North Central College - Naperville, IL

Keynote & Featured Speakers

Drs. Alexander and Helen Astin, University of California, Los Angeles, First Recipients of the NAC&U’s Ernest L. Boyer Award

Alexander W. Astin 

Alexander W. (“Sandy”) Astin is Allan M. Cartter Professor Emeritus of Higher Education and Founding Director of the Higher Education Research Institute at UCLA. He is also the Founding Director of the Cooperative Institutional Research Program, the nation’s largest and oldest study of college students and faculty. Previously Dr. Astin was Director of Research for both the American Council on Education and the National Merit Scholarship Corporation.

The author of 21 books and some 400 other publications in the field of higher education, Sandy Astin has been a recipient of awards for outstanding research from 13 national associations, a fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, and a recipient of eleven honorary degrees, and is a member of the National Academy of Education. The Journal of Higher Education has identified Dr. Astin as the most frequently cited author in the field of higher education. In 1985 readers of Change magazine selected him as the person "most admired for creative, insightful thinking" in the field of higher education.

Sandy Astin’s research has focused on how undergraduate students are affected by their college experience, with particular emphasis on educational opportunity and equity, student persistence, service learning, and institutional transformation. He is currently principal investigator (with H. S. Astin) on a national study of spiritual development among undergraduates at 150 higher education institutions. His latest book is Mindworks: Becoming More Conscious in an Unconscious World (Information Age Publishing, 2007).


Helen S. Astin 

Helen S. (“Lena”) Astin, a psychologist, is a Professor Emerita of Higher Education and Senior Scholar at the Higher Education Research Institute, UCLA. She served as the Associate Provost of the College of Letters and Science at UCLA from 1983 to 1987, and during 1990 to 1992 as Interim Director of the UCLA Center for the Study of Women.

Lena Astin has been a trustee of Mt. St. Mary’s College since 1985, and served as a trustee of Hampshire College from 1972 to 1979. She has served on the Board of Governors of the Center for Creative Leadership and on the Board of the National Council for Research on Women. She has also served as a member of the Government-University-Industry Research Roundtable of the National Academy of Sciences, and as Chair of the Board of the American Association for Higher Education. Dr. Astin is a recipient of three honorary degrees and numerous other awards including the Howard Bowen Distinguished Career award from the Association for the Study of Higher Education (ASHE).

Among her books are: Women of Influence, Women of Vision: A Cross-Generational Study of Leaders and Social Change; Human Resources and Higher Education; The Woman Doctorate in America; Higher Education and the Disadvantaged Student; The Higher Education of Women: Essays in Honor of Rosemary Park. Her current research is on spirituality in higher education.

Gardner Campbell

 Gardner Campbell is Director of Professional Development and Innovative Initiatives in the Division of Learning Technologies at Virginia Tech, where he also serves as an Associate Professor of English. Prior to coming to Virginia Tech, Gardner was founding Director of the Academy for Teaching and Learning at Baylor University, where he was also Associate Professor of Literature, Media, and Learning in the Honors College. He has been involved in teaching and learning technologies for nearly two decades, including work at the University of Mary Washington, where he served as Assistant Vice-President for Teaching and Learning Technologies, the University of San Diego and the University of Richmond. Gardner received his B.A. in English from Wake Forest University, and his M.A. and Ph.D. in English from the University of Virginia. He has served as chair of the Electronic Campus of Virginia on program committees for both EDUCAUSE and the EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative. He currently serves as vice-chair of the Board of Directors of the New Media Consortium and on the Advisory Board of the National Institute for Technology in Liberal Education (NITLE).

Sean Paul Knierim

 Sean Paul Knierim is the Chief of Staff for the President of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, at $5.6 billion, one of the nation’s largest independent foundations. In 2010, in its 33rd year of funding, the Foundation awarded $230 million dollars to 47 applicants in the categories of International Programs, U.S. Programs, including the Digital Media Learning Initiative that will be a focus of his presentation, Media, Culture, and Special Initiatives, and the MacArthur Fellows Program. Knierim is the Foundation’s primary internal and external liaison for the President. As Chief of Staff he also works on special projects that cut across the Foundation’s domestic and international programs, manages implementation of the President's long-term vision, and monitors foundation-wide operations.

Knierim, who lives in the neighborhood of the College in Naperville, received his Ph.D. in Comparative Literature at the University of North Carolina and a Masters in International Development Policy from Duke University. He also holds a Masters in Interdisciplinary Education and a Bachelors in English and Spanish from Santa Clara University.