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National Challenge for Higher Education: Retaining a 21st Century Workforce

The National Challenge for Higher Education is an opportunity for presidents to be involved in a national campaign to promote faculty career flexibility.

Sign the Statement and Join the Campaign 

Statement of Support for Expanding Workplace Flexibility

Based on extensive research in the private sector1 and ACE’s own experience in assisting institutions in working toward workplace flexibility in the last 10 years, we believe that well-implemented supports for workplace flexibility lead to improved recruiting, increased faculty commitment and engagement, greater productivity, reduced turnover, and reduced stress. These factors help to increase institutional capacity to advance the mission and to meet strategic goals of diversity and inclusion by supporting a harmonic workplace culture that fosters academic excellence. 

Furthermore, we believe that flexible work practices contribute not only to retention but also to productive work environments and effective work processes. Satisfied faculty perform at higher levels, which leads to increased grant revenues and improved quality of instruction. These indicators of academic excellence foster better outcomes for our students and other constituencies we serve.

We believe that supporting flexibility must become a core leadership competency to enable our faculty to meet the increasing demands of twenty-first-century workplaces and to meet their personal and familial responsibilities.

We believe that our institution’s continued success requires flexibility in our approach to avenues of academic excellence and to meeting faculty needs. Presidential leadership is critical to successful team efforts in expanding workplace flexibility.

We therefore commit to provide leadership to:

  • Advance excellence by developing flexibility as a tool to enhance recruitment, retention, and advancement of faculty within our institution;

  • Actively communicate the institutional importance of workplace flexibility and implement policies and practices to keep pace with societal change while advancing gender, racial, and ethnic equity;

  • Educate and support key academic leaders (department chairs, deans, etc.) in developing and strengthening their skills for managing career flexibility; and

  • Develop workplaces in which flexibility is an integral part of the culture of the institution, where flexibility is broadly and equitably implemented and available to faculty at every phase of their career from recruitment to retirement.

1See Making the Business Case for Workplace Flexibility

The following Coalition Partners have signed the statement and joined the campaign:

Our 10 Founding Coalition Partners:

  1. John J. DeGioia, president, Georgetown University (DC)
  2. Mildred García, president, California State University, Fullerton
  3. Freeman A. Hrabowski III, president, University of Maryland, Baltimore County
  4. Linda P.B. Katehi, chancellor, University of California, Davis
  5. Renu Khator, chancellor, University of Houston System, president, University of Houston (TX)
  6. William E. Kirwan, chancellor, University System of Maryland
  7. David Maxwell, president, Drake University (IA)
  8. Lynn Pasquerella, president, Mount Holyoke College (MA)
  9. Steven G. Poskanzer, president, Carleton College (MN)
  10. Lou Anna K. Simon, president, Michigan State University

 Our Additional Coalition Partners:

