Portrait of LeVar Burton

LeVar Burton

Keynote Speaker

LeVar Burton launched his acting career while still a student at the University of Southern California. Cast in the groundbreaking role of Kunta Kinte in the landmark television series, Roots,  at 19, he found himself on the cover of Time  Magazine. A seemingly impossible act to follow, Burton managed to do so in dramatic fashion, achieving further global acclaim as Chief Engineer Geordi La Forge in the iconic Star Trek: The Next Generation television series and feature films. But it has been his role as host and executive producer of the beloved PBS children’s series, Reading Rainbow, that he is most proud of. Airing from 1983 to 2009, it was not only one of the longest running children’s television shows in history, but also one of the most acclaimed, earning over 200 awards including multiple Emmys and a Peabody. 

Always committed to improving children’s education through innovative uses of storytelling, in 2012 Burton launched RRKidz, a digital educational publishing company, co-founded with business partner, Mark Wolfe. Together they hold the global rights to the Reading Rainbow brand through a partnership with series creator, WNED/Buffalo. Reading Rainbow was reimagined to combine today’s forms of media and technology with the goal of inspiring a new generation of children to love reading. The all-new Reading Rainbow is a digital reading service filled with over 500 children’s fiction and non-fiction books, newly produced video field trips, and new content added every week. With over 16 million books and videos enjoyed since launch, Reading Rainbow is the number one educational app on iTunes and recipient of numerous awards. 

Most recently, Burton turned to Kickstarter to bring Reading Rainbow to “Every Child, Everywhere” -- especially to classrooms in need. The campaign met its 35-day goal of raising $1 million in less than 11 hours and became the most popular Kickstarter campaign ever with over 105,000 backers and a final tally of over $6.4 million. As a result, in 2015 RRKidz introduced Reading Rainbow EDU, complete with engaging supplemental learning content for teachers and students. And in October, 2014, Reading Rainbow published Burton’s first children’s book, The Rhino Who Swallowed A Storm, a powerful and uplifting story to help children cope with the difficulties of everyday life. 

The honored recipient of 12 Emmy Awards, a Grammy, and five NAACP Awards, Burton has demonstrated in his career that he can do it all -- acting, directing, producing, writing, and speaking. He is often invited as a keynote speaker at leading education and technology events, most recently speaking at NASA, ISTE, The National Headstart Association, and many more. 

And in 2014, with educational groups, business organizations, and media clamoring to recognize him for the record-setting Reading Rainbow Kickstarter campaign, Burton was named Geek of the Year in the annual Geekie Awards, was listed as one of Ebony Magazine’s Power 100, and earned the World Tech Award for Education, awarded by the World Technology Network. 

He now enters his fourth decade in the industry, with millions of fans throughout the world, and continues his mission to inspire, entertain, and educate.

Portrait of Gary Herbert

Gary R. Herbert

Utah Governer

Governor Gary Richard Herbert has led Utah's recovery from the Great Recession to a position of national economic prominence. His unwavering focus on economic development includes attracting businesses and investment to the state while helping homegrown businesses flourish.

The governor is focused on four cornerstones to strengthen Utah's economy: education, jobs, energy, and self-determination. As a result, Utah has become a premier destination for business, jobs, and an unsurpassed quality of life.

As Utah's 17th governor, he took the oath of office on August 11, 2009. Prior to becoming the state's chief executive, Governor Herbert served as lieutenant governor for five years. He is the past chair of the Western Governors Association and National Governors Association.

Governor Herbert and his wife, Jeanette, are the proud parents of six children and 16 grandchildren.

