Securing America’s Future: New Phase of Two Recent Initiatives Begins

Encouraged by the CIC Board of Directors and other member presidents, CIC is extending the liberal arts public information campaign and the Project on the Future of Independent Higher Education. The combined initiative is called Securing America’s Future. Over the past three years, these efforts have provided presidents and other campus leaders with a rich array of resources to demonstrate the value of a liberal arts education and the effectiveness of smaller independent colleges and universities. Also, CIC has provided research monographs and other guides to help presidents and other campus leaders reconsider the typical business model of private colleges. Highly successful aspects of the previous work, including the social media activities, will continue. The central new element of Securing America’s Future will be a series of workshops at colleges and universities around the country designed to help campus teams plan the future of their institution based on materials developed during the earlier phase. (For details about the workshops, see “New Workshops Will Help CIC Members Prepare for the Future.”)

Through the Securing America’s Future initiative, CIC will:
  • Host eight workshops on campuses across the country between fall 2016 and spring 2017 for campus teams, each ideally composed of the president, other senior administrators, and faculty leaders;
  • Prepare a report on the workshops that identifies promising campus projects to revitalize missions, rethink long-term strategic plans, and adjust business models without compromising the student-centered nature of the educational model;
  • Re-engage CIC Senior Fellow S. Georgia Nugent to conduct media visits, make presentations, and write articles and op-ed pieces as well as to facilitate most of the workshops;
  • Arrange editorial board meetings for CIC President Richard Ekman and Nugent with media in cities where workshops will be held and independently engage top higher education and business journalists around the country;
  • Continue to feed advocacy content into the popular campaign social media channels;
  • Reinforce the engagement of high school guidance counselors to increase awareness of CIC member colleges and universities and the superior education they offer;
  • Highlight key findings from recently published research reports to draw attention to the myth-busting truths about independent higher education; and
  • Conduct several new research projects supporting the initiative, including on topics such as trends in the financial viability of independent colleges and measuring the economic and social impact of independent higher education.
Generous funding from a number of foundations will make these activities possible. In February, CIC secured $100,000 in additional funding from the Arthur Vining Davis Foundations to support the extension of the initiatives. In May, the Endeavor Foundation awarded CIC another $225,000 grant and CIC secured a $30,000 Chairman’s Grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. In addition, the Lumina Foundation has made available $130,360 to engage leaders of independent higher education in thinking critically about the current higher education environment and how to reposition their institutions. Together with CIC resources, the funding will support robust activity in a number of arenas and allow CIC to offer the workshops to member campuses free of charge.​