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The Future of the Academy

Change is always with us. This is certainly true of higher education. All of higher education is clearly in a time of transition and it is obvious that this will continue for some time. The Susquehanna community is being intentional in its efforts to think and talk about how we might best adapt to the changing landscape. As part of that work, a number of speakers will visit or have visited campus to present and discuss with us the most pressing issues facing all colleges and universities, but especially residential, national liberal arts institutions like Susquehanna.


Matthew PelishMatthew Pellish
Senior Director of Strategic Research and Education, Education Advisory Board
Jan. 29, 2015


Janet Dickerson
Former Vice President for Student Life, Princeton University
Oct. 16, 2013

Rick DromanRichard H. Dorman '75, D.Ed.
President, Westminster College
April 1, 2014


2012–13 Speakers


Dan WeissDan Weiss, Ph.D. 
President, Lafayette College
August 22, 2012

John ChurchillJohn Churchill, Ph.D.
Secretary, The Phi Beta Kappa Society 
September 27, 2012

Jeff SelingoJeff Selingo
Editor at Large, The Chronicle of Higher Education
January 22, 2013

Colin KoproskeColin Koproske
Consultant, Education Advisory Board
February 19, 2013

Michael Smyer, Ph.D.Michael A. Smyer, Ph.D.
Provost, Bucknell University
March 26, 2013 4:15 PM


2012 Reading List


Speaker Biographies


Matthew Pellish

Matthew PellishMatthew Pellish is the Senior Director of Strategic Research and Education and a national meeting speaker with the Education Advisory Board (EAB). In this capacity, he is responsible for the creation and delivery of strategic and custom research on such industry-spanning topics as higher education business models, online education, strategic enrollment management, student success, labor costs, efficiency and effectiveness engagements, career services, social media and marketing, campus IT services, and the future of academic libraries.

Prior to joining EAB, Mr. Pellish’s professional and educational endeavors were focused throughout higher education. Most recently, Mr. Pellish served as director of continuing education at Wheelock College in Boston, Mass., founding this new division with unique models for curriculum delivery and business operations, as well as marketing and student recruitment. At Cambridge College in Cambridge, Mass., Mr. Pellish served the education of non-traditional students through several divisions including policy, research, communications, international programs, the doctor of education program, and as an adjunct faculty member in undergraduate programs. He has direct experience in executive administration as an executive assistant to the president, a special assistant for board relations, and a director of new initiatives and program development.

Mr. Pellish received his undergraduate degree in English and political science from Saint Joseph’s University. His master’s degree is in education with a focus on higher education from Harvard University, where he worked in student activities for the office of the dean of Harvard College.




Richard H. Dorman '75, D.Ed.

Rick DormanRichard H. Dorman, D.Ed., is the 14th president of Westminster College in New Wilmington, Pa., which was recently included in "America’s Top 40 'Great Schools, Great Prices'” list by US News and World Report and named by Forbes.com as “The #1 college in America for Women in the Sciences, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics.” Now finishing his sixth year as president, . Dorman brings a broad administrative perspective to his audiences having served in varied roles throughout his thirty years of service in higher education. Prior to his being named to the Westminster presidency, Dorman was vice president for institutional advancement at Otterbein University in Ohio, where he led the most successful fundraising campaign in the college’s history. He earlier served as assistant vice president and director of development for the entire Health Sciences Center at the University of Louisville.

His work in the higher education advancement field began at Penn State as associate executive director for alumni relations for the Penn State Alumni Association. The association won the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education’s Grand Gold Medal as America’s best alumni relations program an unprecedented three years in a row during his tenure. A former high school music educator, Dorman earned a bachelor of music degree from Susquehanna University in 1975, and a master’s in college student personnel and doctorate in higher education administration from Penn State. He presents regularly on institutional advancement topics at regional and national conferences and has been retained by various institutions as a consultant on strategic planning. He is co-author of the book “Academic Leadership and Governance in Higher Education,” recently released by Stylus Publishing.



Janet Dickerson

Janet Smith Dickerson served as Princeton University's top campus life administrator from 2000 to 2010. While at Princeton, she advocated for undergraduate and graduate students through her work on cultural issues including health and well-being, diversity and inclusion, equity of experience and residential life.  Prior to moving to Princeton, Dickerson served as vice president for student affairs at Duke University from 1991 to 2000, and was dean of the college at Swarthmore from 1981 to 1991. She was associate dean at Swarthmore from 1976 to 1981.

