Balancing Short-Term Realities with Long-Term Opportunities: Higher Ed Leadership in a Post-COVID Era



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Join us to explore the delicate balance of urgent short-term needs against the opportunity for innovation.


As colleges and universities across the country prepare to reopen fully in the fall, higher ed leaders find themselves faced with a difficult task. On one hand, they must have a short-term focus on guiding faculty, staff, and students through reopening to ensure everyone feels safe and supported throughout the process. On the other, they must not lose sight of the opportunities for innovation and out-of-the-box thinking that this moment also presents. How can institutional leaders operate effectively in both of these realities at the same time? What strategies are other leaders using to maintain short-term focus without losing sight of bigger picture opportunities?   

Join us for a 75-minute panel discussion to explore these and other related questions. The Provost, Vice President of Human Resources, Diversity, and Inclusion, and Chief Information Officer at CSU Fullerton will describe a bottom-up, participatory approach to reopening planning that brings faculty and staff along in the process while also building the trust, excitement, and community necessary for creativity and bigger picture thinking long-term.   


Who Should Attend

This discussion is suitable for higher ed leaders at all levels on both the academic and staff sides. Senior leaders who sit at the Dean or VP-level and above will find especial benefit. 

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  • A dynamic, interactive, and high-touch virtual learning experience designed to engage and set you up for growth
  • Seamless online face-time, networking, group work, and Q&A opportunities from the comfort of your own workspace
  • Practical takeaways and hands-on knowledge
  • Guidance from vetted subject matter experts
  • Unlimited access to all recorded online sessions


June 3, 2021

1:00 - 2:15 p.m. Eastern

1. Taking the pulse of the current moment
Our panelists will provide an overview of the dual challenges facing higher ed leaders at the present moment: how can I guide my institution such that faculty, staff, and students feel safe and supported during the reopening process, while also not losing sight of the opportunity to take bold action and break away from what has been the norm?



2. Keeping people safe & preparing for the return to campus 
This section will focus on the steps and actions our panelists are taking to make faculty and staff feel safe and supported through campus reopening. We’ll discuss key questions such as:  

  • How can leaders allay fears through participatory approaches that include faculty and staff in the reopening planning process?  
  • What considerations do leaders need to have about the way they communicate with faculty and staff about campus reopening?  
  • What key messages about things like cleanliness, health and safety, testing, and childcare are important to convey, and in what ways are they getting those messages across?  



3. Paving the way for bold action and innovation moving forward
The training will close with an emphasis on how leaders can pave the way for innovation in the medium-term through the actions they are taking to reopen campus in the short-term. We will discuss ways in which the pandemic has set our institutions up to work differently going forward and will discuss specific examples of the kind of innovations our panelists and your peers are working toward across campus in a post-COVID era. 


Portrait of Amir Dabirian

Amir Dabirian

Vice President for Information Technology and Chief Information Officer, California State University, Fullerton

Amir assumed his current role at California State University, Fullerton in December 2008. At Cal State Fullerton, Amir oversees all enterprise services of IT in support of the University’s mission and strategic plan. He has over 35 years of experience in the field of information technology and is the former Assistant Vice Chancellor of Information Technology Services (ITS) for the California State University, Office of the Chancellor.

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Portrait of David Forgues

David Forgues

Vice President of Human Resources, Diversity, and Inclusion, California State University, Fullerton

David supports the 4,000 employees of California State University, Fullerton in reaching their professional goals and he works to advance the diversity, equity, and inclusion goals of the campus. He holds a Ph.D. in Higher Education from the University at Buffalo.

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Professional headshot of Carolyn Thomas

Carolyn Thomas

Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, California State University, Fullerton

Carolyn provides leadership and support for Titan students, staff, and faculty who seek, through learning, to create a more equitable, just, and sustainable world. She received her Ph.D. in American Studies from the University of Texas at Austin.

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