Institute for New Presidents
Vision and Voice for Catholic Higher Education      Learn More




"Incredibly important to my education as a new president.
I highly recommend it for future new presidents."

— Past Institute Participant

Institute for New Presidents

Of Catholic Colleges and Universities


Friday, January 31, 2020


The Institute for New Presidents is a program open to all new and interim presidents in the first two years of office. Enroll in the Institute and enjoy this full-day conference, taking place immediately before the ACCU Annual Meeting in Washington, DC.  



Engage with experienced presidents on topics specific to your role leading a Catholic institution of higher learning:

  • Purposes and goals of Catholic higher learning
  • Best practices in mission effectiveness
  • Current issues of concern to the U.S. bishop and working with them successfully
  • Governance issues with trustees, sponsoring congregations, dioceses, and accrediting bodies
  • Managing campus controversies at the intersection of current culture and Catholic identity


Plus, network with your peers in Catholic higher education:

  • Explore impressions and questions of leading this ministry of the Church
  • Spend time with the ACCU Board of Directors at a private reception
  • Develop your network of fellow new presidents
  • Engage with veteran ACCU presidents

Please contact Lorraine Sloma-Williams for information.


2019 Institute Registrants: Enter the portal to access exclusive resources, including video archives of previous remote sessions. 



Now Available:

Fundraising & Revenue Generation

Presented by Mary Finger,
President, Seton Hill University




 Selected presentations are available by clicking on the session title or presenter name in the schedule below.


 Friday, January 31, 2020
 8:00 – 8:30 a.m.
 Breakfast Available
 8:30 a.m. 

Opening Prayer

Welcome, Participant Introductions, and Overview
Marc Camille,
 President, Albertus Magnus College
Sr. Chris De Vinne, OSU, President, Ursuline College

 8:45 – 10:00 a.m.

Catholic Universities as a Ministry of the Church
Rev. Dennis Holtschneider, CM, President, ACCU

This opening session sets the purposes and current challenges facing Catholic higher education within their recent historical context, as well as the ministerial hopes of the larger Church. A 30,000-foot flyover of key Church documents related to Catholic higher education is designed to equip you for conversations on campus and to assist you in developing positive working relationships with your local bishop and sponsoring congregation.

 10:00 – 10:15 a.m.

 Coffee Break

 10:15 – 11:15 a.m. 

Communicating and Leading Catholic Mission Effectively
Marc M. Camille,
President, Albertus Magnus College
Susan M. Donovan, President, Bellarmine University

This session will be led by two presidents who have extensive experience in handling institutional communications effectively. They will walk you through methodologies for developing strategic communications across campus, incorporating university mission and Catholic identity into student recruitment and marketing messaging, and also ways to effectively step into the fray of larger societal issues, when warranted.

 11:15 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.   

Canon and Civil Law Issues in Catholic Higher Education: Essentials for the President
Mark Chopko, JD,
Chair, Nonprofit & Religious Organizations, Stradley Ronon Stevens & Young, LLP; former general counsel for the USCCB.
Msgr. William King, canon lawyer and Pastor, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish, Mechanicsburg, PA; former vicar general for the Diocese of Harrisburg.

What are the canon and civil laws related to the Catholic mission of your campus? What are the legal implications of "hiring for mission"? Led by experts in civil and canon law, this session will offer the essential legal issues presidents need to know related to hiring practices, land ownership, reserved powers of the sponsoring religious congregation, religious freedom issues, and more. Topics will be covered with a keen eye to the letter and spirit of both canon and civil law.

 12:15 – 1:30 p.m. 


 1:30 – 2:30 p.m.

Navigating the Board – Issues of Catholic Identity and University Mission
Thomas F. Flynn,
Senior Fellow, ACCU and AGB

What is the role of the board in safeguarding the mission in partnership with the president? What are some ways to effectively form new board members with regard to mission? Experienced Catholic higher education president and a leader in issues of governance, Tom Flynn, will discuss answers to these questions and more, including ways to work with your board to advance the Catholic mission of your institution. He will share best practices for engaging with board members and will share some of the typical governance challenges presidents face.

 2:30 – 2:45 p.m


 2:45 – 3:30 p.m.

Organizational Structures for Mission
Michael Higgins, Vice President for Mission and Catholic Identity, Sacred Heart University; past president of St. Thomas University and St. Jerome’s University in Canada
Sr. Chris De Vinne, OSU, President, Ursuline College

What are some proven ways to organize your administration for mission? How can you effectively develop intentional mission orientation strategies across the institution? This session will explore organizational structures such as a presidential seminar for mission, president's mission council, and cabinet-level mission officer, as well as mission committees. Attendees will consider which structures would strengthen their own institutional and sponsorship context.

 3:30 - 4:30 p.m.

The Presidency and Spiritual Development
Rev. Thomas Curran, SJ,
President, Rockhurst University
Dottie King, President, Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College

You are aware that students, staff, and faculty are invited to transform their spiritual life on campus. Do you also look for ways to develop your own spirituality as you lead the charism and traditions of your institution? This session will offer ways to integrate personal spiritual growth with the leadership demands of the presidency. Session leaders will present effective spiritual practices that will help you in managing the realities of the office alongside family and other life obligations. Session leaders will deeply explore the presidency as a vocational calling and will invite you to do the same.

 4:30 - 4:45 p.m. 

Concluding Thoughts
David Sylvester
, President, University of St. Michael’s College (at University of Toronto)

 4:45 - 5:15 p.m. 


 5:15 - 6:00 p.m. 

Reception with New Presidents and ACCU Board of Directors
Spouses are welcome.

 6:00 - 7:30 p.m.

Dinner for New Presidents and Spouses


Registration Fees

 August 1 – September 13  $500
 September 14 – October 31  $575
 November 1 – 15 (registration closes on Nov. 15)  $650



Please contact Lorraine Sloma-Williams with any questions or concerns.  




Other Programs for Presidents

Annual Meeting
Join your colleagues to share ideas and discuss timely issues in Catholic higher education
Leaders in Catholic Higher Ed
Deepen your knowledge and refine your skills to meet 21st century leadership demands
Rome Seminar
Join this unique and dynamic exchange between Catholic higher education and the Curia