Portrait of Ann Millner

Dr. Ann Millner

Utah State Senator

Utah State Senator Ann Millner has shown her commitment to education as she has served as Chair of the Education Standing Committee, on the Economic Development & Workforce Services Committee, as well as the Higher Education and Public Education Appropriations Committees. Millner is also a Former President at Weber State University in Ogden, Utah. Under Dr. Millner’s leadership as president from 2002 to 2012, Weber State became a multi-campus institution, experienced nearly a 40 percent increase in enrollment, initiated a major facilities revitalization effort, expanded its network of community partnerships, launched WSU-Davis, emerged as a regional center for economic development and earned national recognition for its undergraduate research and community-based learning initiatives. In her time as Senator, Millner has sponsored legislation focused on economic development specifically related to commercialization of new technologies and workforce preparation, public and higher education and victim’s rights.

Portrait of

Dr. Richard (Biff) Williams

President of Dixie State University

Dr. Richard Williams is the 18th president of Dixie State University and has previously served as Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at Indiana State University. He was also the founding dean of ISU’s College of Nursing, Health and Human Services. He recognizes the importance of moving quickly and methodically when deciding what programs and offerings the institution should focus on, build, and add. Dr. Williams also served as an associate dean of the College of Education at the University of Northern Iowa, where he was a faculty member, executive associate director of the School of Health, Physical Education, and Leisure Services, and chair into his tenure at Northern Iowa. Dr. Williams is eager and qualified to help the Dixie State University carve out its niche. He recognizes the importance of moving quickly and methodically when deciding what programs and offerings the institution should focus on, build, and add.

Portrait of David Armstrong

J. David Armstrong

President of Broward College

J. David Armstrong, Jr. is the sixth president of Broward College, one of the largest and most diverse institutions in America, with 63,000 students across 11 campuses and centers in South Florida. With more than 33 years of experience as a state and national leader in higher education and economic development, President Armstrong recently celebrated ten years leading the College. In addition to new technologies and leading-edge facilities, President Armstrong has helped pioneer a revolutionary change to the way students approach and interact with higher education. In 2015 Broward College was selected as one of 30 institutions nationwide to participate in the Pathways Project, led by the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC). Dubbed Pathways@BC, this new academic model combines similar programs and concentrations into learning communities, called Pathways, and changes the way students connect their college experience to future careers with sustainable earnings. Prior to leading Broward College, President Armstrong was the Chancellor of the Florida Community College System where he provided leadership for the 28-member institution and the State Board of Community Colleges. He is a graduate of the Program for Senior Executives in State and Local Government from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, received his master's degree from Troy State University in Management and his bachelor's degree in Social Science from the University of Montevallo in his home state of Alabama.

Portrait of Raymond Cross

Dr. Raymond Cross

President of the University of Wisconsin System

Raymond W. (Ray) Cross, Ph.D., began his appointment as the seventh president of the University of Wisconsin System on February 15, 2014. The UW System’s two doctoral universities, 11 comprehensive universities, 13 freshman-sophomore UW Colleges, and statewide UW-Extension annually serve more than 170,000 students, and reach more than one million Wisconsin citizens through outreach, public broadcasting, and continuing education programs. Cross leads a UW System workforce of approximately 39,000 faculty, academic and university staff, and graduate assistants. He is also responsible for the UW System’s $6 billion annual budget, made up of state support, federal funding, tuition and fees, and private gifts. He reports to the UW System Board of Regents. Previously, Cross served as chancellor of the University of Wisconsin Colleges and University of Wisconsin-Extension from February 2011 through February 2014. Cross received his doctorate in college and university administration from Michigan State University. He earned a master’s degree in industrial education at Central Michigan University and a bachelor’s degree in technical education from Ferris State University. In 2007, Colgate University awarded Cross an honorary doctorate of science. In addition to his career in academia, Cross has experience in the private sector as a design engineer, small-business owner and consultant to business, industry and government. From 1967-70, Cross served with the U.S. Army in Vietnam and was awarded four medals for his service.

