CIC Recognizes Board Members, Releases New Research Digest

​Board News

The CIC Board of Directors elected during its June 2018 meeting George E. Martin, president of St. Edward’s University (TX), to serve on the Executive Committee as past chair. Martin, who previously served on the CIC Board from 2006 to 2016, will fill the vacancy created by Thomas L. Hellie (2012–2018), who retired as president of Linfield College (OR) on July 1, 2018. The Board of Directors also recognized two Board members whose terms were concluding: Nancy J. Cable (2015–2018), who assumed her new duties as chancellor of the University of North Carolina Asheville on August 15; and Thomas A. Kazee (2017–2018), who retired from the presidency of the University of Evansville (IN) on June 1.

In Memoriam: Donald J. Farish

Donald J. Farish headshotThe CIC Board of Directors and CIC staff are saddened by the July 5 death of Donald J. Farish, president of Roger Williams University (RI) and a member of the CIC Board. He died after a sudden and serious illness; he was 75.

Farish became RWU’s 10th president in 2011 and was planning to retire when his contract expired in June 2019, culminating a remarkable 51-year career of service in higher education. He joined the CIC Board in January 2018 to serve a one-year term and had looked forward to helping CIC during the period.

CIC Board members and staff will miss Don Farish’s dedication to higher education and extend their deepest sympathies to his family and friends and the Roger Williams University community.

Support for Improved Access to Language Education

In support of its report, America’s Languages: Investing in Language Education for the 21st Century, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences recently released a call-to-action signed by 37 leaders in American business, government, and education and over 150 organizations who urge greater support for languages in order to enhance American global leadership. The report recommends that the U.S. provide access to languages for all age groups, prepare more language teachers, promote public-private partnerships in language education, support heritage and indigenous language communities, and encourage international learning experiences. CIC Institutional Members that have signed the call to action include: Agnes Scott College (GA), Bennington College (VT), Caldwell University (NJ), Dominican University (IL), Middlebury College (VT), Newbury College (MA), Ohio Dominican University, Simpson College (IA), Stillman College (AL), St. Norbert College (WI), St. Thomas University (FL), Texas Lutheran University, and Whittier College (CA). CIC Affiliate Members include the American Council of Learned Societies (NY), American Council on Education (DC), American Historical Association (DC), Modern Language Association (NY), National Humanities Alliance (DC), and the Phi Beta Kappa Society (DC). The American Academy will continue to collect endorsements for “Bridging America’s Language Gap” and will update the document periodically. View more information.
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Letter to Support the Fulbright Program

The Fulbright Program has been an essential resource for American higher education for more than 72 years, yet it currently faces significant budget cuts. This summer, leaders of 339 colleges and universities nationwide signed a letter to U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo expressing support for the international exchange program. Of the 303 presidents who signed the Fulbright Association’s letter of support for the Fulbright Program, 183 are from CIC member institutions. The letter is available online.
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New Edition of Research Digest

Digest coverCIC recently released the fourth iteration of the Digest of Recent Research. Published periodically, the Digest highlights timely and relevant research from scholarly journals and other publications that independent college and university presidents and other senior campus leaders may find helpful. This installment, the first to be edited by Matthew J. Mayhew, William Ray and Marie Adamson Fletcher Professor of Educational Administration at Ohio State University, includes reviews of articles on such topics as innovation on campus; race and rhetoric in presidential statements; course-taking and graduation rates; and social media and student activism. The Digest is available online and may be downloaded as a single document (PDF). CIC is grateful to the Spencer Foundation for its support of this member service.

Annual Report Award

Annual report coverCIC’s 2016–2017 Annual Report received a Silver EXCEL Award in the annual report category at the 38th Annual EXCEL Award Gala held on June 25, 2018, in Washington, DC. The award recognizes “the best annual report or year in review that projects a positive image for the association through well-written and well-organized content, excellent design, and well-conceived packaging.” The EXCEL Awards competitions are run by Association Media & Publishing and recognize excellence and leadership in nonprofit association media, publishing, marketing, and communications. CIC’s 2015–2016 Annual Report, also designed by GRAPHEK, won a 2017 American Graphic Design Award.


CIC’s new Diversity, Civility, and the Liberal Arts Institute received significant press coverage this summer. The Wall Street Journal article, “New Topic on Campus: Civil Discourse 101,” discussed the program and quoted CIC President Richard Ekman (August 15). Education Dive reported on the Institute in the July 11 article, “Six Higher Ed Leaders Sound Off about Diversity and Civility on Campus” and mentioned it in the July 3 story “Trump Administration Plans to Rescind Policies That Encourage Affirmative Action in College Admissions.” Institute presenter Allan Metcalf, professor of English at MacMurray College (IL) and executive secretary of the American Dialect Society, described the initiative in his June 11 Chronicle of Higher Education column, “Diversity, Civility, and the Liberal Arts: Mark My Words.” The Institute also was mentioned in a Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette brief, “John Brown University [AR] Selected by Council” (April 5).

