CIC Publishes New Research Digest, Annual Report

Research Digest

The latest edition of CIC’s Digest of Recent Research highlights timely and pertinent research from scholarly journals that independent college and university leaders may find useful. The Digest was edited by Matthew J. Mayhew, William Ray and Marie Adamson Flesher Professor of Educational Administration at Ohio State University, with assistance from Eric McChesney, a PhD student of higher education and student affairs at Ohio State University and a research associate with the College Impact Laboratory. The latest installment includes reviews of articles on increasing diversity in faculty hiring; helping students learn to be innovative; microaggression experiences among Black undergraduates; implications of different student approaches to college completion; and the effects of early college on degree completion. CIC is grateful to the Spencer Foundation for its support of this series. The new Digest will be posted on the CIC website in late December.

Annual Report

CIC released its PDF2019–2020 Annual Report in early December. The report comprehensively describes CIC programs and services offered during the membership year. All activities were designed to support member colleges and universities as they work to enhance academic quality, increase administrative effectiveness, and advance the public’s understanding of private higher education.

CIC in the News

Several publications recently interviewed CIC staff members for stories concerning enrollment and financial pressures that colleges are facing during the COVID-19 era. For example, the Washington Post story “The Fall Opening of Colleges: Upheaval, Pandemic Weirdness and a Fragile Stability” quoted CIC President Richard Ekman about universities’ regional differences over the need for pandemic restrictions (September 20). On the same day, the Naked Capitalism column “Pity the Poor College Frosh: ‘Definitely Weird’” discussed the story and requoted Ekman (September 21). The Washington Post story was republished by many papers. A New York Times’s “Education Roundup” on Gettysburg College (PA) ordering students to quarantine to prevent the spread of the coronavirus quoted Jo Ellen Parker, CIC senior vice president, about campus responses to the pandemic (September 3). The news roundup was republished on many other sources.

This fall, CIC’s Online Course Sharing Consortium (CIC-OCSC) was featured heavily in the press. The Chronicle of Higher Education special report “Financial Strategies for a Crisis and Beyond” highlighted CIC-OCSC in a section about Partnerships and Collaborations (November). The Education Dive article “The Shift Online Has Colleges Looking to Share Courses” discussed how the Consortium has expanded since its launch in 2018 and quoted Carol Schuler, CIC vice president for State Council Programs and the Online Course Sharing Consortium, and Jo Ellen Parker (October 2). An Inside Higher Ed Blog U column “A Cheaper Alternative to a Traditional College Education?” highlighted advantages of cross-institutional course sharing arrangements such as the CIC-OCSC (October 19). And the October 28 Inside Higher Ed column “Inter-Institutional Sharing of Courses Online” mentioned that the CIC-OCSC has experienced a 150 percent increase in shared class enrollments since March, referencing the Education Dive story.

The Forbes column “What Is the Return on Investment from a Liberal Arts Education?” quoted Ekman about how well liberal arts colleges prepare their graduates for their future careers (October 22).

The October 5 Chicago Tribune story “An Illinois University Got Major Pushback for Cutting Religion, French and Anthropology. But Other Colleges Are Dropping the Humanities Too” quoted Illinois Wesleyan University President S. Georgia Nugent, CIC senior fellow, about difficult choices colleges must make when balancing budgets and program offerings.

CIC’s 2020 research report, State “Free College” Programs: Implications for States and Independent Higher Education and Alternative Policy Approaches was discussed in the Inside Higher Ed story “CIC Report Reviews States’ Tuition-Free College Programs” (September 1).

The Education Dive article “Pandemic Hasn’t Knocked College Esports off Its Game” quoted David Welch Suggs Jr., a journalism professor at the University of Georgia who co-authored the 2020 CIC report Esports and Independent Colleges: Ready Player 509 (and Counting). The article discussed participation of CIC member institutions in esports (November 12).

Referencing an earlier CIC report, the July 22 Institute for New Economic Thinking column “Are American Colleges and Universities the Next COVID Casualties?” mentioned CIC’s 2011 Catalyst for Change: The CIC/CLA Consortium report and its discussion of the benefits of small class sizes. The column was widely circulated among other publications.

CIC’s Humanities Research for the Public Good project was referenced in articles that explored projects by three participating campuses. The Connecticut Examiner story “Conn College Launches Website of Urban Renewal History in New London” discussed the Connecticut College partnership with New London Landmarks that mapped the history of urban renewal in New London, Connecticut (September 25). The Burg (greater Harrisburg’s community magazine) ran a story “Voices of the Past: New Book Tells the Stories of Harrisburg’s Historic African American Community”—a book that is a companion piece to a new monument celebrating African American history. The September 30 article examined Messiah University’s (PA) contribution to the project, in collaboration with the IIPT Harrisburg Peace Promenade and the Foundation for Enhancing Communities. The Mountain Xpress release “Appalachian Barn Alliance to Host Virtual Farm Tour with Mars Hill University (NC)” discussed a Mars Hill project with the Appalachian Barn Alliance on heritage foods and farming practices in Madison County, North Carolina (October 26).

The October 21 Thomasville Times-Enterprise article “TU to Host Renowned CIC Visiting Fellow Callie Crossley” discussed Crossley’s virtual presentations “Free Speech and the Cancel Culture” and “When is Beyoncé a Trusted Source?” at Thomas University (GA) in October. CIC Visiting Fellow Crossley is a media commentator, public speaker, and host of Under the Radar with Callie Crossley for WGBH in Boston, Massachusetts.

