Inside Higher Ed, a prominent online news organization focused on the world of higher education, featured ACM’s Institute on College Futures (ICF) this week.
In an article headlined “Budget Building 101,” reporter Kaitlin Mulhere noted that ICF was developed in an effort to “bridge the gulf” between administrators and faculty when it comes to college finances and the economic landscape in which colleges operate.
“Balancing a college budget can be formidable and even disheartening task, especially when the ante goes up and the dollars, well, they’re often level at best,” Mulhere wrote. “It can be just as challenging a task explaining the numbers to those who aren’t familiar with some of the realities or vocabularies of college finances. The problem is, that group can include parents, students, lawmakers and even faculty members…. [ACM] launched the Institute on College Futures (ICF) two years ago as a way to talk finance with faculty of its member colleges.”
ACM President Christopher Welna and Vice President and Director of Faculty Development and Grant Programs Brian Williams talked about ICF with Inside Higher Ed news editor Paul Fain and Mulhere in January at the annual meeting of the American Association of Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) in Washington, DC.
For the article, Mulhere also interviewed Monmouth College history professor Stacey Cordery and Knox College biology professor Stuart Allison about their experiences attending the ICF seminar last summer and how what they learned there has affected their views on budget issues on their own campuses.
Through a set of presentations by four ACM college administrators, the ICF seminars introduce some of the fundamental principles about the economics of higher education and the competition small, liberal arts colleges face in recruiting students, and then move in for a close-up view of the factors and trade-offs that go into creating a typical college budget.
The seminars also include break-out sessions for faculty from individual colleges to begin working on presentations about the issues covered at ICF that they will give to colleagues on their home campuses.
In early January, ACM posted a set of short videos, running about six minutes each, that distill key ideas from the main presentations given at the ICF seminars by four administrators:
- Jill Tiefenthaler (President, Colorado College) on The Economics of Higher Education;
- Scott Bierman (President, Beloit College) on The Tuition Driven School’s Dilemma;
- Michael T. Orr (Krebs Provost & Dean of the Faculty, Lake Forest College) on College Finances 101; and
- David Wheaton (Vice President for Administration & Finance, Macalester College) on Financial Challenges for the Future.
The four-year ICF program, supported by a $250,000 grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, is sponsoring a series of annual summer seminars from 2013 through 2016.
The third seminar will be held on June 22-23, 2015, in Chicago. As was the case with the previous seminars, about 60 faculty representing all 14 ACM member institutions will attend. Participants are nominated by the presidents and academic deans of their colleges and typically include faculty involved in campus leadership positions and committees that participate in budget and planning processes.