Association for Collaborative Leadership

The voice for collaboration in higher education.

ACL News & Updates

  • Thursday, August 01, 2019 2:36 PM | Jill Miller (Administrator)

    ACL President's Update

    August 2019

    August – one of my favorite months of the year.  Yes, the weather is hot (and I love it!) and yes, the start of a new academic year is fast approaching; still August continues to be a time of summer reflection – opening up to new possibilities and approaches.

    Thank you to everyone who participated in our ACL Summer Leadership Institute - faculty and fellows alike; three hard working days in Atlanta where we made new connections, worked on projects to further our individual organizations and engaged in thinking about making collaboration work. Having the opportunity to work on this program has been one of the best rewards of my ACL engagement.  

    If you haven’t already, I hope you are considering registering for the ACL Annual Conference in October.  I recently heard the ACL conferences characterized as a ”warm hug by colleagues who understand exactly what this work entails.”  This is an opportunity to get recharged, hear some new ideas, and be with a group of peers who are looking to build on what they learn from each other.  

    I look forward to seeing you in Pennsylvania!


    Claire Ramsbottom

    Executive Director, Colleges of the Fenway

    President, Association for Collaborative Leadership

    Congratulations to the ACL Summer Leadership Institute Fellows - Class of 2019!

    • Tracey Brantley, Atlanta Regional Council for Higher Education, Executive Director
    • Darcy de Leon, Andrews University, Human Resources Director
    • Corie Dugas, NELLCO Law Library Consortium, Inc., Executive Director
    • Brenda A. Flores-Lopez, Southern Adventist University, Associate Vice President for Human Resources
    • Stephanie Fabritius, Associated Colleges of the SouthPresident
    • Lisa R. Forbes, Union College, HR Director
    • Lori Frost, Big Ten Academic Alliance, Project Coordinator - Programs Team
    • Suronda Gonzalez, Upstate New York College CollaborationExecutive Director
    • Steven G. HolleyThe Claremont Colleges Services, Vice President, Finance & Administration
    • Sharon Lee, Project Coordinator, Big Ten Academic Alliance
    • Michael Malmberg, Colleges of the Fenway, Director of Environmental Health and Safety
    • Deanna H. McCayNew York Six Liberal Arts ConsortiumProject Manager
    • Michael (Mickey) McDonald, Great Lakes Colleges Association, President
    • Jake Myers, Big Ten Academic Alliance, Information Technology Technical Associate
    • Stacy Nelson II, Pacific Union College, Associate Vice President of Human Resources at Pacific Union College
    • Allison O'Connor, Colleges of the Fenway, Director for Academic Programs & Professional Development
    • Sarah K. A. Pfatteicher, Five Colleges, IncorporatedExecutive Director
    • Ray Rennard, Five Colleges, Incorporated, Director of Academic Programs
    • Laurel Rosch, Big Ten Academic Alliance, Project Coordinator
    • Derrick L. Tillman-Kelly, University Innovation Alliance, Director of the UIA Fellows Program and Network Engagement
    • Colin Tudor, The Claremont Colleges Services, Secretary to the Board & AVP for Community Relations
    • Zoë Wyner, The Professional Arts Consortium, Executive Director
    • Sue Zago, NELLCO Law Library Consortium, Inc., Vice President

    Here's what our 2019 Summer Institute Fellows had to say about their experience:

    I appreciate the experience and diverse thoughts from the faculty. You each brought different perspectives and are transparent and willing to share your challenges. I commend you for being willing to be vulnerable and genuine.

    The group activities were exceptionally useful in workshopping and developing ideas!

    The extended times to reflect and discuss with others was beneficial. I also appreciated the experiences shared by faculty members and other attendees.

    Upcoming 2019 ACL Webinars

    The ACL Virtual Professional Development Committee is in the process of planning the below upcoming webinars! Details will be announced shortly.

    • Leading an Equity - Minded Consortium - September 2019 
    • Senior Leadership Conversation about Dealing with Consortial Membership Loss - October 2019 

    The 2019 Association for Collaborative Leadership Annual Conference - Early-bird Registration is Open!

