​Women in Higher Education Leadership Summit

Visionary Leadership Summit

The Women in Higher Education Leadership Summit's (WHELS) purpose is twofold:

To provide higher education leaders with the tools and education to meet the challenges that they face in their workplace;

To address the issues specific to women and leadership and develop women's individual leadership capacity.

WHELS 2021 is coming!

 August 1-4, 2021 Virtual summit 9 am - 3 pm

Women in higher education face an array of challenges given the recent economic downturn-including maintaining high-level programs in the wake of continued budget cuts, motivating and connecting with today's generation of students, balancing the demands of work life and home life, and finding time for continued personal and professional development.

Address these issues and raise your leadership capacity in this four-day, intensive leadership summit.
four photos of a previous Women in Higher Education Leadership Summit. First Photo: Woman smiling with the word "wonder" written on her hands, Second Photo: Classroom full of women using colorful bands to stretch overhead, Third Photo: Three women laying peacefully on the ground next to their posters of personal growth trees, Fourth Photo: A woman brainstorming on a white board

How Does the Summit Prepare Women Leaders?

Individualized Approach

WHELS is not about giving answers to leaders. It's about developing people's capacities to respond to current higher education-related challenges. We help leaders to better understand their values and their personal tendencies when relating to others. The Summit consist of a variety of activities-including value card exercises, paper/pencil self assessments, ethical dilemmas, drawing activities, acting workshops and motivational speakers. All participants complete a Leadership Circle® 360 survey and the Meyers-Briggs Type Indicator, and receive personal coaching based on survey results. Through this approach, WHELS helps leaders to formulate their own visions for change and to implement solutions appropriately.

Leadership Education

USD is at the forefront of leadership education. In 1980, it founded the first doctoral program of leadership in the United States. The Summit is staffed by professors from USD's School of Leadership and Educational Sciences with research expertise in women leadership and higher education issues, as well as established experts in leadership development who many years of practical expertise in the field. Summit activities address themes such as leaders as learners, data-based decisions, integrated and strategic planning, viewing campus cultures as systems, multi-cultural aspects of leadership, student success strategies, ethics, and current college and university issues.

The Learning Community

WHELS brings together leaders from all sectors of higher education across the nation, and internationally, providing opportunities for interaction between leaders through small and large group activities throughout the Summit. We also have special events and workshops during the Summit in order to encourage our participants to share their experiences and insights with one another. We also encourage our participants to go on outings with other participants and to take advantage of the beautiful San Diego area to build up their networks. Many of our participants also choose to stay on our beautiful campus grounds during the conference in order to further enrich their communal learning experience.

Program Objectives

  • Develop educational leaders who are both authentic and visionary, collaborative and creative.
  • Help women leaders develop a strong sense of self and value so they may advocate for what they believe in and for what their students need most. 
  • Encourage women leaders to develop habits of awareness and reflection to aid them both personally and professionally.
  • Create a community of support where ideas, challenges, and solutions can be shared.


Cancellation/Refund Policy and Deadlines

An administrative fee of $50 will be charged for cancellations made until May 1, 2020. After May 1st, a $300 assessment and administrative fee will be charged for cancellations. No refunds will be granted for cancellations after June 30, 2020 and there will be no refunds given for no-shows.

In the event you are not able to attend, we do encourage substitutions. If a participant or a participant's evaluators have completed any portion of The Leadership Circle 360 or the MBTI personality assessment, an additional fee of $300 is required to administer the substitute's assessments. Substitutions must be made before July 15th, 2020.

*Note: We reserve the right to cancel any event in its reasonable discretion. In the event of cancellation, registration fees will be refunded in full.