CIC Presents 2019 Academic Leadership Awards

11/12/2019 — Washington, DC

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​The Council of Independent Colleges (CIC) announced the recipients of its top annual academic and leadership awards for 2019. Leanne M. Neilson, provost and vice president for academic affairs of California Lutheran University, received the CIC Chief Academic Officer Award. The Council’s Academic Leadership Award was presented to Judith R. Shapiro, former president of the Teagle Foundation and Barnard College president and professor of anthropology emerita.

The awards ceremony took place at the CIC Institute for Chief Academic Officers, with Chief Advancement and Public Relations Officers, held November 2–5 in Baltimore, Maryland. CIC’s Institute is the largest annual gathering of chief academic officers in the country. The chief academic officers of CIC’s 659 institutional member colleges and universities conferred the honors.

CIC president Richard Ekman noted that both awards are especially meaningful because they represent the views of the academic leaders of the organization’s member colleges and universities. “Leanne Neilson and Judith Shapiro are honored for contributions that have improved the education of students on campuses across the nation,” he noted. “Chief academic officers know first-hand the impact and importance of their work.”

Neilson was awarded the CIC Chief Academic Officer Award in recognition of her efforts to promote student access to undergraduate education, leadership skills among college administrators, and faculty diversity across liberal arts disciplines at her institution. Neilson has led California Lutheran’s academic programs at a time of tremendous growth and guided the development of new academic programs in public administration and film studies. A licensed clinical psychologist, Neilson has published research on the psychological issues that affect college students. With her husband George, she recently established an emergency scholarship endowment for California Lutheran students who require urgent assistance.

Glenn Sharfman, provost and vice president for academic affairs at Oglethorpe University and chair of the 2019 Chief Academic Officer and Chief Advancement Officer Task Force, congratulated Neilson for her dedicated and visionary service to California Lutheran University. Sharfman also noted her generous willingness “to help other campus leaders better understand the challenges facing them” through her contributions to CIC’s Chief Academic Officers Task Force and Workshops for Department and Division Chairs.

Shapiro, who also addressed the Institute at its closing plenary, received CIC’s Academic Leadership Award for her contributions to private, independent colleges and universities as a chief academic officer, college president, and foundation executive. In presenting the award, Sharfman noted that Shapiro began her career by breaking a glass ceiling as the first woman faculty member in the department of anthropology at the University of Chicago.

A scholar of cross-cultural gender differences, Shapiro has served as president of the American Ethnological Society and has received the National Institute of Social Sciences Gold Medal Award for her contributions to higher education. She currently serves on the boards of the American Association of Colleges and Universities, Reacting to the Past, Scholars at Risk, the Executive Committee of Phi Beta Kappa, and the University of the People. She also is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Philosophical Society.

​The Council of Independent Colleges (CIC) is an association of 767 nonprofit independent colleges and universities, state-based councils of independent colleges, and other higher education affiliates, that works to support college and university leadership, advance institutional excellence, and enhance public understanding of independent higher education’s contributions to society. CIC is the major national organization that focuses on services to leaders of independent colleges and universities and state-based councils. CIC offers conferences, seminars, publications, and other programs and services that help institutions improve educational quality, administrative and financial performance, student outcomes, and institutional visibility. It conducts the largest annual conferences of college and university presidents and of chief academic officers. Founded in 1956, CIC is headquartered at One Dupont Circle in Washington, DC.