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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, 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. George Jay Gogue, president, Auburn University (AL)
  3. Joseph McGown Jr., president, Bellarmine University (KY)
  4. Dario A. Cortes, president, Berkeley College (NJ)
  5. Scott D. Miller, president, Bethany College (WV)
  6. Mickey L. Burnim, president, Bowie State University (MD)
  7. Thom D. Chesney, president, Brookhaven College (TX) 
  8. J. Michael Ortiz, president, California State Polytechnic University, Pomona
  9. Timothy P. White, chancellor, California State University
  10. Horace Mitchell, president, California State University, Bakersfield
  11. Joseph I. Castro, president, California State University, Fresno
  12. John Garvey, president, The Catholic University of America (DC)
  13. John W. Miller, president, Central Connecticut State University
  14. Mortimer H. Neufville, president, Coppin State University (MD)
  15. Harry Lee Williams, president, Delaware State University
  16. Nancy A. Roseman, president, Dickinson College (PA)
  17. Elsa M. Núñez, president, Eastern Connecticut State University
  18. Lee Pelton, president, Emerson College (MA)
  19. Luther F. Carter, president, Francis Marion University (SC) 
  20. Jonathan C. Gibralter, president, Frostburg State University (MD) 
  21. Ángel Cabrera, president, George Mason University (VA)
  22. G.P. "Bud" Petersen, president, Georgia Institute of Technology
  23. Janet Morgan Riggs, president, Gettysburg College (PA)
  24. Raynard S. Kington, president, Grinnell College (IA)
  25. Michael A. McRobbie, president, Indiana University
  26. Jonathan R. Alger, president, James Madison University (VA)
  27. Alison Byerly, president, Lafayette College (PA)
  28. Fred P. Pestello, president, Le Moyne College (NY)
  29. Ricardo R. Fernandez, president, Lehman College, City University of New York
  30. James D. Evans, president, Lindenwood University (MO)
  31. Michael J. Garanzini, S.J., president, Loyola University Chicago (IL)
  32. Brian Rosenberg, president, Macalester College (MN)
  33. Jon C. Strauss, president, Manhattanville College (NY)
  34. James Kelly, president, Menlo College (CA)
  35. Ronald D. Leibowitz, president, Middlebury College (VT)
  36. Cheryl Schrader, chancellor, Missouri University of Science and Technology
  37. Thomas H. Powell, president, Mount St. Mary’s University (MD)
  38. Dean L. Bresciani, president, North Dakota State University
  39. John D. Haeger, president, Northern Arizona University
  40. Marvin Krislov, president, Oberlin College (OH)
  41. Rock Jones, president, Ohio Wesleyan University
  42. Christopher G. Maples, president, Oregon Institute of Technology
  43. Edward John Ray, president, Oregon State University
  44. Sara Jayne Steen, president, Plymouth State University (NH)
  45. Wim Wiewel, president, Portland State University (OR)
  46. Rosanne Somerson, president, Rhode Island School of Design
  47. Gregory D. Dell'Omo, president, Robert Morris University (PA)
  48. Charles R. Middleton, president, Roosevelt University (IL)
  49. Nancy Cantor, chancellor, Rutgers University-Newark (NJ)
  50. William R. Kauffman, president, Saint Louis University
  51. Janet Dudley-Eshbach, president, Salisbury University (MD)
  52. Mohammad Qayoumi, president, San José State University (CA)
  53. Mark Schulman, president, Saybrook University (CA)
  54. Philip A. Glotzbach, president, Skidmore College (NY)
  55. Kathleen McCartney, president, Smith College (MA)
  56. Mary A. Papazian, president, Southern Connecticut State University
  57. Rita Hartung Cheng, chancellor, Southern Illinois University
  58. Nancy L. Zimpher, chancellor, The State University of New York
  59. Erik J. Bitterbaum, president, SUNY Cortland
  60. John F. Williams, president, SUNY Downstate Medical Center
  61. Virginia S. Horvath, president, State University of New York at Fredonia
  62. L. Jay Lemons, president, Susquehanna University (PA)
  63. Nancy Cantor, chancellor, Syracuse University (NY)
  64. M. Duane Nellis, president, Texas Tech University
  65. Maravene S. Loeschke, president, Towson University (MD)
  66. G. David Gearhart, chancellor, University of Arkansas
  67. Robert L. Bogomolny, president, University of Baltimore (MD)
  68. Mark G. Yudof, president, University of California
  69. Nicholas B. Dirks, chancellor, University of California, Berkeley
  70. Michael V. Drake, chancellor, University of California, Irvine
  71. Gene D. Block, chancellor, University of California, Los Angeles
  72. Dorothy Leland, chancellor, University of California, Merced
  73. Jane Close Conoley, chancellor, University of California, Riverside
  74. Pradeep K. Khosla, chancellor, University of California, San Diego
  75. Susan Desmond-Hellmann, chancellor, University of California, San Francisco
  76. Henry T. Yang, chancellor, University of California, Santa Barbara
  77. George Blumenthal, chancellor, University of California, Santa Cruz
  78. John C. Hitt, president, University of Central Florida
  79. Santa J. Ono, president, University of Cincinnati (OH)
  80. Patrick T. Harker, president, University of Delaware
  81. Antoine M. Garibaldi, president, University of Detroit Mercy (MI)
  82. William A. Staples, president, University of Houston-Clear Lake (TX)
  83. William V. Flores, president, University of Houston-Downtown (TX)
  84. Robert A. Easter, president, University of Illinois
  85. Paula Alle-Meares, chancellor, University of Illinois at Chicago
  86. Susan Koch, chancellor, University of Illinois Springfield
  87. Phyllis M. Wise, chancellor, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  88. Devorah A. Lieberman, president, University of La Verne (CA)
  89. Jay A. Perman, president, University of Maryland, Baltimore
  90. Donald Boesch, president, University of Maryland, Center for Environmental Science
  91. Wallace D. Loh, president, University of Maryland, College Park
  92. Juliette B. Bell, president, University of Maryland, Eastern Shore
  93. Javier Miyares, president, University of Maryland, University College
  94. Robert L. Caret, president, University of Massachusetts
  95. Donna E. Shalala, president, University of Miami (FL)
  96. R. Bowen Loftin, chancellor, University of Missouri-Columbia
  97. Ronald T. Brown, president, University of North Texas at Dallas
  98. William Ruud, president, University of Northern Iowa
  99. David M. Dooley, president, University of Rhode Island
  100. Vistasp M. Karbhari, president, University of Texas at Arlington
  101. Donna Price Henry, chancellor, The University of Virginia's College at Wise
  102. Michael K. Young, president, University of Washington
  103. Charles W. Sorensen, chancellor, University of Wisconsin-Stout
  104. Mark A. Heckler, president, Valparaiso University (IN)
  105. Tori Haring-Smith, president, Washington & Jefferson College (PA)
  106. Kenneth J. Ruscio, president, Washington & Lee University (VA)
  107. Paul L. Hill, chancellor, West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission
  108. James W. Schmotter, president, Western Connecticut State University
  109. Ronald Crutcher, president, Wheaton College (MA)
  110. Jayne Marie "Jamie" Comstock Williamson, president, Winthrop University (SC)
  111. 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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