About the Theme

Securing America’s Future: The Vitality of Independent Colleges

As cultivators of countless innovations in education, independent colleges and universities are vital to America’s future—on both domestic and global fronts. Without this sector of higher education, the nation would not have as many engaged citizens, the most efficient preparation of STEM professionals, proven paths to success for low-income and first-generation students, or help from nongovernmental educational institutions in meeting the national goal of expanding access to higher education. Yet politicians and journalists often overlook the evidence of these successes and undervalue independent liberal arts colleges.

The pressures that presidents of independent colleges face also stimulate imaginative leadership. Which innovative approaches to higher education are most promising? Do the newer business models respect the integrity of the characteristics that have made our colleges successful? How can we demonstrate that the liberal arts remain essential to students’ preparation for rewarding careers and meaningful lives? Which traditional characteristics of independent colleges are crucial for their continued superior performance and to the rigor and quality of the education they provide?

CIC’s 2016 Presidents Institute will explore these and other issues of presidential leadership, drawing on the lessons learned by experienced presidents and the perspectives of other distinguished speakers. The largest annual meeting of college and university presidents in the country, the Institute provides a forum for candid discussion of controversial issues, opportunities to learn from experts, and time to network with presidential colleagues who lead similar institutions.