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Partnering for Progress Conference

Innovations and efficiencies making a difference

This conference was held on October 19th at Virginia Commonwealth University's, Siegel Center 
in Richmond, Virginia.

A list of conference materials and agenda is provided below.



7:30-9 a.m.  Poster Set-up and Registration 
9 a.m.  Welcome: Michael Rao, president, Virginia Commonwealth University; Victoria Harker, Virginia Business Higher Education Council, executive vice president and chief financial officer, TEGNA inc.

Introduction of Keynote Speaker: William Murray, State Council of Higher Education for Virginia; vice president state & electric public policy, Dominion Energy                

9:15-10 a.m. Keynote: "Do We Need Evolution or Revolution? Reflections on Change in Higher Education" Allison M. Vaillancourt, vice president of business affairs & human resources, University of Arizona 

10 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Poster Exhibit

10:15 a.m. Poster Flash Talk Sessions begin

Locations: Board of Visitors Room, Media Room, Floor

12:15 p.m. Flash Talks end

12:30 p.m. Closing Comments: Peter Blake, director, State Council of Higher Education for Virginia


This conference provides a forum for Virginia public higher education faculty, staff, administrators, and leaders to share ideas and best practices about educational innovations and administrative improvements for enhanced effectiveness and efficiency.  Poster exhibits and flash talks in three categories: 

  • Educational innovation/academic best practices – high-impact student learning experiences, academic partnerships, teaching strategies, global programs, research enterprise.
  • Student support services – community learning and living, leadership development, advising, health and wellness, support service delivery.
  • Administrative functions – service delivery models and process improvements (for example, finance, IT, procurement, HR, facilities).

Keynote Speaker 

Allison M. Vaillancourt photoAllison M. Vaillancourt, Ph.D., serves as vice president of business affairs & human resources at the University of Arizona where she also holds faculty appointments in the UA School of Government and Public Policy and the Honors College. In addition to business affairs strategy, Vaillancourt’s portfolio includes Arizona Public Media radio, TV and digital services; the Division of Human Resources; institutional equity and Title IX programs; and risk management. Under her guidance, the University of Arizona has been nationally recognized for building a community of leaders, creating an inclusive organizational culture, offering award-winning work/life programs, and harnessing the wisdom of faculty, staff, students, and community members to inform policies, programs, and administrative simplicity initiatives. She writes about career and organizational culture issues as a regular contributor to the Chronicle of Higher Education and maintains a consulting and executive coaching practice.

Vaillancourt serves on the Association of American Universities Human Resources Institute board of directors and College and University Professional Association for Human Resources' (CUPA-HR) National Public Policy Committee. She also leads leadership programs for the American Association of Medical Colleges, National Association for College and University Business Officers, and Western Association of College and University Business Officers Business Management Institute. She is a past national chair of CUPA-HR's national board of directors and past president of the Society for Human Resources Management of Greater Tucson. During her two-year term as chair of the Women’s Foundation of Southern Arizona, the foundation doubled its grant making and launched a nationally recognized advocacy program to support women and families.

Vaillancourt received a bachelor’s degree in political science and master’s degree in public policy and administration from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a Ph.D. from the University of Colorado-Denver’s School of Public Affairs. She began her career as a journalist and fundraiser before joining higher education.


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