Meet Our 2020 Learning Partners

Facing a Disruptive Future

Technology is changing at an exponential rate that is disrupting many sectors, including higher education. As we face a disruptive future, we are asking our 2020 learning partners:

  • What does it mean to be prepared and have a new emphasis on continuous learning?
  • What are growth mindset behaviors?
  • What is an exponential institution?
  • What is exponential leadership?
  • How can leadership respond to an increasing need to look at the big picture to address the institutions' wider ecosystem impact and build a competitive strategy
  • What do we need to know about how work is changing in response to the emergence of new technologies, new business practices, and new workers?

Download DRAFT agenda »

Key Dates:

  • CEO Forum & Reps Meeting: March 4–6, 2020
  • Summer Institute: July 29-August 1, 2020

2020 Learning Partners:

Higher education leaders face challenges with funding, global competition, keeping up with a connected world and legacy systems, and supporting a diverse set of students who are mobile. Microsoft, one of the greatest technological innovators of our time, develops smart technology solutions that help solve those challenges and transform so campuses can thrive.

David Gibson
Higher Education Partner Strategy Leader

David Gibson is currently working with Microsoft colleagues to empower everyone to learn more. He is a leader, product manager, account manager, and sales executive with a proven track record for communicating the value of technology solutions and customizing the capabilities of various systems to the needs of particular customers. He has a passion for applying computer technology to business and customer problems with more than twenty years experience in the education market vertical. He has demonstrated success in many facets of business, particularly in technology sales and product management.

Connect with David on LinkedIn »

Elizabeth Hayes Stovall, MBA, EdM
Higher Education Audience Strategy Leader

Uniquely skilled professional with experience in marketing, higher education, engineering, and technology management; demonstrated success developing and managing complex programs in multiple environments, facilitating mutually beneficial collaboration among diverse stakeholders, leading cross-functional teams, and delivering innovative and entrepreneurial solutions to operational challenges.

Connect with Elizabeth on LinkedIn »

Dr. Darrel Staat
Author & Past Community College President

Dr. Darrel Staat hails from Michigan, where he received his doctorate in English from the University of Michigan, his master’s degree in English from Western Michigan University, and his bachelor’s degree with a major in English from Hope College in Holland. Michigan.

Since 2015 he has held the position of Coordinator and Assistant Professor of the Higher Education Executive Leadership Program (HEEL) at Wingate University in Wingate North Carolina. He teaches six graduate courses and administers the HEEL program. During 2014 he taught online courses at the undergraduate and graduate levels.

In October 2013, he retired from the position of President of the South Carolina Technical College System in Columbia S.C., a position he held for over three years. Previously, he served as President of Central Virginia Community College in Lynchburg Virginia for eleven years.

Before that, he served for five years as founding President of York County Community College in Wells, Maine and four years as President of Eastern Maine Community College in Bangor, Maine. While President of those various institutions, he was highly involved in local economic development and community affairs serving in leadership positions on a considerable number of local boards.

As a community college faculty member he spent four years at Southwestern Michigan College in Dowagiac, Michigan. As an administrator he spent four years at Northeastern Technical College in Cheraw South Carolina and 13 years at Florence Darlington Technical College in South Carolina. He also taught courses at Coker University, Francis Marion University and Limestone College in South Carolina.

His books, Exponential Technologies and Facing an Exponential Future: Technology and the Community College, bring awareness to community college administrators and faculty to the recent technological developments, such as Artificial Intelligence, autonomous vehicles, personal robots, 3-D printing, the Internet of Things, nanotechnology, genome research, bitcoin, and quantum computing. These technologies will require radical change in the operation of community colleges.

Connect with Darrel on LinkedIn »



Longtime AFIT member Howard Community College (HCC), of Columbia, Maryland, is a 2019 recipient of the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award in the category of education. HCC has followed the Baldrige framework in its quest for performance excellence since 2005, systematically focusing on increasing completion among all its students.

President Kate Hetherington and the HCC team have made great strides in closing the achievement gap, increasing completion, and preparing students for the workforce. The College has increased its graduation rate by 168% within two years of entry, from the 2008 to the 2017 entering cohorts of first-time-to-college students and tripled the graduation rates for first-time-to-college Black/African American and Hispanic/Latino students within two years of entry. HCC’s growth rate of more than 100 percent for associate degrees awarded for over 10 years consistently outperforms its peers. Additionally, 100 percent of graduates in the areas of nursing, radiologic technology, dental hygiene, medical laboratory technician, diagnostic medical sonography, emergency medical services, and physical therapy assistant found employment after graduating.

Kate Hetherington headshot2

Dr. Kate Hetherington

Zoe Irvin Howard CC Headshot

Zoe Irvin
Executive Director, Planning, Research & Organizational Development

Connect with Zoe on LinkedIn »

Established by the technology services company Cognizant, the Center for the Future of Work examines how work is changing, and will change, in response to the emergence of new technologies, new business practices, and new workers. The Center provides original research and analysis of work trends and dynamics and collaborates with a wide range of business and technology thinkers and academics about what the future of work will look like as technology changes so many aspects of our working lives.

Learning partner to be announced.


The United States Air Force operates some of the most sophisticated technological systems in the world, and the Air Force Academy is responsible for providing it with high quality officers to meet its future needs. Given its unique mission, few organizations are as adept at transforming their approach to education and developing innovations to support transformation as the Air Force Academy.

Lieutenant General Jay B. Silveria is the Superintendent of the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado. He directs a four-year regimen of military training, academics, athletic, and character development programs leading to a Bachelor of Science degree and a commission as a second lieutenant. As a learning partner, he will teach us how the Academy understands and prepares for rapidly changing technology, and how you can do the same at your organization.

Connect with Jay on LinkedIn »

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