The Union Journal, as well as Florida Politics and other Florida-based publications, released the story “Florida College Scholarships Make a Lasting Difference, Especially during Pandemic” (August 29). The article reported on the Independent Colleges and Universities of Florida and the Florida Independent College Fund’s distribution of $90,000 in CIC/UPS Scholarships to 30 students across the state and quoted Richard Ekman about the goals of the scholarship. The Tyler Morning Telegraph article “Two East Texas Baptist University Students Receive ICUT Scholarships” discussed students who received CIC/UPS Scholarships distributed by the Independent Colleges and Universities of Texas (September 15).

Various publications reported on administrators’ past service on CIC’s Board of Directors or past participation in CIC programs. For example, the Zanesville Times Recorder story “New Role Allows Muskingum University (OH) President Hasseler to Advocate for Student-Athletes” reported that Muskingum University President Susan S. Hasseler has been appointed to the NCAA Division III Presidents Council—and that she is an alumna of CIC’s Executive Leadership Academy (November 11). The Baltimore Business Journal story “McDaniel College (MD) President Roger Casey Announces Retirement” discussed Casey’s plan to retire in June 2021 and mentioned that he served on the steering committee for CIC’s Project on the Future of Independent Higher Education (September 24). The Times Leader story “Misericordia Names President for 2020–21” said that Kathleen Cieplak Owens, former president of Gwynedd Mercy University (PA), will serve as Misericordia University’s (PA) new president and that she previously served on the executive committee of CIC’s Board of Directors (July 23). And the New Castle News article “Westminster Names New VP of Academic Affairs” reported that Jamie McMinn, associate dean of academic affairs and professor of psychology, was appointed as vice president for academic affairs and dean of Westminster College (PA) and that he had previously completed CIC’s Senior Leadership Academy (July 22).

Staff News and Notes

In October, CIC President Richard Ekman informed the Executive Committee of the CIC Board of Directors of his intention to retire at the end of this fiscal year. After 21 years of leadership, he will leave his post as president in July 2021. Ekman will be retiring when CIC is especially strong. Since 2000, membership has grown by 42 percent to 655 private institutions. And CIC now offers three times as many programs and services as it did 20 years ago in a rotating agenda of initiatives that serve presidents, chief academic officers, and faculty members alike. “Serving the cause of independent higher education for the past two decades has been a rare privilege and a source of great personal and professional satisfaction,” Ekman remarked. “I assure you that, between now and July 2021, the CIC team and I will remain enthusiastically engaged in serving our members.” After Ekman leaves his post as president, he will serve for six more months as a senior advisor working on a book about the recent history of independent higher education. Plans to celebrate and commemorate his decades of service will be announced in the spring.

In November, Leaders on Leadership, a podcast series produced by Academic Search and the American Academic Leadership Institute, featured an interview between Academic Search President L. Jay Lemons and Richard Ekman. Ekman reflects on what he learned on his path to the CIC presidency and addresses the characteristics of good leaders. He also discusses how CIC’s professional development programs can help senior leaders do their jobs better and advance their institutions more effectively. Listen to the podcast.

Samantha Sabalis, who joined CIC as development officer through the Mellon/ACLS Public Fellows program for recent PhDs in the humanities in September 2018, became a full-time CIC employee in September 2020. As development officer, she works on the solicitation and management of foundation and federal grants and assists with management of grant-funded programs.

Jo Ellen Parker was promoted to senior vice president in mid-November. She joined CIC in February 2019 as vice president for communications and has since expanded her responsibilities, helping to lead CIC’s Talking about Private Colleges workshop series and guide CIC’s online initiatives such as webinars and virtual Institutes.

In late November, Tabitha Truscott was promoted to conference and program manager. She joined CIC as conference and program coordinator in May 2016. Truscott is the lead conference team member for the Institute for Chief Academic Officers and the NetVUE Conference and manages aspects of several other CIC workshops.

Carol Schuler’s title was changed in late November to Vice President for State Council Programs and the Online Course Sharing Consortium. She joined CIC as vice president for State Council Programs in June 2016 and has since managed the CIC Online Course Sharing Consortium, launched in 2018 in a partnership with Acadeum.

Also in late November, Vanessa Long’s title was changed to Manager of State Council Programs and Finance to reflect her expanded role in the management of CIC’s financial affairs. Long, who joined CIC in January 2015, previously served as manager of CIC’s State Council Programs and earlier as conference and program coordinator.

CIC Director of Projects Philip M. Katz moderated a panel discussion, “Navigating Intersecting Interests: Undertaking Humanities Research Projects,” during the 2020 National Humanities Conference. The November 13 panel featured representatives from three CIC institutions that received funding for projects in 2019–2020 through CIC’s Humanities Research for the Public Good program: Laura Williamson Ambrose, associate professor and chair of humanistic studies, Saint Mary’s College (IN); Donald Braid, director of the Center for Citizenship and Community, Butler University (IN); and Meredith Clark-Wiltz, Roger D. Branigin Chair in History, Franklin College (IN). The virtual conference was originally scheduled to take place in Indianapolis, Indiana.

In Memoriam: Irving Pressley McPhail

Irving Pressley McPhail headshotCIC is saddened by the October 15, 2020, death of Irving Pressley McPhail, president of Saint Augustine’s University (NC). He died unexpectedly, of coronavirus complications, at age 71. McPhail became president of Saint Augustine’s in July, and in that time he made a positive impact on the university. He was the founder and chief strategy officer of the McPhail Group LLC, a higher education consulting practice. A senior executive in higher education, urban public-school administration, and the nonprofit sector, McPhail was previously president and CEO of the National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering, Inc., founding chancellor of the Community College of Baltimore County, president of St. Louis Community College at Florissant Valley, and president of LeMoyne-Owen College, among other positions. CIC Board members and staff extend their deepest sympathies to his family and friends and the Saint Augustine’s University community.