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American College President Study

December 30, 1899


Since its launch in 1986 by ACE, the American College President Study (ACPS) has served the higher education community as the most comprehensive, in-depth, and cited source of information about the college presidency and the higher education leadership pipeline. Prepared by ACE’s Center for Policy Research and Strategy with consistent and generous support from the TIAA Institute, the ACPS offers insight about the presidency in four key areas:

Search and Selection Process
  • Perceived transparency of search process
  • Engagement with search consultants
Demographic and Background Information
  • Age, sex, and race/ethnicity
  • Career history and trajectory 
Key Duties and Challenges
  • Areas that occupy the most time
  • Most rewarding work; most frustrating aspects of the presidency
Compensation and Incentive-Based Remuneration
  • Contract negotiations and conditions
  • Use of performance evaluations

For decades, the ACPS has broadened awareness of demographics and critical issues related to the higher education leadership pipeline, like the following information from the 2011-2012 ACPS.

Why Take the American College President Survey?

The introduction of the eighth edition of the ACPS promises to advance our understanding of the presidency even further. It is an opportunity to assess and address some of the perennial challenges facing college and university leaders, in addition to emerging issues. The 2016-17 ACPS features new questions that will provide first-of-its-kind insight regarding a range of crucial strategic areas including:

Race and Diversity
  • Level of comfort and preparedness to address issues of campus diversity and safety
  • Challenges facing minority, women, and LGBTQ presidents
Funding Issues and Relationships with State and Local Officials
  • Funding climate, including performance-based funding and other state pressures
  • Political climate, including relationships with governors and boards 

Please direct questions or inquiries about the 2016-2017 American College President Study to Lorelle Espinosa, Assistant Vice President, at

Previous Editions:

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