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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.


Executive Summaries: National Challenge for Higher Education Conference

As part of the National Challenge for Higher Education, ACE 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 in July of last year. The executive summary from the National Challenge for Higher Education Conference is now available, which offers examples of cost-benefit analyses, information about faculty retirement and a variety of best practices.1 The campaign promotes work-life balance for faculty within colleges and universities. For more on the conference, see these stories in the Chronicle of Higher Education and Inside Higher Ed.

How to Sign the Statement of Support for Expanding Workplace Flexibility and Join the Campaign

If you are the CEO of a college or university (president, chancellor, etc.) and want to sign the Statement of Support and become a Coalition Partner for workplace flexibility in higher education, please send an email from your .edu email account by clicking the red button above.

Please include your full name, the name of your institution, and the names and emails of anyone you want to receive emails from us. After you contact us, your name will be added as a Coalition Partner to the Statement of Support for Expanding Workplace Flexibility, and you will also receive campaign materials that can be used on your campus, with your board, and for your local media. 

Statement of Support for Expanding Workplace Flexibility

Based on extensive research in the private sector2 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 Executive Summaries: National Challenge for Higher Education Conference

2See 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, former chancellor, University System of Maryland
  7. David Maxwell, former 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. George Jay Gogue, president, Auburn University (AL)
  3. Daniel K. Church, former president, Bastyr University (WA)
  4. Joseph McGown Jr., president, Bellarmine University (KY)
  5. Dario A. Cortes, former president, Berkeley College (NJ)
  6. Scott D. Miller, former president, Bethany College (WV)
  7. Mickey L. Burnim, president, Bowie State University (MD)
  8. Thom D. Chesney, president, Brookhaven College (TX) 
  9. J. Michael Ortiz, president, California State Polytechnic University, Pomona
  10. Timothy P. White, chancellor, California State University
  1. Horace Mitchell, president, California State University, Bakersfield
  2. Joseph I. Castro, president, California State University, Fresno
  3. Eduardo M. Ochoa, president, California State University, Monterary Bay
  4. Dianne F. Harrison, president, California State University, Northridge
  5. John Garvey, president, The Catholic University of America (DC)
  6. John W. Miller, president, Central Connecticut State University
  7. Eddie G. Grigg, president, Charlotte Christian College and Theological Seminary (NC)
  8. Stephen Schoonmaker, president, College of the Ouachitas (AR) 
  9. Mortimer H. Neufville, president, Coppin State University (MD)
  10. Harry Lee Williams, president, Delaware State University
  1. Nancy A. Roseman, president, Dickinson College (PA)
  2. Elsa M. Núñez, president, Eastern Connecticut State University
  3. Lee Pelton, president, Emerson College (MA)
  4. Roslyn Artis, president, Florida Memorial University
  5. Luther F. Carter, president, Francis Marion University (SC) 
  6. Jonathan C. Gibralter, president, Frostburg State University (MD) 
  7. Ángel Cabrera, president, George Mason University (VA)
  8. G.P. "Bud" Petersen, president, Georgia Institute of Technology
  9. Janet Morgan Riggs, president, Gettysburg College (PA)
  10. Raynard S. Kington, president, Grinnell College (IA)
  1. Michael A. McRobbie, president, Indiana University 
  2. Glenn R. Roquemore, president, Irvine Valley College (CA)
  3. Jonathan R. Alger, president, James Madison University (VA)
  4. Alison Byerly, president, Lafayette College (PA)
  5. Fred P. Pestello, former president, Le Moyne College (NY)
  6. Ricardo R. Fernandez, president, Lehman College, City University of New York
  7. James D. Evans, former president, Lindenwood University (MO)
  8. Michael J. Garanzini, S.J., president, Loyola University Chicago (IL)
  9. Brian Rosenberg, president, Macalester College (MN)
  10. Jon C. Strauss, president, Manhattanville College (NY)
  1. James M. Dennis, president, McKendree University (IL)
  2. James Kelly, former president, Menlo College (CA)
  3. Ronald D. Leibowitz, former president, Middlebury College (VT)
  4. Cheryl Schrader, chancellor, Missouri University of Science and Technology
  5. Thomas H. Powell, former president, Mount St. Mary’s University (MD)
  6. Dean L. Bresciani, president, North Dakota State University
  7. John D. Haeger, former president, Northern Arizona University
  8. Marvin Krislov, president, Oberlin College (OH)
  9. Rock Jones, president, Ohio Wesleyan University
  10. Christopher G. Maples, president, Oregon Institute of Technology
  1. Edward John Ray, president, Oregon State University
