Affiliate Member Insights

​​​​​​​​​​​​Each month, ACE highlights new and timely thought leadership from our affiliate members. Visit the pages below to explore featured content, including case studies of recent work with ACE member institutions, new proprietary research, white papers, podcasts, and more. 

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Latest: December 2021 Insights

​​​​Academic Search

​Higher Education​ Chief Diversity Officer: The Toughest Job You Will Ever Love​ (PDF)

We have seen an increase in requests for proposals for chief diversity officers and the like, as well as a greater emphasis on consideration of diversity, equity, and inclusion throughout the search process and the desire for candidates with a demonstrated commitment to DEI and the capacity to work across diverse constituent groups. Candidates advancing into the chief diversity officer role in our experience come with a variety of backgrounds, experiences, and titles. When mining our networks for applications and nominations, we are mindful to explore a broad spectrum of individuals from human resource officers, student affairs and even academic affairs, among other divisions. For many, their official job descriptions and/or position titles often do not reflect the work they have been doing in the DEI space. We work with our search committees and hiring authorities to keep this in mind and help them to broaden their lens when developing the key criteria for the position and when evaluating candidate materials.

​AGB Search

HR & DEI - An Integrated People Strategy

AGB Search and Mercer continue the series “Leadership Connections in Higher Education” by discussing prevalent issues in higher education human resources. In a recent Connections event, presenters explored how HR and DEI leaders in higher education are working together to foster a true sense of engagement and belonging among faculty, staff, students, and alumni. HR and diversity officers discussed updates in hiring practices, the trend of invisible work undertaken by faculty and staff of color, and DEI progress on campuses.


​4 Ways to Remove Barriers to Registration​

Uncertainty and difficulty navigating institutional systems can inadvertently create barriers to course registration, resulting in late registration or even failure to register that limits a student’s ability to persist or complete their degree program on time. Find out four ways your academic advising team can remove barriers to registration by engaging with students in ways that better align with their needs.


Colleges of the Fenway during COVID-19: Best Practices from the Classroom (PDF)

With one full academic year behind us, how did COVID-19-instigated modalities, platforms, and learning tools affect student experiences and learning outcomes? What type of pandemic-era teaching and learning methods should higher education institutions adopt post-pandemic? These are some of the questions Deloitte sought to answer with our client, the Colleges of the Fenway, during a project earlier this year.


The New Currency of Social Capital: How Gen Z Builds Relationships and Finds Jobs​​

How are today’s students building relationships and creating professional networks to launch from college to career? The old adage “it’s who you know, not what you know” may not apply for Gen Z. The latest Handshake Network Trends report explores the new currency of social capital—digital networking. Download the free report to learn how higher education can facilitate these connections and help students succeed.​​


Widening the​ Lens on Enrollment Management to Accommodate Changing Student Needs​

Expected and unexpected challenges and changes in recent years have dramatically affected enrollment dynamics across the board for colleges and universities. While the “traditional” student will remain a fundamental component of most institutional business models, sole reliance on that population alone will limit viable options for colleges and universities.

November 2021 Insights


Identifying Opportunities to Better Engage Male Students with Analytics

An unlikely group to perceive as disadvantaged or needing special attention, it’s clear that men today are disengaging from higher education at record rates. While many schools have experienced this firsthand, data from the National Student Clearinghouse in the fall of 2020 and the spring of 2021 alerted us all that men’s enrollments are at the lowest rates ever, particularly at community colleges. It is quite evident that higher education is not sufficiently meeting the needs of men today, particularly men of color. And, most of us who have worked in student services at a college or university know firsthand how challenging it can be to engage male students and get them to take advantage of all that we offer. So how can we better support men in higher education to make them feel welcome, engaged, and successful? Explore how colleges and universities can better leverage analytics to determine which student success initiatives have the highest impact on retention, persistence, and completion for currently enrolled male students at their particular institution.<​/p>


Five Strategies for Student Success

There is no doubt that the last year made it more challenging for students to complete their four-year degrees. It’s also true that this past year has allowed many institutions to look for more creative and innovative solutions that can help students remain successfully enrolled. A new report from Deloitte’s Center for Higher Education Excellence, in collaboration with, provides five strategies that leading colleges and universities are following to help reduce the financial or administrative roadblocks that hinder strong student success outcomes. 

​Gray Associates

Finding a Sustainable Academic Strategy​

Many colleges and universities must respond quickly to pandemic-induced budget shortfalls in order to avoid unacceptable drawdowns of their reserves or even more severe financial disruption. However, the pandemic also may have upended their business models to the point where significantly new strategies must be found. They need to “Build Back Better” rather than simply close their budget gaps.


