CIC Welcomes New Board Member, Recognizes Retiring Members

Board News

Bill Spiker headshotDuring its June 2020 meeting, the CIC Board of Directors elected William J. (Bill) Spiker as a new member. Spiker has served as the seventh president of the Ohio Foundation of Independent Colleges since June 2016. His career has included work in alumni relations, marketing, and admissions for the University of Mount Union (OH) and several other Ohio universities, including Baldwin Wallace, Cleveland State, Kent State, Ohio Northern, and Ohio State. Most recently, Spiker led development efforts for Cleveland Sight Center in Cleveland, Ohio. Previously, he served as vice president for advancement at Baldwin Wallace University and Cleveland State University (CSU), where he also served as executive director of the CSU Foundation. Spiker is a founding member of the Northern Ohio Planned Giving Council, a longtime member of the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education, and a member of the Cleveland chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals. He earned a bachelor’s degree in history from the University of Mount Union (OH) and a juris doctorate from Ohio Northern University.

Also during the meeting, CIC recognized two departing Board members who were retiring from their presidencies. Mark A. Heckler, who joined the CIC Board of Directors in 2018, will retire from Valparaiso University (IN) in September 2020. Alan Ray, who served on the CIC Board of Directors for nearly one year, retired as president of Fisher College (MA) in July.

National Endowment for the Humanities Initiative Awardees

The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) recently announced the recipients in a new grant program, funded by the CARES Act, to support humanities programs at cultural organizations that have been affected by the coronavirus pandemic. The main goal of the NEH CARES program is to sustain essential operations at these organizations by retaining employees who support humanities programs. The competition for these grants was fierce: Of the 2,300 eligible applications submitted, only 317 were funded.

CIC is pleased to report that 17 of these grants were awarded to member colleges and universities for the support of librarians and archivists, faculty members, and university press employees. Several institutions will use this funding to enrich online education in the humanities. Both the College of St. Benedict (MN) and the University of Puget Sound (WA) will retain library positions to improve access to special collections and increase the use of primary sources in online courses, while Hastings College (NE) will retain faculty members to create new online and hybrid courses.

Other colleges and universities will use the funds to support humanities programs and faculty members that are especially at risk for cancellation and layoffs. Roberts Wesleyan University (NY) will sustain an associate’s degree in arts and culture by maintaining several faculty and administrative positions, while Pacific University (OR) will retain faculty teaching positions in philosophy, English, and world languages. Wabash College (IN) and Maryville College (TN) will focus on keeping contingent faculty members employed. Wabash will retain several visiting positions through the creation of new courses for at-risk students, and Maryville will support contingent faculty members as they create new online humanities resources. Finally, two universities, Gallaudet (DC) and Baylor (TX), will use the funds to retain staff members at their university presses and continue publication of humanities scholarship. CIC congratulates all these grant recipients, who highlight the enduring commitment among CIC colleges and universities to humanities teaching and scholarship.

CIC is grateful to have also received an NEH CARES grant, which will be used to sustain current faculty development programs in the humanities by offering participants in postponed in-person events substantive engagement opportunities through virtual meetings. The $130,000 award will support six projects: the Humanities Research for the Public Good initiative, Legacies of American Slavery network, New Currents in Teaching Philosophy institutes, Teaching Interfaith Understanding seminars, Deliberation & Debate workshops, and the American Civil War: Origins and Consequences seminar.

CIC Member Recipients of NEH CARES Grants

​Baylor University (TX)
College of St. Benedict (MN)
Gallaudet University (DC)
Hastings College (NE)
Juniata College (PA)
Knox College (IL)
Maryville College (TN)
Mercyhurst University (PA)
Misericordia University (PA)
​Ohio Wesleyan University
Pacific University (OR)
Roberts Wesleyan College (NY)
Siena Heights University (MI)
St. Olaf College (MN)
University of Puget Sound (WA)
Wabash College (IN)
Willamette University (OR)

CIC in the News

Several publications recently interviewed CIC staff for stories concerning enrollment and financial pressures that colleges are facing during the COVID-19 era. A Washington Post story on Sweet Briar College (VA) “This College Is Tiny and Isolated, and for Some Students during the Pandemic, That Sounds Perfect” quoted CIC President Richard Ekman about the advantages of small colleges—that “they can be nimble and creative” (June 28). The Connecticut Mirror story “Online or in Person, No Easy Course for Colleges in the Fall” (May 18) quoted CIC Vice President for Communications Jo Ellen Parker on the uncertainty about college enrollments this fall; the story also appeared in the Hartford Business Journal. The National Association of College and University Business Officers’ Business Officer magazine published an in-depth interview with Ekman about what private colleges and universities can expect in coming months and their short- and long-term concerns (May 7). The Inside Higher Ed article “‘Just No Comparison’ for Pandemic’s Financial Shock” (April 27) quoted Ekman extensively about the financial implications of the current situation.

