The Association for Non-Traditional Students in Higher Education

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ANTSHE Conference 2019 Speakers









APRIL 4 – 6, 2019 | Orlando, Florida 

Thursday, April 4 - 12:30 PM ASLHS Lunch Keynote Speaker

 David A. Vise

Pulitzer Prize-Winning Journalist and Executive

Director, Modern States Education Alliance

David A. Vise serves as the executive director of Modern States’ "Freshman Year for Free," a

philanthropy dedicated to making college more accessible and affordable for all. He is also a senior advisor to New Mountain Capital, a New York-based investment firm.

A Pulitzer Prize-winner, Vise spent more than 20 years as a reporter at The Washington Post. He has authored or co-authored four books, including “The Google Story”, a national bestseller published in more than two dozen languages.

Vise received his MBA from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, where he is included on a list of 125 most influential alumni. The School also honored him with The Joseph Wharton Award for career achievement and community service. Vise studied at the London School of Economics and holds an honorary doctorate of literary letters from Cumberland University.

A past president of Washington Hebrew Congregation, Vise was a member of the first delegation of liberal Jews to meet with the Vatican. He is a first-generation American whose parents escaped Nazi Germany. Vise is married to his wife, Lori, an education consultant who focuses on college planning for high school students with learning differences. They have two daughters.

Topics: Innovative online programs making college more accessible for non-traditional students, why alternative pathways to college are needed and Modern States and the CLEP exam as a resource for non-traditional students.

Lunch sponsored by:

Thursday, April 4 - 3:25 PM  Keynote Speaker

Steve Pruitt

Director of Graduate and Online Admission, Lynn University

For the past eight years, Steve Pruitt has served as Director of Graduate and Online Admission at Lynn University. In this role, Pruitt primarily oversees the recruitment of non-traditional adult students seeking career advancement by completing a bachelor’s, master’s or doctorate degree.

Pruitt holds an MBA from Lynn University in Boca Raton, Florida and a bachelor’s degree in computer science from North Central College in Naperville, Illinois. Prior to joining Lynn, Pruitt spent over 20 years in technology leadership roles with companies such as AT&T, IBM, Motorola and Hewlett-Packard.

Pruitt most often enrolls working professionals or those in career transition. These individuals have busy schedules and require the flexibility and convenience of evening or online classes, which Lynn provides.

As part of his student outreach, Pruitt connects with businesses and organizations throughout South Florida and beyond, offering Lynn’s unique educational opportunities to employees of these organizations. Lynn offers a 20% tuition discount to employees of its organizational partners, and a 10% discount to adult family members of its partner employees. Human resource professionals seeking education opportunities for employees of their organization, or individuals seeking career advancement through education, may contact Pruitt at +1 561-237-7834 or

Friday, April 5 - 9:45 AM  - Keynote Speakers

Dr. Robert Hill 

(Keynote Speaker and Academic Leadership Panel Moderator)

Professor Emeritus – Nova Southeastern University (NSU) & Education Consultant

Dr. Hill has over 35 years of experience as a K-12 teacher, college professor, and higher education administrator. He previously served as a full-time associate professor of higher education leadership at NSU’s Abraham S. Fischler College of Education where he taught live, blended, and online graduate classes. He also served as an online field associate and a dissertation advisor. He has been the Co-PI on a National Science Foundation Grant, and has been awarded faculty research grants at two different private universities. He is passionate about students and learning. His current research focus is on the professoriate & shared governance, and free speech & civility on campus.

Dr. Hill started his education career by teaching high school English in the public school system for ten years, before turning to postsecondary education. In addition to serving as a faculty member and graduate advisor for over a decade, Dr. Hill has served higher education as a director of student services; associate dean; coordinator of a Title III- Funded Academic Support Center; academic advisor; coordinator of student teaching; faculty advisor; department chair; and doctoral enrollment counselor for twenty-five years at different private colleges & universities. He is a member of the Association for the Study of Higher Education [ASHE], and the American Association of University Administrators [AAUA] (on the board of directors and is on the editorial board for the Journal of Higher Education Management). He is a current reviewer for the Journal for the Study of Postsecondary and Tertiary Education, and he is a peer reviewer/evaluator with the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).

