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President to President

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President to President
Molly Corbett Broad's weekly email newsletter to higher education leaders.

ACE’s 96th Annual Meeting Wraps Up in San Diego

March 10-14, 2014 ~ Vol. 15, No. 9

  • ACE’s 96th Annual Meeting Wraps Up in San Diego
  • Call for Input From Federal Regulation Task Force
  • IN BRIEF: AGB Webinar on Federal Policy for Boards; Veterans Transitioning to College Eligible to Enroll in Academic Boot Camps

​It w​as great to see all of you who traveled to San Diego earlier this week to participate in ACE's 96th Annual Meeting​, which concluded Tuesday. This is my sixth Annual Meeting as ACE president, and the ideas I take away from our gathering are more valuable each year.

After a day of presidents-only sessions, University of Michigan President Mary Sue Coleman kicked off the public meeting Sunday evening with the Robert H. Atwell Lecture. Her topic, "Innovate, Disrupt, Repeat,” focused on the need for universities to become more innovative and entrepreneurial, using her own institution and state—which was struck early and hard by the 2008 recession—as an example of what can be done. Video of the event will be available soon on the ACE website

Doris Kearns Goodwin’s Monday morning talk with ACE Senior Vice President Terry Hartle was a big hit. An observant and entertaining storyteller, Goodwin reminisced about her work chronicling the lives and careers of American presidents, including her latest book, The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and the Golden Age of Journalism. I heard many of you comment about how great it was to hear from a historian and writer this year, which I agree was a wonderful reminder of our fundamental role as scholars and educators. 

Aneesh Chopra, the first U.S. Chief Technology Officer under President Obama, keynoted Monday’s luncheon plenary session with a speech that looked at how we can use technology and data as a catalyst for innovation in higher education. Tuesday morning's plenary continued with the general theme that emerged from the Annual Meeting: How new technologies have transformed colleges and universities in recent years, and what these technologies and the accompanying data and analytics mean for the future of higher education. The panel discussion featured Jeff Olson, vice president for data science at the College Board; John Rome, deputy chief information officer at Arizona State University; and Candace Thille, founding director of the Open Learning Initiative and senior research fellow at Stanford University (CA). (For more on how this topic played out at the Annual Meeting, see Inside Higher Ed​.)

James H. Mullen Jr., president of Allegheny College (PA), was elected chair of the ACE Board of Directors at Monday's lunchtime plenary and business meeting. My deepest appreciation goes to outgoing Board Chair Diana Natalicio, president of The University of Texas at El Paso, for her dedication and hard work this past year. We also elected a slate of other board members and officers, listed here

For those of you unable to attend, I wish I had the space to talk about all of the sessions and breakout panels, as well as the weekend pre-meeting sessions, which were particularly provocative this year. Some of these events, such as Sunday’s chief academic officer’s luncheon discussion on President Obama’s college ratings plan, were standing room only. I hope you will look at this year's schedule​ and consider joining us for next year's meeting, slated for March 14-17, 2015, in Washington, DC. 

Those of you who attended the Annual Meeting may have heard ACE Senior Vice President Terry Hartle and University System of Maryland Chancellor Brit Kirwan, a co-chair of the Task Force on Government Regulation of Higher Education, request input on ways to streamline federal rules and regulations. 

The task force—formed last fall by a bipartisan group of senators, including Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Michael Bennet (D-CO) and Richard Burr (R-NC)—is charged with identifying specific federal regulations that are both burdensome to colleges and universities and provide little benefit to the government and the public. The group, which first met last month at ACE’s offices in Washington, will continue to work throughout 2014, with the goal of producing a set of recommendations for action next year.

This memo​ from Brit and fellow co-chair Nicholas Zeppos, chancellor of Vanderbilt University (TN), gives specific details on the kinds of input the task force seeks. Interested members of the higher education community should submit suggestions to​ by April 30.

We look forward to hearing your ideas and will keep you posted on the task force’s work.


The Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges (AGB) has scheduled a webinar March 27 to discuss what your board members need to know about the current federal policy issues impacting higher education. This webinar for presidents, board members, and government relations leaders will focus on the Obama administration’s proposed college ratings system, Higher Education Act reauthorization, and the emphasis on increased degree attainment. ACE Senior Vice President Terry Hartle will be guest speaker, and AGB President Richard Legon will moderate the session. For more information and to register, see the AGB website. 

The Warrior-Scholar Project (WSP) is now accepting applications from eligible military and recently separated veterans planning on attending four-year colleges for WSP’s growing academic boot camp program. New courses will take place at Harvard University (MA) and the University of Michigan, joining the existing effort at Yale University (CT), for more eligible veterans to attend this no-cost opportunity to prepare for academic success. Now entering its expansion phase after successful pilots in 2012 and 2013, WSP is seeking eligible veterans and service members to apply online at until March 31 for the summer 2014 programs. For questions about the program, contact Alex Forrester at 203-937-2310 or

Molly Corbett Broad
President of ACE