Portrait of Margaret Ellibee

Dr. Margaret Ellibee

President of Pulaski Technical College

Dr. Margaret A. Ellibee was selected by the Pulaski Technical College Board of Trustees to serve as college president in June, 2012. She began her tenure at UA-PTC on August 16, 2012. She has served as Vice President for Strategic Effectiveness and Advancement at Waukesha County Technical College in Waukesha, Wisconsin from 2007 until 2012. Previously, she served as State Director for Career and Technical Education with the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, and was Coordinator for Innovative Programming and Research at the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education. Dr. Ellibee received a Doctor of Philosophy in Educational Administration from the University of Wisconsin in 1995. She received a Master of Science in General Agriculture from the University of Arkansas in 1988, and a Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Education from Iowa State University in 1983. She taught vocational agriculture at Stuttgart High School (Arkansas) from 1983 to 1986.

Portrait of Tim Foster

Dr. Tim Foster

President of Colorado Mesa University

Tim Foster has served as the tenth president of Colorado Mesa University since March 2004, when he was appointed by the Colorado Mesa University Board of Trustees. A former member of Colorado Governor Bill Owens' cabinet, Mr. Foster previously served as the executive director for the Colorado Commission on Higher Education. Mr. Foster also served as head of the Department of Higher Education, which includes the Colorado Historical Society and the Colorado Council on the Arts, and served on the boards of the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education, the Denver Chamber of Commerce and its Committee on Science and Technology. Prior to directing the Colorado Commission on Higher Education, Mr. Foster served in the Colorado House of Representatives, beginning in 1988, and served as the House Majority Leader for four sessions, from 1993 to 1996. The married father of four sons, Mr. Foster is an avid bike rider, skier, swimmer, soccer player and coach.

Portrait of Mildred Garcia

Dr. Mildred Garcia

President of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities

Dr. Mildred García assumed the presidency of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) on January 22, 2018. As AASCU's president, Dr. García is an advocate for public higher education at the national level, working to influence federal policy and regulations on behalf of member colleges and universities; serving as a resource to presidents and chancellors as they address state policy and emerging campus issues; developing collaborative partnerships and initiatives that advance public higher education; directing a strategic agenda that focuses on public college and university leadership for the 21st century; and providing professional development opportunities for presidents, chancellors, and their spouses. She is the first Latina to lead one of the six presidentially based higher education associations in Washington, D.C. Prior to joining AASCU, Dr. García served as the president of California State University, Fullerton—the largest university in the CSU and the third largest university in the state, serving over 40,000 students and having an operating budget of almost half a billion dollars. A first-generation college student, Dr. García earned a Doctor of Education degree and a M.A. in Higher Education Administration from Teachers College, Columbia University; a M.A. in Business Education/Higher Education from New York University; a B.S. in Business Education from Baruch College, City University of New York; and an A.A.S. from New York City Community College.

Portrait of Paul Markham

Paul N. Markham

Founder and partner of solva solutions

Paul Markham is a founder and partner of Sova Solutions which is a mission-driven organization focused on improving the quality and accelerating the pace of complex problem solving in the areas of higher education and workforce development. He also consults with Public Agenda on their higher education and workforce development research and stakeholder engagement projects. Previously, Markham served as Vice President for Strategic Partnerships & Development at Achieving the Dream, a Senior Program Officer at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Associate Professor of Education at the University of Washington Bothell (UWB), and Assistant Professor of Interdisciplinary Studies at Western Kentucky University (WKU).

Portrait of Joel Ward

Joel Ward

President of red deer college

Joel Ward has been the President and CEO of Red Deer College (RDC) since September 1, 2009.

He has worked in post-secondary education for over 25 years in Canada in various roles including Professor, Associate Dean, Vice President Academic, and President at two comprehensive community institutions.

Joel has extensive experience in college and community leadership, teaching and learning, and program development. He has lectured extensively on Management Information Systems, Mobile Computing and Electronic Commerce both nationally and internationally in China and Pakistan.

During his time at RDC, and despite funding challenges, the College experienced unprecedented growth in facilities and new programs, culminating in the announcement by the Premier of Alberta, RDC’s transition to University status.

