Securing America’s Future Workshop Series Begins

​The first two in a series of eight free workshops to help member colleges and universities prepare for the future were held at Hartwick College (NY) on September 14 and Adrian College (MI) on September 29. The workshops are the signature activity in CIC’s Securing America’s Future initiative, which combines elements of CIC’s public information campaign—Securing America’s Future: The Power of Liberal Arts Education—and the Project on the Future of Independent Higher Education.

The half-day workshops, which are offered through April 2017, are hosted by member presidents on their campuses and bring together more than a dozen teams of presidents, senior administrators, and faculty leaders “to explore key trends in higher education and society, the urgent pressures facing individual colleges and universities, and potential solutions that can be pursued at their institutions,” said CIC President Richard Ekman. “Our goal is to help CIC members prepare for the future more effectively and become more actively engaged in promoting the value of the liberal arts and independent colleges and universities.”
Presenters at each workshop include leading higher education researchers and innovative CIC member presidents who have revitalized their institutions. While each workshop will feature different speakers, key presenters include:
  • James C. Hearn, professor of higher education and associate director of the University of Georgia’s Institute of Higher Education and principal author of two CIC reports on mission-driven innovation at independent colleges;
  • Christopher Morphew, professor and executive associate dean for research and innovation at the University of Iowa’s College of Education and principal author of the latest CIC research report, Changes in Faculty Composition at Independent Colleges; and
  • William Zumeta, professor of public policy and higher education at the University of Washington and principal author of the recent CIC research report, The Cost-Effectiveness of Undergraduate Education at Private Nondoctoral Colleges and Universities.

Participants seated at round tables looking toward front of room
During the Securing America’s Future workshop at Adrian College (MI), participants explored innovation at member institutions as well as opportunities and challenges in higher education. (Photo courtesy of Adrian College)

Innovative college and university presidents who served on the Steering Committee for CIC’s Project on the Future of Independent Higher Education also will speak at each Securing America’s Future workshop. CIC Senior Fellow S. Georgia Nugent, president emerita of Kenyon College (OH) and one of the nation’s leading advocates for liberal arts education at independent colleges and universities, will serve as facilitator of most of the workshops.
Institutions are invited to register teams of 3–5 participants, ideally including the president, at least one other senior administrator, and at least one faculty member who plays a leadership role in campus discussions and institutional change. There is no cost to register, but institutions are responsible for travel costs and any overnight lodging. The workshops are supported by the Arthur Vining Davis Foundations, Endeavor Foundation, Lumina Foundation for Education, and the National Endowment for the Humanities.
More information about the workshops can be found on the CIC website at

Click to view remaining workhops dates and locations.  

Traditional Media, Social Media, and Research Activities Continue

CIC also continues efforts to promote the liberal arts and independent colleges in several ways. For example, Georgia Nugent and Richard Ekman will conduct media visits and editorial board meetings, make presentations, and write articles and op-ed pieces. The campaign’s existing social media channels—Twitter (@SmartColleges), Instagram (@SmartColleges),, and—will continue to promote the value of the liberal arts by sharing research findings, infographics, testimonials, and more. CIC’s new cutting-edge “Liberal Arts Life” website ( for prospective students tells a story about the value of a liberal arts education through video clips, photographs, speaker quotations, and animated data visualizations, and CIC’s robust website for high school counselors and students and their families ( features alumni testimonials; eye-catching infographics; myth-busting facts about the liberal arts, student debt, and college costs; and selected news articles and opinion pieces. In addition, CIC is partnering with associations for high school guidance counselors to increase awareness of CIC member colleges and universities and the superior education they offer.


CIC launched its newest social media platform, Instagram (@SmartColleges), in September. The site shares graphic images, videos, and campus photos to encourage prospective students to consider a liberal arts education.

Finally, CIC is conducting additional research projects to support the initiative—updating CIC’s data on student debt and creating materials that highlight the affordability, diversity, engagement, and success of independent colleges using the most recent national data. In addition, CIC will work with outside researchers on reports on the performance of independent colleges in graduating underrepresented populations in STEM fields and on a state-by-state examination of the cost-effectiveness of undergraduate education at independent colleges.