Breakout Sessions

Donor Data & Latest Trends in Charitable Giving | Tuesday, Feb. 11 | 11:00 am - 12:15 pm

Member schools of the CCCU delve into data and examine evidence when designing strategies, delivering programs, and teaching courses. The same is true when fundraising! This session will present the latest data on charitable giving in the United States, along with recent findings on current fundraising trends such as donor advised funds, fundraising from millennials, gender distinctions in giving, and social media fundraising.

Bill Stanczykiewicz, Assistant Dean for External Relations, Lilly Family School of Philanthropy and Director, The Fund Raising School

Bring Yourself to the Table: Finding Space for Innovation in Alumni Relations | Tuesday, Feb. 11 | 11:00 am - 12:15 pm

Are you struggling to create growth when traditional models, programs, and events are no longer working? Do you want to bring the success you see at other institutions, but can’t seem to make their ideas work for you? We will be exploring how you can identify and leverage your team’s unique backgrounds and qualifications to lead your institution in new directions and reach more of your constituents with fewer resources.

Introduction: Louise Furrow, Vice President for University Advancement, Seattle Pacific University
Presenter: Amanda Stubbert, Director of Alumni, Parent, and Family Relations, Seattle Pacific University

The Struggle Is Real: Communicating Change in the “New Normal” of Budget Cuts and Prioritization in Higher Ed | Tuesday, Feb. 11 | 11 am - 12:15 pm

In a time of national seismic shifts in consumer behavior, demographics, and financial realities in higher education, many campuses are navigating significant changes to their institution’s budget, structure, and programs. You’ll hear from peers who’ve recently managed, or are currently managing, the strategic communication related to these challenges. They’ll share their stories and answer questions – focusing on practical takeaways you can use to help lead effective internal and external communication on your own campus.

Facilitator: LaTonya Taylor, Director of Media Relations, Wheaton College
Presenters: Carla Gross, Executive Director of Marketing and Communications, Messiah College, and Richard Sweeney, Vice President for Marketing and External Relations, Gordon College

The Student Experience Gap | Tuesday, Feb. 11 | 11:00 am - 12:15 pm

Most schools work hard to meet the needs of students—or at least what they interpret those needs to be. But how often do we get it wrong or counteract our efforts of being student-centric? We’re sharing insights from two studies highlighting what we are doing right and areas for improvement. We’ll explore what students are really looking for in the enrollment process and how traditional vs. non-traditional students may need different things.

Hayley Wolf, Account Executive, TargetX

Cultivating the Million Dollar Donor | Tuesday, Feb. 11 | 2:00 pm - 3:30 pm

Leadership gifts are transformative in the life of a school. Knowing how to develop these relationships is key to building an advancement team that year in and year out provides the financial resources all of our schools have come to depend on. Do you need to understand how a $1M+ donor differs from other donors and what is required to secure a leadership gift? Do you want advice on how to develop relationships with these individuals? We cannot promise instant success, but we can promise that you’ll hear from two of the best in the business and be supported in your efforts to cultivate a million dollar donor.

Adam Morris, Vice President for Advancement and Strategic Planning, Biola University, and Reed Sheard, Vice President for College Advancement and Chief Information Officer, Westmont College

Best Practices on Collaboration Part 1 (TED Talk style) | Tuesday, Feb. 11 | 2:00 pm - 3:30 pm

Come hear from several of your peers, in a TEDTalk-style session, on ways that alumni offices within the CCCU are collaborating with other departments on campus. This includes collaboration with advancement, career offices, student programs, and much more. Successes and lessons-learned will be shared from various campuses. There are sure to be ideas you can take back to your team!

Phil Ellenburg, Vice President for Alumni Relations, Lipscomb University, Jay McClymont, Director of Alumni and Parent Relations, Messiah College, and Jon Merryman, Director of Alumni Relations and the Ouachita Student Foundation, Ouachita Baptist University

Comprehensive Campus Rebranding | Tuesday, Feb. 11 | 2:00 pm - 3:30pm

Hear from marketing and communication leaders who have successfully spearheaded recent rebranding projects, involving extensive collaboration across campus and resulting in far-reaching positive outcomes for their universities. Leaders from Samford University, Baylor University, and Dordt University will highlight the issues that inspired the need for these rebranding projects, the changes made (what they did and how they did it), and reflections on key lessons learned—what did they learn that may help others undertake similar projects with success on their own campuses?