RDC opened a downtown business school in 2013, and an event centre in 2014 supporting the city of Red Deer’s downtown redevelopment plan.

In 2018 RDC opened three new facilities including the Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre which celebrates health, wellness and sport, a new residence which has three sides constructed with photovoltaic solar panels and an Alternate Energy Lab, supporting development and research of new technologies supporting RDC’s green energy master plan. New programming in the creative arts, health care, technology and science and humanities positions RDC for continued growth in applied and work integrated learning.

Joel currently serves on the Business Advisory Council of the Edmonton International Airport, is the Chair of Campus Alberta Central and is the former representative for Alberta and the Northwest Territories on the Board of Directors of Colleges Institutes Canada (CICan) and is a Director on the Board of the Canadian Forces Liaison Council of Alberta. In preparation for the 2019 Canada Winter Games and RDC’s role as the Athletes’ Village and venue for five sporting events, Joel sits on the 2019 CWG Host Society Board of Directors.

Portrait of Steve Wrigley

Dr. Steve Wrigley

Chancellor of the university system of georgia

The Board of Regents named Dr. Steve Wrigley the 13th chancellor of the University System of Georgia effective January 1, 2017. He oversees 28 public colleges and universities with a $8.4 billion annual budget, more than 48,000 faculty and staff, and 320,000 students. He currently serves on the Alliance of Education Agency Heads and is a member of the board of the Georgia Wildlife Federation. In the past, he served on the boards of the Nature Conservancy of Georgia and the Georgia Humanities Council. Prior to his work in the University System, Wrigley worked in state government in Georgia, including five years as chief of staff to former Governor Zell Miller. During his career, Wrigley has worked on a number of key issues, including the creation of the state lottery and the HOPE scholarship, along with campus consolidations within the University System of Georgia. He and his wife, Lynne, have two children and reside in Clarke County, Georgia.

Portrait of Jessica Gilmore

Jessica Gilmore

Associate vice president - community outreach and economic development, utah valley university

Ms. Gilmore began her career in higher education 1997 at Highline Community College where she served as faculty in the Business Information Technology Department. After Highline, she helped create and lead Pearson Education’s Customer Experience division where she worked with students and faculty, across the country, from all disciplines providing training and support on Pearson’s educational technology products. After leaving Pearson, Jessica combined her love of business and academics to lead a team of creative faculty dedicated to providing experiences in high-wage, high-demand career fields at Walla Walla Community College in a variety of programs in both non-credit professional development courses and traditional educational pathways.

Jessica is committed to working with the entire UVU family to expand outreach to the community we serve; meet the community's credit and non-credit educational needs; and oversee the expansion of professional and community education, education at branch campuses and extension sites, concurrent enrollment, business incubation and acceleration, and commercialization. As Associate Vice President for Community Outreach & Economic Development, she is able to use her background in community college leadership to help UVU fulfill its dual community college and university mission for the benefit of the service area.

Portrait of Adrienne Andrews

Adrienne Andrews

Assistant vice president for diversity and chief diversity officer at weber state university

Adrienne Gillespie Andrews was selected as the first ever Chief Diversity Officer at Weber State University in May 2015. She previously served in a split appointment as the Director of the Center for Diversity and Unity and as the Special Assistant to the President for Diversity. She has worked in the field of diversity and inclusion for more than a decade and is excited to develop new opportunities for community building in this role. Adrienne began working at WSU in February 2005 and has held other positions throughout Student Affairs and regularly taught in the Political Science Department and Women and Gender Studies Program.

Andrews earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science with minors in Ethnic Studies and Spanish in 1993 from the University of Utah (U of U). While there, she studied abroad in Cuernavaca, Mexico in addition to completing an internship at the United States Supreme Court. Adrienne received numerous scholarships and awards for her academic performance and leadership abilities. She next attended the University of Denver, College of Law as a Chancellor’s Scholar, leaving in 1995 and returning to the U of U where she completed a second Bachelor of Arts in Women’s Studies in 1996. Her first master’s degree was completed at Minnesota State University, Mankato (MSUM) in Women’s Studies in 1997. She completed a master’s degree in Political Science at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey in 2001. Her most recent academic accomplishment is a post graduate degree in Conflict Resolution & Mediation, received with honors from the U of U in 2006.