CIC’s Online Course Sharing Consortium continues to be covered in the press. Most recently, the Education Dive column “President Speaks: Course-Sharing Can Help Small Colleges Weather the Pandemic” highlighted the advantages of participating in the consortium (July 2).

The July 14 Chronicle of Higher Education column “The Case for Tuition Refunds” mentioned data in CIC’s 2018 report on The Independent College Presidency.

The Education Week column “Straight Up Conversation: The Guy Who’s Teaching Professors to Teach” referenced the CIC–Association of College and University Educators partnership on the Consortium for Instructional Excellence and Career Guidance.

The Chronicle of Higher Education’s latest enrollment survey of 292 institutions, conducted in collaboration with CIC and the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, was discussed in the Wall Street Journal story “Coronavirus Pushes Colleges to the Breaking Point, Forcing ‘Hard Choices’ about Education” (April 30); the story also appeared in MSN Money.

CIC’s Humanities Research for the Public Good project was featured in the Massachusetts Patch story “Simmons University [MA] to Participate in Opening of Digital Exhibit” (July 15). The story detailed an exhibit created by undergraduate students from Simmons University on the history of the West End of Boston.

Two CIC Network for Vocation in Undergraduate Education (NetVUE) grants were recently highlighted in the press. The Montgomery Independent story “Huntingdon Receives Grant to Expand Study of Race, Justice in Vocation” discussed Huntingdon College’s (AL) NetVUE Vocation across the Academy Grant (June 13). And the Appalachian News-Express story “UPike Selected for Professional Development Award” reported on the University of Pikeville’s (KY) NetVUE grant, which will be used to further the development of humanities courses at UPike (June 24).

The Associated Colleges of Illinois (ACI) Career Mentoring Program, funded in part through a CIC State Councils National Venture Fund grant and available through career services offices at ACI’s 27 member colleges and universities, was featured heavily in the press. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Boston Herald, Buffalo News, and many other papers ran a story mentioning the grant, “St. Louis Firm Mentoring Complete, Associated Colleges of Illinois Partner, Offer Career Mentoring Program for College Seniors” (July 15). And multiple sources, including the Star Tribune (MN), Decatur Daily Democrat (IN), Wapakoneta Daily News (OH), and The Call (RI), released the story “Associated Colleges of Illinois Initiates Career Mentoring Program for Illinois College Seniors” (July 13).

Various publications reported on administrators’ past participation in CIC programs. For example, the WYRD-FM/106.3 Word (Greenville, SC) report “Converse College Names First Dean of New College Division” (May 11) stated that Chandra Owenby Hopkins, who will become the first dean of the Converse College for Women in July 2021, developed Converse’s Intergenerational Connections project, Growing Old: Food and Oral History in Performance.

Staff News and Notes

In May, CIC President Richard Ekman was appointed as a contributor to He will periodically post pieces on his blog. In addition, Ekman participated in a half-day virtual retreat hosted by the Milken Institute on May 6. Discussions centered primarily on student mental health and well-being.

Robert Powers headshotRobert Powers was named CIC’s director of finance in late May, after joining CIC as an independent contractor managing CIC’s accounting and human resources activities in April. Powers recently completed his longtime service as the business manager of the Alexandria Country Day School. Previously, he was the director of finance for the Ford’s Theatre Society and controller for Maret School. He is currently the treasurer of the Westchester Corporation and has served on the finance committee of the board of trustees of the Association of Independent Schools of Greater Washington (AISGW). Powers earned a bachelor’s degree in accountancy from the University of Mississippi and did graduate studies in education at the University of Virginia Curry School of Education.

New CIC Members

The CIC Board of Directors and staff have welcomed the following new members since May 2020:

Institutional Members

Beloit College, WI
Bethel University, IN
Nazareth College, NY
Trevecca Nazarene University, TN