ACM’s Institute on College Futures (ICF), a four-year project that aims to build a deeper understanding among consortial faculty about college finances and the economic challenges facing liberal arts colleges, will begin with a seminar on June 19-21 in Chicago.
The first of several events sponsored by ICF, the seminar will gather four faculty participants from each ACM institution, particularly drawn from campus leadership and committees that participate in budget and planning processes. The campus delegations will be nominated by the presidents and chief academic officers at ACM colleges.
Funded by a generous grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Institute was conceived as a way to inform and support on-campus discussion, strategy development, and decision-making through the colleges’ structures of shared governance.
“One of the main goals of this opening seminar is to draw a ‘big picture’ view of the economics and finances of higher education, especially the liberal arts sector,” according to David Schodt, ACM Senior Program Officer for Faculty & Staff Development Programs, who is working with the ICF Steering Committee to organize the seminar.
“Faculty arrive at their colleges as experts in their own disciplinary areas,” he said, “but few come with the knowledge and skills needed to allow them to participate effectively in shared governance, particularly as economic and demographic changes present growing challenges to the liberal arts colleges. The seminar is designed to provide the background so participants can step outside the particulars of their own institutions to gain an understanding of how these forces shape their local decision-making.”
Another goal of the seminar is for participants to gain a framework and language for sharing their understanding of college finances with their colleagues on campus, Schodt noted.
The keynote address for the seminar will be given by Cornell University’s Ronald G. Ehrenberg, Irving M. Ives Professor of Industrial and Labor Relations (ILR) and Economics and Director of the Cornell Higher Education Research Institute.
Ehrenberg’s recent research has focused on higher education issues. He is the author of Tuition Rising: Why College Costs So Much (Harvard University Press, 2002) and editor of American University: National Treasure or Endangered Species (Cornell University Press, 1997) and Governing Academia (Cornell University Press, 2004).
In 2003, ILR-Cornell awarded Ehrenberg the General Mills Foundation Award for Exemplary Undergraduate Teaching, and two years later he was named a Stephen H. Weiss Presidential Fellow, Cornell’s highest award for undergraduate teaching.
The seminar will include three half-day sessions, focusing on the economics, financial models, and governance issues at liberal arts colleges.
- Two ACM college presidents, Scott Bierman from Beloit College and Jill Tiefenthaler from Colorado College, will lead the session on the economics of liberal arts colleges. Both are economists who taught before moving into administrative positions, and Tiefenthaler’s specialty is the economics of education.
- David Wheaton, Chief Financial Officer at Macalester College, will join Lake Forest College Provost and Dean Michael Orr in leading the discussion on the liberal arts college financial model.
- The seminar will wrap up with a session on college governance led by Elizabeth McKinsey, Professor of English and former Dean at Carleton College, and Associate Provost Frank Boyd from Illinois Wesleyan University.