• Experienced Presidents Retreat: Sustaining the Creative Presidency in Challenging Times

    AASCU’s retreat for experienced presidents is offered annually in conjunction with the Summer Council as an enhanced opportunity for presidential professional development.
    The retreat allows participants to assess their accomplishments and their challenges as they lay the groundwork for the next stage in their presidencies. The program design includes guided reflection and small group discussions with experienced facilitators. The theme of sustaining a creative presidency is woven throughout the discussions, and participants have an opportunity both to share with and learn from their colleagues.


    The retreat is two half-day programs (Friday afternoon and Saturday morning) and includes time for participants to complete both a candid personal assessment as well as a personal leadership action plan.
    Program facilitators, both experienced former presidents, are available for individual consultations on the afternoon following the retreat to help participants more fully develop action plans.


    Sustaining the Creative Presidency in Challenging Times is open to presidents and chancellors with at least three years of service who intend to remain in their current presidency for several years.


    Sal RinellaSal Rinella is executive director of Penson Associates, a multi-disciplinary firm that assists presidents and chancellors with strategic and academic planning, team building, performance reviews, accreditation, board development and other areas. He is the former president of Austin Peay State University (Tenn.).

    Jessica KozloffJessica Kozloff
    is president of Academic Search, Inc., a firm that works to strengthen leadership in higher education through the search process for college and university presidents and senior administrators. She previously served for over a decade as president of Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania, where she was active in a wide range of organizations and programs that dealt with matters such as accreditation, athletics, international education and leadership development.

    Comments from Presidential Colleagues

    "All too often we as presidents get caught up in the grind of the day to day, especially in these days of diminishing resources. The retreat let me step back and re-evaluate what I was doing in the light of what other presidents were doing. I left the retreat with all sorts of ideas and renewed vigor."
    Robert S. Nelsen, President, The University of Texas-Pan American

     "AASCU's Experienced President's Retreat offered me the opportunity to pause, take a deep breath, and reflect upon the course of my presidency.  The benefits have been lasting and multidimensional.  I learned that several of my most difficult challenges were similar to those shared by my colleagues at the retreat.  I not only gained new insights from them, I made new friends in the process.  I strongly recommend the AASCU Experienced Presidents Retreat for any president seeking inspiration, guidance toward a new direction, or some much-needed encouragement to 'hang in there.'"
    Phillip C. Williams, President, McNeese State University (LA)

    “The AASCU Experienced Presidents Retreat exceeded my expectations.  Having the opportunity to escape the rigors of presidential duties for a moment, I was able to keenly focus on a major project that would significantly impact my university.  Having colleague presidents and effective facilitators critique my thinking was extremely valuable.”
    John M. Anderson, President, Millersville University 

    “The Experienced Presidents Retreat provided not only time to reflect on one’s own circumstances and future but also time to listen and comment on the issues of other presidents in different circumstances.  One discovers that the developmental paths of presidencies differ based on individuals, communities and circumstances.  We were a community of learning, and many of the relationships developed in the retreat continue to provide a community of colleagues that offer advice and guidance through both difficult and celebratory aspects of being a president.
    Herman J. Saatkamp, Jr., President, The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey

    “I was pleased to interact with new and familiar people—and to have the time to sort through some ideas and issues.”
    Mary Cullinan, President, Southern Oregon University

    “This was an exceptionally positive and focused session. The session leaders kept the small group on task and flushed out the answers and opinions to the questions . . . I devised a five-page plan to address three critical issues on my campus—great job!”
    Richard Davenport, President, Minnesota State University, Mankato

    “The retreat was well managed and allowed ample interaction among participants . . . The group worked very well together and I felt much better about my goals and plans at the end of the meeting.”
    Roger Brown, Chancellor, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga


    • Dorcas L. Colvin
      Vice President for Leadership Development and Member Services
      (202) 478-4644