Plenary speakers

Robert Augustine expanding section

Robert Augustine
Senior Vice President, Emeritus Council of Graduate Schools

Robert M. Augustine holds the position of Senior Vice President Emeritus at the Council of Graduate Schools in Washington, DC, where he leads strategic consultations designed to advance best practices in graduate education. He is author or co-author of recent publications focusing on these practices including International Alliances in Communication Sciences and Disorders; Master’s Admissions: Transparency,  Guidance and Training; Organization and Administration of Graduate Education: A Policy Statement; and Empowering Diversity Leaders: Proceedings of the Alliances for Graduate Education and the Professoriate National Forum. Bob was elected President of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association in Washington, DC, and began his three-year term of leadership in 2022. He holds the title of Dean Emeritus of the Graduate School, Research, and International Students and Scholars at Eastern Illinois University where he also served as professor and chair of the Department of Communication Disorders & Sciences.

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Meagan Chriswell
Member, Tsalagi Nation of Oklahoma; MD/PhD student; Executive Board Member, Association of Native American Medical Students

Meagan Chriswell is a current MD/PhD Candidate at the University of Colorado. She is an enrolled member of the Tsalagi Nation of Oklahoma, and serves on the executive board for the Association of Native American Medical Students as well as the American Physician Scientist Association’s Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion committee. She aims to decrease barriers to entry for native students in academia, with a special emphasis on STEM students.

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Mary Clark
Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor, University of Denver

Mary Clark serves as the provost and executive vice chancellor at the University of Denver. With expertise in the areas of higher education law, women’s legal history, legal ethics, judicial politics, and property, Provost Clark also holds an appointment as professor in the Sturm College of Law.

Prior to being named provost at DU, Provost Clark served as interim provost, deputy provost, and dean of faculty at American University, associate dean for faculty & academic affairs at AU’s law school, director of its doctor of juridical science program, and acting director of its Law and Government Program.

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Jonathan Haber
Educational Researcher, Author and Entrepreneur

Jonathan Haber is an educational researcher, writer/author and entrepreneur working in the fields of critical thinking, higher education, assessment and technology enabled learning.  His Degree of Freedom One Year BA project, which involved trying to learn the equivalent of a BA in just twelve months using only MOOCs and other forms of free learning, was featured in The New York TimesThe Boston GlobeThe Chronicle of Higher EducationThe Wall Street Journal and other major media sources.

He is the author of four books, including two for the MIT Press Essential Knowledge series on critical thinking and massive open online courses (MOOCs).  His writing on education-related topics has appeared in SlateEdSurge and other publications. 

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Ame Lambert

Vice President for Global Diversity and Inclusion,
Portland State University

Dr. Ame Lambert is currently the Vice President for Global Diversity and Inclusion at Portland State University. Lambert has served for almost a decade as a Chief Diversity Officer at and has almost 2 decades of experience in higher education, justice and equity work, and student success initiatives. Lambert previously served as the Inaugural Vice President for Equity and Inclusion and Chief Diversity Officer at Roger Williams University and the Inaugural Chief Diversity Officer at Champlain College. In these roles, Lambert leads strategic planning and implementation, the embedding of equity into all university operations, and supports the thriving, agency and self-determination of minoritized students and employees. Lambert’s aim is to close the gap between potential and thriving and help individuals, organizations and communities BE-COME. Evaluation data from initiatives Lambert has led, always in strong partnership with critical stakeholders and the campus community, show an impact on 1st year minoritized student retention, academic success and climate; an increase in the yield on faculty and staff of color hires and the launching of successful employee initiatives and pro equity policies and practices.

Lambert designs and hosts the pre-conference institutes, including one for new Chief Diversity Officers, at the National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education annual conference and has supported several nonprofits and institutions with their equity work. Her interdisciplinary lens helps her integrate the best of disparate disciplines such as organization development, neuroscience, education and intercultural communication in the creation of complex, holistic responses to complex human challenges. As a bi-cultural black, immigrant woman, Lambert believes the answer is often and/and rather than either/or.

A strong introvert, Lambert loves nothing better than a long snuggle with her spirited and smart young daughter who she wishes she could spend more time with.

Michele Marks expanding section

Michele Marks, Ph.D.

Since joining CU Denver in July 2020, Chancellor Michelle Marks has pursued an ambitious vision for the future of CU Denver and its impact as a leading urban public research university.

An innovator dedicated to making higher education equitable for the good of society, Dr. Marks believes the urgent national need for equitable education, amplified in this time of great societal challenge, demands long-term solutions. She is leading CU Denver to address long-standing structural inequities through a reimagined approach to lifelong learning.  

Dr. Marks began her tenure at CU Denver with a 100-day listening tour and continues to listen through ongoing engagement with the university community. In fall 2020, she convened an Equity Task Force to address long-term equity issues at the university, and in spring 2021 she committed $4 million to support its roadmap for CU Denver to become an exemplar equity-serving institution.

Dr. Marks led the university in a highly collaborative, ambitious strategic planning process, completed in June 2021. CU Denver’s 2030 Strategic Plan promotes social mobility and workforce sustainability through an evolved vision of an equity serving institution. It outlines goals for advancing research and creative work, developing an open innovation in downtown Denver, and being known as the university for life, among others.

Prior to her current role, Dr. Marks led academic innovation and new ventures at George Mason University. There, she pioneered the ADVANCE pathways program, a new collaborative paradigm that united high school, community college, university, and corporate partners to create an extended learning community offering students and families affordable access to superior education and employment opportunities. 

