Women Leading Transformative Change in Higher Education

Posted June 15, 2021

Women Leading Transformative Change in Higher Education

The global higher education sector is at a crossroads, seeking to integrate the ‘best of’ traditional pedagogies and pathways while adapting to critical issues already in play, such as virtual learning, climate change and gender and racial bias.

You are invited to join Georgetown University graduate students, ISEP and the Global Leadership League to learn from respected women leaders who have contributed to global higher education through diverse roles, from university leadership to consulting, research, writing, non-profit and entrepreneurial ventures. Our speakers will share insights on becoming a leader in the field, contributing to transformative change and reigniting global education in a post pandemic world.

Learn more about joining the Global Leadership League.


  • Rajika Bhandari, Nonprofit Executive, International Higher Education Expert, and Author

  • Martha Johnson, Assistant Dean of Learning Abroad, University of Minnesota

  • Dawn Michele Whitehead, Vice President of Global Citizenship for Campus, Community, and Careers, Association of American Colleges and Universities


  • John S. Lucas, President and CEO, ISEP Study Abroad and League Advocate Partner


  • Sarah E. Spencer, OnPoint Global Strategies & Coaching & the Global Leadership League

Moderators & Speaker Bios

Sarah E. Spencer

Sarah is the founder of OnPoint Global Strategies & Coaching, providing positive leadership and solutions with strategy, implementation, training and professional coaching. She is also a founding member of the Global Leadership League’s volunteer-led Executive Team. Sarah has spent her career in global education, including a variety of positions at the University of St. Thomas. She has played an active role in the sector by serving in past positions, such as NAFSA, the Forum on Education Abroad and CIEE’s Academic Consortium Board.

Martha Johnson

Dr. Martha Johnson is the Assistant Dean for Learning Abroad at the University of Minnesota and oversees one of the largest education abroad offices in the US. She has worked in international education since 1991 for organizations and institutions in the US, Ireland, Australia, and the United Kingdom. Her experience includes on-site program management, teaching of short-term programs, program development and marketing, and management. She has presented on numerous sessions and workshops at national and international conferences, consults with universities internationally, served in a variety of leadership positions in NAFSA, the Forum on Education Abroad, The Fund for Education Abroad and the Global Leadership League, and authored numerous articles and publication chapters on topics relating to international education. She is currently serving on the Board of Directors for ISEP Study Abroad and the Forum on Education Abroad. She holds a PhD in American Studies from the University of East Anglia (UK).

Rajika Bhandari

Dr. Rajika Bhandari is the author of the forthcoming book, America Calling: A Foreign Student in a Country of Possibility. A scholar-practitioner in international higher education, her work has spanned the nonprofit, private and higher education sectors and 22 countries. She is the founder of Rajika Bhandari Advisors and currently serves as a Senior Advisor to the Presidents’ Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration. She previously led the IC3 Institute as its President and CEO, and spent over a decade at the Institute of International Education leading its thought leadership initiatives and its global research and impact studies on student and scholar mobility.

Dawn Michele Whitehead

Dr. Dawn Michele Whitehead is the Vice President of the Office of Global Citizenship for Campus, Community, and Careers at the Association of American College and Universities (AAC&U). Her work focuses on advancing practices and strategies to integrate global and experiential learning across curricular and co-curricular initiatives. Previously she served as the Director of Curriculum Internationalization with teaching responsibilities at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis and as the faculty director for global service-learning programs. Dr. Whitehead serves on The Forum on Education Abroad Board and the Indiana University Center for the Study of Global Change Advisory Board. She was recently named to the Institute for International Education’s National Academy for International Education.

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