Innovation report coverCIC’s 2018 report, Innovation and the Independent College, received press coverage throughout the spring. After Inside Higher Ed, the Chronicle of Higher Education, and Education Dive featured the report in late March, the report was discussed in four Inside Higher Ed “Construction Trumps Disruption” blog columns written by S. Georgia Nugent, CIC senior fellow and president emerita of Kenyon College (OH): “The Evolution of the Student Body Continues” (May 14), “Place Matters” (May 3), “Classroom Learning and Career Preparation: Stronger Together” (April 10), and “Introducing ‘Construction Trumps Disruption’” (March 28). The report was featured in the Lawlor Group’s April e-newsletter, Lawlor Focus, and was covered by local press, including the April 9 Register-Herald (WV) article, “University of Charleston [WV] Featured in Publication Focusing on Leadership.” In  the summer, the report was mentioned in a HigherEdJobs interview with Mick Weltman, president of the CIC State Council Member Associated Colleges of Illinois, “Better Together: Consortia of Independent Colleges” (August 31).

Inside Higher Ed published an opinion piece written by Richard Ekman, “Killing Colleges in Massachusetts,” on August 29. The piece reiterates the call for more coordination by state governments with private colleges to provide higher education to state residents.

Ekman was quoted in the September 2 Chronicle of Higher Education article, “How Colleges Help Students Find Purpose in Their Work.”

Ekman also was interviewed about the future of small private colleges for the July 16 Inside Higher Ed article, “Is There a Right to Know a College Might Close?”

The fall 2018 Education Next article, “Private Colleges in Peril,” quoted Ekman on the future of small private colleges in America and referenced CIC’s 2017 report, The Financial Resilience of Independent Colleges and Universities.

The June 29 Education Dive brief, “Kentucky Universities Face Financial Woes,” referenced CIC’s 2017 report, Utilizing Independent Colleges and Universities to Fulfill States’ College Degree Attainment Goals.

CIC’s yearlong Presidential Vocation and Institutional Mission program for prospective college and university presidents was recently featured in three stories: Education Dive’s “Four Things Every Aspiring College President Needs to Know” (July 16); KNIA/KRLS FM’s “Central College’s [IA] Mary E. M. Strey Selected for National Leadership Program” (June 26); and Business Record’s “Central College Vice President Selected for National Leadership Program” (June 14).

A May 22 news story on 12WBOY (WV), “Administrator Participates in National Leadership Program,” discussed an Alderson Broaddus University (WV) administrator’s engagement in CIC’s 2017–2018 Senior Leadership Academy. And an April 23 Hampton Roads Business Journal “Business Note” mentioned a Virginia Wesleyan University professor’s participation in the 2018–2019 Senior Leadership Academy.

The UB story, “Council of Independent Colleges, Association of College and University Educators [ACUE] Partner” featured CIC’s new Consortium on Instructional Excellence and Career Guidance (May 22). ACUE’s The ‘Q’ Newsletter also discussed the program in the April 12 story, “New Faculty Credential Emphasizes Students’ Career Readiness through Excellence in Instruction.” Diverse: Issues in Higher Ed interviewed David Brailow, CIC vice president for development, about the program for the April 9 story, “Consortium Aims to Enhance Teachers’ Career-Advising Skills.”

The AARP/CIC Intergenerational Connections: Students Serving Older Adults project was featured in the Caldwells Patch story, “After Stroke at 20, Caldwell University [NJ] Student Gains ‘Perspective’” (August 21); the New Jersey Herald article, “Centenary University [NJ] Awarded Grant for Intergenerational Programs” (July 13); and the Monroe County Post story, “Yearlong Project Builds Bridges between Fisher Students, Senior Citizens” (June 6), which details St. John Fisher College’s (NY) participation in the program. The project also was featured in the April 5 Salisbury Post article, “Pfeiffer University [NC] Receives Renewal Grant for Intergenerational Programming.”

The July 31 Anson Record (NC) story, “Peachland Native Spends Summer Researching Ancient Slaves,” discussed Wingate University (NC) professor Christy Cobb’s participation in CIC’s “Traveling with Pausanias through Greece” faculty development seminar. The May 1 Buffalo News story, “Dr. Hamish Dalley to Participate in Seminar” discussed the Daemen College (NY) professor’s participation.

Education Dive published a brief, “Revamping the Way STEM Is Taught Through Project-Based Learning,” on April 20. The brief mentions CIC’s new Seminars on Science Pedagogy as an example of this methodology. The April 12 Chronicle of Higher Education weekly newsletter, “Welcome to Teaching,” also highlighted the seminars.

Tips and strategies from the 2018 College Media Conference, co-hosted by CIC and the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, were discussed in the Inside Higher Ed column, “Turning a College President into a Thought Leader” (August 7).

