From left to right) Austin Opfer, Jeff Thompson, Carson Perry, Chris Hahn

Winona State’s Leadership Education graduate program gains international prominence in presenting academic research to higher education representatives from over 22 countries in the 2018 Clute International Conference in Washington D.C. from April 8-11, 2018. The WSU contingent to the conference held in Washington, DC included two WSU alumni, two currently enrolled graduate students, one adjunct faculty member and a leadership education faculty member.

The Clute Institute publishes and promotes leading research in multiple disciplines from all over the world and has been doing so for over 30 years.

Graduate program alumni Chris Hahn and Carson Perry offered academic research and served as session chairs for the duration of the conference. Clute invited Hahn to present as a keynote speaker with his work, “The Evolving Role of Higher Education in Workforce Development” while Perry offered his research, “Crucial Components for Undergraduate Student Leadership Development Programs” to a leadership session in the conference.

Hahn states, “As a recent graduate of the WSU Leadership Education program, it was a tremendous honor to be invited as the keynote speaker!  The Clute Institute conferences provide an excellent opportunity to present your research to colleagues from all over the world and meaningfully engage with the international community of learners. This conference also offered the unique opportunity for both Carson and me as Alumni to support the scholarship efforts of our current WSU graduate students at the international level.”

Current graduate students Austin Opfer and Jeff Thompson presented academic research titled, “Graduate Student Persistence in Academia, When Student Perspective Matters” in a session pertaining to student success.

“I couldn’t be happier with how we did. We had terrific follow up questions to facilitate a discussion and received great feedback from higher education professionals from all over the world! DC was incredible and it provided us invaluable professional experience,” states Opfer.

Leadership Education Professor Dr. Barbara Holmes oversaw the Winona group as the lead contributor and advisor for all the participants research and presentations. Additionally, Holmes holds a board member position with the Clute Institution.

(From left to right) Jeff Thompson, Dr. Barbara Holmes, Austin Opfer, Chris Hahn

“WSU is earning its rightful place on the world stage of global research as leadership education students embrace the commitment to generate new knowledge and ideas to improve learning and organizational leadership,” said Holmes.

The Clute Institute was founded in 1985 and has since published over 9,000 high quality academic journal manuscripts in their 19 academic journals and sponsor excellent academic conferences. In 2017, Forbes lead that 72 of the top 100 US colleges have been represented at Clute Conferences or in Clute Publications.

For more information contact Barbara Holmes at

To learn more about Clute or for your research to be considered visit the Clute Institute website.