ACE Donna Shavlik Award


This award was established by ACE in 1999 to honor the long and outstanding service of Donna Shavlik, past director of ACE’s former Office of Women in Higher Education. The award honors an individual whose leadership demonstrates a sustained commitment to advancing women in higher education through actions or initiatives enhancing women’s leadership and career development, campus climate, and mentoring of women at both the state and national levels.

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2020 Winner: Carol A. Moore

Passing the Baton: The Call to Advance Gender Equity and Women’s Leadership

By Carol A. Moore

This past spring I noted on my calendar an upcoming telephone conversation with ACE President Ted Mitchell—not an unusual request, since I had been involved with the ACE Women’s Network for years, chairing both the national board, now known as the ACE Women’s Network Executive Council, and the ACE Commission on Women in Higher Education along the way. But when the call came, I was rendered speechless. I had been selected to receive the 2020 ACE/APL nextEd Donna Shavlik Award in honor of my longstanding commitment to the advancement of women. It was especially meaningful since I had worked closely with Donna Shavlik, the former director of the ACE Office of Women in Higher Education. The award was to be presented at the ACE2020 Annual Meeting in mid-March.

That conference, of course, never took place; it joined the roster of thousands of other professional events that were canceled as the novel coronavirus swept the country. Although I was disappointed, I took the opportunity to reflect on the many women across the country who had worked together to move the needle on women’s equity in higher education. Progress has been made: more women have made it into the senior ranks of leadership, more women are presidents, and there is less overt discrimination within the professional community. Our steps forward have been taken slowly, and we are still working to increase the representation of women at the helm in higher education, in the business sector, and on nonprofit boards. And although the occasional slights or jokes about women leaders can still be heard, they exist in much subtler tones than before.

While we baby boomers have put our share of cracks in the proverbial glass ceiling, it is now up to you—the next generation—to take the baton and push our efforts to the next level. It is your turn to take up the battle for equity and to ensure that as you move forward, you are judged on your talents, not on your gender. The challenges may be even more difficult to overcome than the ones we faced years ago. The biases that have long kept us a step behind our male counterparts have now burrowed in under the surface, harder to pinpoint but just as insidious. But the increased national awareness of inequities, implicit bias, and injustice toward women, along with the commitments seen by so many to supporting gender equality, gives us reason to hope that we will see greater parity, equity, and equality in the future.

As we baby boomers settle into our post-retirement lives, we will be cheering you on from the sidelines. We’ll do what we can on a volunteer basis, but depend on you to further achieve our quest for equity. I am optimistic that your generation will contribute significantly to the journey, bringing us ever closer to the place in the future where women are valued in all aspects of life and society.


Past Award Recipients

ACE has been bestowing the Donna Shavlik Award since 1999, when Donna Shavlik herself became the first ever recipient. Click to expand the area below to learn more about our past recipients.

2019 - Carol S. Leary, President, Bay Path University (MA)
2018 - Judith S. White, President and Executive Director of HERS (Higher Education Resource Services)
2017 - Judy Genshaft, President, University of South Florida​​​
​2016 - ​Lucie Lapovsky, President, Lapovsky Consulting​
2015 - Madlyn Hanes, Vice President for Commonwealth Campuses for The Pennsylvania State University​
2014 - ​Elaine P. Maimon, Governors State University (IL)
2013 - Karen Haynes, President, California State University San Marcos​
2012 - Beverly Daniel Tatum, President, Spelman College (GA)
2011 - Susan L. Perry, Senior Advisor, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation
2010 - Blenda J. Wilson, President Emerita, California State University, Northridge Educational Policy Consultant &
Board Chair, HERS
2009 - Peggy Ryan Williams, President Emerita, Ithaca College (NY)
2008 - Adrian Tinsley, President Emerita, Bridgewater State College (MA)
2007 - Yolanda T. Moses, Past President of the American Anthropological Association (VA), Professor of Anthropology and the Associate Vice Chancellor for Diversity, Equity and Excellence at the University of California, Riverside
2006 - Donna Shalala, President, University of Miami
2005 - Caryn McTighe Musil, Senior Vice President, Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) (DC)
2004 - Bette E. Landman, President, Arcadia University (PA)
2003 - Bernice (Bunny) Sandler, Senior Scholar, Women's Research and Education Institute (DC)
2002 - Cynthia Secor, Founder, Summer Institute for Women in Higher Education Administration Bryn Mawr College (PA) and HERS New England Management Institute for Women in Higher Education, Wellesley College (MA)
2001 - Jan Holmgren, President, Mills College (CA)
2000 - Judy Touchton, former Associate Director, ACE's former Office of Women in Higher Education
1999 - Donna Shavlik, former Director, ACE's former Office of Women in Higher Education



Nominations for this award are now closed.


ACE is grateful to APL nextED for its support of the 2020 award. APL nextED is a female-founded and owned education technology company that supports ACE’s commitment to advancing women in all facets of higher education leadership.


The American Council on Education and APL nextED are independent entities and are not legally affiliated. The recipient of the ACE/APL nextED Donna Shavlik Award is selected solely by ACE.  APL nextED employees are not involved in any way in determining, selecting, or approving the recipient of any award.