Presidents and Provosts Summit Speakers

Annual Conference & ExpoNAFSA 2019 Proposals

May 30-31, 2018 | Philadelphia, PA

University and college presidents, rectors and chancellors, and provosts from across the globe joined for NAFSA’s Presidents and Provosts Summit during the NAFSA 2018 Annual Conference & Expo in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. NAFSA thanks Jefferson (Philadelphia University + Thomas Jefferson University) for its generous support of the Presidents and Provosts Summit. NAFSA also thanks the Presidents' Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration for its generous support of the Presidents and Provosts Summit Reception. Learn more about the NAFSA Presidents and Provosts Summit.

Opening Speakers and Moderators

Esther Brimmer, DPhil
Esther Brimmer currently serves as the executive director and chief executive officer of NAFSA: Association of International Educators. Brimmer’s distinguished career includes three appointments within the U.S. Department of State, serving most recently as the assistant secretary for international organization affairs from April 2009 to 2013.

Prior to joining NAFSA, Brimmer was professor of practice of international affairs at George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs where she served a two-year term as the J.B. and Maurice C. Shapiro Professor. She was also an adjunct senior fellow for international institutions at the Council on Foreign Relations, and a senior adviser at McLarty Associates. She was previously deputy director and director of research at the Center for Transatlantic Relations at the Johns Hopkins University's Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) from 2001 to 2009, and was a member of the SAIS faculty. She also taught at the College of Europe in Belgium, and from 1995 to 1999, she was a senior associate at the Carnegie Commission on Preventing Deadly Conflict. Earlier, she served on Capitol Hill as a legislative analyst for the Democratic Study Group in the U.S. House of Representatives. Immediately after earning her doctorate from Oxford University, she spent two years as a management consultant with McKinsey & Company.

Stephen Klasko, MD, MBA
Stephen Klasko is a transformative leader and advocate for a revolution in our systems of healthcare and higher education.

As president and CEO of Philadelphia-based Thomas Jefferson University and Jefferson Health since 2013, he has steered one of the nation’s fastest growing academic health institutions based on his vision of re-imagining health care and higher education. In addition, his 2017 merger of Thomas Jefferson University with Philadelphia University creates a pre-eminent professional university that includes top-20 programs in fashion and design.

His track record of success at creating and implementing programs that are shaping the future of health care earned him a place on Modern Healthcare’s list of the “100 Most Influential People in Healthcare” and “Most Influential Physician Executives” in 2017. That same year, his entrepreneurial leadership and success at recruiting helped Thomas Jefferson University Hospital achieve a #16 ranking – and elite Honor Roll status – on U.S. News & World Report’s Best Hospitals list.

His forthcoming 2018 book is titled, Bless This Mess: A Picture Primer for theFuture of Healthcare.

Cecil P. Staton, DPhil
Cecil P. Staton, DPhil, became the 11th chancellor of East Carolina University (ECU) on July 1, 2016. He is a tenured professor in ECU’s Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies. Prior to his role at ECU, Staton served as vice chancellor for extended education for the University System of Georgia and as interim president of Valdosta State University. Staton held several positions at Mercer University, including associate provost, assistant professor, and university publisher, and he was an assistant professor at Brewton-Parker College. For 10 years, Staton served as a Georgia state senator, representing the state’s Eighteenth District. He was also the founding CEO of several companies in the fields of publishing and broadcasting. Staton earned his bachelor of arts degree from Furman University, his master of divinity with languages and master of theology degrees from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, and his doctor of philosophy degree from the University of Oxford in England.

Jeff Riedinger, PhD
Jeff Riedinger is the vice provost for global affairs and professor of law at the University of Washington in Seattle. He has leadership and administrative responsibility for the University of Washington’s diverse global programming, including support for international research; study abroad; student and faculty exchanges; and overseas centers. He works with colleagues across the university to develop and sustain strategic partnerships with universities, corporations, foundations, government agencies, and nongovernmental organizations to advance cross-college and cross-continent research, teaching, and engagement collaborations that address some of the world’s most pressing problems. Riedinger is former chair of NAFSA’s International Education Leadership Knowledge Community. He is a member of the Executive Committee of the Commission on International Initiatives for the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities. Riedinger earned a BA at Dartmouth College, a juris doctor degree at the University of Washington, and a PhD at Princeton University.

