ACE Learning Circles

About ACE Learning Circles

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​What are learning circles?

Learning circles are facilitated online groups of six to 10 campus leaders deepening their ability to create transformative change on campus. By discussing their goals, challenges, and insights on a routine basis, learning circles members engage in social learning. In social learning spaces—unlike workshops or courses ​in which a few experts teach a larger group of novices—all participants contribute and grow their distinctive expertise. Through social learning, participants mutually grapple with the question, "How do I make a difference?"

Who are they for?

Learning circles are for senior higher education leaders committed to making a transformative change in the service of their institution's mission and values. Any campus leaderfrom directors, deans, and assistant vice presidents to provosts and presidentswho is committed to change is welcome.

What is it like?

Hear members of six different learning circles explain what motivated them to join and why they valued the experience:

When and where do they happen?

Photo of Learning Circle meeting on Zoom

Learning circles meet online for one hour per week for six weeks. 

Afterward, many circles elect to continue meeting at their own cadence.

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Learning circles use virtual whiteboards and other online tools to facilitate and capture discussions.

Click here to see the full resolution image.

Key Benefits
  • Grapple collectively with the new connections you make over the uncertainty in an ever-changing world
  • Build a powerful network of peers with a diversity of experiences, backgrounds, and identities and who tackle similar challenges
  • Receive encouragement and coaching from other members to enliven and sustain you
  • Access curated resources (such as research, best practices, and tools) to apply on campus and inform conversations within your circle
  • Develop relationships that you can lean on beyond the duration of the structured programming
  • Make only a modest investment of money and time that fits into the flow of your work
How It Works

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Learning circles meet online for one hour per week for six weeks.

Members commit to participating actively and consistently. Afterward, they ​often choose to continue meeting at their own cadence.

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Peer facilitators who are trained and supported by ACE staff lead activities and adapt the agenda of each meeting to address members’ objectives and experiences.

No two circles are the same.

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Members come prepared to review and discuss curated content to build a shared vocabulary and repertoire.

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ACE curates best practices, ideas, and resources shared during learning circle activities.

Materials are made available on ACE Engage for future reference and for sharing with a broader audience.

Click here for a screenshot of an example curated resource collection.

Upcoming Learning Circles

Learning circles are scheduled quarterly. ACE also offers learning circles on agile innovation through the Agile Administrators program. ​Learn more about upcoming learning circles and how to register.


Featured in first video: Jo-Ann Rolle, Dean, School of Business, Medgar Evers College of The City University of New York; Catherine Wehlburg, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, Athens State University; Stephanie McNulty, Professor of Government, Franklin & Marshall College; Jairo McMican, Dean of Student Learning, Central Carolina Community College; Michael Dunn, Assistant Vice President of Equity and Inclusion and Title IX Coordinator, St. Mary’s College of Maryland​​

Featured in second video: Cameron McCoy, Provost, Shenandoah University; Anne Dahlman, Interim Associate Provost and Dean of Global Education, Minnesota State University, Mankato

Join a community of leaders learning in partnership as they shape the future of higher education.

Participation in most ​learning circles is $299 for those at ACE member institutions and $399 for those at nonmember institutions.

ACE also offers learning circles on agility and innovation through the Agile Administrators program.

Learn more about upcoming learning circles and how to register: 

Achieving Gender Equity
Sharing ​​​Lead​ership for EquitySupporti​ng Mental Health​
Agile Administrators Program

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