CUMU offers programming exclusively for presidents and chancellors of CUMU member institutions. These unique opportunities provide an intimate space for presidents and chancellors to learn and converse with leaders in the field about important issues impacting higher education.

Gathering for CUMU presidents and chancellors

Monday, June 3, 11 a.m.–4 p.m., University of Missouri–St. Louis Chancellor’s Residence

Hosted by Chancellor Kristin Sobolik: Connect in-person with peer presidents and chancellors and delve into the critical issues shaping leadership in today’s ever-evolving climate. This meeting aims to foster a collaborative environment for thought leaders to explore innovative strategies, gain valuable insights, exchange perspectives, and address the multifaceted challenges faced by urban and metropolitan campuses and their leaders. This gathering is being held in conjunction with the Anchor Learning Network Action Summit in St. Louis, June 3–4.

CUMU Conference programs

Join us for our 35th anniversary celebration at the 2024 CUMU Conference—Beyond Boundariesin Minneapolis–Saint Paul, MN as we inspire each other to look beyond what seems possible today in higher education. Along with a full-schedule of engaging sessions, plenaries, and networking events, presidents and chancellors of CUMU member institutions are invited to participate in exclusive events.

Monday, October 21, 6–9 p.m.

Tuesday, October 22, 8:30–11:30 a.m.

Executive Coaching

Hosted by national higher education leaders and celebrated former presidents, CUMU executive coaching provides up to three, free coaching sessions to presidents, chancellors, and members of their senior leadership teams from member institutions. All sessions are confidential, hosted virtually, and designed to address the following challenges:

Leadership challenges

  • board management
  • senior team building
  • managing difficult reports
  • building successful reports
  • recruiting and sustaining senior officers
  • budget and fiscal challenges
  • designing and managing succession planning
  • developing and implementing presidential strategic goals

Campus challenges

  • managing DEI
  • student life challenges
  • building positive faculty relationships
  • managing faculty and campus governance
  • ethical and conflict of interest challenges
  • managing and preparing for campus emergencies (e.g., hurricanes, tornadoes, student death, active shooter, cyber hack of campus it)

Institution-wide issues

  • building successful community partnerships
  • managing and leading successful accreditation and strategic planning processes
  • solutions for long term institutional positioning and identity
  • building successful advancement programs and capital campaigns
  • building successful corporate sponsorships
  • improving campus climate

Meet the coaches

william a covino

Dr. Covino is a nationally celebrated proponent of civic learning whose higher education career spans four decades. Recently he served a 10-year term as president of Cal State LA, where he established the Center for Engagement, Service, and the Public Good; added the College of Ethnic Studies; created the Cal State LA Downtown campus; and developed the CalStateLA BioSpace incubator. He previously served as provost and vice president of Academic Affairs at Cal State Fresno and provost at Cal State Stanislaus.

Dr. Guarasci is a national leader in democratic education and civic engagement. He has served as board chair of several national higher associations, namely, Association of American Colleges and Universities, Campus Compact, Coalition of Urban and Metropolitan Universities, and Association of New American Colleges.

Dr. Lieberman is an accomplished executive, scholar, and changemaker with extensive experience in workforce development, crisis management, financial sustainability, executive coaching, strategic visioning, fundraising, and effective communication. Her extensive board leadership experience includes: Coalition of Urban and Metropolitan Universities, Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities, and International Association of University Presidents.

Dr. McNair has a 30-year career in higher education. Most recently, she served as the eighth and first female president of Tuskegee University. Prior to this, she was provost and senior vice president for academic affairs at Wagner College, and associate provost for research at Spelman College.

Interested in scheduling coaching sessions or just have questions? Email Valerie Holton, executive director.

Past programming

Facilitator: Ellen Neufeldt, President, California State University, San Marcos

Higher education continues to be the strongest avenue for upward social and economic mobility and, as CUMU institutions, we have a unique and significant role to play in serving diverse students and helping them succeed across the graduation finish line. With COVID-19 and its many interconnected impacts continuing to place barriers in front of students, how are we rethinking our services, programs and other student-facing processes with fresh eyes and a student-ready perspective?

Facilitator: Ginny Arthur, president, Metropolitan State University

What are you observing about students’ preferences and needs as the pandemic recedes? Are you recalibrating curriculum, course offerings and student services? What are you learning about how to best serve students and support their educational success in a post pandemic world?