Betsy Bugg Holloway, Vice President for Marketing and Communication and Professor of Marketing, Samford University, Jason Cook, Vice President for Marketing and Communications and Chief Marketing Officer, Baylor University, and Sarah Moss, Director of Marketing and Communication, Dordt University

How Institutional Identity Shapes Student Recruitment: The Relationship between Religious Distinctiveness and Market Demand | Tuesday, Feb. 11 | 2:00 pm - 3:30 pm

As demographic shifts present enrollment challenges for many CCCU campuses, senior leaders must understand both the unique character of their institution and corresponding market dynamics. This presentation will examine how institutional religious distinctiveness is associated with market demand. After empirically identifying three types of religious distinctiveness as measured by expectations placed on students (e.g., faith commitments, chapel attendance, Bible/theology course requirements, etc.), the presentation will examine how total applications, selectivity, and admissions yield have shifted by institutional type since the Great Recession and will recommend strategies for student recruitment at CCCU institutions.

P. Jesse Rine, Clinical Associate Professor and Program Director, Duquesne University School of Education, and James M. Hunter, Chief Executive Officer, Emerge Education

Panel of Seasoned VPs | Tuesday, Feb. 11 | 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm

One of the most valuable elements of our CCCU conferences is hearing directly from peers throughout Christian higher education. We’ve put together a panel of seasoned leaders who will share their wisdom and experience with the group. There will be a moderated discussion followed by ample time for Q&A. Don’t miss a fascinating conversation informed by decades of combined experience!

Facilitator: Drew Flamm, Vice President for Advancement and Marketing, Grace College & Seminary
Panelists: Hudson Akin, Executive Director, Lipscomb University, Paul Eldridge, Vice President for University Advancement, California Baptist University, Louise Furrow, Vice President of University Advancement, Seattle Pacific University, and Jim Krall, Vice President for University Advancement, John Brown University

Best Practices on Collaboration Part 2 (Panel with Presenters) | Tuesday, Feb. 11 | 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm

Ever complained after a wonderful conference presentation that there wasn’t enough time for follow-up questions? Not at this conference! We’re dedicating an entire breakout session to a panel with our previous session’s presenters so there’s plenty of time for attendees to ask specific questions about best practices and programs.

Phil Ellenburg, Vice President for Alumni Relations, Lipscomb University, Jay McClymont, Director of Alumni and Parent Relations, Messiah College, and Jon Merryman, Director of Alumni Relations and the Ouachita Student Foundation, Ouachita Baptist University

Leading Through Crisis | Tuesday, Feb. 11 | 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm

Colleges and universities are increasingly in the harsh media spotlight. From social media blitzes to national media coverage, institutions risk receiving widespread public attention overnight. No college is immune to violence, Title IX complaints, racial incidents, employee misconduct, student protests, or free speech controversies. How do leaders navigate these situations and create a crisis-ready culture? With the right preparation and leadership, colleges and universities can mitigate crises and even turn them into opportunities to demonstrate the institution’s values and commitments.

Chris Duffy, Vice President of Public Relations, Goff Public 

10 Rules for Life in Enrollment Management | Tuesday, Feb. 11 | 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm

Technology developments, public policy, and demographic shifts can be challenging in a competitive enrollment management landscape. Your institution’s success is increasingly dependent on collaborative commitments across campus to work toward sophisticated, integrated models of attracting and retaining students that are responsive to today’s ever-changing enrollment trends. In this session, we’ll discuss 10 rules to help enrollment officers understand the importance of shared strategy, the value of inclusion, the necessity of narrative-based comm-flows, and more.

Ben Arendt, Senior Strategist, Carnegie Dartlet

Planning and Executing a Successful Fundraising Campaign | Wednesday, Feb. 12 | 9:00 am - 10:30 am

Has your president or board told you it’s “time for a campaign”? Are you thinking it’s time? Whether this is your first campaign or your fifth, the most crucial steps you will take are the ones preceding the vote to approve it. In this interactive session you’ll learn how to:

  • Determine and measure readiness
  • Set achievable goals
  • Organize and plan for success

Bring your questions, scenarios, and “what-ifs” for this guide to successful campaigning!

