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University of Phoenix leaders present at PACRAO Annual Conference event focused on advancing knowledge of professionals engaged in enrollment and academic services  

By Michele Mitchum

Administrative leaders shared best practices in student support, employee-led engagement and a range of topics  

Leaders with University of Phoenix joined the proceedings of the Pacific Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (PACRAO) Annual Conference, November 5-8, 2022, in Portland, OR, and contributed to sessions on a range of topics including student support practices, employee-led engagement, project management, digital credentialing, credit for prior learning and holistic well-being.

“University of Phoenix is pleased to have the opportunity to attend the PACRAO Annual Conference and share the many ways in which we are committed to student support and driving innovation in higher education,” states Audra McQuarie, vice president, registrar. “The breadth of knowledge our presenters bring is a testament to our focus on student success and fostering a dynamic and rich learning environment where both students and staff thrive.”

Leadership from the University of Phoenix presented on numerous topics at the PACRAO Annual Conference, including the following: 

  • Marc Booker, Ph.D., Vice Provost of Strategy, led the session, “Foundations of Transfer Credit and CPL” where participants were given an overview of transfer credit and participated in a discussion on transfer credit opportunities and issues facing institutions of higher education. Booker was also one of the closing speakers at the conference giving an “Ed Talk” on the impact of PACRAO on the higher education community.

  • Deslie Ghiorzi, college articulation operations manager, and Lisa Erck, registrar at University of the Pacific, co-led the session, “Thriving Leaders: Balancing Career Growth with Holistic Well-being,” which explored the vital connection between career growth and holistic well-being, with a particular focus on the challenges faced by women when building their careers. 

  • Audra McQuarie, vice president, registrar, led a session titled “RegiSTRATEGY,” an interactive discussion focused on best practices for establishing strategically aligned objectives for a registrar’s office.

  • Laura Schonberger, strategic integration manager, led several sessions during the conference. The first was a discussion titled, “Benefits of Employee-led Engagement within Admissions & Registrar’s Offices,” where participants learned strategies to empower employees to have ownership over their own engagement. She also co-presented the “Allies & Advocates” book club, with content developed by Devin Andrews, vice president, admissions and evaluation. The discussion focused on creating an inclusive and equitable culture and was presented alongside Stanford University’s Sarah Pishny-Foster. Finally, Schonberger led a round-table discussion on Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) in higher education, which focused on best practices, challenges, and opportunities for ERGs.

  • Joe Tate, director, program and policy implementation, led the session, “Project Management in the Registrar’s Office,” which examined an approach to project management focused on best practices in managing smaller-scope projects in higher education administrative settings, and capturing and more effectively conveying externally this skillset for staff and leaders.

Leaders from University of Phoenix are active in leadership roles with PACRAO as well. McQuarie is a past vice president of diversity development of PACRAO and currently serves as Faculty for the Leadership Development Institute. Marc Booker, Ph.D., Vice Provost of Strategy at University of Phoenix, is a past president of PACRAO and serves as Dean for the Leadership Development Institute of PACRAO.  Laura Schonberger currently serves as the vice president, diversity development

The event is intended for higher education professionals from a variety of disciplines, and offers presentations, workshops, and panels featuring presenters from across the Pacific region including Arizona. PACRAO is a non-profit, voluntary, professional association representing more than 350 regionally accredited 2-year, 4-year, and graduate schools with an individual membership of 1,500 professional admissions officers and registrars.  

Learn more here about the Annual Conference of PACRAO.

About University of Phoenix

University of Phoenix innovates to help working adults enhance their careers and develop skills in a rapidly changing world. Flexible schedules, relevant courses, interactive learning, skills-mapped curriculum for our bachelor’s and master’s degree programs and a Career Services for Life® commitment help students more effectively pursue career and personal aspirations while balancing their busy lives. For more information, visit