Featured Speakers

Jane FernandesJane Fernandes, PhD
President, Guilford College
Recognized as one of the 20 most interesting college presidents by The Best Schools, Jane Fernandes is in her third year leading Guilford College as its ninth president. She is the first deaf woman in history to head an American college and the first woman to lead Guilford College.

Jane is guiding Guilford College through curricular and administrative innovation to become further distinguished as a “small liberal arts college of distinction doing a few things splendidly.” She has described three sources of inspiration that fuel pursuit of that vision: the college’s world-class faculty, its powerful Quaker heritage, and its unique commitment to community service and civic engagement.

Jane has led the campus in undertaking difficult conversations, examining meaningful ways to address systemic racism, gender inequity, and sexual assault – three of the most serious issues facing campuses nationwide. She received national attention for her statement on North Carolina’s recently created HB2 law.

Jane has also supported initiatives led by students and faculty, such as Every Campus a Refuge in response to the Syrian refugee crisis, and last September, was one of only 50 presidents from the nation’s colleges and universities to be invited to the President’s Interfaith and Community Service Campus Challenge Gathering in Washington, DC.

Jane’s higher education administrative career spans 30 years. Before taking the Guilford presidency, she served as provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs at the University of North Carolina at Asheville for six years.

Peter GoldPeter A. Gold, Esquire
President, TheGoldGroup, LLC
Peter A. Gold is the president of TheGoldGroup, LLC. Since 2007, his consultancy has brought businesses, universities, governments and not-for-profits together to create value opportunities and reduce exposure to the risks created by today’s global economy.

Gold is also board vice chair of the Global Interdependence Center (“GIC”) which resides at the Federal Reserve Bank in Philadelphia, PA, USA. The GIC promotes partnerships among governments, businesses, and academic institutions. It also is a neutral forum for central bank leaders and economists and it shares its presenters’ findings with policymakers and the press worldwide. GIC organizes country and region-specific conferences for educational and networking opportunities.

Gold has taught at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He became a partner and then member of the Board of Directors of one of America’s top 100 law and government relations firms. At the end of 2005, Gold became associate provost of economic initiatives, senior associate dean of the School of Business and CEO of the business incubator corporation at Rutgers University-Camden.

Gold earned his bachelor’s degree at Cornell University and graduated magna cum laude from Temple University Law School.

Bibliography of resources for international educators and leadersIcon PDF 16, curated by Mr. Gold.

Presidents Panel

James A. Anderson, PhD
James A. Anderson serves as chancellor and professor of psychology at Fayetteville State University. He began his duties as chancellor of the state’s second-oldest public institution on June 9, 2008. Before coming to FSU, Anderson served as the University at Albany’s (New York) vice president for student success, vice provost for institutional assessment and diversity and professor of psychology.

Raised in Washington, D.C, Anderson majored in psychology at Villanova University in Pennsylvania and served 10 years on the Board of Trustees. He later earned a doctoral degree in the field of cognitive psychology from Cornell University in New York, and upon completion he accepted his first academic appointment in the Department of Psychology at Xavier University in New Orleans.

In 1992, he began his 11-year tenure as vice provost for undergraduate affairs at North Carolina State University. In 2003, Anderson was recruited to Texas A&M University as vice president and associate provost for institutional assessment and diversity. He held that post until joining the University at Albany (NY) in 2005. Anderson has consulted with over 350 colleges and universities addressing topics such as teaching effectiveness, retention and persistence, the assessment of student learning and diversity, and transforming the culture of higher education.

Damian Fernandez, DPhil
Damian Fernandez is the chancellor on Penn State Abington, having assumed the position on July 1, 2016.

As chancellor of Penn State Abington, he oversees about 4,000 students; 18 baccalaureate degree programs; an NCAA Division III athletics program; ACURA, a thriving undergraduate research program; LaunchBox, an innovation hub/maker space; and numerous outreach initiatives and partnerships that benefit the region and beyond. In addition, Fernandez is directing the transition of the college to a residential campus with the opening of the first off-campus residence hall, Lions Gate.