The NetVUE Vocation across the Academy Grant awarded to Bluffton University (OH) was mentioned in the Bluffton Icon (OH) story, “$25,000 Grant to University for Development of New Experiential-Learning Course” (July 13).

The CIC/UPS Scholarship Program was highlighted in the July 2 Oskaloosa News (IA) story, “Rebekka Hartwig of What Cheer Selected as UPS Scholar from William Penn University [IA].”

CIC staff members were highlighted in two local papers: Sioux City Journal published a piece on May 7, “Morningside College [IA] to Present Two Honorary Degrees at Saturday Commencement,” and the Sharon Herald published the May 4 article, “Thiel [College] to Honor Higher-Ed Leaders” (see below).

The April 7 Voice of America broadcast, “One-Third of College Students Worldwide Attend Private Schools,” interviewed Harold V. Hartley III, CIC senior vice president.

For more stories, visit


CIC Senior Vice President Katherine M. Whatley received an honorary doctor of humane letters degree from Morningside College (IA) on May 12 in recognition of her career in higher education and her commitment to helping colleges and universities improve their leadership expertise and administrative performance. Whatley delivered remarks during the commencement ceremony.

Bill Deeds places a doctoral hood on Kathy Whatley
Morningside College (IA) Provost William C. Deeds hoods CIC Senior Vice President Katherine M. Whatley during Morningside’s commencement ceremony.

Shirley J. Roels was awarded an honorary doctor of humanities degree by Thiel College (PA) on May 6 in recognition of her efforts working with CIC’s Network for Vocation in Undergraduate Education (NetVUE). Roels directed NetVUE from its inception in 2009 through August 2017, when she retired from the directorship and became assistant director. She retired from the network on June 30, 2018.

S. Georgia Nugent, CIC senior fellow and president emerita of Kenyon College (OH), wrote a chapter in the new book, Leading Colleges and Universities: Lessons from Higher Education Leaders, edited by Stephen Joel Trachtenberg, Gerald B. Kauvar, and E. Gordon Gee (see story). Nugent’s essay, “Fundraising Is a Relationship, Not a Transaction,” draws on experience gained from raising $240 million in a capital campaign for Kenyon College while serving as president of the college.

nvisioning Public Scholarship for Our Time book coverLesley McBain, CIC’s director of research projects, participated in a workshop sponsored by the University of Houston Law Center’s Law for Higher Education and Governance for junior faculty and a small number of scholars who work for educational research associations or organizations. During the May roundtable, McBain presented a paper analyzing the reporting fee paid to institutions by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs for processing GI Bill students’ paperwork. In July, she published a book chapter on higher education association research in Envisioning Public Scholarship for Our Time: Models for Higher Education Researchers (edited by Adrianna Kezar, Yianna Drivalas, and Joseph A. Kitchen) and an article on veterans education policy power dynamics in the Marine Corps University Press’s MCU Journal.

CIC President Richard Ekman was elected chair of the Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences Alumni Association Council in May 2018. He will serve a two-year term in this position. Ekman also was elected as a member of the Emeriti Retirement Health Solutions board of directors in the spring.

Lynn Hunnicutt headshotLynn Hunnicutt, professor of economics at Pacific Lutheran University (WA), became assistant director of CIC’s Network for Vocation in Undergraduate Education (NetVUE) on July 1. She has primary responsibility for administering CIC’s wide array of NetVUE grant programs, working on a half-time basis from the Pacific Lutheran campus. Hunnicutt has been deeply involved in conversations about vocational reflection and discernment since 2005, having served as the founding director  of Pacific Lutheran’s Wild Hope Center for Vocation. She also has served as a campus consultant for NetVUE and as co-chair of the Vocation of a Lutheran College conference. Her academic research examines how the discipline of economics addresses questions of calling and purpose. Hunnicutt is helping to develop a book of essays on the role of vocation in various academic disciplines. She received a BA in economics from Oregon State University and an MS and PhD in economics from the University of Texas at Austin.

Samantha Sabalis headshotIn September, Samantha Sabalis joined CIC as development officer through the Mellon/ACLS Public Fellows program for recent PhDs in the humanities. During her two-year fellowship at CIC, Sabalis will work on grant proposals and reports, along with other development activities, and assist with program management. Sabalis received a PhD in English from Fordham University in 2017 and was a postdoctoral teaching fellow at Fordham during the 2017–2018 academic year. Before that, she served as coordinator of a National Endowment for the Humanities-funded project at Fordham. She also chaired a professional development grant committee for the university and worked as an educator at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Morgan Library and Museum in New York. Sabalis received an undergraduate degree in English from the University of St. Andrews in Scotland and an MPhil in medieval language, literature, and culture from Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland.


The Board of Directors and staff of CIC welcome the following new members since May 2018:

New Institutional Members

Brandman University (CA)
Bryan College of Health Sciences
Hawaii Pacific University

New Affiliate Members

Marygrove College (MI)