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Up Front: Fall 2010



On-Campus Leadership Development Toolkit to Launch in September
This September, the Center for Advancement of Racial and Ethnic Equity (CAREE) at the American Council on Education will introduce an on-campus leadership development toolkit. Designed for senior leadership to use in identifying, developing, and nurturing emerging leaders on their campus, the toolkit will contain examples of best practices, innovative programs, templates, and other relevant resources.
The toolkit is predicated on the idea that leadership, though typically equated with high rank, can be found at every level of the academic hierarchy, especially in higher education institutions. Because power and decision making are decentralized and dispersed on most campuses, leadership is needed at all levels in the institution.

The toolkit includes information on establishing an institutional plan to make leadership development an institution-wide concern, tips on engaging a diverse array of individuals early in their careers, and an inventory of national leadership development programs that focus on career advancement. For example, one element, “The Joys of the Presidency,” is a video project designed to motivate emerging leaders of various racial and ethnic backgrounds to aspire to senior executive positions in higher education. Interviewees—a diverse group of presidents—highlight the intrinsic rewards and the sense of pride and satisfaction that come with the role of the presidency.

“I believe the toolkit will provide senior administrators with useful information on how to most effectively develop talent within their institutions and the importance of cultivating the next generation of higher education leaders,” said Gailda Davis, associate director of CAREE. “Our plan is to continue to build on and expand the present version of the toolkit in order to provide additional resources for both senior administrators and emerging leaders and use it as a tool to promote talent identification in higher education.”

The materials will be made available in both print and electronic form on ACE’s web site,

Supporting Internationalization at HBCUs
In an effort to advance internationalization efforts at historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs), the American Council on Education (ACE ) recently was awarded a grant by the U.S. Department of Education.

With funding from this grant, ACE and a group of partner organizations will work with a cohort of HBCUs during the next three years to examine the development of policies, programs, and structures that promote campus internationalization. The institutions will then develop strategies to address challenges and identify best practices to share with the larger higher education community.

Shirley Pippins, senior vice president of ACE ’s Division of Programs & Services, explained, “This grant is an opportunity for ACE to work more closely with a select group of HBCUs and share our expertise in campus internationalization. Through this pilot program, we hope to develop models of good practice that are useful across all HBCUs and the larger higher education community.”
ACE’s partners include the National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education, the United Negro College Fund (UNC F), and UNC F’s Special Programs Corporation. An advisory council consisting of representatives from these partner organizations and members of ACE’s Center for Advancement of Racial and Ethnic Equity (CAREE) and Commission on International Initiatives will convene to develop a competitive application process for participation in the project. Eligible institutions will be notified when the call for applications is released early this fall.

The federal government will finance 65 percent of the Department of Education fiscal year 2010 International and Studies Research, Surveys and Studies project ($357,976), and ACE will finance the remaining 35 percent ($191,479).

The long-term benefits of this grant are far-reaching, according to Jarred Butto, program associate for CAREE: “Global competencies are essential to the success of all 21st-century U.S. graduates and by working with HBCUs to develop comprehensive strategies for campus-wide internationalization, ACE can help bring the world to their students and bring their students to the world.”

ACE’s Veteran Success Jam
In the past few years, many colleges and universities have made strides in providing supportive programs and services for military veterans who decide to pursue postsecondary education. But how do campuses know that their efforts and resources are really making a difference?

An unprecedented national online dialogue, the Veterans Success Jam was hosted last May by the American Council on Education (ACE), with the generous support of The Kresge Foundation. The three-day online brainstorming event brought together thousands of veterans and their families, service members, campus leaders, nonprofit organizations, and government agencies in a conversation about the challenges and opportunities facing veterans in higher education.
The participants shared valuable resources, identified recurring barriers, and brainstormed innovative ways to improve support for veterans and their families as they transition from the military to and through higher education. The Jam yielded nearly 3,000 individual comments, and participants also had the opportunity to attend a series of online webinars, which provided participants with additional knowledge on Jam-related topics and created deeper discussions within the Jam.

“It was gratifying to see participants in the Jam focus on both concrete underlying issues and possible solutions,” said Jim Selbe, ACE’s assistant vice president for lifelong learning. “For instance, there was sustained and productive discussion that focused on the need to create greater awareness of campus programs [for veterans] that already exist.”

One of the recurring themes of the Jam was the problems associated with the increasing use by institutions of the term veteran friendly. Emerging from the conversation was a suggestion by participants from higher education institutions and associations, as well as student veterans themselves, that a third-party effort emerge to define what veteran friendly truly means. ACE intends to devote attention to and collaborate with others to develop a strategy to address this issue.

Building the ‘Sound Bite’ University
According to a University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign study that traced a 60-year history of The New York Times coverage of U.S. research universities, reporting volume about universities has increased slightly, even while the newspaper itself has shrunk by nearly half. Most surprisingly, universities appear to have transitioned from being the subject of the news to simply being sources of sound bites about the news, meaning that faculty members respond to general news now, instead of just news specifically about the university itself.
Kalev Leetaru, a coordinator of information and technology research at the university and the study’s conductor, explained, “Universities recruit and retain faculty based on their ‘academic brands’; they implicitly recognize that faculty have their own distinct brands and rank them based on their prominence in the academic literature outlets and their ratings among their peers when they are looking for recruiting prospects. Yet, when it comes to the news media, many institutions often ignore or downplay faculty brands (or at least don’t afford them the same prominence) and try instead to enforce an institutional brand. They put out a steady stream of press releases about the ‘university’s research,’ but don’t try to play up the specific faculty involved or the relevance of that work to current events.”

So how can higher education institutions gain more exposure? Leetaru advised that they produce media guides that list specific faculty members who are available on short notice to comment for news stories. This practice can help establish the faculty members as the go-to individuals for the news media on particular topics, and thus enhance their brand. In turn, high-media-brand faculty bring national and international visibility to their institutions, which can have substantial benefits in attracting students and funding opportunities.
Leetaru’s final recommendation is for college and universities “to more closely promote university research that ties into current events. The news media no longer reserves page space to report just on the latest general university research. Instead, universities need to proactively monitor local, state, national, and international events, find relevant research on their campus, and promote it to reporters.”

To view the full report, please visit