Dr. Marks has dedicated her career to the study of leadership and team effectiveness. As a professor of management in GMU’s School of Business, her research focused on organizational leadership development and teamwork. Dr. Marks has been recognized for leadership throughout her career, culminating in such awards as the George Mason University Alumni of the Year Award (2017), Executive MBA Professor of the Year award (2008 and 2011), and Teaching Excellence Award (2006). She holds a PhD in industrial/organizational psychology from George Mason University.

In addition to her chancellor role, Dr. Marks is also a tenured full professor in CU Denver’s Business School. She currently serves on the boards of the Metro Denver Economic Development Corporation, the Denver Education Compact, and the Association of Public & Land Grant Universities, and on the executive committee for the board of the Coalition of Urban Serving Universities.

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Constancio Nakuma, Ph.D.
Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic
and Student Affairs  2022 

Constancio Nakuma, PhD, a dedicated educator with 30 years of higher education experience, joined CU Denver in July 2021 after a successful 19-year tenure at Clemson University, where he served as Associate Provost for Academic Affairs. In addition to his administrative role at Clemson, Constancio was a professor of French and linguistics and served as a senior associate dean of academic affairs and department chair. Prior to Clemson, he was an associate professor and program director at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. He also served as a lecturer at Saint Mary's University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, where he obtained an MBA degree. 

Throughout his career, Constancio has demonstrated success in academic leadership, strategic planning at the departmental, collegiate, and provost levels, as well as financial management and budgeting. He has experience with academic program assessment, development and assessment of student learning outcomes, development and implementation of academic curricula, and faculty recruitment and development. Among other achievements, Constancio has created multidisciplinary degree programs between humanities and STEM, health, and business fields that have been successful in attracting and engaging students along their educational journeys. A multilingual teacher and scholar, he has been educated in Africa, Europe, and North America. Constancio received his bachelor’s from the University of Ghana-Legon, Accra, Ghana; his master’s from Université Paris X-Nanterre, France; and his PhD from Sorbonne Nouvelle. 

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Tom Nichols
Professor of National Security Affairs, US Naval War College,
Newport, Rhode Island

Tom Nichols is a contributing writer at The Atlantic, where he writes the Peacefield newsletter. He taught national security affairs for 25 years at the U.S. Naval War College, and he currently an instructor at the Harvard Extension School, where he teaches courses on the future of war, nuclear weapons, and the Cold War. He is also an adjunct professor at the US Air Force School of Strategic Force Studies. An expert on Russia, he also taught at Dartmouth and Georgetown and was a Fellow of the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard. In Washington, he was a Fellow of the Center for Strategic and International Studies and served on Capitol Hill as personal staff for defense and security affairs to the late Senator John Heinz of Pennsylvania.

He is the author of several books, and in 2017 he wrote The Death of Expertise: The Campaign Against Established Knowledge and Why It Matters, an international best-seller that has been translated into fourteen foreign languages. His most recent book is Our Own Worst Enemy: The Assault From Within on Modern Democracy, which Publisher’s Weekly called "A searing critique of contemporary political culture and the rise of illiberalism on both the right and the left."

He is also a five-time undefeated Jeopardy! champion and was listed in the Jeopardy Hall of Fame after his 1994 appearances as one of the best players of the game. A native of Massachusetts, he lives in Rhode Island with his family and his remarkable cat Carla.

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Karen Riley
Provost, Regis University-Denver

Karen Riley is Provost (chief academic officer) at Regis University in Denver, Colorado. She was excited to join Regis, a university that is committed to making a difference in the lives of its students, and where there is a true sense of living the Jesuit and Catholic mission. Before joining Regis in 2021, Riley was dean of the Morgridge College of Education at the University of Denver for seven years. She also served as the university’s strategic director for health initiatives, an effort to nurture signature research programs. As dean, Riley was successful in doubling the college’s grants, increasing scholarly productivity by 150 percent, and achieving a 30-position rise in U.S. News rankings.

Riley is an internationally recognized expert in neurodevelopmental disorders, and her scholarship focuses on interdisciplinary and intersystem approaches to addressing the complex issues of today’s society and improving the lives of children and families affected by Fragile X syndrome and Down syndrome.

A lifelong Coloradan, Riley graduated from Lutheran High School in Parker before earning a bachelor’s degree in psychology at Colorado State University. She earned both her master’s degree in early childhood special education and her doctorate in educational psychology from the University of Denver. She also completed a two-year, post-doctoral fellowship at the Children’s Hospital in Denver in the Fragile X Treatment and Research Center and subsequently worked at the Child Development Unit within the hospital.

Riley began her career by serving 11 years as an early childhood specialist and an early childhood special education coordinator in the Adams 12 School District based in Thornton, Colorado.

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Alfred Tatum
Provost, Metro State University Denver

Alfred Tatum has served as Provost and Executive Vice President at Metropolitan State

University of Denver since March of 2021. In this role, he works collaboratively with faculty, staff, administrators, and the Board of Trustees to create and sustain a vibrant environment to advance MSU Denver’s mission “to provide a high-quality, accessible, enriching education that prepares students for successful careers, post-graduate education, and lifelong learning in a multicultural, global, and technological society.” Previously Tatum served as Professor and Dean of the College of Education at the University of Illinois at Chicago and is an accomplished author.