Andrews has worked in a variety of government, higher education and non-profit capacities including as the Director of the Center for Youth Policy and Programs for the State of New Jersey; Staff Associate in the New Jersey Department of State; Political Science Instructor at Rutger’s; Women’s Studies Instructor at MSUM; graduate associate and research associate at the Eagleton Institute of Politics and Center for American Woman and Politics; among other positions.

A native Utahan, Andrews was raised in Davis County and has a long history of advocacy in social justice and inclusion work with a special capacity for community building, making her an excellent fit for this exciting position. Andrews currently serves as a member of the Utah Governor’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Human Rights Commission and has previously served on the Boards of Catholic Community Services of Northern Utah and for the American Red Cross of Northern Utah where she chaired the Celebration of Heroes fundraiser.

Andrews has received numerous honors while at Weber State University most recently the Crystal Crest Friend of Student Award in 2014. Andrews was selected as a Community Involvement Center Faculty Fellow for Service Learning in the 2011-12 cohort. She also received the 2009 Utah Campus Compact Civically Engaged Staff Award and has received the the Woman of Wit Award for Faculty and the Quality Service Star Award.

Andrews is married to Albert “Chip” Andrews. Whenever possible, she loves to travel, knit, quilt, read, write and laugh.

Portrait of Brenda Kowalewski

Brenda Marsteller Kowalewski

Associate Provost for High Impact Programs and Faculty Development Weber State University

Brenda Marsteller Kowalewski is a professor of sociology and co-director of the Community Involvement Center (CIC) at Weber State University. As a professor, she has incorporated community-based research (CBR) projects into her social science research methods course for the last five years and has been a practitioner of service-learning for the last fourteen years. Kowalewski has received several grants to conduct a longitudinal CBR project with and for a youth development program for ‘at-risk’ youth. Additionally, Kowalewski, as a member of the Utah Campus Compact Faculty Consulting Corps, worked collaboratively with colleagues from across the state to assess the statewide impact of service on community partners, faculty and students. Currently, in her role as co-director of the CIC, Kowalewski is actively exploring how Weber State University can support, via service, a statewide initiative to improve college access and success for non-traditionally college bound populations in Ogden, UT. Kowalewski is one of the two founding co-directors of the CIC. This center was created as an intentional partnership between academic affairs and students affairs and has a co-director from each of these areas.

Portrait of Stephen Parker

Stephen Parker

Legislative Director, Education & Workforce Committee, Office of Government Relations

Stephen Parker directs policy and advocacy for education and workforce issues, including: early childhood, K-12 and postsecondary education, workforce development and child nutrition. He leads the governors’ Education and Workforce Committee and is the liaison between governors and the federal government on education and workforce issues. Parker led governors’ partnership with Congress to pass the Every Student Succeeds Act, which led to governors’ first endorsement of any federal legislation in 20 years. He also led NGA’s work with Congress to pass the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, updating federal job training policy for the first time in 16 years. Prior to working for the nations’ governors, Parker served as Senior Special Assistant to Governor Timothy M. Kaine and Senior Policy Advisor to the Adjutant General of the Virginia National Guard. Parker serves on the U.S. Department of Labor’s Advisory Committee on Veterans' Employment, Training and Employer Outreach, the Alexandria Commission on Children, Youth and Families and volunteers at Hopkins House preschool in Alexandria. Parker serves on the foundation board and is a graduate of Southside Virginia Community College, received a bachelor of arts from Longwood University, studied political leadership at the University of Virginia and public policy at the College of William and Mary.

