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Josie Ahlquist, Ed.D.

Higher Education Digital Educator, Leader, and Author

Date: 04/02/2024

Time: 12:00 p.m.- 1:15 p.m. 

Dr. Josie Ahlquist has trained thousands of professionals and students around the globe on how to thrive online and in life. As a speaker, researcher, and author on digital leadership, she takes a personal approach to transforming how we view technology through the lens of empathy and empowerment that will result in stronger companies, communities, schools, and future leaders. Josie's research is grant-funded and award-winning.  Her dissertation was on college student leaders and their behaviors and experiences with social media.

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Josie received her Ed.D. from the California Lutheran University doctoral program, studying higher education leadership. She is an alumna of Northern Arizona University with a Master’s degree in Counseling and holds undergraduate degrees from South Dakota State University, where she double-majored in Sociology and Human Development and Family Studies.

Josie's research is grant-funded and award-winning.  Her dissertation was on college student leaders and their behaviors and experiences with social media. Utilizing a mixed methodology, she sought out an understanding and definition of digital student leadership and produced six pillars of digital student leadership education. She also conducted a study on Student Affairs Senior Level Administrators who are high users of social media, which produced a Digital Leadership Framework and Digital Decision Making Model in Higher Ed. Dr. Ahlquist maintains an active research agenda, currently undertaking three separate research projects with colleagues around the globe, and holds a research associate position with Florida State University.

She is very attuned to the landscape of higher education and is passionate about developing the leadership capacity of college students, as well as administrators. She brings over a decade of experience in the field of higher education in areas such as student activities, campus recreation, student unions, marketing, residence life, judicial affairs, student leadership, and new student orientation.  Dr. Ahlquist currently serves as a research associate and leadership instructor with Florida State University, teaching undergraduate, master's, and doctoral-level courses.

As an international leadership speaker, Josie has trained thousands of students and education professionals. Her vision is to provide a digital remix of how to empower leaders of the 21st century. Her presentations balance education and entertainment, using high energy and interaction along with learning outcomes and attendee reflection. She has spoken to a variety of campuses around the world, including Thompson Rivers University, Occidental College, Wittenburg University, Fresno State University, Indiana University Southeast, New York University Abu Dhabi, and Rollins College.

For the fourth year in a row, she has been named to the “Top 50 Must-Read Higher Education Technology Blogs” by Ed Tech Magazine.  Her podcast, Josie & The Podcast, was featured by The Chronicle of Higher Ed as a podcast to subscribe to. You can find her blogging and podcasting at www.josieahlquist.com

 As a writer, she is a co-author in the Handbook of Student Affairs Administration textbook, writing the chapter on Computer-Mediated Communication and Social Media. She is also published in The Journal of Leadership Studies in a thought piece called Trending Now: Digital Leadership Education using Social Media and the Social Change Model.  She is also a co-editor and author in the New Directions in Student Services volume, “Engaging the Digital Generation," as well as co-editor and author in the recently published New Directions in Student Leadership, "Going Digital in Student Leadership." Her new book, Digital Leadership in Higher Education: Purposeful Social Media in a Connected World, was listed as an Amazon #1 new release for college and university student life.


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Kevin Kruger, Ph.D.

President and CEO
NASPA

Date: 04/03/2024

Time: 12:15 p.m.- 1:30 p.m.

Dr. Kevin Kruger draws on more than 40 years of experience in higher education. Since 2012, he served as president and CEO for NASPA – Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education. Prior to his role as president, Dr. Kruger worked for 18 years as the associate executive director and served as the chief operating officer (COO) and chief financial officer (CFO) for NASPA.  

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Dr. Kevin Kruger draws on more than 40 years of experience in higher education. Since 2012, he has served as president and CEO for NASPA – Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education. Prior to his role as president, Dr. Kruger worked for 18 years as the associate executive director and served as the chief operating officer (COO) and chief financial officer (CFO) for NASPA. He has held a range of student affairs positions at Southern Methodist University and the University of Maryland. As NASPA president, Dr. Kruger represents student affairs at a variety of national forums and is a frequent contributor to higher education news stories on the college student experience. Dr. Kruger has published and presented nationally and globally on trends in higher education, student success, degree completion strategies for low-income/first-generation students, and change management and leadership in higher education. Dr. Kruger received his M.A. and Ph.D. in Counseling and Personnel Services from the University of Maryland. He is the proud father of two children, both recent college graduates.


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Shawna Patterson-Stephens, Ph.D.

Vice President for Inclusive Excellence and Belonging
Central Michigan University


Date: 04/05/2024

Time: 12:00 p.m. – 1:15 p.m. 

Dr. Shawna Patterson-Stephens (she, her, hers) is an award-winning scholar-practitioner with 20 years of experience in higher education. Dr. Patterson-Stephens serves as the vice president for inclusive excellence and belonging in the Office for Institutional Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at her alma mater, Central Michigan University (CMU). 

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Dr. Shawna Patterson-Stephens (she, her, hers) is an award-winning scholar-practitioner with 20 years of experience in higher education. Dr. Patterson-Stephens serves as the Vice President for Inclusive Excellence and Belonging in the Office for Institutional Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at her alma mater, Central Michigan University (CMU). Providing vision and oversight throughout her division, Shawna is instrumental in collaborating across divisions, alumni, external organizations, and broader communities throughout the region to encourage transformative social change through advanced education. The Office for Institutional Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at CMU notably provides strategy and direction toward achieving institutionalized inclusive excellence.

In addition to her commitments at CMU, Dr. Patterson-Stephens teaches for New England College. Shawna’s research interests include Black and Latinx issues in higher education, media influences in the postsecondary sector, and critical theory in higher educational contexts. She also experiments with various modes of knowledge dissemination to ensure scholarship remains accessible, evidenced through projects like the podcast "Scholar Tea." Dr. Patterson-Stephens serves as the PI for the Central Michigan University NSF Aspire Alliance for Inclusion and Diverse STEM Faculty Grant. Shawna is currently a co-PI in a national project examining the experiences of Black doctoral women in higher education (Black Women Doctoral Students). Additionally, she is co-editor of "Advancing Inclusive Excellence in Higher Education" (Information Age Publishing). 

Dr. Patterson-Stephens enjoys participating in community outreach. In addition to her responsibilities as a board member for the Dr. Melvin C. Terrell Educational Foundation, Shawna contributes to the research writing bootcamp committee for the Sisters of the Academy. Furthermore, she is a board member of CMU’s Black alumni chapter, the CMU Research Corporation, and recently concluded four years of service on the American College Personnel Association (ACPA) governing board. Dr. Patterson-Stephens is a proud member of NCNW, the NAACP, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated, The Links, Incorporated, and Jack and Jill of America, Incorporated.

 Meeting Structural Determinism with Inclusive Excellence in Higher Education

In seeking to create a culture of care, concern, and belonging for an increasingly diverse constituency, many institutions of higher learning have sought ways to embed inclusive excellence across their infrastructure. However, given the sociopolitical context of institutionalized identity-based exclusion, as well as increasingly nuanced understandings of social identity development and expression in the United States, many colleges and universities struggle to offer seemingly “authentic” modes of support for the populations they seek to serve. This discussion focuses on ways to define and identify structural determinism in practice and pedagogy in an effort to cultivate pluralistic learning environments that are holistically beneficial to campus communities.