The product of segregated schools in South Carolina, Dickerson holds degrees from the Western College for Women, now Miami University, in Oxford, Ohio, and Xavier University in Cincinnati. She pursued advanced graduate study at the University of Pennsylvania and Harvard University, and has received honorary degrees from Xavier and Swarthmore College.



Dan Weiss, Ph.D.

Dan WeissDaniel H. Weiss assumed the presidency of Lafayette College on July 1, 2005. Lafayette, which is located in Easton, Pennsylvania, is a highly selective independent, coeducational institution enrolling 2,400 undergraduates. The College offers programs of instruction leading to the Bachelor of Arts degree in 34 fields of study, including engineering, and the Bachelor of Science degree in nine areas of science and four fields of engineering.

In the fall of 2007, the trustees and faculty of the College unanimously approved a new strategic plan for Lafayette following a year-long process led by Weiss. The Plan for Lafayette calls for ambitious investment in the academic core of the institution, including a 20% increase in the size of the permanent faculty, an enhanced commitment to student access and community diversity, the development of new programs and facilities in the life sciences and the arts, and a renewed commitment to a strong and vital partnership with the City of Easton. In the first four years of implementation, the College has increased the size of the permanent faculty by more than 10%, revised the Common Course of Study for the first time in 18 years, and developed interdisciplinary programs in Environmental Science; Health and Life Sciences; Film and Media; Theater; Women and Gender Studies; and Bioengineering. In 2010 the College announced plans for a major initiative in the arts, achieved with external funding and in partnership with the City of Easton. In 2011 the College announced major gifts to support the creation of the Oechsle Center for Global Education; Grossman House, a residence hall for global studies; the campus quad renovation project; and a new endowment to support strategic initiatives in the Division of Engineering. In recent years Lafayette has been recognized frequently for its commitment to community service and economic revitalization and was the only college in the nation to receive a collaborative grant from the NEA for its Urban Arts initiative with the City of Easton.

Weiss came to Lafayette from The Johns Hopkins University, where he was the James B. Knapp Dean of the Zanvyl Krieger School of Arts and Sciences. His duties as dean included oversight of all departments and faculty, graduate and undergraduate academic programs, scholarly and scientific research, budget and financial operations, strategic planning, development and alumni affairs, housing and student life, admissions, and enrollment services. Before being named to that position in 2002, he was the Dean of the Faculty at the Krieger School, with responsibility for academic and budgetary oversight of 300 faculty within 30 departments and major centers.

A leading authority on the art of medieval Europe in the Age of the Crusades, Weiss was a professor of art history in the Krieger School and chaired the art history department from 1998 to 2001. He earned an M.A. (1982) and Ph.D. (1992) in art history at Johns Hopkins and joined the faculty there in 1993. He also holds an M.B.A. (1985) from the Yale School of Management and was a consultant with Booz, Allen & Hamilton, Inc. from 1985 to 1989. He received his B.A. from The George Washington University in 1979, with a double major in art history and psychology.

Weiss has written or edited four books and numerous articles on the art of the Middle Ages, with a special focus on Romanesque, Gothic, and Crusader art and the interaction of Byzantine culture with the Medieval West. He has also published widely in other fields, including American higher education and the Second World War, and has lectured at many colleges, universities, and museums in the United States and abroad. His research has been supported by grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Harvard University, Yale University, the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, and the Centro italiano di studi sull’Alto medioevo.

In 1994 he won the Van Courtlandt Elliott Prize, which is awarded annually by the Medieval Academy of America for a first article in the field of Medieval Studies judged to be of outstanding quality. He was one of the first art historians to receive that award. He received three awards for teaching excellence as a member of the Johns Hopkins faculty and was the recipient of the Aaron O. Hoff People’s Choice Award at Lafayette College in 2006. In 2006 he received the Community Partner Award from the Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce and in 2007 and 2011 the Community Service Award from the Two Rivers Area Chamber of Commerce.

Weiss is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Lehigh Valley Hospital and Health Network, a Trustee of the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, a member of the International Advisory Board of the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore, and a member of the Board of the Northampton County Historical & Genealogical Society. He is married to Sandra Jarva Weiss, a graduate of The George Washington University and its law school. A specialist in health-care law, she is a partner in the firm of Tallman, Hudders & Sorrentino. The Weisses have two sons, Teddy and Joel.

John Churchhill, Ph.D.

John ChurchillJohn Churchill is secretary of the Phi Beta Kappa Society, the nation’s oldest academic honorary society. Founded in 1776 at the College of William and Mary, Phi Beta Kappa has 280 chapters on college and university campuses and well over a half-million living members. Its purpose is to advocate and recognize excellence in the study of the liberal arts and sciences. As secretary, Churchill is the Society’s chief executive officer and the head of its national office.

