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New Normal for Higher Education: Understanding and Embracing an Aging Society

Andrew Flagel, PhDPresenter:

Andrew Flagel PhD: President and CEO - the Consortium of Universities of the Washington Metropolitan Area

Andrew Flagel is President and CEO of the Consortium of Universities of the Washington Metropolitan Area. The Consortium represents and fosters collaboration among its 17 colleges and universities. Enrolling nearly 300,000 students each year, collectively Consortium institutions are the largest non-government employer in the region. With course-sharing agreements for over ninety years, the Consortium today is one of the world’s foremost educational collaboratives.

Flagel received his undergraduate and master’s degrees from Consortium member George Washington University, where he served as a regional director of admissions before being appointed as director of admissions for the Congressional Youth Leadership Council. He later received his PhD from Michigan State University’s prestigious program in Higher, Adult, and Lifelong Education while serving as a director in Flint for the University of Michigan, focusing his research on access and inclusion.

James ApplebyPresenter:

James Appleby, BSPharm, MPH, ScD (Hon): CEO, Gerontological Society of America

James C. Appleby, BSPharm, MPH, ScD (Hon), is the Chief Executive Officer of The Gerontological Society of America (GSA), the nation's largest interdisciplinary organization devoted to research, education, and practice in the field of aging. The Society works to advance innovation in aging and disseminate information among scientists, clinicians, policy makers, and the public. He is leading the Society’s current initiative to “reframe aging” in America by fostering accurate narratives of aging to replace the outdated “conventional wisdom” that dominates public understanding. The 5,500-member Society is advancing major initiatives related to improving adult immunization rates, earlier detection of cognitive impairment, improving oral health, and demonstrating the impact of the longevity economy. Appleby also is currently serving a four-year term on the National Advisory Council on Aging after being appointed by the U.S. Secretary for Health and Human Services. Prior to joining GSA, he had a 17-year career with the American Pharmacists Association (APhA) where he served in a variety of roles before being appointed Chief Operating Officer. Before joining APhA, he was on faculty at the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy and Science (PCPS). Appleby holds a bachelor of science degree in pharmacy from PCPS and a master of public health degree from Temple University. He has been awarded an honorary Doctor of Science degree from the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia.

Nancy Morrow-HowellPresenter:

Nancy Morrow-Howell, PhD, MSW: Bettie Bofinger Brown Distinguished Professor of Social Policy, Brown School, and Director of the Harvey A. Friedman Center For Aging, Washington University

Dr. Morrow-Howell is the director of the Harvey A. Friedman Center for Aging. Her area of scholarship is the productive engagement of older adults. In the face of population aging, she wants to find ways that we shape social policies and programs to optimally engage the growing human capital of the older population, for the sake of society and older adults themselves. Dr. Morrow-Howell’s research, advocacy and educational efforts have centered around changing work environments and employment policies to enable people to work longer; restructuring educational institutions so that individuals can educate themselves across the life course; enabling older adults to engage in volunteer and service work; and supporting caregiving to facilitate involvement and reduce negative effects.

Debra WhitmanPresenter:

Debra Whitman PhD: Executive Vice President and Chief Public Policy Officer, AARP

Dr. Whitman is an authority on aging issues with extensive experience in national policymaking, domestic and international research, and the political process. An economist, she is a strategic thinker whose career has been dedicated to solving problems affecting economic and health security, and other issues related to population aging.As staff director for the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging, she worked across the aisle to increase retirement security, lower the cost of health care, protect vulnerable seniors, safeguard consumers, make the pharmaceutical industry more transparent, and improve our nation’s long term care system.

Before that, Dr. Whitman worked for the Congressional Research Service as a specialist in the economics of aging. She provided members of Congress and their staff with research and advice, and authored analytical reports on the economic impacts of current policies affecting older Americans, as well as the distributional and intergenerational effects of legislative proposals. From 2001 to 2003, she served as a Brookings LEGIS Fellow to the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions. Earlier in her career, she conducted research on savings and retirement for the Social Security Administration, helping to establish the Retirement Research Consortium and serving as the founding editor of the Perspectives section of the Social Security

Laura GitlinlPresenter:

Laura N. Gitlin, PhD, FGSA, FAAN Dean and Distinguished University ProfessorCollege of Nursing and Health Professions, Drexel University

Laura N. Gitlin, PhD, an applied research sociologist, is the dean of the College of Nursing and Health Professions at Drexel University. Gitlin is nationally and internationally recognized for her research on developing, evaluating and implementing novel home and community-based interventions that improve quality of life of persons with dementia and their family caregivers, enhance daily function of older adults with disability and address mental health disparities. She is a well-funded researcher, having received continuous research and training grants from federal agencies and private foundations for over 35 years.

