CIC, Member Institutions Partner with University of Michigan to Address Racial Inequity

Thanks to a $5 million grant to the University of Michigan from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, CIC and several partners will collaborate on a three-year project titled “Crafting Democratic Futures: Situating Colleges and Universities in Community-based Reparations Solutions.” Directed by Earl Lewis, Thomas C. Holt Distinguished Professor of History and director of the Center for Social Solutions at the University of Michigan, the new project seeks to convene a national network of college and university-based humanities scholars working in partnership with community-based organizations to explore local reparations solutions for African American and Native American communities. To carry out the pilot program, the University of Michigan will collaborate with Carnegie Mellon University, Emory University, Rutgers University-Newark, Spelman College (GA), WQED Multimedia, and the Council of Independent Colleges. Through CIC, member institutions Concordia College (MN), Connecticut College, Wesleyan College (GA), and Wofford College (SC) will participate.

CIC in the News

CIC’s 2021 Presidents Institute, and a session that was added after the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol building, was featured in the Inside Higher Ed story “Private College Presidents Turn Focus from Pandemic to Insurrection” (January 8). Paul Pribbenow, president of Augsburg University (MN), facilitated the well-attended session, which was called “What Do Yesterday’s Events Mean for Your Campus?”

CIC’s 2020 report Esports and Independent Colleges: Ready Player 509 (and Counting) was referenced in a Huntington News story that was republished in eSports for Us, “Varsity Esports Team Competes through COVID-19 to Clinch Wins in Fall Season” (December 8, 2020).

WDIV-TV’s ClickOnDetroit (January 15) and DBusiness Magazine (January 14) published stories about the University of Michigan receiving $5 million from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for the “Crafting Democratic Futures” project in which CIC, several CIC members, and other institutions will partner.

Several publications recently highlighted the CIC/UPS Scholarships program, which provided 531 member institutions of State Councils with $3,000 scholarships for the 2020–2021 academic year to support low-income, first-generation, minority, or new American students. The Essex News Daily story “Independent College Fund Distributes $42,000 in Scholarships to Area Schools” discussed how the Independent College Fund of New Jersey distributed CIC/UPS Scholarships to assist 13 students at private colleges and universities in the state (January 20). The Columbia Regional Business Report article “SC Colleges and Universities Receive Scholarship Funding” (January 22) and the Charleston Regional Business Journal story “SC Independent Colleges and Universities Distributes $60,000 in CIC/UPS Scholarships to South Carolina Private Colleges and Universities” (January 23) described how the South Carolina Independent Colleges & Universities distributed the scholarships to aid 20 students statewide. And the Brownwood Bulletin article “HPU Sophomore Shayla Love Awarded UPS Scholarship” (December 2) stated that Howard Payne University sophomore Shayla Love received a CIC/UPS Scholarship provided by the Independent Colleges and Universities of Texas (ICUT) Foundation. This year, the ICUT Foundation awarded $114,000 in CIC/UPS Scholarships to 38 students across Texas.

Local media recently featured CIC’s Network for Vocation in Undergraduate Education (NetVUE) Grants for Reframing the Institutional Saga, which aim to help institutions re-examine and reframe their history, identity, and heritage in light of their present context. A Middle Georgia CEO story, “Wesleyan College [GA] Receives NetVUE Grant,” reported that the grant will allow the college to create a digital narrative, one that brings alive the stories of the women of Wesleyan and presents the institution as part of its larger setting (January 15). A Gettysburg Times article, “Gettysburg Resident to Edit Book on Mount’s History,” reported that the grant will help develop the first comprehensive history of Mount St. Mary’s University (MD) in more than 100 years (December 28).

The Crescent-News (OH) story “DC Students to Take Part in First Career Readiness Conference” (January 5) discussed Defiance College’s (OH) Jacket Journey career-focused program and CIC President Richard Ekman’s presentation during the Jacket Days virtual conference (see below).

Various publications reported on administrators’ current or past service on CIC’s Board of Directors or past participation in CIC programs. For example, in January, Greenville Business Magazine celebrated another year of honoring top influencers in the region when it published a list of “Greenville’s 50 Most Influential and the Hall of Fame.” Furman University (SC) President Elizabeth Davis was featured as one of six Hall of Fame members who have made a lasting difference in the region; the article also referenced her service on the CIC Board of Directors. The GSA Biz Wire story “United Way of Greenville County Board of Directors Names Ten New Members in 2021” also stated that Davis serves on the CIC Board of Directors. The Bangor Daily News article “Ogunquit Museum of American Art [OMAA] Announces New Executive Committee” said that Carol A. Leary, retired president of Bay Path University (MA) and former chair of CIC’s New Presidents Program, has been named vice president of OMAA’s executive committee (January 19). In addition, the Patch story “Juan A. McGruder, PhD, Named Vice President for Advancement at Oglethorpe University [GA]” mentioned that McGruder, who began his new position on February 1, 2021, started his career at the Consortium for the Advancement of Private Higher Education at the Council of Independent Colleges, which later became an operating part of the Council of Independent Colleges (January 14).

Staff News and Notes

CIC President Richard Ekman delivered a presentation to the Duke Endowment board of trustees during its meeting on December 8, 2020. Ekman discussed the independent higher education sector and compared private and public higher education trends regarding college enrollment and graduation rates; tuition and fees, financial assistance, and student debt; and degree completion and earnings over time. He also highlighted several timely and topical CIC programs and services.

Ekman spoke with students participating in the inaugural class of Defiance College’s (OH) Jacket Journey program on January 13, 2021. The program requires every student to participate in career-readiness training from matriculation to graduation to instill “knowledge, experiences, and habits critical to achieving career success.” During his presentation at the program’s virtual Jacket Days conference, Ekman discussed the value of the liberal arts and independent higher education. He also answered numerous questions about college, careers, and broader topics.

The Medieval Academy of America published a column by CIC Development Officer Samantha Sabalis in the blog series Medievalists Beyond the Tenure Track. In the February 1 blog “From (Sir) Gawain to Grant-Writing: A Circuitous Path,” Sabalis writes of her career journey since completing her PhD in English literature from Fordham University in 2017.


Michelle Asha Cooper Named to Education Department Post

CIC congratulates Michelle Asha Cooper on her new position advancing key higher education priorities while serving the Biden-Harris administration. In early February, the U.S. Department of Education announced that Cooper was appointed as deputy assistant secretary (serving as acting assistant secretary) in the Office of Postsecondary Education. A strategic and collaborative leader with more than 20 years of experience in postsecondary education, she served as president of the Institute for Higher Education Policy from 2008 until this appointment. Previously, Cooper held key roles at the Advisory Committee on Student Financial Assistance (U.S. Department of Education), Association of American Colleges & Universities, Council of Independent Colleges, and King’s College (PA). While at CIC, she worked as a data and information specialist, developing CIC’s research capacity, from September 2003 through September 2004.



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