Resources for CAOs
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Chief Academic Officers


The CAO plays a unique role in advancing Catholic identity among academic staff. ACCU offers a variety of resources to help individuals in this role:

  • Strengthening Catholic Identity – CAOs: This short brochure summarizes the role of the CAO in advancing the Catholic identity of a college or university.
  • CAOs may be interested in Catholic Identity Mission Assessment (CIMA), a new initiative that will help ACCU member institutions understand how Catholic higher education adds distinct value to the student experience.
  • Each year, ACCU offers a conference specially designed for chief academic officers. Stimulating speakers and roundtable discussions at this gathering help attendees address contemporary needs. See below for information on the most recent conference.


2020 Chief Academic Officers Conference

“The Relevance of Catholic Higher Education in the Face of Changing Demographics”

Stimulating speakers and small-group discussions at this gathering will help those leading academic efforts to address contemporary needs. Don't miss the opening presentation, in which panelists will address the new era of financial aid, shifts in student demographics, and the unique value proposition of Catholic identity. Also includes an orientation session for new CAOs!


Although registration for this pre-conference is done through the 2020 ACCU Annual Meeting registration page, you do not need to attend the main conference in order to attend this one-day event.



  Saturday, February 1, 2020   
  8:00 – 9:00 a.m.

Registration and breakfast

  9:00 - 10:15 a.m.

Responses to Demographic Changes in Catholic Colleges and Universities

This panel discussion will focus on strategies that Catholic colleges and universities have taken to address financial aid in a new era, with potential students' decreased ability to pay and increased discount rates to attract potential students, the demographic shift and its implications for academic affairs, the unique value proposition of Catholic mission and identity, and the extent to which Catholic identity can be used for differentiation.

David Dausey, Moderator, Provost, Duquesne University
Paula Luff, Interim Vice President for Enrollment Management, DePaul University
Jeanne Colleran, Loyola University Chicago
Steve Mauro, Vice President for Academic Administration and Adjunct Lecturer in Academic Support Programs and Biology, Gannon University
Aaron Dominguez, Provost and Professor of Physics, The Catholic University of America

  10:30 - 11:45 a.m.

Small Group Discussions (6)

Financial Aid in a New Era

Discussion leaders:
Salma Ghanem, Interim Provost, DePaul University
Gail Baker, Vice President and Provost, University of San Diego


Demographic Shift and Its Implications

Discussion leaders:
Richard Plumb, Executive Vice President and Provost, University of St. Thomas
Paul Benson, Provost and Executive Vice President of Academic Affairs and Professor of Philosophy, University of Dayton


Catholic Mission and Identity

Discussion leaders:
Hugh Lena, Vice President for Academic Affairs and Professor of Sociology, Providence College
Titi Ufomata, Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs, Saint Mary’s College (IN)

  11:45 a.m. –  Noon


  Noon – 1:00 p.m.


  1:00 - 2:15 p.m.

Breakout Sessions (2)

New Chief Academic Officer Breakout
For CAOs new to Catholic higher education, who have served in their roles for less than three years.
Led by:
Paul Benson, Provost and Executive Vice President of Academic Affairs and Professor of Philosophy, University of Dayton, and
Hugh Lena, Vice President for Academic Affairs and Professor of Sociology, Providence College

Just Compensation Breakout
Focused on creating fair, equitable, and just compensation strategies for faculty.
Led by:
Frank Casagrande, President/CEO, Casagrande Consulting LLC

  3:30 p.m. Closing Prayer
  5:00 p.m. Opening Liturgy of the 2020 ACCU Annual Meeting



More Resources for Chief Academic Officers

Support for Catholic Mission and Identity

Read about the programs and events that ACCU offers to support Catholic campus identity

Catholic Intellectual Tradition

Info about the Catholic Intellectual Tradition can assist anyone interested in the principlesĀ that underlieĀ Catholic higher ed

Publications for CAOs

Find publications to enhance the classroom experience for faculty and students