He has presented at numerous regional and national conferences, and he has published articles on both academic affairs- and student affairs-related topics. Hill holds a BAE in English education from the University of Florida, a M.Ed. in educational administration and supervision from the University of South Florida, and an Ed.D. in higher education administration from Nova Southeastern University.

Dr. Maria E. Gambuzza

An energetic educator, a higher education leader, and a mindful leadership mentor.

Currently, Dr. Gambuzza serves as Assistant Vice-Provost, Academics at Strayer University. Her latest area of research explores the principles of mindfulness and positive psychology applied to leadership to fostering meaningful human connections, at work, at home, and in the classroom.

As a faculty, Dr. Gambuzza embraces a sincere passion for teaching and profound commitment to her students’ success. She cares about those who believe in education as the efficient path to success in life. The concepts of active learning and collaboration are central to her philosophy of education. As a leader, Dr. Gambuzza manages a team of more than 100 faculty with a feed-forward mindset to promote high-performance habits and excellence. As a mindful leadership mentor, Dr. Gambuzza has been invited to present her research work at Airbus Group, Navarro Pharmacy, Strayer University, Johnson and Wales University, University of Carabobo (Venezuela), the Leadership in Higher Education Conference, the Associate for Nontraditional Students in Higher Education, and B&F Heineken Group (Spain). 

Dr. Gambuzza earned a Doctor of Education degree with a dual concentration in Higher Education Leadership and Human Resources Development from Nova Southeastern University, a Master of Business Administration from University of Phoenix, and a Bachelor degree in Human Resources Management from University of Carabobo-Venezuela. Her most recent academic achievement is a Certification in Positive Psychology from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

Friday, April 5 - 12:00 PM - Purdue University Global Sponsored Lunch Keynote Speaker

Dr. Aaron Thompson

(Keynote Speaker and Academic Leadership Panelist)

President, Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education

Aaron Thompson is a nationally recognized leader in higher education with a focus on policy, student success and organizational leadership and design. He was named president of the Council in October 2018, following the retirement of Robert L. King. He came to the Council in 2009 from Eastern Kentucky University, where he held a variety of leadership positions, including associate vice president for academic affairs, university programs. In May 2016, he left the Council to serve as interim president for Kentucky State University and returned to the Council in summer 2017.

His leadership experience spans 27 years across higher education, business and numerous non-profit boards. Thompson has researched, taught and consulted in areas of diversity, leadership, ethics, multicultural families, race and ethnic relations, student success, first-year students, retention, cultural competence and organizational design throughout his career.

As a highly sought after national speaker, Thompson has presented more than 800 workshops, seminars and invited lectures in areas of race and gender diversity, living an unbiased life, overcoming obstacles to gain success, creating a school environment for academic success, cultural competence, workplace interaction, leadership, organizational goal setting, building relationships, the first-year seminar, and a variety of other topics. He continues to serve as a consultant to educational institutions (elementary, secondary and postsecondary), corporations, non-profit organizations, police departments and other governmental agencies.

Thompson has published more than 30 publications and numerous research and peer reviewed presentations. He has authored or co-authored the following books: Changing Student Culture from the Ground Up, The Sociological Outlook, Infusing Diversity and Cultural Competence into Teacher Education, Peer to Peer Leadership: Changing Student Culture from the Ground Up. He also co-authored Thriving in College and Beyond: Research-Based Strategies for Academic Success, Thriving in the Community College and Beyond: Research-Based Strategies for Academic Success and Personal Development, Diversity and the College Experience, Focus on Success and Black Men and Divorce.

Lunch sponsored by:

Saturday, April 6 - 2:40 PM - Closing Keynote Speaker

Dr. Elmore Lowery

Dr. Elmore Lowery is the Dean of College and Career Readiness Programs at Fayetteville Technical Community College. He leads, trains, develops, and creates strategic planning for the program. He is a transformational leader that is innovative, entrepreneurial driven, motivating, and highly committed to his passion. In his position, Dr. Lowery has secured a 3.9 million dollar Block Grant for College and Career Readiness, and the passing rate for the College and Career Readiness programs at Fort Bragg is ranked #1 nationally.

Since his time at FTCC, Dr. Lowery has increased completion and performance measures from 34% to 41% in the College and Career Readiness program.  His department’s graduation and completion rates have increased by 77%, with a retention rate increase from 67% to 98%. Dr. Lowery has established academic pathways/trades for low performing and at-risk students.