    The 2019 Association for Collaborative Leadership Conference will be hosted by the Lehigh Valley Association of Independent Colleges in Bethlehem, PA, from October 16-18, 2019. The ACL pre-conference workshop will be held at the Hyatt Place in Bethlehem, PA, with the remainder of the Conference held at Moravian College, within walking distance.

    The pre-conference workshop will occur on Wednesday, October 16 from 12pm-4pm and will focus on the principles of change management, overcoming challenges associated with change management, and integrating these practices into consortia work. Lunch will be provided at the workshop. Immediately following the workshop is the Annual Collaboration Showcase poster session, featuring the ACL Summer Institute and any consortia who opt to participate!

    The conference schedule itself is robust with speakers from diverse consortia and member colleges and universities addressing a full range of collaborative efforts. Participants return to the ACL meeting year after year to take advantage of networking, access to information and immediately useful ideas and approaches, and for the opportunity to discuss the challenges and rewards of higher education collaboration with others who understand the work.

    Please join us!

    Welcome to our Newest ACL Members!

    The Professional Arts Consortium

    • Wednesday, February 13, 2019 8:00 AM | ACL Administrator (Administrator)

      ACL President’s Update – February 2019

      Greetings from Boston- where last week we got to celebrate another Super Bowl victory with a parade in 50-degree sun that brought over 1.5 million people into the cityYesterday, in the spirit of true New England weather, we closed our offices early due to snow.

      I write this having come from a meeting with our institutions’ enrollment managers - all of whom are focused on the changing demographics - followed by a meeting with a planning committee that is bringing The People’s Institute to facilitate two Undoing Racism workshops with faculty, staff and students within the Colleges of the Fenway (COF). Such a reminder about having our feet in both the present and in the future - and the opportunities collaboration brings for sharing information and providing support!


      Claire Ramsbottom

      Executive Director, Colleges of the Fenway

      President, Association for Collaborative Leadership

      Upcoming ACL Webinars

      Managing Change to Sustain Collaboration - March 12, 2019, 12 – 1pm ET

      All collaborative leaders are engaged in change. How to plan for, manage, and sustain change are topics of ongoing discussion and, sometimes, “hit or miss” approaches. ACL members seek to “do” change in the right ways in order to make the most positive impact on our members. This webinar will cover known models of change management and discuss application methods to enhance collaborative initiatives.


      Upcoming 2019 Webinars

      Be on the lookout for details about two additional webinars – details will be released later this year!

      • President-Proofing Collaborative Momentum
      • Diversifying Consortial Staff

      Welcome New Members

      We are excited to welcome several new members to ACL – all focused on helping higher education institutions, faculty and staff benefit from working collaboratively. Please take a minute to check out their websites and learn a little more about them.

      Summer Institute 2019

      June 16 – 19, in Atlanta, Georgia, hosted by Associated Colleges of the South

      Early Bird Registration ends February 15th!

      Spend three days with ACL colleagues in an interactive workshop format as we focus on what makes collaboration work through a highly interactive curriculum, including the opportunity to work on a capstone project. Participants will leave the institute with a clear action plan and understanding of how to implement their project upon returning to their organization.


       Get Involved in ACL

      The ACL Board continues to work to refine our mission and improve the organization. During the October ACL Board of Director’s meeting, several new committees were formed, while current committees reviewed their purpose. We would love to have more people involved in helping to strengthen the value we bring to our members!

      To learn more about joining a committee, please contact or the below appropriate committee chair.

