Premiering at the 2015 ACPA convention, the Idea Generator is an interactive, dynamic approach to considering potential solutions or ways of addressing a broad area of concern in our field. This year’s topic is #frompreptopractice: Narrowing the Gap Between What We Learn and What We Do. Facilitated by a “provocateur,” the conversation will begin with a well-regarded panel of faculty and practitioners. After the dialogue is rolling along, members of the audience who have something to contribute can “tap-out” a current panel member to take their seat and join the conversation on the platform! This ever-evolving panel will help us consider new perspectives about this complex issue and perhaps create new ways forward to address it.

Panelists include Bob Reason, Patty Perillo, Joan Hirt, Vasti Torres, John Dugan, Donna Lee, and Jill Carnaghi.


Episode Host

Tony Doody

Tony Doody

Tony Doody has over 25 years of practical experience and oversight in senior leadership positions within the Higher Education industry in the areas of Facilities Management, New Student Orientation, Recreation, Parent and Family Programs, Leadership and Training, Marketing and Communications, Adult Learning, and Major Events and Programs. He currently serves as the Director of Student Centers at the University of Delaware. Over the last six years, Tony has presented at over thirty universities and national conferences on topics of innovation, digital leadership, technology, and unconventional leadership. He received the Diamond Honoree Award from the ACPA Foundation, the highest honor of the American College Personnel Association, recognizing transformative contributions to the field (2017) and earned NASPA's 2017 Technology Emerging Practice Award. In addition, Tony has worked over 20 years as a consultant in the areas of executive coaching, leadership development, presentation skills, risk-taking, innovation, social media, conflict resolution, and team cohesiveness. Past clients include J&J, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Vistakon, Navigant, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, United Way, Merrill Lynch, Tumi International, and Aventis Pharmaceuticals.


Dr. John P. Dugan

John currently serves as an Associate Professor in the Higher Education graduate program at Loyola University Chicago where he teaches courses on leadership, student development theory, and multiculturalism for social justice. John’s research interests focus on the influences of higher education in shaping college students’ involvement and leadership development with a specific emphasis on marginalized voices and ideas. John currently serves as the Principal Investigator for the Multi-Institutional Study of Leadership (MSL), an international research program examining the influences of higher education on socially responsible leadership and other educational outcomes (e.g., efficacy, resilience, social perspective-taking, identity development). To date more than 250 institutions in the United States, Canada, Mexico, and Jamaica have participated in the study yielding over 300,000 college student participants. John’s research has generated 24 printed or in press publications (e.g., refereed articles, books, and book chapters), more than 60 presentations at national and international conferences. John is a past recipient of the ACPA: College Educators International Burns B. Crookston Doctoral Research Award, Nevitt Sanford Award for Research in Student Affairs, and was named an Emerging Professional Annuit Coeptis. Additionally, the National Association for Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA) recognized John as the Melvene Hardee Dissertation of the Year Runner Up and the NASPA Knowledge Community for Student Leadership awarded him the 2009 award for Outstanding Student Leadership Research.


Dr. Robert Reason

Robert Reason is Professor of Student Affairs and Higher Education at Iowa State University. He serves as the Program Coordinator of Iowa State’s Student Affairs program, in which he teaches courses related to student development theories, college student outcomes, social justice issues, and assessment in student affairs. Reason served as Assistant and Associate professor at Penn State University from 2003 to 2011, where he was also a Senior Research Associate in Penn State’s Center for the Study of Higher Education. He recently completed (with Patrick Terenzini) two comprehensive studies of first-year student learning outcomes at over 45 colleges and universities, and a third (with Bradley Cox), that included over 50 more colleges and universities. In 2012, he co-authored (with Kristen Renn) a text, published by Jossey-Bass Publishers, titled College Students in the United States: Characteristics, Experiences, and Outcomes. This text has been widely adopted among higher education and student affairs graduate programs as a primary text for student outcomes courses.

Dr. Reason is the Director of the Personal and Social Responsibility Inventory (PSRI), an ongoing research project in collaboration with the Association of American Colleges and Universities’ (AAC&U). The Personal and Social Responsibility Inventory (PSRI) is designed to revitalize and lead a national conversation about higher education’s role in developing college students’ sense of personal and social responsibility, help campuses assess and refine environments that encourage such development, and engage students in activities that encourage them to fulfill their obligations in academic, campus, and global communities. Dr. Reason focuses much of his research and scholarship on the importance of personal and social responsibility in today’s higher education contexts.


Dr. Vasti Torres

Vasti Torres is Dean of the College of Education at the University of South Florida in Tampa. Prior to the Dean position she was Professor of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies and Director of the Center for Postsecondary Research (CPR) in the School of Education at Indiana University. Before becoming a faculty member, she had 15 years of experience in administrative positions most recently serving as Associate Vice Provost and Dean for Enrollment and Student Services at Portland State University. She has been the Principle Investigator for several grants including a multi-year grant investigating the choice to stay in college for Latino students as well as a multi-year grant looking at the experiences of working college students. She has worked on several community college initiatives including Achieving the Dream, Rural Community College Initiative, and Building Engagement and Attainment for Minority Students initiative. She has authored or co-authored over 50 articles, chapters, and books; directed 11 dissertations and given over 35 keynote addresses at professional conferences. Currently she is the Associate Editor of the Journal of College Student Development. She is active in several higher education and student affairs associations and in 2007 – 2008 she became the first Latina president of a national student services association – ACPA.


