Featured Speakers


Thursday Pre-Conference Session, Dr. Norman Anderson

Norman B. Anderson, PhD, trained as a clinical psychologist, has had a wide-ranging career as a national leader, first as a scientist and tenured professor studying health disparities and mind/body health, and later as an executive in government, non-profit, and higher education sectors.

Dr. Anderson is currently Assistant Vice President for Research and Academic Affairs, and Research Professor of Social Work and of Nursing at Florida State University (FSU). In these roles he works with faculty and administrators to advance the research mission of the university and to facilitate the success of emerging academic leaders. A good deal of his time at Florida State is spent working one-on-one with faculty and administrators to help them accomplish their leadership or academic goals. He also designed and leads the yearlong FSU Leadership Development Program for Department Chairs and Associate Deans.

Before joining FSU, Dr. Anderson served for 13 years as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Executive Vice President of the American Psychological Association (APA), and was the second longest-serving CEO in the 125-year history of APA. Among APA’s numerous accomplishments during his tenure, the organization was named one of the top places to work in the Washington, DC area in 2014. Dr. Anderson retired from APA in 2015.

Prior to joining APA, Dr. Anderson was the founding Associate Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in charge of social and behavioral science, and was the first Director of the NIH Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR). At NIH, he facilitated behavioral and social sciences research across all of the Institutes and Centers of the NIH.

In addition to his formal leadership roles, Dr. Anderson served as a tenured associate professor at Duke University and as a professor at the Harvard School of Public Health. He is well-known for his research and writing on health and behavior, and on racial/ethnic and economic health disparities. For his research, service, and leadership, he has received a number of significant awards from scientific societies and universities. Among his numerous honors, in 2012 Anderson was elected to membership in the Institute of Medicine (now the National Academy of Medicine) of the National Academies of Science. In 2013, he was inducted into the Black College Hall of Fame for his work in science. Anderson is also the recipient of four honorary doctorate degrees. In addition to publishing dozens of scientific articles, Dr. Anderson is the author and editor of several books, including serving as editor-in-chief of the two-volume Encyclopedia of Health and Behavior (2003) and as co-editor of Interdisciplinary research: Case studies from health and social science (2008). For over 12 years he was editor-in-chief of APA’s flagship journal, American Psychologist.

As a Certified Professional Coach, Dr. Anderson is Principal of Anderson Leadership Coaching and Consulting, LLC, which builds on his nearly two decades of experience working with and developing senior executives and leaders in complex organizations. He currently has a special interest in using mindfulness, emotional intelligence, and positive psychology (strength-based approaches) to help established and emerging leaders perform at their best. Dr. Anderson is certified in the use of the EQ-i 2.0 measure of emotional intelligence and has training in mindfulness facilitation from the Mindful Awareness Research Center of the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior, at the University of California at Los Angeles. He also has specialized training in The Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership® (also known as The Leadership Challenge), one of the most intensively evaluated approaches to leadership development.

A graduate of North Carolina Central University in Durham, N.C., Anderson earned masters and doctoral degrees in clinical psychology from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. He received additional clinical and research training at the schools of medicine at Brown and Duke Universities, including postdoctoral fellowships in psychophysiology and aging at Duke.

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Dr. Nancy Thomas directs the Institute for Democracy and Higher Education at Tufts University’s Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life, conducting research and working with colleges and universities to advance student political learning and participation in democracy. The Institute’s signature initiative, the National Study of Learning, Voting, and Engagement (NSLVE), is a large dataset for research and provides each of the 1000+ participating U.S. colleges and universities with their students’ aggregate voting rates. Her work and scholarship center on higher education’s democratic mission, campus climates for political learning and engagement, free speech and academic freedom, and deliberative democracy in the classroom, on campuses, and in communities. She is the author of multiple book chapters, articles, and the monograph, Educating for Deliberative Democracy. She is an associate editor of the Journal of Public Deliberation and a senior associate with Everyday Democracy.


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Dr. Hephner LaBanc proudly serves the University of Mississippi as Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, the first woman to hold that position in the university’s history. In this role she has oversight for 15 diverse enrollment and student affairs departments.  In addition to her administrative responsibilities, she also enjoys serving as a faculty member in Ole Miss’ higher education program.  She is highly committed to the holistic development of all students and strives to nurture a scholar-practitioner culture in her work environment.  

Dr. Hephner LaBanc’s background includes an accounting degree from the University of Akron prior to graduate study in Higher Education Administration at Kent State University. She earned her Ed.D. from Northern Illinois University (NIU).  During her career, she has served students in multiple administrative roles at Arizona State University, University of North Carolina at Wilmington, Baldwin-Wallace College, the University of Akron, and NIU.

Her early research focused on the preparation of student affairs professionals and transition issues for graduate students.  She has published work related to campus crisis management and victim support during and after mass tragedy, as well as concealed carry legislation implications for higher education.  She has now turned her attention toward the First Amendment and is working with colleagues at Ole Miss to complete a book this spring on free speech and expression on college campuses.

Among her honors and special recognitions, Hephner LaBanc was inducted into the 2013 Hall of Fame by the College of Education, Health and Human Services at Kent State University and has been recognized for her outstanding service to the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators.  On her own campus she was particularly honored when she received the Lift Every Voice award, a highly regarded diversity honor bestowed by colleague and student nominations. 

Dr. Hephner LaBanc currently resides in Oxford, Mississippi with her partner Dave LaBanc and their lively Doberman Hank LaBanc.  Although they are both Northeast Ohio natives, they have thoroughly enjoyed their move to the Southern part of the United States and enjoy being members of the Ole Miss family.


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Dr. Charles H.F. Davis III is an assistant professor in the Rossier School of Education at the University of Southern California, where he also serves as Chief Strategy Officer and Director of Research for the USC Race and Equity Center. Dr. Davis’ scholarship broadly focuses on issues race and racism in education with a specific focus on advancing racial justice on college and university campuses and beyond. His award winning research on Black student activism in college has been recognized by the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA) and featured in the Chronicle of Higher Education, Inside Higher Ed, Colorlines by Race Forward, and other national media outlets. In partnership with NASPA, Dr. Davis is currently conducting a national study on workplace climate, professional development, and the student affairs profession.

Dr. Davis is a two-time graduate of Florida State University, earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and a Master’s degree in Communications. As an FSU student, Charles was an active student leader within the Black Student Union, Marching Chiefs, Student Senate, and National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC), for which he was awarded both NPHC Man of the Year and NPHC Chapter President of the Year awards in 2006.  After graduating from Florida State, Dr. Davis earned a Master’s in Education from the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education and a Doctor of Philosophy in Higher Education from the University of Arizona.

Interested in past Dalton Institute speakers? Visit the Dalton archives, hosted by the Character Clearinghouse.

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