Outcomes and Metrics that Matter​

What would it look like to re-think career services as a central component of an institution? What are the career readiness outcomes and metrics that define success? Handshake’s latest report, drawing from the insights of higher education leaders, lays out a vision for integrating career services into the fabric of the institution, with a focus on how career readiness metrics and outcomes can inform and enhance colleges’ broader objectives.​


How Cyber Hygiene Promotes Information and Data Security for Research Institutions in a New Era for Remote Work​

In March 2020, in-person teaching and learning were brought to a halt nearly overnight as governments, colleges and universities acted to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus. While higher education administrators and faculty scrambled to transition to a remote teaching and learning model as physical campuses were closed, they also struggled to respond to unique research needs regarding wet and dry lab operations and clinical research conduct. Instantly, many researchers began accessing data and continuing to track project plans from home, with or without appropriate information security safeguards provided by their institutions.

October 2021 Insights​


Campus Leaders Rethink Education, Business Models

After taking significant measures to respond to COVID-19, higher education leaders are bracing for another phase of change. Hybrid learning models are likely here to stay, but how can the pandemic-prompted experience be improved and made sustainable?

September 2021 Insights


6 Ways to Deliver Proactive & Personalized Student Success Services at Scale

How do you consistently provide proactive, personalized student success service to a diverse student population with escalating needs, in a rapidly changing higher education landscape, with limited financial and human resources? Explore how Civitas Learning partner institutions use data analytics and intelligent student success software to scale student success services on their campuses.


College Students’ Mental Health and Well‐being

What started out as an internal conversation around student mental health and well-being turned into a webinar on the same topic with a panel of college and university Chief Wellness Officers and a companion video giving voice to students on their lived experiences. That momentum led to our most recent study on the same topic. Deloitte’s Center for Higher Education Excellence interviewed students, administrators, and health and well-being leaders from campuses across the nation to find strategies that address these concerns.
In the report, Deloitte provides a guide for college and university leaders to help address the following three questions:

  1. What is behind the student mental health crisis and how extensive is it?
  2. What are strategies for improving student mental health and well-being?
  3. How can colleges and universities chart a course for student mental health and well-being in the future?

Gray Associates

What Drives Curricular Efficiency?

Effective curricular efficiency analysis helps reduce teaching workloads in a department and for an entire institution. This can enable institutions to realize significant benefits, from reducing the need to hire new faculty, to making college more affordable for students and funders. Gray Associates Partner Steve Probst offers insight about the recurring decisions that drive curricular efficiency. Improving the processes for making these decisions is key to delivering better education at a lower cost.


Test Scores – Optional or Not? Data on Outcomes Can Help You Decide

At last count, nearly 1,350 colleges and universities have become test-optional or no longer require standardized test scores. When assessing whether to adopt a permanent policy on using test scores for admissions, consider data-driven insights about the student body to make a strategic decision.


Interstride and RIT Case Study

Over 1,500 international students study at Rochester Institute of Technology. Julian Huenerfauth, Assistant Director for International Student Career Services, decided to streamline resources for international students’ unique challenges: finding jobs, immigration information, and networking resources. Working closely with the International Student Services Office, RIT deployed Interstride as a centralized hub that is all-encompassing for student needs. By using technology and working together, RIT simplified the staff workflow and improved the student experience.


Is Your Administration Building Obsolete?

Eighteen months ago, Covid-19 sent most administrators home to work remotely. What if they stayed away? Is it possible for administrators to lead a college or university from their remote devices, anywhere on the planet? Can an institution attract a stronger, more diverse leadership team if it doesn’t matter where they work? Writing in the Chronicle of Higher Education, WittKieffer's Lucy Leske explores the issues of administering from afar.

August 2021 Insights

AGB Search

The Higher Education Investment Office: Strategy and Leadership

This session, "The Higher Education Investment Office: Strategy and Leadership," was presented in partnership with Jane Bierwirth, Co-Head of Asset Management for RSR Partners and discussed strategy and leadership in the higher education investment sector; invited panelists were members of leadership at Bryn Mawr College, AGB Consulting, and Carnegie Institution for Science.

