It was great to see all of you who traveled to Los Angeles earlier this week to participate in ACE's 94th Annual Meeting, which concluded Tuesday. This is my fourth Annual Meeting as ACE president, and the ideas I take away from our gathering are more innovative and valuable every year.
After a day of presidents-only sessions, Arizona State University President Michael Crow kicked off the public meeting Sunday evening with the Robert H. Atwell Lecture. His topic of "Massive Change" challenged us all to think big and let go of our attachment to outmoded traditions in order to increase the number of students who graduate from college. In discussing President Obama's goal to increase by 50 percent the number of Americans who have some sort of postsecondary credential by 2020, President Crow said the higher education community will have to have a plan in place and begin implementation by May 2016. You can see clips from the speech here.
Sal Khan, founder of Khan Academy, was a big draw on Monday and received a standing ovation for his talk on the free online education platform he has developed and its power to transform the way courses are delivered at all educational levels. After describing how he got started in 2004 putting together remote tutoring plans for his young relatives, Khan took questions from the audience. Click here for video of the full audience Q&A session.
I'd also like to thank our other plenary speakers, including Michael Mandelbaum, who spoke on how the United States can regain its standing in the world, and Dennis Dalton, who spoke on "Gandhi, Martin Luther King and the Occupy Movement" (click here to see video from Dr. Dalton's session). Our host state provided the focus of a very interesting panel, "California: The Bellwether of Higher Education," featuring Charles Reed, chancellor of the California State University; Mark G. Yudof, president of the University of California; Jack Scott, chancellor of the California Community Colleges; and Kristen Soares, president of the Association of Independent California Colleges and Universities. Jane Wellman, executive director of the National Association of System Heads, moderated the panel.
Joseph E. Aoun, president of Northeastern University (MA), 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 Eduardo J. Padrón, president of Miami Dade College (FL), for his dedication and hard work this past year. We also elected a slate of other board members, listed here.
Another highlight from the meeting was the release of the 2012 edition of The American College President (you can read a summary of the report in the Spring supplement of The Presidency). Our study provides information on the demographics, career paths and experiences of you and your peers, and is the only comprehensive source of data on the higher education presidency. Coinciding with the discussion on the report was a revealing session on "Presidential Leadership—Lessons Learned." The Chronicle of Higher Education ran a good piece on that panel Monday.
For those of you unable to attend, I wish I had the space to talk about all of the breakout sessions, which always provide a good platform for audience participation and discussion. Some of these events, such as Monday's "Through the Lens of the President: The Role of the Chief Diversity Officer in a Changing Higher Education Environment" were standing room only. I hope you will take a look at the 2012 schedule and consider joining us for next year's meeting in Washington, DC.
Awards Presented at ACE's 2012 Annual Meeting
Molly Corbett Broad
President of ACE