Melina Palmer

Keynote Speaker

Melina Palmer is CEO of The Brainy Business, which helps companies around the world apply behavioral economics so customers buy and employees buy in. She has written three bestselling books and hosts The Brainy Business podcast, which has more than 1 million downloads in over 170 countries. A consultant and keynote speaker, she also teaches applied behavioral economics via the Texas A&M Human Behavior Lab. She and her work have been featured in many outlets, including Inc and Psychology Today.

Opening Keynote: What Your STUDENT Wants And Can’t Tell You

“Our job would be so easy if it wasn’t for the students.” Have you ever heard someone say that (or said it yourself)? The bulk of human decisions are made subconsciously (using rules of thumb that become very predictable when you know the rules). Because of this, behavioral economics is being implemented in companies around the world to better communicate with and attract customers. And it works for higher education too!

This fun and engaging presentation, based on Melina’s award-winning book, What Your Customer Wants and Can’t Tell You, will explain what behavioral economics is, how brain science is being incorporated into everything from hospitals to household products, the role of AI in the space, and how attendees can start applying their learnings in their work in higher education immediately using Melina’s “behavioral baking” approach.

Jeff Selingo

Keynote Speaker

Jeff Selingo has written about higher education for more than two and a half decades and is a New York Times bestselling author of three books. His latest book, Who Gets In & Why: A Year Inside College Admissions, was published in 2020 and was named among the 100 Notable Books of the year by the New York Times. A regular contributor to The Atlantic, New York Times, and Washington Post, Jeff is a special advisor to the president and professor of practice at Arizona State University. He also writes a bi-weekly newsletter on all things higher ed called Next, co-hosts the podcast, Future U., and is working on his next book about how we need to look at good colleges beyond the top of the rankings, which is due out in late 2025.

Navigating Change — Higher Education in the Age of AI

What happens to education when the pace of technological change outstrips our current learning models? The world of work is not just changing; it is being radically reshaped thanks to advancements in technology. Skills necessary in nearly any profession are evolving at an unprecedented pace, demanding a revolution in the way we communicate with and educate learners.

In his closing keynote, Jeff Selingo will explore these dynamic shifts in the workforce, the critical role of AI in the transformation, and the implications for staff, students, and the industry at large.

You’ll learn how AI is not a threat to our educational ethos but a vital partner that diversifies learning experiences, compliments careers, and personalizes student engagement. By integrating technology, we can create more inclusive and proactive educational environments that cultivate a sense of belonging and purpose for today’s students.

We stand at a pivotal moment in the history of higher education. Join Jeff and leave the Summit inspired as he charts the course for a transformed educational system ready to embrace cutting-edge technologies that redefine learning.

Dr. Janet Spriggs

Keynote Speaker

Dr. Janet N. Spriggs became the seventh President of Forsyth Technical Community College on January 1, 2019, after a career in the North Carolina Community College System since 1996. She has served as COO at Rowan-Cabarrus Community College and CFO at Carteret Community College. Recognized by the Aspen Institute, she was selected for their Rising Presidential Fellowship in 2018-2019 and the New Presidents Fellowship in 2020.

Rooted in North Carolina values, and always carrying her hometown of Milton in her heart, Dr. Spriggs advocates for community colleges as avenues for educational transformation and economic development. A former community college student herself, she now holds a doctorate from Northeastern University. Her leadership focuses on student success, quality learning, and equitable access to education.

Leading AI Innovation in Higher Education: A President’s Perspective

In an era where AI is reshaping the world, the microcosm of higher education must adapt, beginning with college leaders, to avoid being left behind. Dr.  Spriggs presents a visionary approach to integrating AI within higher education — focusing on innovating and adapting to a rapidly changing landscape. Drawing from Forsyth Tech’s AI Task Force and equitable policy development, Dr. Spriggs will discuss strategies for engaging senior leadership and faculty in AI initiatives. Her presentation underscores the importance of AI in enhancing academic and holistic student support, while also preparing the workforce for the future. Through practical insights and Forsyth Tech’s experiences, attendees will learn effective communication and implementation strategies for AI, ensuring their institutions remain at the forefront of equitable and innovative education. Furthermore, discussions will address challenges related to adopting new technologies, including ethics, ensuring equity and aligning with educational goals. This keynote is a call to action for higher education leaders to unite in their efforts to adapt, innovate, and lead with purpose and integrity, shaping a future that leverages education’s full potential to benefit all.

Featured Speakers

Ardis Kadiu

Founder & CEO, Element451

Jaime Hunt

Chief Marketing Officer, Old Dominion University

Bart Caylor

Founder, The Higher Ed Marketer

Devin Purgason

Executive Director of Marketing & Student Care, Forsyth Technical Community College

Mallory Willsea

VP of Marketing, Element451

Allison Turcio

Assistant Vice President for Enrollment & Marketing, Siena College

Courtney Skiles

Director of Recruiting & Admissions, Trinity Valley Community College

Bryan Gross

Vice President for Enrollment Management, Hartwick College

Eric Range

Vice President of Product, Element451

Shane Baglini

Senior Director, Marketing & Recruitment, Muhlenberg College

Dustin Ramsdell

Community Engagement Lead, Pathify

Daniella Nordin

Senior Engagement Strategist, Element451

Dr. JeanCarlo (JC) Bonilla

Global Chief Analytics Officer,
Vayner Media

Maya Demishkevich

Chief Marketing Officer,
Carroll Community College

Jenny Li Fowler

Director of Social Media Strategy, MIT

Eddie Francis

Principal, Edify Ventures

Brian Piper

Director of Content Strategy and Assessment, University of Rochester

Joseph Heavener

CRM Manager, Trinity Baptist College

Jessica Vaughn

Director, H&W Enrollment & Compliance, Durham Technical Community College

Jeremy Tiers

Vice President of Admissions Services, Tudor Collegiate Strategies

Tina Miller

Executive Director: Creative x Communications, Technology at Arizona State University

Obi Ogbanufe

PhD, Assistant Professor of Information Technology and Decision Sciences, University of North Texas

Michael Bettersworth

Chief Marketing Officer, TSTC

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