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. 

Learn more about all our affiliate members by visiting the Affiliate Member Directory

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​Latest: February 2024 Insights

​​​​AGB Search

​Student Affairs Leadership is Critical to Student and Institutional Success

Student Affairs professionals play a pivotal role in shaping the overall student experience. In fact, of the five top determinants of whether students thrive in college, three are directly in the purview of Student Affairs (positive perspective, social connectedness, and diverse citizenship). Executive Search Consultants Lou Stark, Andrew Bowen, Franklin Newton, and Jean Kim outline the importance of investing in Student Affairs leaders and the ways in which the role is evolving in our latest piece, "Student Affairs Leadership is Critical to Student and Institutional Success."​


​Partnering with an Executive Search Firm to Recruit Higher Education Leaders​

An executive search firm specializes in sourcing, recruiting, and evaluating talented individuals for leadership positions. At Buffkin / Baker, a retained search firm, we work exclusively with our higher education clients to understand their culture and the institutional needs. We are in the business of finding and delivering transformational leaders.


Deloitte's MADE Commitment / 2024 Impact Report

Deloitte’s “Making Accounting Diverse and Equitable” (MADE) initiative combines both financial support and the depth of resources an organization of Deloitte‘s size can bring to attract diverse individuals into the accounting field and support them as they chart their path: from high school to business professional to industry leadership. Our MADE commitment, which includes accounting scholarships, is a comprehensive strategy to work to address the major barriers faced by racially and ethnically diverse students and to grow the population of diverse talent—thus helping transform the future of the accounting profession.

Fidelity Investments

Womens Talk Money Webinars

Women continue to make strides in several financial areas and are taking action with their money like never before. And we know when women act, we see goodness in their overall confidence, improvement in wellbeing, and lower stress. In fact, total wellbeing goes up by 62% when women feel in control and not overwhelmed by their finances.1 Women’s History Month is an opportunity to explore the secrets to success when it comes to taking control of your finances, cultivating personal well-being, and building a thriving career as we welcome EGOT award-winning actress Viola Davis and chef and Emmy-nominated producer Padma Lakshmi to an engaging webinar series.


​Student Retention Challenges Persist. Here’s How to Address Them.​

​​​Despite the increasing focus on student success, challenges regarding student retention still exist. Learners struggle with funding, connecting with their campuses, or seeing the long-term value associated with higher education. How can institutions combat these issues? After meeting with leaders from institutions across the country, Jenzabar found that colleges that struggle less with retention issues often have robust strategies that echo across the entire institution. What are those strategies? Read this blog for more insights.

​TIAA Institute

​How to Recognize and Respond to Genuine Trends with Potentially Significant Impact on your Institution​​

Although data are plentiful about past higher education trends and their results, extrapolating from them to future trends is difficult, particularly in today’s volatile environment. This report describes several emerging trends affecting institutions and steps that leaders, planning committees and trustees can take to gauge a trend’s potential impact and devise responses that advance an institution’s best interests.​


What do You Really Need in Your Next President?​

​A presidential transition can be a time of great excitement, anxiety, uncertainty, or all of the above. For the search committee charged with finding a new leader, the tendency is to jump right in and get moving on this vitally important hire. But the smartest thing the committee can do is to take a step back before forging ahead. In this article, WittKieffer Senior Partner Suzanne Teer explores the essential steps that institutions must complete before launching their recruitment for their next president.

January 2024 Insights

​​​​​AGB Search

The Growing Need for Chief Sustainability Officers on Campus​

Today’s college students are intensely focused on climate responsibility in all aspects of their lives, including their choice of university. Recent surveys have shown that most students are not only concerned about environmental issues, but also take into consideration an institution’s commitment to the environment when they decide to apply. While many institutions have adopted new initiatives or policies aimed at carbon neutrality, the presence of a Chief Sustainability Officer further emphasizes the institution’s commitment to those initiatives. Having such a dedicated leader within the Cabinet provides a campus with both guidance on the issues and credibility to the efforts of the institution.

​Amazon Web Services

Select Sessions from the 2023 AWS IMAGINE Education Conference​

The AWS IMAGINE conference welcomed education leaders, technology strategists, researchers, state and local leaders to Sacramento this Summer to learn from one another how to use AWS cloud to digitally transform their organizations and meet their mission.  Watch the highlight sessions from the event including how Vanderbilt University Libraries are leveraging technology to preserve audiovisual media, and researchers from Vanderbilt, UNC Chapel Hill, and Athabasca University are using AWS to enable research at scale.

