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National Challenge for Higher Education Conference


July 31, 2014 8:00 AM


As part of the National Challenge for Higher Education, the American Council on Education hosted, with generous support from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, a conference for presidents and their senior staff, on workplace flexibility for academic staff and faculty.  Building on the work of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation projects at ACE, the conference opened with remarks from Molly Corbett Broad, president of ACE.

The opening session included a dialogue between Kathleen Christensen, program director of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, and Joan Ferrini-Mundy, assistant director of Education and Human Resources at the National Science Foundation, and focused on creating institutional excellence through workplace flexibility.  A panel of presidents and chancellors, moderated by M. Peter McPherson, president of the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities followed the keynote speaker. The panel included Linda P.B. Katehi, chancellor, University of California, Davis; William "Brit" Kirwan, chancellor, University System of Maryland; and Steven Poskanzer, president, Carleton College. Lunch was provided while conversation on best practices continued during noon roundtables hosted by former Sloan award winners and other National Challenge institutions.

Parallel sessions in the afternoon presented on a variety of topics, including Joan Williams, Distinguished Professor of Law, UC Hastings Foundation Chair, and the Founding Director of the Center for WorkLife Law; Beverly Nagel, dean of the college, Carleton College; Susan Carlson, vice provost for academic personnel, University of California Office of the President; Laura Koppes Bryan, dean, Yale Gordon College of Liberal Arts, University of Baltimore; and Rebecca "Becky" Warner, senior vice provost for academic affairs, Oregon State University.  Charles R. Middleton, president of Roosevelt University, concluded the day with a radical proposal on the changing nature of faculty appointments. 

For more information on the National Challenge or the conference, please contact Jean McLaughlin, associate director, at 202-375-7531 or To read coverage about the conference, see these stories in the Chronicle of Higher Education and Inside Higher Ed.  To read more details about the conference, see our Executive Summary page.



  • Molly Corbett Broad

    President, ACE

  • Kathy Christensen

    Program Director, Alfred P. Sloan Foundation

  • Joan Ferrini Mundy

    Assistant Director, National Science Foundation  for Education and Human Resources

  • Peter McPherson

    President, Association of Public Land-grant Universities

  • Linda P.B. Katehi

    Chancellor, University of California, Davis

  • William "Brit" Kirwan

    Chancellor, University System of Maryland

  • Steven Poskanzer

    President, Carleton College

  • Joan Williams

    Distinguished Professor of Law, UC Hastings Foundation Chair; founding director, Center for WorkLife Law

  • Susan Carlson

    Vice Provost for Academic Personnel, University of California Office of the President

  • Laura Koppes Bryan

    Dean, Yale Gordon College of Liberal Arts, University of Baltimore

  • Rebecca "Becky" Warner

    Senior Vice Provost for Academic Affairs, Oregon State University

  • Beverly Nagel

    Dean of the College, Carleton College

  • Charles R. "Chuck" Middleton

    President, Roosevelt University




Alfred P. Sloan Foundation



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