Barnes & Noble College

Institutions Boosting Academic and Financial Support for Students

Institutions nationwide are finding innovative ways to deliver desperately needed academic support and financial relief to students. Ivy Tech, North Carolina A&T, and Winston-Salem State are among those implementing an equitable access model for course materials and using CARES Act funding to cover student costs for at least one term. Learn how these schools are bundling course material costs, ensuring students receive materials before the first day of class, with personalized service and significant savings.


Using Data to Close Equity Gap in Higher Education

How do colleges and universities remove barriers to success and ensure that each student receives what they need to be successful throughout their college experience? Data analytics and technology can be important allies in this work. Together they not only equip colleges and universities with important information about how students are performing. They also provide the insights and tools needed to identify the underlying “why” and prescribe interventions that address a particular student’s needs right now. Explore the data-activated Student Impact Strategies that Civitas Learning partners use to close equity gaps in student outcomes.


Ready to Learn, Ready to Work (PDF)

The trifecta of a changing economy, the future of work, and the need for new skills pathways provides a unique opportunity for colleges and universities to revisit their core educational missions: teaching and learning, but with an emphasis on in-demand skills development and a renewed focus on the lifelong learner market. What will it take for higher education to bridge the gap between millions of jobs and millions of unemployed to become a key driver of economic recovery in a post-pandemic world?

Guild Education

Stepping Up: How Education Access Can Help Bridge the Gender Gap for Working Adults (PDF)

The American labor force lost 2.4 million women in 2020. It’s easy to point at the pandemic—a clear exogenous shock that left virtually no industry untouched—as a singular cause, but that isn’t the full story. Women are underrepresented in fields and roles historically aligned with high earning potential, and those who do enter those fields are generally paid less than their male counterparts. The pandemic made the impact of deeply ingrained gender inequities more visible. Higher education can do more to help address these discrepancies.


Simplifying the Financial Aid Process for Students

Due to long-standing challenges with accessing financial aid, the U.S. FAFSA will be simplified by 2024. As policymakers address the need for more equitable, inclusive and accessible financial aid processes, the roles and expectations of financial aid officers will evolve.


How Duke supports its growing international student population using Interstride (PDF)

Almost a quarter of Duke’s student population is international. Greg Victory, executive director of the Career Center and assistant VP of student affairs, found legacy tools inadequate in supporting these students or intended for domestic students going abroad instead. He found success in Interstride as the one-stop-shop solution offering resources on jobs, immigration information, and more. To enhance international student success, Victory recommends working as a community and choosing tools designed for international students.

Ruffalo Noel Levitz

New Research on Graduate Student Expectations and Behavior

Watch our video summary of 10 things you need to know about what graduate students expect when they search for programs of study, including communication expectations, preferred program formats, and top enrollment factors—then download your free copy of the report. Watch and read the report.

July 2021 Insights


Higher Ed Leaders Reimagine Student Success Post-COVID

Is your institution weighing which pandemic-era policies should become standard practice? Over the last year, educators worked hard to ensure academic continuity and provide holistic support as their students grappled with barriers to success amplified by the pandemic, economic instability, and systemic racism. In this article, learn how leaders and experts from our community of practice are reexamining status quo approaches and making data-informed decisions to improve student outcomes in a post-COVID world.


Perspectives from Higher Education Leaders (PDF)

In May and June 2021, Deloitte hosted two Return to Campus virtual forums where leaders from institutions across the country shared their experiences around navigating the Future Of Work challenges presented by the pandemic. Looking at both quantitative and qualitative measures of employee sentiment, student experience, and campus needs, it is clear that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to returning to campus. After more than a year of near exclusive remote work—though many critical functions required certain staff to remain in-person throughout the pandemic—institutions are better able to examine the interests of their faculty, staff, and students, and refine the current talent model to incorporate lessons learned while continuing to work towards the mission of the institution.

Guild Education

Bridging the Working Adult Learner Persistence Gap: Structural Factors (PDF)

Students over the age of 25 are 70 percent less likely to persist in their academic journey year over year compared to their younger counterparts. While education benefits and coaching move the needle considerably, it is important to examine the barriers that stand in the way of persistence for working adult students. This white paper examines the structural supports that higher education can provide to help this growing student population achieve their educational goals.


New TIAA Institute research sheds light on experiences of non-tenure-track faculty and what colleges and universities can do to support them

Traditionally, college and university employment practices are designed to support tenure-track faculty, leaving behind 70 percent of faculty who are not on the tenure track. The reports examine ways to address the financial insecurity of non-tenure-track faculty and increase recruitment and retention of diverse faculty. The first paper explores the impact of job insecurity among non-tenure-track faculty holding appointments of a year or less. The second paper points the way for colleges and universities to design policies that are more equitable for non-tenure-track faculty by using a liberatory design approach.