Martha Keates, Senior Consultant & Principal, Vice President for Business Development, Marts & Lundy, and Sarah Williams, Senior Consultant & Principal, Leader of Analytical Solutions, Marts & Lundy

Civility & Free Speech in Christian Higher Ed: Deepening Conviction without Escalating Conflict | Wednesday, Feb. 12 | 9:00 am - 10:30 am

The extreme polarization of secular culture penetrates Christian institutions as well. Especially in Christian higher education it is a daunting challenge to open minds and promote free speech but also preserve the unity of the Spirit and promote the faith once for all delivered to the saints. The panel will discuss the uniqueness of  Christian convictions, the importance of love and compassion, and consider several real-life scenarios for addressing conflicting Christian convictions.

Justin Giboney, President, The AND Campaign, Rick Langer, Professor, Talbot School of Theology, Biola University, and Tim Muehlhoff, Professor of Communication, Biola University

Proving Our Value: The Impact of Christian Higher Education in the Lives of Alumni | Wednesday, Feb. 12 | 9:00 am - 10:30 am

Cardus recently conducted a nationally representative survey of 1,332 adults in their twenties and thirties with bachelors degrees, asking them to reflect on their post-secondary experiences.  In this session, Cardus co-founder Ray Pennings will share and reflect on the findings, comparing the different responses of graduates from state-run, private religious, and private non-religious institutions. Building on extensive Cardus research on the impact of K-12 Christian education, the session will reflect on the challenges and opportunities presented by this data.

Albert Cheng, Assistant Professor of Education Policy, University of Arkansas, and Ray Pennings, Co-Founder and Executive Vice President, Cardus Research 

And the Survey Says... | Wednesday, Feb. 12 | 9:00 am - 10:30 am

Dan Nelson will share results from the 21st Annual Bethel Study (a financial aid survey of CCCU institutions) of particular interest to enrollment leaders, including trends in enrollment, college costs, financial aid, discount rates, student debt, and family wealth. Survey data also reveals trends in affordability and institutional financial health. Additionally, Dan will highlight the latest information on the impact of a potential loss of federal funding on our institutions.

Dan Nelson, Chief Institutional Data and Research Officer, Bethel University (MN)

Expected To Do More With Less? How Data Visualization Makes Information Clear For Action | Wednesday, Feb. 12 | 11:00 am - 12:00 pm

Pressure to raise more funds is increasing while resourcing is shrinking. It is easier to identify fundraising problems than understand the data in order to develop solutions. Perhaps giving through U.S. Mail response devices is down but online giving is up – how do you decide if you need to keep mailing? Aging customer relationship management systems (such as Raiser’s Edge 7) don’t provide easy, quick answers to such questions. Fast, rapid reporting and sound analytics are both critical. Yet having a lot of data to study takes time! In this session participants will learn how SPU used Tableau (software that uses visualizations to quickly show patterns) to discover new insights and find fundraising success.

Introduction: Louise Furrow, Vice President for University Advancement, Seattle Pacific University
Presenter: Jennifer LaBrie, Director of Development Research and Information Strategy, Seattle Pacific University

Tracking GenZ | Wednesday, Feb. 12 | 11:00 am – 12:00 pm

GenZ is filling up our campuses and application pools. What makes this latest generation of students different, and why might our traditional marketing approaches no longer work? This session examines GenZ through the lens of Baylor students Brooklyn and Bailey, twin sisters and social media influencers with 6+ million YouTube subscribers and 5+ million Instagram followers. A number of examples and tips will be shared.

Jason Cook, Vice President for Marketing and Communications and Chief Marketing Officer, Baylor University

Building Better Benchmarks | Wednesday, Feb. 12 | 11:00 am - 12:00 pm

Are you new to your role and have questions about what other institutions are doing in alumni relations? Or maybe you have been at it for years, but you are looking for new and fresh ideas. You don’t have to do it alone. Come hear how we plan to leverage the power of our robust Alumni Professionals Network to create a comprehensive database that will give you access to important benchmarking data.

Jay McClymont, Director of Alumni and Parent Relations, Messiah College

Innovation in Marketing and Admissions: Opportunities & Obstacles | Wednesday, Feb. 12 | 11:00 am – 12:00 pm

An all-to-common approach to addressing the challenge of low enrollments is to use past and possibly outdated approaches to resolving it. The outcome is often a marginal, if any, impact on enrollment levels. Rather than repeating the same behaviors, schools need to try new, sometimes risky, and innovative initiatives. In this session the speakers will address opportunities, obstacles to, and examples of innovations within both the marketing and admissions departments.

Jim Allen, Founder, Value Based, and Rob Westervelt, Chief Strategy Officer and former Executive Vice President of Marketing and Enrollment, George Fox University