      ·         Marketing Committee – Amy Cronin, New York Six Liberal Arts Consortium

      ·         Sponsorship Committee – Sarah Stone, Five Colleges of Ohio

      ·         New Member Services – Martha Malinski, Association of Colleges of Sisters of St. Joseph

      ·         Membership – Co-Chairs, Lindsey Interlante, Colonial Academic Alliance and Lauren Scungio The Collaborative on Academic Careers in Higher Education (COACHE)

      ·         2019 Annual Conference – Charlene Bergstresser, LeHigh Valley Association of Independent Colleges

      ·         Virtual Professional Development – Jennifer Dugan, Associated Colleges of the South

      ·         Knowledge Creation – Jeanine Went, Higher Education Consortium of Center Massachusetts


      ACL at Association of American Colleges & Universities Conference

      Thanks to some organizing by Robert Diggs at the Pennsylvania Consortium for the Liberal Arts (PCLA), several ACL colleagues gathered together at the recent AAC&U conference for some networking and cathartic conversation. Connecting in Atlanta were Diggs, Cole Woodcox (COPLAC), Brian Williams and Charlie Barlow (ACM), Kiernan Matthews (COACHE), and Amy Cronin (NY6). Associated Colleges of the South provided a highly-rated presentation Institutional relationships with oppression: Southern colleges collaborate to confront the past and construct a more equitable future.

      Member Spotlight

      Meet Associated Colleges of the South!

      Associated Colleges of the South’s member institutions – sixteen nationally recognized colleges and universities –are committed to providing the best liberal arts education possible at the most affordable price available. That quest for excellence and affordability gave rise to ACS, a collaborative initiative that brings members together as a whole or in smaller groups. We sponsor programs for faculty and staff advancement, joint purchasing and services, and curricular enhancements. We actively seek outside sources of funding on behalf of our members and we administer the resulting grants.

      Our grantmaking themes – innovative instruction, collaborative curriculum, and diversity and inclusion – are intended to strengthen each institution and our collective mission.

      Annual Conference 2019: Laying the Foundation for the Future of Collaboration – Save the Date!

      October 16-19, 2019 at Moravian College in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania

    • Tuesday, October 30, 2018 8:00 AM | ACL Administrator (Administrator)

      It was great to see so many of you in Norfolk, Virginia for the ACL Annual Conference and 50th Anniversary Celebration.  I was especially appreciative of the ACL alumni, former board members who made the effort to join us, and the many others who sent in their testimonies as to the important role ACL played in their professional development and support.    In fact, one alum shared thoughts after the event:

      When I came to help celebrate ACL’s 50th anniversary I realized something:  I didn’t know how much I missed the organization!   The time in Norfolk brought back many memories of other conferences and work sessions—that were equal fun AND hard work.  How nice to be reminded of my professional life and the importance ACL played in it.”

      ACL Emirati Board Members: Larry Dotolo, Fred Baus, Nicola Beltz, Alice Brown, Neal Abraham, Anneke Larrence, Jake Bishop, Susan Palmer, Lorna Peterson

      50th Anniversary Dinner Celebration Attendees

      The conference itself was a good blend of opportunities to learn about specific techniques and programs that our colleagues are using to serve their members and the big picture issues facing higher education. Bobby Scott, US Representative from Virginia and Peter Blake, Director of the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia, provide outlooks from the national and state levels respectively, and Robert Kelchen shared research from his recent book on higher education accountability. And we were happy have members from China and Brazil join us again this year. Above all it was a time to check in with colleagues who share an understanding of the unique challenges and opportunities inherent in this work. See more photos from the conference here.

      If you attended the conference we are interested in your feedback; it is critical as we start working on plans for next year. If you haven’t already responded, please take a few minutes to share your thoughts with us on the Annual Conference Survey.

      ACL Board Meeting

      We were excited to welcome new ACL Board members Sarah Stone, Executive Director of the Five Colleges of Ohio, and Keith Marshall, Executive Director of the Big Ten Academic Alliance to our board meeting on October 16 and 17. One of our goals is to involve more ACL members in the committees that help the organization run. To that end we have created a marketing committee and a sponsorship committee. If you are interested in joining these groups or any of the other ACL Committees: Membership, New Member Support, Finance, Conference, Virtual Professional Development or Knowledge Creation – please let us know. We are also launching a Technology Assessment Task Force – to help us assess which technology tools and solutions will best serve the organization.  A quick email response to this newsletter is all it takes to get involved!