Gray Associates

Competing for Enrollment with Emerging Academic Programs​

Discover how innovative programs not only attract students but also secure a competitive edge in today's educational landscape. Learn how understanding emerging trends and harnessing interdisciplinary opportunities can drive enrollment, revenue, and success.

​​Jed Foundation

JED Releases New Report, Youth Suicide: Current Trends and the Path to Prevention

The Jed Foundation (JED) issued a new report that explores recent data on youth mental health and suicide to offer a detailed look at what youth are experiencing, as well as which groups are most at risk and targeted solutions to support them. The report also includes nine essential steps to reducing suicide among all youth.

November and December 2023 Insights

​​Amazon Web Services

Making financial aid simple for students and staff

Highline College, the most diverse community college in Washington State, needed a way to make the financial aid process simpler and more transparent for students and reduce the workload for staff.  Working with Amazon Web Services (AWS) and focusing on the user experience, the newly implemented financial aid tool resulted in immediate benefits for students. Read how Highline College improved the student financial aid experience and allowed team members to focus their time and resources on serving students and processing awards, cutting their application to award time in half.​

​​​​Gray Associates

How Higher Education Institutions Are Using Creative AI​

We’ve seen an explosion of AI-related courses and programs across higher education, mainly within engineering and computer science departments, but AI isn’t just for “left-brainers.” Artists, musicians, and other “right-brain” aficionados are using AI to enhance the creative process and even generate new creative works. While creative AI still has a long way to go, it’s clear that AI technology will have to be considered in the workforce and in educating students.​

Jed Foundation

The Jed Foundation (JED) and State Higher Education Executive Officers Association (SHEEO) Launch Student Mental Health and Wellness Learning Community

​New partnership aims to advance educational success and enable students to thrive by reimagining state- and system-wide policies protecting youth mental health.

September and October 2023 Insights


​Role of trustees in risk governance in higher education ​​

College and university boards of trustees must understand their role in risk oversight to address the unique challenges higher education institutions face​.


Creating a Latino/a employee experience that speaks the language

With 44% of millennials in America being multicultural, the workforce looks a lot different than it did 50—or even 20—years ago.¹ One rapidly growing demographic within the workforce is the Latino/a community. The number of Latino/a workers in the labor force has tripled in the last 30 years, and by 2030, they are expected to account for one out of five workers.² Explore how to build an inclusive employee experience that reaches past translation.

​Gray Associates

​The Artists Are Not Starving: How Arts Programs Profit Students and Schools

Can arts programs lead to prosperous careers? We dissect recent data that challenges the “starving artist” stereotype. Explore the resilient growth of visual and performing arts enrollments post-pandemic, the diverse paths graduates take, and surprising employment outcomes. Discover why arts education is not just surviving but thriving.​


The Class of 2024 is ready to launch into an AI-enabled future​

The latest report from Handshake shows half of 2024 graduates plan to build new skills in light of the emergence of generative AI. A third—including more than half of tech majors—say they plan to use generative AI in their career. Learn more about how this class is adapting to fast-changing technology along with other career-related trends.

Huron Consulting Group

The paradox of higher ed mergers and acquisitions​

Financial headwinds, among other dynamics, are driving interest in higher education mergers and acquisitions (M&A) as a solution for institutional sustainability. What makes M&A successful for colleges and universities: finding “win-win-wins” among institutions with compatible aims. Read this perspective from Huron on how to position your institution for success in the M&A ecosystem.


Over the next year, JED and SHEEO will debut the inaugural Student Mental Health and Wellness Learning Community focused on the development and implementation of state- and system-wide policy recommendations that bolster institutions’ ability to effectively promote and support student mental health and wellness. Five states will be selected for $25,000 planning grants to facilitate their participation and identify strategies that effectively support students of color and students from low-income circumstances who face systemic inequities and experience pronounced disparities in mental health-care access. 


Critical Competencies for Leading “Big Scary Change"  

Given the magnitude of change across academia, the safe solutions that have long guided institutional growth are no longer sufficient. This paper explores the skills needed to direct transformation.



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