Facilitator: Mushtaq Gunja, executive director of Carnegie Classifications, ACE

Join us for a conversation with Mushtaq Gunja, new executive director of the Carnegie Classifications at ACE, about the future of the Carnegie Classification systems and the development of the Social and Economic Mobility classification. For CUMU member presidents and chancellors only, this conversation is an opportunity to learn more about the framework for the development of this new classification and to provide input.

Facilitator: Kristin Sobolik, chancellor, University of Missouri–St. Louis

The covid pandemic has led to changes in student demographics and enrollment, technological advances in course delivery options, and workforce needs and expectations around remote work. These changes have put pressure on traditional bricks and mortar campuses and space usage. This discussion will center on what leaders are thinking with regards to space and what they are actually doing.

About Chancellor Kristin Sobolik

Kristin Sobolik serves as the 8th Chancellor of the University of Missouri–St. Louis. With nearly 16,000 students, UMSL is the premier public research university in eastern Missouri and one of the nation’s leading anchor institutions promoting student success, innovation and thriving communities.

Sobolik was recruited to UMSL in 2017 to serve as its Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and after a nationwide search was appointed Chancellor in 2020. As the chief academic and executive officer, Sobolik has enhanced the university’s research and fundraising efforts – resulting in a 57 percent increase in research expenditures over the past five years and a 21 percent increase in private philanthropy.

Additionally, Sobolik has elevated the stature of UMSL’s inclusion, research and community engagement efforts by appointing first-ever vice chancellors for diversity, equity and inclusion and research and economic/community engagement, aligning the support structure of the university with goals of its strategic plan.

Sobolik began her academic career at the University of Maine, quickly distinguishing herself as a teacher, scholar and administrator in the Department of Anthropology, world-renowned Climate Change Institute and the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, where she ultimately served as Associate Dean for Research and External Affairs.

Sobolik earned her bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of Iowa and master’s and Ph.D. degrees in anthropology at Texas A&M University.  She is an interdisciplinary scholar who has helped develop the fields of archaeobiology and paleonutrition, with more than 100 publications, books and presentations on the topic. She and her husband, Dr. Scott D. Peterson, reside in St. Louis and have four children.

Facilitator: Steve Percy, president, Portland State University

With 30+ years of experience in university-community engagement in place, how do we advance to the next level in our institutions? How can universities pursue an integrated engagement effort? How do we build a community of knowledge around effective engagement practice? How do we authentically assess the true impact of engagement on campus and community partners?

About President Percy

Now in his fourth decade as an educator and leader, PSU President Stephen Percy has dedicated his career to fostering vibrant connections between universities and the communities they serve.

An expert in public policy, administrative ethics and urban politics, Percy is known for his ability to advance civic engagement and create innovative solutions by linking the skills and capacity of universities to the knowledge and energy of communities. He believes in using collaborative, interdisciplinary applied research to facilitate university-community partnerships that solve problems and improve the quality of life.

Passionate about promoting educational access for all students, President Percy has worked extensively with diverse, urban-serving universities, including the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and the University of Baltimore, where he was founding dean of the College of Public Affairs. He joined PSU to lead the College of Urban & Public Affairs in 2014, was appointed PSU’s interim president in 2019 and named president in 2020.

President Percy has authored two books about disability rights and civil rights and co-authored four books and the textbook “American Government: The Political Game.” At PSU, Percy led several campus-wide initiatives, including the planning process that resulted in priorities and goals for PSU from 2016-2020.

As PSU celebrates its 75th anniversary, Percy and his leadership team are taking a close look at how the university can expand and deliver upon its access mission by building anti-racist practices and policies.

In 2021, CUMU announced a new series of webinars exclusively for CUMU presidents and chancellors, each designed to foster conversations on how to best address the challenges and opportunities related to public safety and criminal justice on our campuses and in our communities.

Public safety and criminal justice training, degree programs, and institutes

Presenters: Bob Mong, president, University of North Texas Dallas and Kurt Schmoke, president, University of Baltimore


Public safety and policing on campus

Presenters: Thomas Parham, president, California State University, Dominguez Hills; Steve Percy, president, Portland State University; Kim Schatzel, president, Towson University


Relationships between institutions and their local police forces and agencies

Presenters: Devorah Lieberman, president, University of La Verne; Mark Rosenberg, president, Florida International University