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Leading Transformative Change in Higher Education: Ideas and Approaches for Mid-level Managers

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Leading Transformative Change in Higher Education: Ideas and Approaches for Mid-level Managers is part of the Leading Edge Thinking in Higher Education Series brought to you by Bay Path University's Center for Higher Education Leadership & Innovative Practice (CHELIP)

Like it or not, things are changing in higher education. The need for revisioning around curricula, delivery modes, student support services, and technology became acute in response to the pandemic. Assessing and codifying those changes while continuing to imagine an ambiguous future requires change leadership to happen at all levels of the institution. Mid-level leaders find themselves particularly challenged as they must manage tensions up, down, and across the organizational chart. This webinar features conversations with higher education change leaders who have led from the middle and lived to tell about it! They’ll share insights about what worked, what didn’t, and why. We’ll leave you with a few frameworks and tools to use in your own change endeavors.


Robyn Parker has extensive administrative and instructional experience in higher education having most recently served as the Dean at Tapia College of Business at Saint Leo University, headquartered in Saint Leo, Florida. Prior to her current role, she served as Academic Dean, Dean of the College of Business Administration, Tenured Professor, and Director of Instruction at Plymouth State University. Dr. Parker started her career in higher education as an Assistant Professor and Undergraduate Program Director at Kent State University. Throughout her career, within each institution she has worked, she has been a leader in change-facilitation. Her interests lie in organizational theory, development, and behavior. A systems thinker, Robyn has facilitated the design and implementation of restructuring strategies that have saved money, streamlined processes, and created innovative programs and learning environments. Robyn’s expertise lies in guiding others in becoming transformational leaders.


Allison Gillespie, Assistant Provost for Academic Affairs at The University of Southern Mississippi. As is true of everyone on the panel, Allison has served in a variety of roles in higher education. She’s served as an admissions officer, assistant dean of students, faculty member, and assistant to the VP of student affairs before moving over to Academic Affairs. Her doctoral work culminated in a dissertation titled A Post Implementation Review of Transformational Change Initiatives in Higher Education.

Jeffrey Ratliff-Crain, Vice-Chancellor for Academic Affairs & Innovation at the University of Minnesota-Rochester. Jeff previously served as an associate dean (of curriculum and enrichment) at Augustana College. He then moved to the University of Minnesota-Rochester, which is described as a “niche” university that focuses on health sciences. Jeff shared that it's new enough that they don’t yet have any full professors. He has been with the institution since 2018.

John Montana, Executive Director, Strategy & Innovation at Wake Forest University School of Business. John comes out of enrollment and marketing and now serves in the business school. John’s role is brand new. He will share something about what it’s like to enter a newly conceptualized role for which there is no existing path. He’s reflecting on what he would tell himself now if he were preparing for this position!