June 2021 Insights

Academic Search

The Impetus for Transitioning and Onboarding a Newly Appointed President (PDF)

A leadership change represents a critical time for tending to the needs and priorities of boards, senior leadership teams, and other campus constituencies, and a smooth transition and onboarding requires planning. In the following article, Academic Search Vice President and Senior Consultant Maya Ranchod Kirkhope discusses the importance of investing in the support of newly appointed presidents in particular and how a strong, well-structured, and synergistic transition and onboarding plan can help to position and launch a new president toward long-term success.


On a mission: Higher education combats COVID-19 challenges

COVID-19’s impact on higher education has been both severe and expansive. In addition to the operational stress and disruption facing academic institutions, their students, and direct constituents, there are continuously evolving downstream consequences on the communities, businesses, and stakeholders in their shared sphere of influence. How can higher education leaders successfully fulfill their institution’s mission while managing the student, faculty, and community demands placed on them by the crisis? This episode explores the pandemic-related challenges shared by academia and business with Jay Hartzell, president, University of Texas, Austin and Betty Fleurimond, Higher Education practice managing director for Deloitte Services LP. They discuss intricate re-opening plans, outbreak response management programs, and the opportunities that widespread virtual environments are presenting higher education institutions. They also share insights on actions leaders might consider to engendered trust, preserve value, and position their organizations to thrive in the next normal.


Employing a ‘Digital Workforce’ in Higher Ed

How can intelligent automation and robotic process automation (RPA) help higher education institutions? Learn how the strategic use of RPA can help solve near-term tactical challenges while positioning the institution for the future.

May 2021 Insights

AGB Search

Human Resources in Higher Education: A Renewed Appreciation

As we move from pandemic to endemic, the importance of understanding community, student, and faculty trends in higher education cannot be overstated, and by addressing issues in each of these areas, Human Resources plays a central role in strategic people planning and leadership. AGB Search Principals Monica Burton and Peggy Plympton hosted Human Resources in Higher Education: A Renewed Appreciation, a virtual breakfast session dedicated to discussing these trends in higher education Human Resources with an emphasis on developments and challenges during the pandemic.

Barnes and Noble College

Student Perspectives: How Equitable Access Influenced Enrollment & Academic Performance

Course materials play a vital role in students’ success, yet over 50% were unprepared for first day of class in 2020. Many approaches to course material delivery simply cannot ensure the accessibility and affordability today’s students require. With operational alterations, institutions can provide the financial and academic support students need to be successful, including universal access to academic resources. Learn about the success of this innovative model already implemented at a diverse set of institutions.


Seven Principles for Effective Change Management

Effective transformation requires an enterprise-wide approach to improve and enhance organizational models, operating processes, technology, leadership, and talent models. Yet in many cases, the organization’s resources are focused solely on the project itself and not on stakeholder commitment. To improve the odds of implementing an effective change management initiative in your higher education institution, take these seven principles to heart.


The Skills Revolution: A Call for Co-Creation & Collaboration Between Employers and Higher Education

The pandemic has renewed a collective sense of urgency to reskill and upskill the workforce. As employers rethink how they teach, train and grow talent, higher ed has an opportunity to meet the demand for experiential learning.

April 2021 Insights

Civitas Learning

Infographic - How Student Success Initiatives Are Closing Achievement Gaps (PDF)

Student Success can’t be one-size-fits-all. Neither can improving equity. Emerging trends from 300 student success initiatives show that higher ed’s policies and programs have different effects on different student populations. Key findings highlight that intersectionality matters for a more focused, proactive approach to student care and that advising and degree planning help historically underserved populations more consistently than any other initiative studied. Find out more about programs that are improving or limiting equitable outcomes today.

Academic Search

COVID-19 Impacts on Leadership Transitions and the Search Process (PDF)

Many institutional leaders who may have been considering retirement or a move decided to delay their plans, and search work came to a standstill late last spring. As the COVID-19 crisis continued on, uncertainty and limited resources made contracting with an executive search firm more challenging for many institutions, resulting in recruitment of position openings being managed internally in many instances. The typical search process and more common search calendar has changed in ways that not only accommodate the world in which we currently live but we suspect will become part of the “new normal” in a post-pandemic period.


