CIC Launches Chief of Staff Listserv, Welcomes New Members

New Listserv

In response to the coronavirus pandemic, CIC has taken many actions in recent weeks—from postponing programs and events, to launching a new listserv, to planning webinars. CIC’s confidential listservs for presidents, chief academic officers, and other campus leaders have been extremely active, as participants have exchanged questions and ideas during these challenging times. To further support urgent communication among those in similar roles at member institutions, CIC recently established a new listserv for those in “chief of staff” or similar roles. For more information about CIC’s members-only listservs, visit the CIC website.

New CIC Members

The Board of Directors and staff of CIC have welcomed the following new members since fall 2019:

Institutional Members

Baker College (MI)
Criswell College (TX)
Fairleigh Dickinson University (NJ)
Miles College (AL)
Oakland City University (IN)
Reed College (OR)
Shorter University (GA)
Spartanburg Methodist College (SC)
University of Holy Cross (LA)
Voorhees College (SC)

Affiliate Members

Independent College Enterprise (WV)
New Hampshire College & University Council
The Annapolis Group of Liberal Arts Colleges, Inc. (MD)

International Members

Redeemer University College (Canada)
The American University in Dubai (United Arab Emirates)

CIC in the News

As many colleges and universities moved their spring 2020 courses online to support efforts to slow the spread of the coronavirus, CIC’s Consortium for Online Humanities Instruction and Online Course Sharing Consortium received renewed media attention. The Forbes column “This Time of Adversity Calls for a New Approach to Meeting Demand in Online Education” referenced the Online Course Sharing Consortium on April 6. The Inside Higher Ed article “The Networked University in a Pandemic—and Beyond” (March 24) discussed online learning collaborations among colleges and universities and referenced both of these CIC consortia. The Inside Higher Ed story “As Human as Possible” (March 16) quoted CIC President Richard Ekman and Consortium for Online Humanities Instruction participant Kevin Gannon, professor of history and director of the Center for Excellence in Teaching at Grand View University (IA), about lessons participants learned through the initiative. The University Business article “How to Prep Faculty for e-Learning during Coronavirus Closures” (March 13) discussed the related CIC report, Teaching the Humanities Online: Lessons from a Consortium of Liberal Arts Colleges. The Buffalo News story “Colleges Make COVID-19 Contingency Plans as Spring Break Looms” (March 10) stated that Hilbert College (NY) is using CIC materials as a resource.

Several publications interviewed CIC for stories concerning enrollment and financial pressures that colleges are facing in the coronavirus era. Most recently, 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. A story on the front page of the New York Times “Colleges Running Low on Money Worry Students Will Vanish, Too” (April 16) quoted Ekman about fall enrollment concerns. The Forbes story “Boston University Is First to Announce It May Postpone Opening Its Campus until January 2021” (April 13) quoted Ekman about how independent colleges are assessing when to re-open their campuses. The Bloomberg article “Colleges with Empty Campuses Face an Uncertain Financial Future” (April 8) quoted Ekman extensively, and the story appeared in several outlets including MSN Money. The Chronicle of Higher Education column “The Pandemic Is Already Hitting Sectors Unevenly, Never Mind the Hitches in Federal Relief” (April 8) quoted Ekman regarding the pressures campuses are experiencing and how their communities may also feel related effects soon. The Forbes article “Coronavirus Silver Lining: Easier to Get into Many Top Colleges” (March 22) quoted Ekman about the economic impact of the coronavirus on small colleges that lack deep resources. The story was republished by the Impact Lab on April 7. The Times Higher Education story “U.S. Colleges Face ‘Serious Jeopardy’ in Recruitment Struggles” (March 31) quoted Ekman about the additional enrollment pressures colleges may face this fall due to the coronavirus.

The Chronicle of Higher Education story “At the Precipice: 6 in 10 Colleges Say They Missed Fall Enrollment Goals” (February 24) discussed the Chronicle’s latest enrollment survey of 292 institutions, conducted in collaboration with CIC and the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU). It also mentioned CIC’s 2020 Presidents Institute. The Inside Higher Ed article “Ethical College Admissions: Yogi Berra, Wile E. Coyote and Albion” (March 2) referenced the Chronicle survey conducted with CIC and AASCU in relation to college enrollment targets.

The Inside Higher Ed story “Predicting and Communicating Bad Financial News” (April 17) mentioned CIC’s Financial Indicators Tool (FIT), which provides member presidents with an assessment of their institution’s financial performance that can be tracked over time and benchmarked against similar institutions.

CIC’s new program Deliberation & Debate: Advancing Civil Discourse through Courses for First-Year Students was featured in the Middle Georgia CEO story “Wesleyan Faculty Selected to Participate in Prestigious and Exclusive Seminar” (March 26). The story discussed the future participation of Wesleyan College’s (GA) Melanie Doherty, professor of English, and Nicholas Steneck, associate professor of history.

CIC’s Consortium on Digital Resources for Teaching and Research was featured in the Pennsylvania Ag Connection article, published on and other sites, “Wilson College [PA] Student Newspapers Now Searchable Online” (February 17).

CIC’s Humanities Research for the Public Good project was explored in the Massachusetts-based story “Remembering the West End: An Introduction to a Boston City Archives Blog Series” (February 7). The story details work by undergraduate students from Simmons University (MA).

The DailyNous, a platform of news for and about the philosophy profession, mentioned CIC’s New Currents in Teaching Philosophy program (January 20).

