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"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 (8:00 a.m. - 7:30 p.m.), 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

Registration for the 2020 Institute for New Presidents has closed.
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





Tentative Schedule

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

Opening Prayer

Welcome, Participant Introductions, and Overview

 8:45 – 10:00 a.m.

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

Wondering about how your institution fits into the larger purpose of Catholic higher education? This opening session will be led by ACCU's new president, Fr. Dennis Holtschneider, as he tells the story of the purposes of Catholic higher education historically through to today. He will discuss how issues of access and development of the whole person offer a unique opportunity to positively engage the Church and society at large. Fr. Dennis will also give you the 30,000-foot flyover view of key Church documents related to Catholic higher education and walk you through some ways to develop a positive working relationship 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

Feeling the current political tensions on your campus? Wondering how to navigate social media to engage your constituencies? Looking for ways to respond in a timely manner during campus crises while still staying on mission? 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 mission/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
Msgr. William King, canon lawyer and pastor, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish, Mechanicsburg, PA; former diocesan judicial and general vicar for the Diocese of Harrisburg

What are the canon and civil laws related to land ownership 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, Title IX implications, and religious freedom issues. 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.

Governing for Mission
Thomas F. Flynn,
President Emeritus, Alvernia University

Does your sponsoring religious congregation have reserved powers on your board? What are some ways to effectively form new board members with regard to mission? A leader in issues of governance, Tom Flynn will discuss answers to these questions and more, including ways to work with your board to safeguard and advance the Catholic mission of your institution. He will share best practices for selecting and forming board members and will also address different kinds of board structures that have emerged and 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? During this session, organizational structures such as the president's mission council and cabinet-level mission officer, as well as centers and institutes for mission, will be explored as attendees 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

Do you seek to find ways to develop your personal prayer life amidst the demands of the presidency? 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

 4:45 - 5:15 p.m. 


 5:15 - 6:00 p.m. 

Reception with New Presidents and ACCU Board of Trustees
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