2015 Institute for Chief Academic and Chief Advancement Officers Focused on Strengthening Collaboration

Sandy Baum addresses the audience holding a microphone
Sandy Baum, professor emerita of economics at Skidmore College and senior fellow at George Washington University, addressed trends in tuition discounting, merit and need-based aid allocation, and student debt.

CIC’s 2015 Institute for Chief Academic and Chief Advancement Officers focused on strengthening collaboration between these two senior officers to address shared campus challenges. The Institute theme, “Mission, Message, Market―and Money: The Academic Affairs/Advancement Partnership,” captured the importance of an integrated leadership approach to offering effective and affordable learning opportunities for increasingly diverse student populations. Cosponsored by CIC and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education, the 43rd annual Institute took place November 7–10, 2015, in Baltimore, Maryland.
The Institute is the largest annual conference of chief academic officers of any of the higher education associations in the United States. The 2015 event attracted a total of 590 participants, including 258 chief academic, 105 chief advancement, and 58 other senior officers. Participants traveled from as far away as Canada, Greece, Mexico, and Pakistan and every corner of the United States including Hawaii.
A large number of recently appointed campus leaders participated in the Institute. “The Institute workshops and sessions were invaluable to a new CAO. The topics were on target and identified strategies to be successful the first year in this role. From each presentation, I was able to take back to campus at least one practical strategy to put in place,” remarked Beth M. Schwartz, vice president for academic affairs and provost at Heidelberg University (OH). “After the conference concluded, I left with even greater confidence to address the daily issues that arise as well as the ability to develop with my colleagues long-term plans to strengthen the academic program.”
The agenda featured leading authorities on key aspects of the work of chief academic and chief advancement officers. In his keynote address, John Churchill, secretary of the Phi Beta Kappa Society (DC), addressed the enduring value of the liberal arts to the country. Plenary speaker Earl Lewis, president of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation—the major funder of liberal arts education in the United States―discussed the relationship between philanthropy and the liberal arts and his foundation’s emerging support priorities. Sandy Baum, professor emerita of economics at Skidmore College and senior fellow at George Washington University, highlighted recent developments in how students pay for college, including tuition discounting, merit and need-based aid allocation, and student debt trends. Tim Gunn, former faculty member, chair, and dean of Parsons School of Design; and author, fashion consultant, and television celebrity, discussed approaches to mentoring and the importance of providing honest feedback with empathy.

James Martin leads a concurrent session
In the session, The Provost’s Handbook, James Martin, professor of English and humanities at Mount Ida College (MA), explored the challenges and successes faced by chief academic officers

Sessions throughout the conference examined topics from both curricular and advancement perspectives, such as fundraising for academic programs, telling institutional stories, engaging alumni, setting fundraising priorities, and procuring and managing grants. Officers also had the opportunity to participate in several workshops: Advancement 101; Seminar for Very Experienced CAOs; What I Have Learned from 40 Years of Fundraising; Academic and Strategic Planning; and Dispute Resolution. In addition, the Institute offered an all-day Workshop for New Chief Academic Officers and a Workshop for CAOs in Their Third or Fourth Year of Service. Special programming for spouses and partners of CAOs and CAdOs rounded out the Institute program.
Announced during an awards presentation on the opening evening, Elizabeth H. Tobin, provost and dean of the college at Illinois College, received the 2015 CIC Chief Academic Officer Award in recognition of her support of colleagues at independent colleges and universities. John Churchill received the 2015 Academic Leadership Award for his work at the Phi Beta Kappa Society and as an advocate for liberal arts education.

Noah Silverman, Elizabeth H. Tobin, and Nicholas R. Santilli present from the head table
Noah Silverman, senior director of academic initiatives at Interfaith Youth Core (IFYC), Elizabeth H. Tobin, provost and dean of the college at Illinois College, and Nicholas R. Santilli, associate provost for accreditation and institutional effectiveness at John Carroll University (OH), discussed the progress of the CIC-IFYC Teaching Interfaith Understanding seminar series.


For full coverage of the 2015 Institute for Chief Academic and Chief Financial Officers, including the articles below, visit www.cic.edu/2015CAOI-Independent. Podcasts of the plenary sessions and resources from many Institute sessions are available at www.cic.edu/2015CAOIresources.
  • The Liberal Arts and Transformative Experience
    In his thought-provoking keynote address, John Churchill highlighted the importance and contributions of the liberal arts to the nation.
  • Investing in the Liberal Arts
    Earl Lewis discussed his insights into higher education and philanthropic investment, the need to focus on learning assessment and student completion, the need to create and harness tools for research and learning, and the importance of partnerships.
  • Trends in Tuition Pricing, Grant Aid, and Student Debt
    In addition to sharing data that refute widely held but inaccurate notions about tuition pricing, grant aid, and student debt, Sandy Baum encouraged institutions to review their practices in tuition discounting and financial aid.
  • Mentoring, Motivating, and “Making It Work”
    Tim Gunn discussed his mentoring methods, the importance of advocating for students, the value of a liberal arts education, and the need to stand up for one’s beliefs.
  • Building Successful Chief Academic Officer-Chief Advancement Officer Teams
    Three Institute sessions explored how chief academic and chief advancement officers can work together as a team to support one another’s work and strengthen the institution.
  • Collaborating across Divisions to Reach Fundraising Goals
    Five Institute sessions examined various aspects of fundraising—emphasizing that chief academic and chief advancement officers must work together to succeed, whether the college is creating a strategic plan, working on a million-dollar gift, or attracting smaller alumni donations.
  • Bridging Student and Community Needs through Community Development Partnerships
    Officers from two campuses—J. Andrew Prall and Matthew Smith of the University of Saint Francis (IN) and Laura Niesen de Abruña of Sacred Heart University (CT)—discussed how to make community development partnerships work.

2016 CAO Institute save the date: November 5-8, 2016