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Up Front: Spring 2010



ACE and the College Board Collaborate on Access and Diversity
The American Council on Education (ACE)and the College Board have produced a policy paper on trends and developments in the areas of access and diversity in higher education. A presidential roundtable held at ACE in September 2008 helped jumpstart the conversations regarding the connection between diversity and positive educational outcomes, the issue of merit, and the expanded definition of diversity.
A 21st-Century Imperative: Promoting Access and Diversity in Higher Education can be viewed on the ACE web site, along with the Access and Diversity Toolkit for Higher Education Professionals. The toolkit, developed by the College Board, features common myths about access and diversity, a glossary of terms, a holistic view of key strategies in the areas of admission, financial aid, recruitment, and an overview of state voter initiatives and their consequences.
According to ACE President Molly Corbett Broad and College Board President Gaston Caperton, the toolkit helps leaders facilitate “constructive campus-based dialogues and policy discussions that will, in turn, lead to access and diversity policies and programs that are educationally effective, cost effective, and legally sustainable.”

Faculty-Board Engagement Proves Effective
The Association of Governing Boards (AGB) recently released a wide-ranging study about the state of faculty-board relationships titled Faculty, Governing Boards, and Institutional Governance. It indicates that faculty-board engagement is viewed as generally healthy and constructive, and that institution leaders understand the causes of less-productive interaction.
Among the recommendations for ensuring successful board and faculty participation in governance are enhancing mutual understanding and respect, clarifying governance policies and practices, and strengthening presidential leadership. Barriers to productive relationships include insufficient time, lack of mutual understanding and respect, governance policies and practices that are unclear or out of date, the complexity of higher education, and a general lack of interest.
“AGB has long promoted the concept of integral leadership—collaborative strategic leadership toward a shared vision for the institution, where key stakeholders have clearly defined roles and responsibilities for institutional governance. This project has identified how boards and faculty interact in institutional governance and how they can do so more effectively,” said Merrill Schwartz, the report’s primary author. “The recommendations provide institutions with important guidance to ensuring constructive interaction, particularly useful in these trying economic times.”
Key findings include:
  • Most colleges and universities have an institution-wide faculty governing body and describe its role as “policy influencing.”
  • Governing boards are typically involved in granting promotion and tenure to faculty; this involvement ranges from routinely approving recommendations of the administration to reviewing the qualifications of candidates, to reviewing only resource implications.
  • Substantive interaction occurs most often in connection with presidential searches, faculty presentations to the board, faculty and board member membership on president-established entities, and fund raising.
For a free copy of the report, visit
Behind the Scenes of Gender Equity: 2010
ACE’s recently published Gender Equity: 2010, an update of the 2000 and 2006 editions, has caused quite a buzz among higher education leadership. ACE spoke with Jacqueline King, Assistant Vice President, Center for Policy Analysis, for her take on the continued success of the report.

What was behind your decision to update the 2006 report?
This report has been extremely popular, both with the media and with members, since we released the original version in 2000, so we try to update it when new data become available. We hope it provides a template that institutions can use to investigate their own gender gaps.

What was the most substantial discovery in the 2010 update, and what do you think caused this?
I think the biggest headline from this year’s report is that the size of the gender gap appears to have stabilized for both undergraduate enrollment and bachelor’s degrees conferred. The gap isn’t shrinking, but it is good to see that it has stopped growing. There is one notable exception to this trend: For Hispanic Americans, the gender gap in college enrollment continues to grow. For the first time, the report takes a look at the educational attainment of Hispanics. We found that immigration plays a major role both in the overall attainment rates and in the gaps between men and women. Because the majority of Hispanic immigrants are male, and only half of these individuals complete high school either in the United States or in their country of origin, Hispanic males have much lower rates of postsecondary attainment than their female counterparts.

What has been the most surprising finding from the past decade of data?
To me, an important finding that has received too little attention is the large female majority among older students. Given the transformation we have seen in our economy during the last 25 years, it is more important than ever that adult men, as well as women, return to postsecondary education to upgrade their skills and retool for new jobs. As of 2007–08, the most recent year for which we have national data, only 39 percent of undergraduates aged 25 or older were male. We have heard anecdotal reports from community colleges that the recession has prompted an uptick in enrollment among older men. We’ll be able to determine whether this is a national trend in the next iteration of the report.
What do you anticipate for the next edition of Gender Equity?
In addition to looking at the effects of the current recession on enrollment patterns of men and women, we hope to take a closer look at the gender gap in other countries. Summary data from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development suggest that many countries with advanced economies are now seeing women outnumber men in higher education, suggesting that there may be broad labor market or other forces that transcend national cultures or educational systems influencing the achievement of men and women.
For more about Gender Equity: 2010, see By the Numbers on page 36.

