Institute on College Futures (ICF), a program designed to inform faculty at ACM colleges about the economic and financial challenges that affect their institutions, will hold its second seminar on June 18-20 in Chicago. A total of 55 faculty from across the ACM have been nominated by their presidents and academic deans to participate in the event.
“The first ICF seminar last summer certainly was successful,” said David Schodt, ACM Senior Program Officer for Faculty and Staff Development Programs, who leads ICF and is one of the organizers of the seminar. “But we’re always interested in improving the experience for the faculty participants and, based on the feedback we received from the first seminar, we’re adding hands-on sessions this year aimed at increasing the active engagement of participants.”
Institute on College Futures is a four-year program funded by a $250,000 grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The program’s seminars are particularly intended for faculty involved in campus leadership and with committees that participate in budget and planning processes.
According to Schodt, ICF aims to provide a context that can help participants step outside the details of their own institutions and gain an understanding of how larger economic and financial forces can shape local decision-making at the liberal arts colleges.
Another goal of the seminars is to give faculty a framework and language for sharing their understanding of college finances with their colleagues on campus. “The hands-on work we’ll be asking them to do at the seminar is intended to help the faculty build at least the beginnings of a presentation that they can take back to their own campuses and use,” Schodt said.
The ICF seminar in June will be a combination of presentations interspersed with discussions and workshop sessions in which participants will engage with case studies and college financial data to dig deeper into the concepts presented.
Two ACM college presidents, both economists, will give presentations to begin the seminar. Jill Tiefenthaler (Colorado College) will open with an overview of the economics of higher education, which is a focus of her scholarly research, and Scott Bierman (Beloit College) will follow with a session focusing on specific challenges faced by liberal arts colleges.
The next pair of presentations, by Michael Orr (Provost and Dean of the Faculty, Lake Forest College) and David Wheaton (Vice President for Administration and Finance, Macalester College), will go into the nuts and bolts of the financial model of ACM institutions and the dynamics of that model over time.
During the final morning of the seminar, the faculty will break into their campus teams and begin preparing presentations based on the materials from the seminar and tailored to their own institution’s situation.
“The expectation is that all the participants will return home and give a presentation based on what they’ve learned at ICF to their president or academic dean,” said Schodt. “Then they will follow that up with presentations to other groups of colleagues at their colleges.”