Dr. Lowery has dedicated himself within the community he serves by establishing collaborative partnerships with private business owners to prepare students for transition into the workforce by starting new academic and workforce development programs, working with college foundations and fundraising activities.  He also established strategic partnerships with Fayetteville Cumberland County Human Relations Commission and other local agencies to assist financially disenfranchised students in obtaining food, clothing, academic tutoring, and employment resources.

Dr. Lowery has created and cultivated an atmosphere of respect, trust, integrity, and relevancy within his department.

Friday, April 5 - 2:45 PM Academic Leadership Panel

Dr. Aaron Thompson

(Keynote Speaker and Academic Leadership Panelist) Bio posted above. 

Dr. Elke Leeds

Dr. Leeds is the Academic Vice President of the College of Information Technology at Western Governors University (WGU). As VP, Elke sets the strategic direction for the College of IT's vision and portfolio of programs. She provides college-level leadership, direction, and focus for industry partnerships, new learning models, comprehensive reviews of program quality, admissions requirements, curriculum, and content. She serves as chief public voice for the college for both internal and external audiences, and she has ultimate accountability for business strategy, its associated profit and loss, and the viability (financial, academic, and professional) of each IT degree program.

Dr. Luz D. Randolph

Dr. Randolph is responsible for the university-wide fundraising efforts for Diversity Initiatives at the University of South Florida. She works collaboratively with the Black Leadership Network, the African American Advisory Committee, the Latin Community Advisory Committee, the Committee on Issues of Sexual Orientation & Gender Identity, and Student Disability Services to identify goals and needs for each program. Her primary focus is to assist in cultivating relationships between USF constituents and the Tampa Bay community that will help enhance our diverse students’ experiences. Since her arrival, she assisted in the development and implementation of the Black Leadership Network which aims to provide financial and mentoring support to African American students. Before coming to USF, Luz served as Director of the Candidate Empowerment Center (CEC) at Florida A&M University. In this role her team increased FAMU’s College of Education’s Teacher Certification passage rate by 75%. She also served as Assistant Director of the Department of Multicultural Student Affairs at the University of Miami where she coordinated services and programs that challenged, motivated, and supported ethnically diverse students in their development at the University of Miami and seek to bring issues of diversity and multiculturalism to the foreground of campus conversation. She is a double alumna from the University of South Florida with a B.A in Interpersonal Communication and a Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction- College Student Affairs. She completed her Doctor of Education in Higher Education and Leadership Administration degree from Nova Southeastern University.  Her dissertation focused on the experience of Latinas in Latina sororities and the impact on their academic persistence. Since, she has presented on topics relating to Latinas and their college experience, philanthropy and diversity, and gender issues and sexual orientation. Currently, she serves as a Board of Director for Hispanic Services Council, Macdonald Training Center, and Tampa Hispanic Heritage, Inc.

Dr. Keith Smith

Keith Smith became the first Dean of Purdue Global’s (formerly Kaplan University’s) School of Health Sciences in 2007. He later served as vice provost of the University and returned to the School of Health Sciences where he currently serves as Vice President and Dean. Highlights of his tenure include development of ground-breaking hybrid clinical programs, a unique military-only associate’s degree, and innovative 3+1 bachelor’s degree programs geared toward community college partnerships.

Smith began his academic career as an adjunct faculty member at City University, teaching leadership and organizational courses, later serving as dean there as well as for National-Louis University and National University of Health Sciences. Smith has taught and presented on a variety of leadership and organizational topics domestically and internationally. He has been responsible for leadership and management programs offered in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. Prior to entering higher education, Smith served as executive vice president of a regional nonprofit, and consulted with business, government, and nonprofit organizations on leadership and organizational change initiatives. He currently serves on two different nonprofit boards.

Smith earned his Doctor of Education in educational leadership with a cognate in human and organizational systems at Seattle University. He also holds an MBA from City University of Seattle and a Master of Arts in Theology from Fuller Theological Seminary.



April 1 - October 31

  • Early Registration
May 15
  • Call for Proposals Open
February 18
  • Call for Proposals Deadline Extended to February 25th
March 1
  • Deadline for Presenters to Register to be included in Program
    April 4-6, 2019
    • ANTSHE Conference 2019




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