Fernandez’s research interests include Latin American politics and international relations, politics of Latinos in the United States, state-society relations in a transnational context, and Cuba’s domestic politics and foreign policy. He has published extensively and is a National Science Foundation grant recipient.

Fernandez holds a doctor of philosophy in international relations from the University of Miami, a master of arts in Latin American studies from the University of Florida, and a bachelor of arts from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University in Princeton, New Jersey.

Kevin Pollock, PhD
Kevin Pollock is the fifth president of Montgomery County Community College. He began his tenure on April 1, 2016. Pollock has more than 35 years of education experience at four year private and four year public colleges as well as community colleges. His diverse roles include college administration, strategic planning, leadership and teaching. He is a national expert on student success models, a frequent national speaker and has authored 18 book chapters and articles.

Before arriving at Montgomery, Pollock served as president of St. Clair County Community College in Port Huron, Michigan, from 2009-2016. During his tenure, the institution experienced record enrollment, embarked on new student success initiatives, increased its grant funding, became a leader in green initiatives, and strengthened its connections with the community. The institution also adopted a new vision, mission and strategic plan that is tied to national best practices and is based on data. Prior to assuming a presidential role, Pollock spent nine years as vice president of student services at West Shore Community College in Scottsville, Michigan. He also held a number of leadership roles in admissions and recruitment, and he taught middle and high school English early in his career. Pollock holds a PhD in higher, adult and lifelong education from Michigan State University and a master of arts in education and bachelor of science in education from Central Michigan University.

Provosts Panel

David Bejou, PhD
David Bejou is responsible for the academic enterprise of SUNY Empire, including the education of nearly 19,000 students learning at 34 locations throughout the state, at eight international locations, face to face, online and through a blend of all these modes, at the associate, bachelor’s, and master’s levels. For the past 25 years, he has served public higher education in academic and administrative leadership roles of increasing responsibility and complexity. For the past two decades, he has promoted diversity and race relations and has spent the past 17 years demonstrating his commitment to the mission of minority institutions. During this time, he has served at three minority institutions, founded WVSU International Human Rights Conference, and has promoted diversity, inclusion, and social justice in higher education. Bejou is known for his perspectives on human rights, business compassion, customer relationship management and relationship marketing. He has published over 50 academic articles and 6 books, and is founding editor of the Journal of Relationship Marketing. Bejou has a PhD in business administration, with a concentration in marketing and a minor in psychology, from the University of Memphis; an MBA in aviation, with a minor in aviation management, from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University.

Peter O. Nwosu, PhD
Peter O. Nwosu (the “N” is silent), PhD, American Council on Education Fellow and Fulbright Scholar, serves as provost and vice president for Academic Affairs at Clark Atlanta University, Atlanta, Georgia. The University is a consolidation of two institutions: Clark College, founded in 1869, was the nation's first private, liberal arts institution to award baccalaureate degrees to African Americans, and Atlanta University, founded in 1865, was the nation's first African American graduate institution.

Nwosu brings more than 20 years of experience in higher education to his role, leading and managing strategic and operational initiatives. A major thrust of his responsibilities is enhancing undergraduate and graduate education, improving student success outcomes, strengthening teaching and research, aligning academic and student life, and improving quality assurance processes.

Prior to his appointment at CAU, Nwosu served as associate vice president for academic programs (AVP) and accreditation liaison officer at California State University, Fullerton (CSUF).

A graduate of the Institutes for Higher Education at Harvard University, Nwosu earned his PhD in communications studies from Howard University. Author of three books and more than 80 scholarly writings, including book chapters, refereed journal papers, and conference presentations, he sits on several editorial review boards of peer-reviewed journals, and was editor of Africa Media Review, for more than 10 years. He also serves on the Executive Board, American Council of Education Fellows Program, and the Board of Directors, California Urban Partnership (CUP).

