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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 upcoming conference.


2019 Chief Academic Officers Conference

“Catholic Mission, Global Challenges, and the Value of Liberal Education”

Saturday, February 2, 2019  
 8:00 – 8:50 a.m.

Registration and Breakfast

Breakfast Roundtable for Chief Academic Officers New to Catholic Institutions

Paul Benson, Provost and Executive Vice President of Academic Affairs, University of Dayton
Hugh Lena, Provost, Providence College

David Dausey, Provost, Duquesne University

 9:00 – 10:00 a.m.

Catholic Identity and Global Challenges

In light of the mission of Catholic higher education — including the importance of Catholic Social Teaching — and the current national context, many Catholic colleges and universities are wrestling with questions about their responsibilities toward immigrants. What are some good practices for engaging with current developments surrounding immigration and refugees, and for recruiting international students and hiring international faculty or staff? Panelists in this session will contribute expert perspectives on these issues.

Janet Houser, Provost, Regis University
Ashley Feasley, Director of Policy, USCCB Migration and Refugee Services
Kim Lamberty, Director of University and Mission Engagement, Catholic Relief Services

Reena Aggarwal, Vice Provost for Faculty, Georgetown University

10:00 – 10:30 a.m.


10:30 – 11:45 a.m.

Making the Case for the Value of Liberal Arts Education in the Catholic Tradition

Given the centrality of a liberal arts education in the foundation of both the Catholic Intellectual Tradition and Catholic higher education, this interactive session will engage attendees in discussing effective, practical approaches for responding to growing national skepticism about the value and relevance of the liberal arts.

Kathleen Snell Jagger, Acting President, Thomas More College
Paul Koch, Provost, St. Ambrose University

 Noon – 1:00 p.m.


Remarks by Michael Galligan-Stierle, President, ACCU

 1:00 – 2:15 p.m.

Concurrent Sessions:

Developing Academic Leadership Capacity for Department Chairs and Deans

Many colleges and universities are looking for new and effective ways to develop academic leadership programs, so that more faculty can be well-prepared to carry out future roles as department chairs, program directors, or deans.  Panelists in this session will share their experience with specific programmatic efforts to promote academic leadership development at these levels.

Paul Benson, Provost and Executive Vice President of Academic Affairs, University of Dayton
Deborah Bickford, Assoc. Provost for Academic Affairs and Learning Initiatives, University of Dayton
Michael James, Director of the Institute for Administrators in Catholic Higher Education, Boston College


Orientation for New Chief Academic Officers

This session is intended primarily for CAOs who are in the first or second year of their appointments.

David Dausey, Provost, Duquesne University
Hugh Lena, Provost, Providence College

2:30 – 3:00 p.m.

Chart Your Course:  LCHE Overview

Lorraine Sloma-Williams, Director of Executive Educational Programs, ACCU

Kyle Ryan, Media Specialist, ACCU

 3:00 p.m. Adjournment  
5:00 p.m.          Opening Liturgy of the 2019 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 principles that underlie Catholic higher ed

Publications for CAOs

Find publications to enhance the classroom experience for faculty and students