Churchill was born in Hector, Arkansas, and was reared in Little Rock. He was educated at Rhodes College, where he was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa, at the University of Oxford, where he studied as a Rhodes Scholar, and at Yale University, where he was awarded the Ph.D. in 1978.

Churchill was formerly vice president for academic affairs and dean of the college at Hendrix College, where he also served as professor of philosophy and twice as interim president. In the 1970s, he served as assistant American secretary to the Rhodes Scholarship Trust, and has been active since that time in the selection of Rhodes Scholars.

His scholarly interests include the philosophers Ludwig Wittgenstein and David Hume, as well as topics in the history of philosophy, the philosophy of religion, and the philosophy of liberal education.

His publications include several dozen articles in these and related fields in journals in the U.S. and the U.K., book chapters in the U.S. and Germany, several dozen reviews and critical notes, as well as essays and stories in the popular press and college magazines. He has taught courses in the history of philosophy, philosophy of religion, logic, ethics, Wittgenstein, Hume and interdisciplinary topics involving texts from philosophy, literature, religion, history, and the classics. He writes a weekly blog for Phi Beta Kappa titled From the Secretary, available on the ΦBK website.

Churchill’s professional activities have included membership on the Board of Directors of the American Conference of Academic Deans and the Arkansas Endowment for the Humanities, founding head of the Arkansas Governor’s School’s Area II, service as chair of the Council of Deans of the Associated Colleges of the South, and editorial work for The Thomist, The Southern Journal of Philosophy, The International Philosophical Quarterly, and Choice magazine. He was a Danforth Foundation associate, a program review panelist for the National Endowment for the Humanities, and for 13 years a consultant/evaluator and team chair for the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. He is a former president of the National Humanities Alliance and a member of the Cosmos Club of Washington, D.C. Churchill has been married since 1972 to Jean Hill Churchill, and they have three children: Will (b. 1977), Mary Katherine (b. 1980), and Hugh (b. 1982).

Jeff Selingo

Jeff SelingoJeff Selingo, is editor at large at The Chronicle. A leading authority on higher education worldwide, he writes Next, a regular blog and column for The Chronicle and the Huffington Post, in which he explores innovation.

He has also been editor of The Chronicle, where he has worked for 14 years in a variety of reporting and editing roles. His work has been honored with awards from the Education Writers Association, Society of Professional Journalists, and the Associated Press, and he was a finalist for the Livingston Award for Young Journalists.

He received a bachelor's degree in journalism from Ithaca College and a master's degree in government from the Johns Hopkins University. He has been a featured speaker before dozens of national higher-education groups and appears regularly on regional and national radio and television programs, including NPR, PBS, ABC, MSNBC, and CBS. His writing has also appeared in The New York Times and The Washington Post. He is working on a book about the future higher education scheduled for publication in the spring of 2013.

Colin Koproske

Colin KoproskeColin Koproske is a Consultant with the Education Advisory Board. Since joining the firm,  Koproske has led research initiatives on the transformation of academic libraries, instructional technology, interdisciplinary program management, and business model innovation in higher education.

Prior to joining the Education Advisory Board, Koproske led policy and public affairs efforts for a national campaign finance reform organization in Washington, D.C., and served as a research fellow for a think tank focused on the intersection of science and philosophy.

Koproske holds an M.Phil. in political theory from Oxford University, where he was a Marshall Scholar, and bachelor’s degrees in political science and music from the University of Southern California, where he graduated as class valedictorian. His graduate research focused on the concept of religious freedom in U.S. constitutional law.



Michael A. Smyer, Ph.D.

Michael A. Smyer, Ph.D.Provost Mick Smyer joined Bucknell University on July 1, 2008. His responsibilities include overseeing academic and student affairs and related programs.

A national expert on aging and its ramifications, Smyer has written and lectured extensively on the topic and before coming to Bucknell was a professor of psychology and co-director of the Sloan Center on Aging and Work at Boston College.

Most recently co-director of the Center on Aging and Work at Boston College, Smyer holds a bachelor's degree in psychology from Yale University and a Ph.D. in personality and clinical psychology from Duke University.

His research interests include the impact of contexts on individuals' and families' adjustment to aging. His current work focuses on the impact of the workplace and flexible work options for older workers and their family members.

He is co-author of Aging and Mental Health and co-editor of Challenges of an Aging Society: Ethical Dilemmas, Political Issue; Changes in Decision-Making Capacity in Older Adults: Assessment and Intervention; and Aging, Biotechnology and the Future.


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