Douglas Palmer, PhD
Douglas Palmer has been the provost and vice president for academic affairs at Walsh University in North Canton, Ohio since 2015. Prior to this, Palmer served Walsh as the assistant dean of academic innovation, executive director of global learning and chair of the Division of Humanities. He is a professor of history and has been at Walsh since 2005. In 2004-2005, he was a research fellow at the Emory University School of Law and he holds a PhD from Ohio State University, an MA from the University of Oregon, and a BA from the University of North Carolina-Asheville.

In 2001-2002, Palmer was a Fulbright Scholar in Utrecht, the Netherlands. Palmer has been active in NAFSA, serving as a member of the International Education Leadership Knowledge Community, chair of the Teaching, Learning and Scholarship Knowledge Community, and as a Global Dialogue Fellows mentor for senior international officers from Africa. Palmer teaches classes in global history and he represents Walsh University as a member of the Alliance to End Hunger and Universities Fighting World Hunger.

Anne A. Skleder, PhD
Anne Skleder has served as senior vice president and provost and professor of psychology at Wilkes University since 2014, where she is responsible for leading the University’s academic programs and initiatives across six schools and colleges, as well as all areas of enrollment, technology, and academic support including study abroad, and university-wide strategic initiatives, including a comprehensive Latin American and Caribbean initiative.

Skleder has held multiple administrative posts in the academic, enrollment and planning areas, and has presented nationally and internationally and published on a wide variety of topics. Skleder has traveled extensively, and has worked with the Council of International Educational Exchange and the State Department to create opportunities for student and faculty exchanges.

Skleder received her bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Pittsburgh, and her MA and PhD in social/organizational psychology from Temple University. She completed Harvard University’s Institute for Educational Management.

Afternoon Panel

Edward Alden
Edward Alden is the Bernard L. Schwartz senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), specializing in U.S. economic competitiveness. He is the author of the book Failure to Adjust: How Americans Got Left Behind in the Global Economy. In addition, Alden is the director of the CFR Renewing America publication series. He is the project director for the 2018 CFR-sponsored Task Force Report, The Work Ahead: Machines, Skills, and U.S. Leadership in the Twenty-First Century, and was the project codirector of the 2011 CFR-sponsored Independent Task Force Report U.S. Trade and Investment Policy. Alden was previously the Washington bureau chief for the Financial Times, and his work has been published in Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, Fortune, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Washington Post, among others. He has a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of British Columbia and earned a master’s degree in international relations from the University of California, Berkeley.

Ann Buller
Ann Buller, Centennial College’s president and CEO, is widely recognized for her groundbreaking work in global citizenship education. A visionary leader who has embedded the principles of equity and social justice into Centennial’s programs and operations, she has spearheaded award-winning mentoring and outreach programs to help underrepresented individuals succeed in postsecondary education. President Buller has earned several prestigious awards recognizing her excellence as a leader and mentor, most recently the 2016 World Federation of Colleges and Polytechnics Leadership Award, the Top 100 Most Powerful Women Award (2016, 2010) and the 2015 CBIE President’s Award for Distinguished Leadership in International Education.

Freeman A. Hrabowski, III, PhD
Freeman A. Hrabowski, president of UMBC (University of Maryland, Baltimore County) since 1992, is a consultant on science and math education to national agencies, universities, and school systems. He was named by President Obama to chair the President’s Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for African Americans. He also chaired the National Academies’ committee that produced the report, Expanding Underrepresented Minority Participation: America’s Science and Technology Talent at the Crossroads (2011). His 2013 TED talk highlights the “Four Pillars of College Success in Science.”

Named one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World by TIME (2012) and one of America’s Best Leaders by U.S. News & World Report (2008), he also received TIAA-CREF’s Theodore M. Hesburgh Award for Leadership Excellence (2011), the Carnegie Corporation’s Academic Leadership Award (2011), and the Heinz Award (2012) for contributions to improving the “Human Condition.” UMBC has been recognized as a model for inclusive excellence by such publications as U.S. News, which the past eight years has recognized UMBC as a national leader in academic innovation and undergraduate teaching. Hrabowski’s most recent book, Holding Fast to Dreams: Empowering Youth from the Civil Rights Crusade to STEM Achievement, describes the events and experiences that played a central role in his development as an educator and leader.