Joanne Soliday

Founding Partner and Owner, Credo

Joanne Soliday is a higher education strategic planning specialist with over 30 years’ experience on college and university campuses. Following leadership positions on two college campuses, Joanne became a founding partner of Credo, a comprehensive higher education consulting firm. Since 2001, Joanne has had the privilege of working with more than 250 independent colleges and universities. Her work with these institutions inspired her to author “Surviving to Thriving: A Planning Framework for Leaders of Private Colleges and Universities.” Her book is being used nationally to empower college leadership teams in planning for their future. Joanne recently penned a second book with co-author and Maryville University President Mark Lombardi, entitled “PIVOT: A Vision For The New University,” due to be released in late 2018.

Joanne is a presenter and keynote speaker at higher education conferences across the country and feels enlivened to be engaged in many formal relationships as a strategic advisor to independent college presidents. In addition to her undergraduate degree from West Virginia Wesleyan College, she also earned a M.Ed. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and has pursued divinity studies at Duke University. Joanne is an ordained minister and serves as a pastor and elder at St. Mark’s Church in Burlington, NC.

In 2016, Joanne was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters by her alma mater.


Publication Date: February 2019

The news sure looks bad: rapidly shifting student demographics, the ever-increasing speed of technological innovation, and extreme legislative and public pressure are squeezing colleges and universities into a lose-lose race toward irrelevancy. Detailed in countless articles and books, the challenges faced by institutions of higher learning in the U.S. are varied and weighty.

But higher education is far from doomed. It is at this inflection point in which independent colleges and universities have the opportunity to revolutionize higher education. It is time to pivot towards a new university, one that radically refocuses structure and pedagogy on students and their learning; reimagines the foundational institutional structures of leadership, tenure, and the higher education business model; and produces national examples for access and inclusion. In an industry notoriously slow to adapt and evolve, leaders of colleges and universities must act quickly and decisively, committing to a monumental shift to educate students for a world that we cannot yet see: a leap-frog into relevancy that higher education has never experienced. Authors Joanne Soliday and Dr. Mark Lombardi, with their combined decades in higher education leadership and consulting, explicate a picture of possibility for the future of independent colleges and universities, one rooted in the essential value of a liberal arts education that brings students to their highest potential. It is the critical reimagining of how that education is shaped that guides a vision for the new university.

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