November 2, 2015 - Albany, GA - Albany Technical College, in partnership with the Georgia Association for Women in Higher Education (GAWHE) and the American Council on Education (ACE) Women's Network, will host a Women in Higher Education (WIHE) Leadership Conference all day on Tuesday and Wednesday, November 3 and 4, 2015, in the Kirkland Conference Center on the Albany Tech campus.

In an effort to support gender equity and to promote diversity among Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG) colleges, the WIHE Leadership Conference is designed to connect TCSG women with GAWHE for networking and for the women to have the opportunity to engage in professional development opportunities. The conference is also designed to connect with ACE's Women's Network and broaden the awareness of ACE's "Moving the Needle" Initiative, which was created to promote gender equity and diversity in higher education.

This conference will be the launching grounds to broaden the scope of current succession planning programs on both local and state levels and to celebrate leaders support of gender equity and diversity as evidenced by their practice. One such leader of these efforts is Albany Tech President, Dr. Anthony O. Parker, who recognizes that nearly 70 percent of executive leaders employed at Albany Tech are both female and ethnically diverse.

"The high percentage of females among the executive leadership team is not based on gender, but rather on the skillset of the individuals and the fact that such individuals were deemed to be the best fit for their respective position," said Parker. "The same holds true for the ethnic diversity percentage."

Organizer of the conference, Dr. Kim Lee, Executive Vice President and Vice President for Institutional Effectiveness at Albany Tech, believes that efforts are necessary to amplify gender parity and diversity in order for ACE to realize similar benefits to those referenced in the research brief for corporations.

"A research brief published by Higher Education Resource Services (HERS), Dr. Susan Madsen (2015), posits that higher education institutions have the 'potential for greater thriving' when an emphasis is placed on gender inclusivity and gender parity," said Lee.

Lee agrees that, as a lifetime educator herself serving at an executive level for more than a decade, Dr. Madsen's position is relative to embracing diversity in the higher education leadership realm. "Mergers, decreased public funding, legislative involvement in curriculum decisions, campus safety, increasing public demand for accountability, mounting student debt and appropriately serving a growing number of academically unprepared students, are all realities facing institutions of higher education today," said Lee. "These complex challenges require leadership acumen that is influential, nimble, proficient and responsive to the dynamic interests of the broader social, academic, political and economic community," added Lee.

TCSG Commissioner, Gretchen Corbin, applauds Dr. Parker and the Albany Tech family for being the host for the conference and providing development opportunities for TCSG colleagues and others.

"We are honored by the support and guidance to conduct this conference Albany Tech has received from the leadership of ACE's Inclusive Excellence Group and from the leadership of GAWHE," said Corbin. "Both of these organizations have a long-standing and reputable history of supporting women in higher education."

Keynote speakers for the conference include Dr. Belle Wheelan, President of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) and Dr. Kathy Schwaig, Dean and Dinos Eminent Scholar Chair of Entrepreneurial Management and Professor of Information Systems in the Michael J. Coles College of Business at Kennesaw State University.

Presenters for the conference include Commander Erin N. Adler, JD, instructor of Maritime Law Enforcement, Criminal Justice and Constitution Law at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy; Kristel Baranko, Chair of the Marketing Management program at Albany Technical College; Monique Baucham, Vice President for Institutional Effectiveness at Columbus Technical College; Dr. Kim Bobby, Director of the Inclusive Excellence Group (IEG) at the American Council on Education; Dr. Connie Gores, President of Southwest Minnesota State University; Dr. Angela J. Evans, Director of Student Marketing and Campus Engagement at Kennesaw State University; Dr. Cheryl Dozier, President of Savannah State University; Dr. Freida Harrell, Retired Assistant Commissioner for Development for the Technical College System of Georgia; Dr. Nichole Kennedy, Vice President for Student Affairs at Augusta Technical College; Dr. Charlene Lamar, Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs at Ogeechee Technical College; Dr. Kim Lee, Executive Vice President and Vice President for Institutional Effectiveness at Albany Technical College; Dr. Kimberly Parker, Associate Professor at Texas Woman's University; Dr. Narcisa Polonio, Executive Vice President of Education, Research and Board Leadership Services at the Association of Community College Trustees (ACCT); Dr. Josephine Reed-Taylor, Chief Academic Officer for the Technical College System of Georgia; and Dr. Alvetta Thomas, President of Atlanta Technical College.

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