ACE West Summer Summit
6/6/2019 12:00 AM
6/7/2019 11:55 PM
Format: Face-to-Face
Program Type: Summit

Summits are one- to two-day virtual, in-person, or hybrid events centered on a particular theme. They provide insights, practical advice, and collaborative solutions from national and regional experts, leaders, and practitioners. Summit themes address issues and challenges that are broad in scope, require campus-wide approaches, and involve an array of stakeholders.

Indisputable evidence shows that college graduates, on average, make more money, and are happier, healthier, and more civically engaged than those who never completed a degree. Nevertheless, it has become clear over the past several years that public skepticism about the value of higher education is on the rise.

Concern about rising college costs, student debt loads, and workplace readiness has reignited long-standing debates about the role of higher education. This June, ACE is gathering thought leaders and experienced campus leaders to decipher the necessary steps to affirm the long-term benefits of higher education to individuals and our wider society. 

Join us at the ACE West Summer Summit in Portland, Oregon. It is important for presidents, provosts, and other senior leaders to understand the current perceptions of higher education in order to consider how best to position their institutions to address them and meet the needs of current and future students. 

This summit will provide an opportunity for leadership teams to:

  • Unpack the public’s perception of higher education.
  • Assess how those views apply to their own institutions.
  • Explore ways to meet the needs of all students in a manner that truly demonstrates the value of higher education.

Who should Participate

This event is open to higher education leaders who are interested in unpacking public perceptions and positioning their institution for success. While individuals may attend, we encourage institutions to send leadership teams who can actively engage during the summit and address their institutional needs. 

Leadership teams should consist of at least three individuals. We encourage a team composition based on the desired outcomes for the institution, but suggest a representative mix of at least one senior leader and others who would advance institutional initiatives designed to meet the needs of students and advance institutional impact on the community (and society). Below are suggestions of individuals who may comprise a campus team.

Senior leaders:
Chief Student Affairs Officers 
Chief Diversity Officers 
Chief Outreach and Community Engagement Officers 
Chief Enrollment Officers 
Chief Financial Officer 
Vice President for Strategic Initiatives 

Team members: 
Directors of Workforce Development 
Directors of Career Services 
Chief Marketing/Communications Officers
Civic Engagement and Community Service 
Directors of Equity and Inclusion Initiatives 
Directors of Student Success Initiatives 
Department/Program Chairs 

Key Dates for Payments, Cancellations, and Accommodations

May 12, 2019

Scholarship submission deadline

May 20, 2019

Deadline for accepting check payments.

After May 20 – May 29, 2019

Only credit card payments accepted.

May 22, 2019

Hotel Reservation Deadline (see Location tab for more details). 
Note: There is no guarantee on group rates for reservations made after this date.

May 24, 2019

Scholarship notifications will be sent.

May 29, 2019

Registration closes.
Note: Spaces are limited. Registration is subject to early closing if capacity is reached.

May 29, 2019

Cancellation requests submitted to by 5:00 p.m. EST will receive a 50% refund

After May 29, 2019

Cancellation requests submitted to are not eligible for a refund


Full payment by check or credit card must be received by May 20, 2019 to confirm participation. After May 20, 2019, full payment accepted by credit card only until May 29, 2019. ACE accepts the following payment options:

Credit Card - American Express, Visa, Discover, or MasterCard accepted. Participants can pay during registration or by calling 202-939-9376 to have payment processed by phone. Or, visit to pay invoice online.

Check - Make payable to American Council on Education. Mail both check and registration receipt to:

American Council on Education
c/o ACE Leadership
P.O. Box 418762
Boston, MA 02241-8762

Note: Purchase orders are not accepted as payment. To request an invoice, email both purchase order and registration receipt to



Speakers will include representatives and a host of leaders from regional campuses sharing their expertise on the Value of Higher Education.

Agenda is subject to change.

Thursday, June 6, 2019

5:00 – 5:15 p.m.

Welcoming Remarks & Introductions

5:15 – 6:15 p.m.

Who are Our Students and What do They Need?

Most college systems were designed to meet the needs of the 18-year-old student who arrives straight from high school, enrolls full-time, lives on campus, and has some degree of family support. This, however, is not an accurate depiction of today’s college students. Now, students come from a range of backgrounds and have a highly diverse set of needs. Many students are managing multiple competing priorities, including jobs and families, and their lives are further complicated by a higher education system that wasn’t really structured with them in mind. In order for higher education to change in ways that can meet the needs and expectations of all students, leaders must first understand the current student demographics and what students need from institutions. This session will set the context for our summit by providing an overview of ACE data and general insights into who our students are and what they need from higher education.  