New Threat Assessment Guide for Campuses
In December 2009, United Educators (UE), a Reciprocal Risk Retention Group exclusively serving educational institutions, released Threat Assessment Teams for Troubled Students: Putting the Pieces Together. The goal of this guide is to aid colleges and universities in creating and effectively using threat assessment teams to identify and respond to distressed students.
Recent high-profile incidents involving students and campus violence have prompted the usefulness of such a guide. “UE undertook this project as a direct result of feedback from our members after the Virginia Tech tragedy—they wanted practical and effective strategies for campus threat assessment, versus an academic white paper,” said Janice Abraham, chief executive officer of UE. “I believe this guide fits the bill.”
Threat Assessment focuses on four areas that are vital to the success of a threat assessment team. The guide offers step-by-step instructions on campus leaders’ greatest concerns. The steps to successful threat assessment include:
  • Forming a team. Build a multidisciplinary team to define objectives and team structure, designate a chair, and train team members.
  • Reporting student behavioral concerns. Create and increase awareness of a reporting structure and procedures.
  • Assessing and intervening with students of concern. Determine if an emergency exists, gather and evaluate student information, and develop an intervention approach.
  • Sharing and documenting information. Understand state and federal privacy laws, and ensure adequate documentation processes.
To access this report, visit

Patching America’s Leaky Pipeline

Women represent a large part of the talent pool for research science, but many data sources indicate that they are more likely than men to “leak” out of the pipeline in the sciences before obtaining a tenured position at a college or university.  

A new report, Staying Competitive: Patching America’s Leaky Pipeline in the Sciences, released by the Center for American Progress and the Berkeley Center on Health, Economic & Family Security, explores the effect that children and family obligations have on women who drop or opt out of the academic science career path.

The loss of these women, together with significant increases in European and Asian nations’ capacity for research, means the long-term dependability of a highly trained U.S. workforce and global pre-eminence in the sciences may be threatened, the report finds. Recognizing the critical role that science plays in society, this report makes concrete recommendations for how the federal government and major research universities can work together to keep women and men with care-giving responsibilities in the science pipeline. Some of the main findings include:

  • Women in the sciences who are married with children are 35 percent less likely to enter a tenure-track position after receiving a PhD than married men with children.
  • Women are 27 percent less likely than their male counterparts to achieve tenure upon entering a tenure-track job.
  • Only 36 percent of postdoctoral women and 52 percent of postdoctoral men view tenure-track careers at research-intensive institutions as family friendly.

The report also addresses the economic impact of inadequate family-responsive benefits for America’s researchers. In the world of federal grants, the authors contend, individuals who drop out of science after years of training represent a huge economic loss and are a detriment to the nation’s future excellence.

For a free copy of the report, visit

Capital Campaigns in Challenging Times
Shrinking budgets. Declining endowments. Rising expectations. The current fiscal turmoil is heaping pressure on college and university leaders to increase private philanthropic support, just at a time when resources are dwindling. In partnership with the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE), the American Council on Education recently hosted a seminar, Capital Campaigns in Challenging Times: What Presidents Need to Know
and Do.

Forty-six participants attended the seminar, encompassing a wide range of higher education expertise: presidents, provosts, chief academic officers, chief development officers, and governing board members. The sessions focused on what college and university leaders need to know to be successful in their campaign endeavors, such as readying the campus; budgeting, staffing, and structure; the role of staff and volunteers; and soliciting major gifts. Workshops were facilitated by three presidents and three fund-raising consultants with extensive experience as chief development officers on campuses. The speakers were Robert L. Caret, president, Towson University; Patricia Cormier, president, Longwood University; Carol O’Brien, president, Carol O’Brien Associates; Rita Bornstein, president emerita, Rollins College; Susan Washburn, principal, Washburn & McGoldrick, Inc.; and Bruce Matthews, vice president, Campbell & Company.

Presidents were assured that despite the economy, institutions remain on track to meet their goals, noting that the relative wealth of individuals is greater than it was 10 years ago. Speakers emphasized the importance of planning and reviewed the steps in the planning process as well as staff needs, how to fund a campaign, and the specific roles of the president.

“This event was very successful. One person said to me, ‘Anyone who is thinking of running a campaign must attend this seminar, even if they have run one before,’” said Marlene Ross, senior adviser, ACE’s Center for Effective Leadership. “Participants felt they got useful, practical strategies and insights into what presidents need to do before, during, and after initiating a campaign. Everyone felt confident that they could move ahead with plans to either initiate or expand their capital campaigns.”