  1. Lex O. McMillan, III, president,  Albright College (PA)
  2. Dario A. Cortes, president, Berkeley College (NJ)
  3. Scott D. Miller, president, Bethany College (WV)
  4. Mickey L. Burnim, president, Bowie State University (MD)
  5. Thom D. Chesney, president, Brookhaven College (TX) 
  6. J. Michael Ortiz, president, California State Polytechnic University, Pomona
  7. Horace Mitchell, president, California State University, Bakersfield
  8. John Garvey, president, The Catholic University of America (DC)
  9. Mortimer H. Neufville, president, Coppin State University (MD)
  10. Harry Lee Williams, president, Delaware State University
  11. Nancy A. Roseman, president, Dickinson College (PA)
  12. Lee Pelton, president, Emerson College (MA)
  13. Luther F. Carter, president, Francis Marion University (SC) 
  14. Jonathan C. Gibralter, president, Frostburg State University (MD) 
  15. Ángel Cabrera, president, George Mason University (VA)
  16. G.P. "Bud" Petersen, president, Georgia Institute of Technology
  17. Janet Morgan Riggs, president, Gettysburg College (PA)
  18. Raynard S. Kington, president, Grinnell College (IA)
  19. Michael A. McRobbie, president, Indiana University
  20. Jonathan R. Alger, president, James Madison University (VA)
  21. Ricardo R. Fernandez, president, Lehman College, City University of New York
  22. Fred P. Pestello, president, Le Moyne College (NY)
  23. James D. Evans, president, Lindenwood University (MO)
  24. Michael Garanzini, S.J., president, Loyola University Chicago (IL)
  25. Brian Rosenberg, president, Macalester College (MN)
  26. Jon C. Strauss, president, Manhattanville College (NY)
  27. Ronald D. Leibowitz, president, Middlebury College (VT)
  28. Thomas H. Powell, president, Mount St. Mary’s University (MD)
  29. Dean L. Bresciani, president, North Dakota State University
  30. John D. Haeger, president, Northern Arizona University
  31. Marvin Krislov, president, Oberlin College (OH)
  32. Christopher G. Maples, president, Oregon Institute of Technology
  33. Edward John Ray, president, Oregon State University
  34. Sara Jayne Steen, president, Plymouth State University (NH)
  35. Wim Wiewel, president, Portland State University (OR)
  36. Charles R. Middleton, president, Roosevelt University (IL)
  37. William R. Kauffman, president, Saint Louis University
  38. Janet Dudley-Eshbach, president, Salisbury University (MD)
  39. Mohammad Qayoumi, president, San José State University (CA) 
  40. Mark Schulman, president, Saybrook University (CA)
  41. Philip A. Glotzbach, president, Skidmore College (NY)
  42. Kathleen McCartney, president, Smith College (MA)
  43. Mary A. Papazian, president, Southern Connecticut State University
  44. Rita Hartung Cheng, chancellor, Southern Illinois University
  45. Erik J. Bitterbaum, president, SUNY Cortland
  46. John F. Williams, president, SUNY Downstate Medical Center
  47. L. Jay Lemons, president, Susquehanna University (PA)
  48. Nancy Cantor, chancellor, Syracuse University (NY)
  49. M. Duane Nellis, president, Texas Tech University
  50. Donna Price Henry, chancellor, The University of Virginia's College at Wise
  51. Maravene S. Loeschke, president, Towson University (MD)
  52. G. David Gearhart, chancellor, University of Arkansas
  53. Robert L. Bogomolny, president, University of Baltimore (MD)
  54. Mark G. Yudof, president, University of California (CA)
  55. Nicholas B. Dirks, chancellor, University of California, Berkeley
  56. Michael V. Drake, chancellor, University of California, Irvine
  57. Gene D. Block, chancellor, University of California, Los Angeles
  58. Dorothy Leland, chancellor, University of California, Merced
  59. Jane Close Conoley, chancellor, University of California, Riverside
  60. Pradeep K. Khosla, chancellor, University of California, San Diego
  61. Susan Desmond-Hellmann, chancellor, University of California, San Francisco
  62. Henry T. Yang, chancellor, University of California, Santa Barbara
  63. George Blumenthal, chancellor, University of California, Santa Cruz
  64. Patrick T. Harker, president, University of Delaware
  65. Antoine M. Garibaldi, president, University of Detroit Mercy (MI)
  66. William A. Staples, president, University of Houston-Clear Lake (TX)
  67. William V. Flores, president, University of Houston-Downtown (TX)
  68. Devorah A. Lieberman, president, University of La Verne (CA)
  69. Jay A. Perman, president, University of Maryland, Baltimore
  70. Donald Boesch, president, University of Maryland, Center for Environmental Science
  71. Wallace D. Loh, president, University of Maryland, College Park
  72. Juliette B. Bell, president, University of Maryland, Eastern Shore
  73. Javier Miyares, president, University of Maryland, University College
  74. Robert L. Caret, president, University of Massachusetts
  75. Donna E. Shalala, president, University of Miami (FL)
  76. Ronald T. Brown, president, University of North Texas at Dallas
  77. David M. Dooley, president, University of Rhode Island
  78. Vistasp M. Karbhari, president, University of Texas at Arlington
  79. Michael K. Young, president, University of Washington
  80. Charles W. Sorensen, chancellor, University of Wisconsin-Stout
  81. Tori Haring-Smith, president, Washington & Jefferson College (PA) 
  82. Kenneth J. Ruscio, president, Washington & Lee University (VA)
  83. James W. Schmotter, president, Western Connecticut State University
  84. Jayne Marie "Jamie" Comstock, president, Winthrop University (SC)
  85. Michael J. Graham, SJ, president, Xavier University (OH)


Program Staff

Claire Van Ummersen

Senior Advisor

Jean McLaughlin

Associate Director

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