invited to join in a parallel program dedicated to exploring their roles (January 4–7). On January 3–4, CIC will offer both the New Presidents Program, with its parallel program for spouses and partners of new presidents, and the Presidents Governance Academy, to address president-board relations.

JW Marriott Marco Island hotel at sunset
The 2022 Presidents Institute will be held at the JW Marriott Marco Island hotel, which is situated on a white sand beach.

CIC is committed to the health and safety of its members and their communities as the coronavirus continues to circulate widely through the population. To create the safest possible environment for the 2022 Presidents Institute while offering meaningful opportunities for interaction, CIC expects that all participants who are able to receive the COVID-19 vaccine will be fully vaccinated at least two weeks before arriving at the Institute. CIC is carefully monitoring coronavirus-related developments and the evolving guidelines issued by public health authorities and will make adjustments to Institute arrangements as indicated.