A conference series for ambitious women in higher education

Founded by Wisr, hosted by the Flora Stone Mather Center for Women, sponsored by EAB.  

Register for a HIGHER Conference or INSPIRE Webinar

For more information about each event and to register, click on the link in the Registration Detais below. 

Upcoming Events (all times Eastern) Registration Details
Thursday, Aug. 18, 2022 from noon to 1 p.m. Allyship in Action: How Women in Higher Education are Stronger Together
Thursday, Sept. 15, 2022 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. HIGHER Women's Leadership Summit at NC State University
Thursday, Sept. 22, 2022 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. HIGHER Women's Leadership Summit at the University of Rochester
Thursday, Oct. 6, 2022 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. HIGHER Women's Leadership Summit the University of Northern Colorado
Thursday, Oct. 20, 2022 from noon to 1 p.m. Dancing through the Barriers: Embracing Tough Conversations
Thursday, Nov.18, 2022 from noon to 1 p.m. It Takes a Village: How to Create your Circle of Support

Let's Lift Women HIGHER

statistics showing presidents are US colleges and universities - 30% all women, 5% women of color, 70% men

Founded by Wisr, HIGHER is a series of professional development summits and INSPIRE is a series of webinars, both designed to create space for conversations and connections that empower women in higher education to push through barriers to reaching their career goals and to pull other women up along the way.  

While women tend to find equal representation in junior positions in higher education, the most prestigious, senior leadership positions fail to represent the movement toward a more diverse and inclusive future. Often, women are forced to “prove” themselves more than their male counterparts before taking the chief seat. It’s time for that to change.

HIGHER summits and INSPIRE webinars equip hundreds of women in higher education with the resources and relationships to reach senior leadership positions.

If you are eager to expand your local and national network of women in higher education, are questioning whether you want to build a career in higher education, or could simply use a burst of inspiration, HIGHER summits and INSPIRE webinars are for you.


What to Expect at a HIGHER Summit

Join the national movement of women in higher education by participating in the unique, attendee-guided programming at HIGHER. Regardless of when you attend, you'll walk away with a strong network of supportive women (and potential mentors!) in your field, increased clarity on the strengths and expertise you currently bring to your role, and a plan for how to take the next step in your career.

Our summits are divided into 3 main sections:


Coupling space for individual reflection with structured partner sharing, sessions focused on reflections will have you identifying the values, strengths, and interests driving your career. Gain insights about what types of environments you thrive in, share stories with fellow attendees, and define what success looks and feels like to you.


Hear from women leaders on what they’ve learned about navigating careers in higher ed. How have they cultivated their own unique leadership styles? What advice would they give to their younger selves? Learn what these outstanding women think the next generation of higher education leaders needs to know.


Take professional development into your own hands by writing your ideal future performance review, receive flash mentorship on a specific area you’d like to develop, such as negotiating a raise or expanding your scope of work, and leave with a concrete action plan for reaching your next professional goal.

So far, HIGHER summits have impacted: 










What to Expect at an INSPIRE Webinar

INSPIRE webinars will cover a variety of issues affecting women’s opportunity for advancement in higher education, including negotiation skills, bias and discrimination, pay equity, mentorship and sponsorship, networking, confidence and imposter syndrome, and more. The webinars are not designed as a lecture. Rather, sessions are highly interactive, allowing attendees to guide the conversation.


Frequently Asked Questions

Explore the answers to some of our frequently asked questions and if you still have additional questions that we haven't answered, email us at MatherCenter@case.edu. 

Each HIGHER session brings together women who work at nearby institutions of higher learning. We welcome women in faculty and staff positions across all higher education areas and levels to join in this close-knit professional development experience. In 2019, already more than 1,000 women from 300+ institutions attended HIGHER in cities across the US. While a majority of 2019 attendees were Dean or Director-level, attendees more junior in their careers also found the conference highly beneficial for better understanding various career paths in higher education and connecting with similarly ambitious peers. The Flora Stone Mather Center for Women welcomes participants of diverse backgrounds, including those of diverse gender identities. We are committed to championing the careers and personal wellbeing of all women, including cisgender and transgender individuals. When we use the term “women” it is wholeheartedly inclusive of transgender women.

The conference and webinars will cover issues affecting women’s opportunity for advancement in higher education, including negotiation skills, bias and discrimination, pay equity, mentorship and sponsorship, networking, confidence and imposter syndrome, and more. The program is not designed as a lecture. Rather, sessions are highly interactive, allowing attendees to guide the conversation.

The agenda for HIGHER is always the same. At each event, we aim for 3 women who are part of the local higher ed community and are VP-level or above in their respective fields. There is typically representation from both the tenure-track/faculty path and the administrative/staff path. We strive to find speakers who represent the diversity of our community. Some past speakers include Maria Anguiano (Senior Vice President for Strategy at Arizona State University), Alfreda Brown (Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at Kent State University), Devika Dibya
Choudhuri (Professor; Chair of the Commission on Diversity & Inclusion at Eastern Michigan University), and more. The INSPIRE sessions are always attendees’ favorite part of the day – trust us, you won’t be disappointed.

Absolutely, yes! While HIGHER is organized around the larger umbrella of women in higher education, attendees are encouraged to share their unique intersectional perspectives. This is an opportunity to inform, listen, and learn from one another, even if our experiences may differ.

Wisr is an education technology company based in Cleveland, Ohio, recently acquired by EAB. As a (female-led) company, we’ve spent a lot of time reflecting on how technology can democratize access to opportunity. It’s why Kate Volzer, our founder, feels so passionate about the potential for Wisr to support the academic and professional careers of first-gen, under-represented, and military students. It’s also why, when we learned more about the lack of representation of women in senior leadership positions in higher education, we felt compelled to do something about it. In January 2019, we launched the HIGHER series in 23 cities across the US. The goal was to impact the careers of 500 women. We were amazed and inspired by the thousands of women who wanted to join the movement. Our role at each conference and webinar is not to tell you how to fix the problems in higher education. Rather, we work to create space for women to come together to share lessons learned and strategies with each other. As part of our commitment to women in higher education, we also created the HIGHER Network, the largest digital community of women in higher education. All attendees have access to join the network to share resources, seek mentorship, and expand their national networks. In 2020 we formed a partnership with the Flora Stone Mather Center for Women at Case Western University. While we will still be involved with HIGHER, the Mather Center will be spearheading the events moving forward.