  2. Sara Jayne Steen, former president, Plymouth State University (NH)
  3. Wim Wiewel, president, Portland State University (OR)
  4. Rosanne Somerson, president, Rhode Island School of Design
  5. Gregory D. Dell'Omo, former president, Robert Morris University (PA)
  6. Charles R. Middleton, former president, Roosevelt University (IL)
  7. Nancy Cantor, chancellor, Rutgers University-Newark (NJ)
  8. William R. Kauffman, former president, Saint Louis University
  9. Janet Dudley-Eshbach, president, Salisbury University (MD)
  10. Mohammad Qayoumi, president, San José State University (CA)
  1. Mark Schulman, former president, Saybrook University (CA)
  2. Philip A. Glotzbach, president, Skidmore College (NY)
  3. Kathleen McCartney, president, Smith College (MA)
  4. Mary A. Papazian, president, Southern Connecticut State University
  5. Rita Hartung Cheng, chancellor, Southern Illinois University
  6. Nancy L. Zimpher, chancellor, The State University of New York
  7. Joyce Helens, president, St. Cloud Technical & Community College
  8. Erik J. Bitterbaum, president, SUNY Cortland
  9. John F. Williams, president, SUNY Downstate Medical Center
  10. Virginia S. Horvath, president, State University of New York at Fredonia
  1. L. Jay Lemons, president, Susquehanna University (PA)
  2. Nancy Cantor, former chancellor, Syracuse University (NY)
  3. M. Duane Nellis, president, Texas Tech University
  4. Maravene S. Loeschke, former president, Towson University (MD)
  5. G. David Gearhart, chancellor, University of Arkansas
  6. Robert L. Bogomolny, former president, University of Baltimore (MD)
  7. Mark G. Yudof, president, University of California
  8. Nicholas B. Dirks, chancellor, University of California, Berkeley
  9. Michael V. Drake, chancellor, University of California, Irvine
  10. Gene D. Block, chancellor, University of California, Los Angeles
  1. Dorothy Leland, chancellor, University of California, Merced
  2. Jane Close Conoley, former chancellor, University of California, Riverside
  3. Pradeep K. Khosla, chancellor, University of California, San Diego
  4. Susan Desmond-Hellmann, former chancellor, University of California, San Francisco
  5. Henry T. Yang, chancellor, University of California, Santa Barbara
  6. George Blumenthal, chancellor, University of California, Santa Cruz
  7. John C. Hitt, president, University of Central Florida
  8. Santa J. Ono, president, University of Cincinnati (OH)
  9. Patrick T. Harker, president, University of Delaware
  10. Antoine M. Garibaldi, president, University of Detroit Mercy (MI)
  1. William A. Staples, president, University of Houston-Clear Lake (TX)
  2. William V. Flores, president, University of Houston-Downtown (TX)
  3. Robert A. Easter, former president, University of Illinois
  4. Paula Alle-Meares, former chancellor, University of Illinois at Chicago
  5. Susan Koch, chancellor, University of Illinois Springfield
  6. Phyllis M. Wise, former chancellor, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  7. Devorah A. Lieberman, president, University of La Verne (CA)
  8. Jay A. Perman, president, University of Maryland, Baltimore
  9. Donald Boesch, president, University of Maryland, Center for Environmental Science
  10. Wallace D. Loh, president, University of Maryland, College Park
  1. Juliette B. Bell, president, University of Maryland, Eastern Shore
  2. Javier Miyares, former president, University of Maryland, University College
  3. Robert L. Caret, former president, University of Massachusetts
  4. Donna E. Shalala, former president, University of Miami (FL)
  5. R. Bowen Loftin, chancellor, University of Missouri-Columbia
  6. Ronald T. Brown, former president, University of North Texas at Dallas
  7. William Ruud, president, University of Northern Iowa
  8. David M. Dooley, president, University of Rhode Island
  9. Vistasp M. Karbhari, president, University of Texas at Arlington
  10. Donna Price Henry, chancellor, The University of Virginia's College at Wise
  1. Michael K. Young, former president, University of Washington
  2. Charles W. Sorensen, former chancellor, University of Wisconsin-Stout
  3. Mark A. Heckler, president, Valparaiso University (IN)
  4. Tori Haring-Smith, president, Washington & Jefferson College (PA)
  5. Kenneth J. Ruscio, president, Washington & Lee University (VA)
  6. Frank Gornick, chancellor, West Hills Community College District (CA)
  7. Paul L. Hill, chancellor, West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission
  8. James W. Schmotter, former president, Western Connecticut State University
  9. Ronald Crutcher, former president, Wheaton College (MA)
  10. Nicholas Covino, president, William James College (MA)
  1. Jayne Marie "Jamie" Comstock Williamson, former president, Winthrop University (SC)
  2. David R. Hopkins, president, Wright State University (OH)
  3. Michael J. Graham, SJ, president, Xavier University (OH)

Program Staff

Claire Van Ummersen

Senior Advisor

Jean McLaughlin

Associate Director

Nick Pettet

Associate Program Specialist

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