Portrait of Daniel Campbell

Daniel W. Campbell

Chair, Utah Board of Regents

Regent Daniel W. Campbell, from Provo, is a long-time advocate for Utah’s higher education. He was a member of Utah Valley University’s Board of Trustees, and is a former chairman of that board. He also chaired the Regents’ Resource and Review Committee for the University of Utah, and has served as a member of the Governor’s Commission on Education Excellence. Campbell is a managing general partner at EsNet Group, a privately held investment company.

Portrait of David L. Buhler

Dr. David L. Buhler

Utah Commisioner of Higher Education

For nearly twelve years prior to his appointment, Commissioner Buhler served as Associate Commissioner for Public Affairs with responsibility for government and media relations and overseeing the system’s strategic priority of participation and outreach.  He also served as Interim Commissioner for eight months in 2008.  Commissioner Buhler taught as an Adjunct Professor of Political Science at the University of Utah from 1990 to 2006, and was a member of the University of Utah Board of Trustees from 1999 to 2000.Commissioner Buhler served twelve years as an elected official, including two terms as a member of the Salt Lake City Council (2000-2007), and one term as a Utah State Senator (1995-1999). On the City Council he served as Council Chair in 2002 and 2006.  In the Senate, he served as Senate Chair of the Administrative Services and Capital Facilities Appropriations Subcommittee and Vice Chair of the Executive Appropriations Committee.  He served eight years in state government including four years as Executive Director of the Utah Department of Commerce (1989-1992) and as a member of the staff of Governor Norman H. Bangerter (1984-89).  He was also an executive in private business with a national testing firm for eight years (1992-2000).A native of Salt Lake City, Dave earned a PhD in Political Science at the University of Utah. He is married to the former Lori Goaslind; they are the parents of five children.

Portrait of Matthew Holland

President Matthew S. Holland

President, Utah Valley University

Matthew S. Holland was appointed the sixth president of Utah Valley University in 2009. Under his leadership, UVU adopted a unique educational mission focused on student success and developed core themes of being inclusive, serious, and engaged. These things helped the university become a full-fledged university in practice, maintaining high academic standards while expanding offerings to meet market demands. As a result, UVU experienced unprecedented growth and reached the distinction of largest institution of higher education in Utah in 2015. President Holland earned a B.A. in political science from Brigham Young University and an M.A. and Ph.D. in political science from Duke University. He also earned a graduate certificate at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem for the study of ethical political leadership. Despite many administrative demands at UVU, President Holland remains active in his academic discipline, publishing and guest lecturing at universities such as Stanford, Harvard, Notre Dame, and Oxford. He is a Visiting Fellow in the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions at Princeton University. He and his wife, Paige, are the parents of four children.  

Portrait of Paul Thompson

Dr. Paul Thompson

UVU Trustee and former President of Weber State University

Dr. Thompson received a Doctorate in Business Administration from Harvard University in 1969. From 1969 to 1973, he was an assistant professor at the Harvard Business School. He began work at Brigham Young University in 1973, serving there as professor of Organizational Behavior, chairman of the Department of Organizational Behavior, Dean of the Marriott School of Management, and Vice President of Development and University Relations. Dr. Thompson is co-author of two books - Novations: Strategies for Career Management and Organization and People: Readings, Cases, and Exercises in Organizational Behavior. He has had articles appearing in Harvard Business Review, Research Management, Management Review, and Organizational Dynamics. Dr. Thompson and his wife, Carolyn, are the parents of six children, five daughters and one son. They are also grandparents to 29 grandchildren.


