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Western Academic Leadership Forum logoLooking to the Future:
New Directions in Higher Education

Message from the Chair

As chair of the Western Academic Leadership Forum, I look forward to welcoming you to the 2022 Forum Annual Meeting in eclectic and fun Portland, Oregon. Portland is located on the Willamette River, has a wealth of urban green spaces, spectacular vistas of mountains, a hip restaurant scene, and Powell’s Books, the largest independent bookstore.

With the theme “Looking to the Future: New Directions for Higher Education,” our program will take stock of the impact of the pandemic and the future of higher education as it responds to the new and changing landscape. How do we improve retention, persistence and completion under COVID/post-COVID conditions? In light of the recent wave of social justice awareness and the BLM movement, how might we transform recruitment and retention of diverse faculty and administrators and recalibrate our institutions to address disciplinary equity? What might we learn from Indigenous serving institutions in western higher education? We will also have opportunity to explore how we center public universities as drivers of research and economic development.

These difficult questions are facing many of us right now. Our program will provide a focused space to learn from each other about how we might navigate the current challenges. Speakers will include experts in the higher education field, faculty, administrators, and representatives from WICHE and SREB and you will have opportunity to engage in conversations and network with your peers during the forum. I look forward to welcoming you to Portland!

Veronica Dujon

Forum Executive Committee, State of Oregon: Higher Education Coordinating Commission

Who Should Attend

In attendance you will find colleagues from the WICHE region eager to share the lessons they’ve learned from tackling a host of institutional and academic challenges, including some of the ones you may currently be facing.

  • Provosts, vice presidents and directors of academic affairs, and directors of research from public and private bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral institutions.
  • Chief executive officers and chief academic officers of systems and statewide agencies.
  • Other staff with expertise in the program topic areas, who are accompanying those above at their invitation.

About the Forum

The Western Academic Leadership Forum, based at the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE), provides a unique venue where the West’s top academic leaders share perspectives on current issues to help inform their future decision making and leadership, as well as engage in planning and developing innovative regional initiatives addressing common concerns. Through the Forum, you will find colleagues eager to share the lessons they’ve learned from tackling challenges like the ones you’re facing and others with special expertise who will lend you expert advice and assistance. Together, we will help build a stronger future for higher education in the West.