The Unbound University: Bridging the Gap Between Education and Employment

Recent economic volatility and rising unemployment caused by the pandemic has seemingly only intensified pressure on universities to equip students with in-demand skills. To better understand the skills proficiency gaps that exist between graduating students and working professionals, Coursera recently conducted research on current learner skillsets. Discover the areas in which universities can use online learning to help bridge the employability gap, implement blended learning, and support lifelong learning for their students and faculty.


Building Post-COVID Adaptable Workplaces for Higher Ed (PDF)

COVID-19 expedited changes in higher education that many predicted would happen over decades, forcing those seemingly distant changes to happen within weeks. The vision for what the workplace in higher education looks like next has moved beyond the traditional binary choice of onsite or telework. Can institutions designed around in-person interactions transform into hubs brimming with innovation enabled by an adaptive workplace? A recent Deloitte report explores how institutions can transform into hubs brimming with innovation enabled by an Adaptive Workplace.

March 2021 Insights

Gray Associates

Student Demand:  The Critical Metric for Program Investment Decisions

In the face of financial shortfalls, many schools make a fundamental error:  they focus on employment data to find new programs or current programs to grow.  Unfortunately, there is a very limited relationship between employer needs and program margins. Institutins truly need to take both student demand and Labor Market data into account when looking at your current programs or evaluating what new programs to launch.  This can help you truly build an economically sustainable program portfolio. 


Building Bridges For Transfer Students Requires Collaboration and Coordination

Enrollment trends are causing many college and university leaders to reexamine their transfer pathways. A new article by Huron explores the ways two- and four-year institutions can work together to broker strategic discussions and make changes that improve the transfer student journey from start to finish.


The Essential Guide: What Data Can Do For Your University

Just as the hammer in your toolbox can’t build a house by itself, your data solution can’t transform your university on its own. The ability to collect information, analyze, and report on it can transform your institution when you have the right collection and collaboration processes in place. Download this eBook to learn what data can (and can’t) do for your university and how to get the most from your digital solutions.


College Presidents Must Get the Conversation Started

COVID-19 strained institutions that were already feeling immense pressures and taught leaders much in the process. WittKieffer Managing Partner and Education Practice Leader Zachary A. Smith, Ph.D., spotlights post-pandemic leadership traits based on a conversation with Robert Zemsky, Penn professor and noted voice on the future of higher education. Their advice? Start the conversation! The leaders of tomorrow must be skilled at convening conversations that generate trust, connection, and fresh ideas for revolutionary, rejuvenating change.

Feburary 2021 Insights


Research Report: COVID-19 &Your Campus

In a national survey, more than 850 respondents in leadership roles across 706 institutions shared their experiences and expectations for how their campus would handle the pandemic. The results of this survey are available in Watermark’s new research report, COVID-19 and Your Campus: Impacts on Teaching & Learning and Institutional Effectiveness, including the effects of COVID-related disruption on assessment, self-study, course evaluation, faculty review processes, and curriculum and catalog management.

Collegis Education

ProvidingEffective IT Support to Online Learners: 5 Factors Colleges Should Consider

To fulfill the promise of online learning, colleges and universities must be able to rapidly resolve online students’ technical issues – no matter the day, time or location. Institutions that prioritize and adapt their IT support services to online learners’ unique needs and circumstances can improve the overall satisfaction and retention of their students and faculty alike.  


How One College FostersRobust Remote Learning

Innovative thinking helped Lyon College, a small private institution in Alabama, secure faculty buy-in and ensure students were prepared for—and successful in—remote learning. With the need for high-speed connectivity imperative, Lyon made several technology investments that paid off in numerous ways. Lyon believes institutions who actively embrace technology and level up their knowledge, skills, and abilities to function in this new world will be the ones who will strive.

January 2021 Insights

National Student Clearinghouse

The Future of Higher Education in 2021 and Beyond

In this blog, Doug Shapiro, Executive Director of the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, discusses the state of education amid the pandemic, specifically the effect of the pandemic on college access for students, and the future of the higher education in 2021 and beyond.


Trust, Value, Safety: Higher Education Beyond the Pandemic

Plans made during the coronavirus pandemic are often tied to a tenuous clause: “When things return to normal.” But for colleges and universities, such short-term stopgaps are not only unsustainable — they are overlooking an important opportunity to evolve and to build the trust of students and families along the way. In preparing for the prolonged impact of the pandemic and the vaccine roll-out, leaders should refresh their plans for delivering high-quality programs and services.

 Affiliate Member Directory

ACE gratefully acknowledges our affiliate members, whose generous support helps sustain ACE programs and initiatives.​

​View the Directory​​​