She has been honored as a Diamond Honoree, Senior Scholar, Wise Woman, and the Latino Network John Hernandez Leadership Award by the American College Personnel Association. Other honors include the Contribution to Literature and Knowledge Award from NASPA, Professional Achievement Alumni Award from the University of Georgia, and Program Associate for the National Center for Policy in Higher Education. In 2008 she received the Indiana University Trustees Teaching Award. In 2011-2013 she served as a Fulbright Specialist in South Africa. Dr. Torres is a graduate of Stetson University and holds a Ph.D. from The University of Georgia.


Dr. Patty Perillo

Dr. Patricia A. Perillo is Vice President for Student Affairs and Assistant Professor of Higher Education at Virginia Tech. She provides leadership and oversight for the 24 departments and 3 administrative units in the Division of Student Affairs. She oversees a budget of nearly $150 million, a staff of approximately 3,400 employees, and has responsibility for more than 30 percent of the physical capital on campus.

Prior to her work at Virginia Tech, Patty served as associate dean of students at Davidson College and assistant vice president for student affairs at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC). Additional professional experience includes work at the University of Maryland, College Park; State University of New York at both the Plattsburgh and Albany campuses; and, the University of Delaware.

As a transformative leader in higher education for the past 25 years, Dr. Perillo has been actively engaged in all aspects of college life and has had the privileged opportunity to lead and serve in every functional area within a division of student affairs. She has also worked in academic affairs, and is a champion of innovative collaborations between academic and student affairs. She obtained her doctoral degree from the University of Maryland, College Park and her master’s and bachelor’s degrees from the University of Delaware.

As a result of her relational, collaborative, and inclusive leadership, Patty was elected to serve as president for ACPA-College Student Educators International. She has served the profession in other capacities including: 2011 ACPA Convention Chair; ACPA and National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA) Consolidation Steering Committee; ACPA/NASPA Professional Competencies Task Force, and, the ACPA Foundation.

She has received many honors and awards including: ACPA’s Esther Lloyd Jones Professional Service Award; ACPA’s Diamond Honoree Award; and, induction into Phi Kappa Phi and Omicron Delta Kappa.

In her free time, Dr. Perillo enjoys spending time with her wonderful family and close community of friends, and engaging in the arts, athletic events, outdoor activities, prayer and reflection, music, reading, and entertaining.


Donna A. Lee

A native New Yorker, Donna A. Lee received her B.A. from the University of Tampa and her M.Ed. in Counseling from Boston University. She served in the U.S. Army for 9 years, earning the rank of Captain. She discovered her passion for higher education and her vocation as a Student Affairs professional when she accepted a position at Rollins College in 1996. Her passion for her work is fueled by the affinity she has for students and their learning. She served the Rollins College community for 12 years, In 2008, her professional journey took her to Agnes Scott College, a private liberal arts college for women, where she serves as the Vice President for Student Life & Dean of Students. She is driven by the institution’s mission to educate, empower, and liberate young women as they find, raise, and place their voices in pursuit of the common good in our world. She has presented numerous workshops on topics related to diversity, leadership, organizational development, and community engagement, and she has worked with the Anti-Defamation League, the National Conference for Community and Justice, and the Human Rights Council. A proud mother, Donna receives daily inspiration from her 16 year old son, Jonathan, who continually reminds her of the importance of reflection, integrity, and authenticity.


Dr. Joan HIrt

Joan B. Hirt is Professor of Higher Education Administration in the Department Leadership, Counseling and Research at Virginia Tech. She has also served as the Interim Director of the School of Education and Interim Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences at the University.

Dr. Hirt earned a B.A. in Russian Studies from Bucknell University (1972), a M.A.Ed. in College Student Personnel Services from the University of Maryland, College Park (1979), and a Ph.D. in Higher Education Policy and Administration from the University of Arizona (1992). She served in a series of administrative leadership positions at universities in California and Arizona before joining the faculty ranks at Virginia Tech in 1994.

Dr. Hirt’s research examines administrative life at different types of colleges and universities. She has conducted studies on leaders at research universities, liberal arts colleges, community and technical colleges, Hispanic serving institutions, and historically Black Colleges and universities, to name a few. In particular, she is interested in the specialization and professionalization of administration in the academy. She has published four books and more than 50 articles, book chapters, and other publications. Dr. Hirt has presented over 100 papers and workshops at regional, national and international conferences. She has directed 60 student theses and dissertations.

Her work has been recognized through awards from the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators, the University of Maryland, ACPA-International, the American College and University Housing Officers-International, and the Association of Fraternity Advisors, among others.


Dr. Jill E. Carnaghi

Jill E. Carnaghi is the Assistant Vice President at Saint Louis University. She is very interested in new professionals’ transition to their first job and has had multiple roles in ACPA, including President from 2000-2001.