Dean Gitlin is also Executive Director of the College of Nursing and Health Professions’ AgeWell Collaboratory, a center without walls to bring together researchers, community-based organizations and educators to disrupt the traditional healthcare system’s approach towards caring for older adults in order to pave the way for new, proven strategies that improve healthy aging across the lifespan. The AgeWell Collaboratory is developing innovative approaches to:

  1. Prepare clinicians in all disciplines to address the needs of a diverse and growing older population.
  2. Generate and test novel solutions for enhancing the everyday life of all of us as we age.
  3. Disseminate new, evidence-based knowledge and care models via community engagement strategies and a wide range of professional activities and different outlets.

Rose Ann DiMaria-GhaliliPresenter:

Rose Ann DiMaria-Ghalili, PhD, RN, FASPEN, FAAN, FGSA; College of Nursing & Health Professions, Drexel Univerrsity

Rose Ann DiMaria-Ghalili, PhD, blends her passion for nursing, the older adult, and nutrition into a strong body of interdisciplinary research which impacts practice. Dr. DiMaria-Ghalili’s efforts are recognized nationally across disciplines (nursing, nutrition, medicine, and engineering) and contexts (research, practice, and policy).

Dr. DiMaria-Ghalili is principal investigator of the Cell2Society Aging Research Network, a Drexel Area of Research Excellence (DARE). The Cell2Society network brings together over 30 faculty across 10 colleges and schools at Drexel University. Members are nationally and internationally recognized researchers engaging in aging scholarship from “cell to society”. The focus of our work is to 1) Engage stakeholders to jointly participate in the research enterprise, from idea inception, to evaluation and implementation of evidence; 2) Collaborate to build an infrastructure for age-related research through team science, use of innovative methods that foster and support engagement among researchers, scholars, students, and stakeholders with interest and expertise in aging from the cellular level to communities and beyond. 3) Develop, (and implement) person-centered studies that matter most to older adults through interdisciplinary use-inspired transdisciplinary and translational approaches in the thematic areas of high relevance to older individual, their families, healthcare and payment systems, communities and policy makers: (a) preventing and managing chronic conditions, (b) enhancing active and purposeful living, and (c) enabling aging in place in home and communities.

Ayana Allen-HandyPresenter:

Ayana Allen-Handy, PhD: Assistant Professor of Urban Education & Director; The Justice-oriented Youth (JoY) Education Lab - Drexel University School of Education

Ayana Allen-Handy, PhD is an Assistant Professor of Urban Education and the Founder and Director of The Justice-oriented (JoY)Youth Education Lab in the School of Education at Drexel University. A native Philadelphian and former elementary school teacher and high school counselor, Dr. Allen-Handy’s career has been dedicated to social justice in urban schools and communities. Her research explores the lived experiences of students in urban schools, urban teacher education, and the socio-political context of urban schools. Her project-based research approach is driven by Youth-led and Community-led Participatory Action Research, a co-constructed research process that centers the experiences, cultural ways of knowing and being, and expertise of an intergenerational team of youth and community researchers.

Dr. Allen-Handy was a Post-Doctoral Fellow of the Urban Education Collaborative at UNC Charlotte, and received her PhD in Urban Education from Texas A&M University, a MEd from the University of St. Thomas in Houston, TX, and a BA from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Carol Richardson McCulloughPresenter:

Carol Richardson McCullough: Founding Member, Writers Room

Carol Richardson McCullough is a Founding Member of Writers Room who has been an integral part of each stage of the program’s growth—from its regular programming to the NEA-funded festival celebrating the life and work of Zora Neale Hurston to TRIPOD, an intergenerational photo-essay project. Her work as Cultural Liaison has helped forge partnerships with institutions including The Free Library of Philadelphia and Mural Arts Philadelphia. Her work as a researcher on the Corporation for National and Community Service study utilizes her expertise as a writer and her experience as a secondary language arts teacher. Holding a BA in Language Arts, Marshall University ’76, she is Old School. Vintage. Currently she is checking her receipts and writing it all down.


An aging society brings unique challenges to as well as opportunities for all facets of society including Colleges and Universities. Higher Education institutions will be challenged as they navigate the significant, and permanent, demographic transformation underway as the American population ages. This demographic shift of consumers of education will change campuses from the traditional “youthful” undergraduate and graduate student body to a community of adults across all life stages. This expanded life course requires re-envisioning the role of Colleges and Universities, continuous re-engineering of career trajectories, helping people find purpose and meaning in each life stage, and developing flexible pathways for lifelong engagement in learning. In keeping with the 2020 Assessment conference subtheme on diversity and inclusion, this preconference workshop will provide participants with examples of how to include age diversity in their thinking and thereby transform the “demographic cliff” into a “demographic lift.” This engaging preconference will introduce participants to national trends and best practices in creating an age-diverse and age-inclusive campus that will prepare graduates for success in the 21st century.

Learning Outcomes:

At the end of this workshop, participants will be able to:

  1. Describe the impact of an aging society on the university ecosystem;
  2. Identify learning opportunities to prepare individuals for lifelong engagement in learning;
  3. Review national trends and movements to promote an Age-Friendly and Age-Diverse campus environment; and
  4. Discuss practices to reframe aging in academia from the demographic cliff to the demographic lift.