Saahil Desai

Digital Editor, Washington Monthly

Saahil Desai is a journalist from Cincinnati, Ohio with bylines in the American Prospect, the Washington Monthly, and the Asia Societyblog; he's also produced and edited stories for NPR. Hailing from Cincinnati, Ohio, Saahil graduated with a B.A. from Pomona College in Public Policy Analysis/Politics, cum laude, and he just finished a summer internship at NPR’s Morning Edition, the nation's most popular radio show. As the special projects editor at The Student Life, Pomona’s campus newspaper, he managed the publication's features section and its investigative reporting. His coverage of a battle over water rights in the city of Claremont was recognized at the National Campus Journalism Convention. Saahil co-hosted, edited, and produced a podcast/radio show called Hidden Pomona about the forgotten parts of Pomona’s history. Among other topics, he has reported on politics, higher education, sports, and Asian-American issues.

Portrait of Kyle Reyes

Dr. Kyle Reyes

Vice President of Student Affairs, Utah Valley University

Dr. Kyle A. Reyes currently serves as Vice President of Student Affairs at Utah Valley University.  For nearly four years before this new role, Dr. Reyes served as UVU’s Chief Diversity Officer and led the development and implementation of UVU’s nationally-recognized Strategic Inclusion plan comprised of nearly 40 initiatives focused on making UVU a more inclusive campus. Kyle serves on the Board of Directors for The United Way of Utah County and the national organization of Asian Pacific Americans in Higher Education.  In 2015, Dr. Reyes was appointed to the Utah Governor’s Multicultural Commission and from 2012-2014, was elected by his peers statewide to co-chair the College Access Network for the Utah System of Higher Education. Kyle received his Ph.D. in Educational Leadership and Policy in 2012 from the University of Utah and was the recipient of the Elmo R. and Frances Bennion Morgan Fellowship.

Portrait of Jamal Watson

Jamal Watson

Executive Editor, Diverse: Issues in Higher Education

Dr. Jamal Watson is an award winning writer and lecturer. He is the author of the forthcoming book The Evolution of Al Sharpton: The Provocative Politics of the People’s Preacher, a biography of the civil rights leader and MSNBC host. Watson is currently executive editor for Diverse: Issues in Higher Education , the country’s leading periodical that focuses on minorities and diversity related issues in higher education. His writings have also appeared in a variety of publications including The Baltimore Sun, The New York Sun, USA Today, The Washington City Paper and The Boston Globe. A native of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Watson earned his Bachelor’s degree in English from Georgetown University, a Masters degree from the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University, and a Masters and a doctoral degree in Afro-American Studies from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

Portrait of Autumn Arnett

Autumn Arnett

Executive Editor, Diverse: Issues in Higher Education

Autumn A. Arnett is the editor of Education Dive, an online publication that provides news, trends, jobs listings and resources for educators and administrators in higher education and K12. She has contributed to a number of publications, most recently Diverse: Issues In Higher Education, HBCU Digest and The Atlantic, largely around issues of diversity and access in higher education.

Portrait of Michael Lacourse

Dr. Michael Lacourse

Provost, Dixie State University

Lacourse began his tenure at Dixie State University in February 2016 as chief academic officer. Previous to his time at Dixie, Lacourse developed online academic programs, served as the founding dean of the College of Health Sciences at Sam Houston State University in Texas and was the founding dean of the School of Health and Human Services at National University in California where he created 16 degree programs at four regional campuses. He possesses two doctorates in Human Performance and Educational Inquiry Methodology, a master's in Kinesiology from Indiana University and a bachelor's in Kinesiology from Springfield College. 

Portrait of Sara Lipka

Sara Lipka

Senior Editor, The Chronicle of Higher Education

Sara Lipka edits feature stories, interviews, and special reports on a range of topics. She has written extensively about campus conduct and Student Development and Well-Being, and appeared frequently on radio programs and conference panels.
Lipka, an award-winning journalist, has reported for The Chronicle of Higher Education in Washington, D.C., for more than 15 years. She’s written about all kinds of subjects in higher education, including the price of tuition, gender, completion rates, equality and access, and second chances. She’s also tackled difficult topics, such as sexual assault, violence, bullying, and suicide. Before coming to The Chronicle, Lipka graduated from Duke University, studied on a Fulbright grant in Chile, and interned at The Atlantic.