Statement from CIC President Richard Ekman on the Report of the Commission

6/19/2013 — Washington, DC
​The American Academy of Arts and Sciences’ new report, Heart of the Matter, provides a welcome signal of the importance of the humanities and social sciences to the future of the United States. The goals and recommendations offered in the report will certainly spark a much-needed national conversation about the imperative to foster the critical thinking, complex problem-solving, and written and oral communication skills of all Americans. The Council of Independent Colleges (CIC), representing more than 600 colleges and universities, congratulates the Academy for its cogent report.

CIC is doing its part by working cooperatively with the Academy and other national organizations that have similar concerns. A recently announced CIC campaign for the liberal arts and liberal arts colleges, Securing America’s Future, also is promoting the view that the liberal arts—the humanities, social sciences, and natural and physical sciences—are essential ingredients of a college education for all Americans regardless of their ultimate career goals. These fields are studied most effectively in institutions that emphasize teaching, hold true to their educational values, and make a clear link between the formal curriculum and aspects of education that take place beyond the classroom and that have been proven beyond doubt to contribute to the education of the whole student. It is this kind of college experience that has been demonstrably linked to greater rates of success after graduation.

The liberal arts campaign will disseminate research and data that dispel persistent and false stereotypes about independent colleges, feature prominent graduates of independent colleges and universities in all walks of life, and develop new language to describe the advantages of a liberal arts education, especially at independent institutions.

CIC is the only national presidential higher education association to conduct programs for faculty members to strengthen teaching and learning in the humanities—in U.S. history, foreign languages, classics, art history, Middle Eastern studies, religion and interfaith understanding, and libraries and technology—and to enlist leading scholars and major cultural institutions as partners. These include the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, Harvard University’s Center for Hellenic Studies, Council of American Overseas Research Centers, Aspen Institute, and major universities and museums throughout the country. The seminars have enjoyed the support of the Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation, Henry Luce Foundation, Lilly Endowment, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Samuel H. Kress Foundation, U.S. Department of State, American Academic Leadership Institute, and Carl and Lily Pforzheimer Foundation.

​The Council of Independent Colleges is an association of 645 nonprofit independent colleges and universities and more than 90 higher education organizations that has worked since 1956 to support college and university leadership, advance institutional excellence, and enhance public understanding of private higher education’s contributions to society. CIC is the major national organization that focuses on providing services to leaders of independent colleges and universities as well as conferences, seminars, and other programs that help institutions to improve the quality of education, administrative and financial performance, and institutional visibility. CIC also provides support to state fundraising associations that organize programs and generate contributions for private colleges and universities. The Council is headquartered at One Dupont Circle in Washington, DC. For more information, visit​