“The Complete Story on Student Debt,” a commentary by Our Lady of the Lake University (TX) President Diane Melby that was published by the San Antonio Express-News (February 21), referenced CIC’s 2019 “Student Debt: Know the Facts” report.

Several recent stories highlighted members of the CIC Board of Directors. For example, Mary Hinton, CIC Board member and president of the College of Saint Benedict (MN), was featured in Diverse: Issues in Higher Education, “Dr. Mary Hinton Named President of Hollins University [VA]” (February 13), and, “Hollins University Announces New President” (February 13). The Frederick News-Post article “Hood President Joins Leadership Organizations” (February 18) discussed Hood College (MD) President Andrea Chapdelaine’s roles on the CIC and National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (NAICU) boards. And the Democrat & Chronicle article “What to Know about Elizabeth Paul, Nazareth College’s New President” (January 27) discussed Paul’s service to CIC. In addition, the Standard Speaker article “Misericordia U. Appoints New President” (April 23) discussed Kathleen Cieplak Owens, president emerita of Gwynedd Mercy University (PA) who will begin her presidency at Misericordia University (PA) this summer, and her past service on the CIC Board. the Biltmore Beacon (NC) article “UNCA Chancellor Appointed to the Board of Directors of the AAC&U” (March 12) stated that University of North Carolina Asheville Chancellor Nancy J. Cable previously served on CIC’s Board of Directors.

Similarly, various publications reported on administrators’ past participation in CIC programs. For example, the Progress News story “Mount Aloysius College [PA] Announces New President” (April 2) mentioned that John N. McKeegan, vice president for institutional advancement and general counsel at Linfield College (OR) and incoming president at Mount Aloysius, was a presenter at CIC’s 2019 Institute for Chief Academic Officers. Several publications, including The Patch (of Maryland) and, ran the story “McDaniel College [MD] President Elected Chair of NAICU Board” (February 5), which mentioned Roger N. Casey’s past service on the steering committee for CIC’s Project on the Future of Independent Higher Education. A WSAI AM1360 Cincinnati story “Cincy Spotlight Featuring Joseph L. Chillo of Thomas More University [KY]” (March 4) said that Chillo participated in CIC’s Presidents Governance Academy. And the Times Leader article “President Tom Botzman Is Leaving Misericordia University [PA]” (January 23) stated that the university has “enjoyed increased visibility of academic excellence on campus” in part because of programs such as CIC’s Woodrow Wilson Visiting Fellows program.

Staff News and Notes

14 people pose for group photo standing
Carol Schuler, CIC vice president for State Council programs, spoke at the South Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities (SCICU) annual spring board meeting, held at Columbia International University on February 25. Eleven presidents representing independent colleges and universities in South Carolina participated in the event. Pictured from left to right are SCICU President and CEO Jeff Perez, Southern Wesleyan University President Todd Voss, Columbia International University President Mark Smith, North Greenville University President Gene Fant, Limestone College President Darrell Parker, Presbyterian College President Robert Staton, Anderson University President Evans Whitaker, Wofford College President Nayef Samhat, Charleston Southern University President Dondi Costin, CIC’s Carol Schuler, Converse College President Krista Newkirk, Newberry College President Maurice Scherrens, SCICU Board Chair Jerry Cheatham, and Allen University President Ernest McNealey. (Photo courtesy of SCICU)

Six people posing for group photo in the CIC office
The CEO of Rhodes Trust and Warden of Rhodes House Elizabeth Kiss (far left) convened a meeting at the Council of Independent Colleges office in Washington, DC, on Presidents’ Day. CIC guests included Mary Eaton, Rhodes registrar and director of scholar affairs; Louise Dearnley, Rhodes director of selection and outreach; Rhodes Scholar Lissa Muscatine, senior adviser and director of speechwriting at the U.S. Department of State; and Rhodes Scholar Darryl Banks, scientist and expert on sustainable environmental technologies. Kerry Pannell (third from right), CIC vice president for academic programs, hosted the event. Elizabeth Kiss is president emerita of Agnes Scott College (GA).

Kathleen Smith, CIC projects manager, contributed to research presented at the 2020 annual convention of ACPA-College Student Educators International in Nashville, Tennessee, on March 3. The research focused on equity in fraternity and sorority life, particularly as shown through web pages.

In Memoriam—Cynthia Page

Cindy Page headshotCIC mourns the loss of Cynthia (Cindy) Page, director of finance, who passed away unexpectedly on March 26.

During her tenure at CIC, which began in June 2008, Cindy oversaw budgeting, financial reporting, and human resources. Her staff colleagues, members of the Board of Directors, and professional contacts valued her expertise, clarity, precision, wisdom, and professionalism. Those who worked somewhat closely with her also enjoyed and benefited from her wit, kindness, and sense of humor: It was Cindy’s gift to bring a human touch to the often-technical role of a chief financial officer.

Cindy earned a bachelor of science in business administration from the University of South Carolina and was a certified public accountant. Prior to joining CIC, she served as lead financial manager of several small nonprofit and for-profit organizations. As a volunteer, Cindy served as the treasurer for the Bradley Hills Presbyterian Church Nursery School in Bethesda, Maryland, for more than 20 years.

Cindy is survived by Rick, her husband of 33 years, as well as her daughter Melanie (Richard), son Scott (Mary Kate), grandson Ricky, and sister Sharon. A Maryland native, Cindy enjoyed spending time on the waters of the Chesapeake Bay and rooting for the DC sports teams; she was known for her love for her family, dedication to her community, and interest in a wide range of activities, such as travel, golf, boating, and fostering dogs. She will be sorely missed and long remembered.