6:15 – 6:45 p.m.


6:45 – 7:45 p.m.


Friday, June 7, 2019

7:30 – 8:00 a.m.


8:00 – 8:15 a.m.

Greetings and Remarks

8:15 – 8:30 a.m.

Video Postcards: The Meaning of Higher Education

For higher education to demonstrate its value, leaders must understand the perspectives of multiple stakeholder groups. During this session, participants will view a brief video featuring various stakeholders, both internal and external, who will speak to the meaning and value of higher education. 

8:30 – 9:30 a.m.

Student Perspectives on the Value of Higher Education 

The value of higher education depends on our ability to serve more students and to meet the needs of traditional and non-traditional students. In this session, participants will hear from three students who would, in many cases, be seen as unlikely candidates to earn a higher education credential to understand their perspective. This session will explore college students’ needs and expectations. Participants will gain insights to better understand the varying needs of students (traditional-aged; working adults; veterans; first-generation; etc.).

9:30 – 9:45 a.m.

Activity Framing

View a short clip from the film Unlikely (part 1), which speaks to the needs and expectations of students. 

9:45 – 10:00 a.m.


10:00 – 11:00 a.m.

Team Activity 1

This interactive session will provide institutional teams and individual participants with an opportunity to translate student/workforce needs into institutional strategy. 

11:00 – 11:15 a.m.


11:15 a.m. –
12:30 p.m.

Understanding Economic, Workforce, and Labor Market Trends 

An understanding of economic, workforce, and labor market trends is key to understanding the public perspective on the value of higher education.  Experts will discuss the current market trends and how administrators can use trends to inform institutional planning and decisions; cultivate constituent relationships; and establish and implement effective practices.

12:30 – 1:30 p.m.


1:30 – 2:15 p.m.

Team Activity 2: Unpacking the Economic Trends

Teams and individuals will be grouped by institutional type to talk about how higher education can serve the regional economies. They will explore how to move from the global/national economies picture to thinking about a regional economy. What do they perceive as the regional/community economic drivers? What can institutions do to best serve those economies and best position students to operate within the economies?

2:15 – 2:30 p.m.


2:30 – 3:30 p.m.

Leadership Insights: Demonstrating Value on Your Campus 

How do we demonstrate the value of higher education to skeptics? By engaging the campus to meet the needs of all students. This session will provide insights from current institutional leaders on how best to demonstrate the value of higher education by recommitting to a student-centered approach that takes market and workforce trends into consideration for key institutional decisions.

3:30 – 4:00 p.m.

Table Discussions: Taking Action at Your Institution

Now what? Participants will engage in collaborative discussions about actionable next steps based on information obtained throughout the summit. Discussions will explore the concrete actions they can take to demonstrate the value of higher education to their communities; how they can aid students in realizing the value of higher education; and, ways to engage faculty, administrators, and other key stakeholders in working collaboratively to effect institutional change. 

4:00 – 4:15 p.m.



Eloy Oakley California Community College 
Morgan Denton Freedom Education Project
Leadership Enterprise for a Diverse America
David Richardson  TIAA Institute
Anthony Carnevale Georgetown University
Soraya Coley Cal Poly Pomona
Demaree Michelau Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education
Mushtaq Gunja American Council on Education
Paul Pitre Washington State University - Everett


​Doubletree by Hilton Hotel Portland​​
1000 NE Multnomah Street, Portland, OR 97232​


With the generous support of Fidelity Investments, a limited number of scholarships are now available to offset expenses to attend the June Summit. Scholarship applicants who have completed and submitted both a program registration, including payment, and a scholarship application by May 12, 2019, will be considered. Scholarship notifications will be sent by May 24, 2019​. 

These scholarships are to enable a select group of candidates from all sectors of higher education to participate in ACE’s signature leadership development programs. The Fidelity Investments scholarships are tied to ACE’s broader leadership development initiative designed to advance women and persons of color into the presidency and other leadership roles. Preference will be given to candidates from under- represented populations within higher education’s senior leadership ranks and to those candidates whose institutions lack the necessary resources to cover program attendance costs. ​

A picture of the Fidelity Investments logo

​Registration Closed