Scott Beard Leadership Circle

Scott Beard Leadership Circle

Virtual Leadership Development Circle
21-22 July, 2021

Sonoma State University

COPLAC institutions have a different set of contexts for leadership than any other sector of American higher education. Our size and mission often separate us from larger public institutions, and our public focus, governance structure, and funding models often separate us from similarly sized private institutions. COPLAC campuses face similar needs and challenges in identifying, developing, and recruiting academic leaders who can make a compelling case for the public liberal arts mission.

To promote leadership capacity at our individual institutions and within the public liberal arts sector of higher education, COPLAC will host a two-day professional development workshop in July 2021 for early- to mid-career academic affairs administrators who have solid experience at the division, school, college, or institutional levels. Participants will be able to engage with COPLAC peers to address common challenges, develop professional networks, share resources, and build decision-making strategies. 

Our format of intensive, problem-based workshops will allow teams or individuals from institutions to focus on issues COPLAC administrators have identified as crucial. Senior COPLAC administrators will facilitate workshop sessions and mentor attendees, encouraging “communities of practice” to create an international network for leadership within a public liberal arts context. The Beard Leadership Circle will continue throughout the year with ongoing virtual meetings that can build relationships and foster the sharing of ideas and models. We encourage your institution to send new and potential mid-level leaders.

The view from the top of the Fairlfield Osborn Preserve overlooks the Santa Rosa Plain to the west. Photo from

Before his sudden death in 2021, Scott Beard (Provost, Shepherd University) served COPLAC as an At-Large Member of the Executive Committee, as the Chair of the working group that developed the Online Course Sharing Guidelines and registration form, as a member of the Membership Committee, and as an active member of the Leadership Circle Planning Team. In all these roles, we valued Scott’s intellectual contributions, his organizational skills, and his administrative acumen. Just as importantly, we benefited from his humor, his spontaneous singing, his collegiality, and his commitment to COPLAC and its mission to promote affordable, public access to a liberal arts based education.

This initiative has been renamed the Scott Beard Leadership Circle to honor Scott’s contributing his time in planning, writing case studies, and mentoring deans, associate deans, associate provosts.



What does the schedule look like?

Show MoreThere will be a mix of plenary and smaller breakout sessions, keeping in mind that leaders and participants are spread across the country. A final schedule will be shared ahead of time!

What if I need to cancel?

Show More We are able to issue partial refunds up to 7 days before the event. Please email to discuss. 

Will this leadership opportunity be offered again?

Show MoreYes! Planning has begun for the next iteration. If you are interested in participating, please email