      Save the Date!

      ACL Conference 2019

      The Lehigh Valley Association of Independent Colleges will host next year’s conference – October 9 -11, 2019. LVAIC will be celebrating their 50th Anniversary in 2019 and ACL is pleased to play a role  in marking their history. For those of you who are wondering – this is in Pennsylvania! Mark your calendars now.

      ACL Summer Institute – Atlanta, Georgia

      June 16-19  Hosted by Associated Colleges of the South

      Last year we made the decision to offer this program every other year. The three-day curriculum is taught in an interactive workshop format with class size ranges from 12- 20 participants and experienced consortium leaders as faculty. This program consistently receives high marks from participants – which have included college presidents working to start a consortium, new executive directors, senior consortial staff and faculty leading collaborative projects.  Here’s what 2017 participants had to say: 

       “Nothing but praise! Worth every penny and worth my time.” 

       “Thank you so much for all your time and expertise! I learned a lot and look forward to maintaining the relationships I developed and applying the lessons I learned!”

       “Thank you so much for the opportunity! This was an absolutely worthwhile professional development experience and I gained a tremendous amount by attending. “

       “The Institute is a huge labor of love and quite honestly I don't think I've ever felt a part of such a supportive, collaborative effort that was so incredibly helpful and productive at the same time. I think you should add a box for participants to evaluate the networking opportunities, which is a huge part of the take-home from the Institute. I met so many people who helped me with my capstone project (including ALL the faculty who took so much time with each of us). THANK YOU FOR EVERYTHING YOU DID TO MAKE IT SO SUCCESSFUL IN TERMS OF PROVIDING SUPPORT, NETWORKING OPPORTUNITIES, AND IMPORTANT INFORMATION.” 

      “Thanks for developing this Institute and for promoting a collaborative style of leadership. This was one of the best rewarding workshops I've been to.”

      Upcoming Webinars: 

      1. Wednesday, November 7 from 12:00-1pm EST, "Shared Legal Services: A Simple and Sensible Solution to Cost Containment.," featuring R. Owen Williams (Associated Colleges of the South) and Jim Newberry (Steptoe & Johnson PLLC). Attendees will learn about how the initiative is helping ACS member campuses share the burden of addressing today’s challenging issues, including campus protests, academic freedom, sensitive data. 
      2. Tuesday, November 13th, 12 noon - 1 pm EST, New Funding Opportunities at The Teagle Foundation., TeagleFoundation Program Director Loni Bordoloi Pazich; Teagle Foundation Program Officer Desiree Vasquez Barlatt; SEPCHE Executive Director Beth Moy and BTAA Operations Coordinator Tim Newcomb 

      ACL is now on LinkedIn–please follow us!  This is one more way we can stay in touch and expand our learning opportunities.  If you find an article you think will be of interest to you colleagues, have a new program to promote, or want to help your followers learn more about collaboration – share it here!

      While those of you who know me can guess that I had many late nights in the past seven or so days watching a particular baseball team play their game to their best, it felt a little surreal to be celebrating amidst the heinous crimes in Kentucky, pipe bomb mailings across the country and the tragic events at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh.  I feel fortunate to be engaged in the work of higher education and the promotion of collaboration to advance that work.  It gives me continued hope when I sit in on a strategic plan presentation for one of our members and they name Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion in their values statement.

    • Monday, August 13, 2018 7:33 AM | ACL Administrator (Administrator)

      Dear ACL Members,

      On behalf of the nominating committee, I am pleased to report the results of the 2018–2019 ACL Board Election:

      For three-year terms:

      • Diane Dimitroff, Executive Director, Lehigh Valley Association of Independent Colleges
      • Martha Malinski, Executive Director, Association of Colleges of the Sisters of Saint Joseph
      • Beth Moy, Executive Director, Southeastern Pennsylvania Consortium for Higher Education

      For two-year terms:

      • Cristin Toutsi Grigos, Director of Public Policy and Statewide Programs, Association of Governing Boards
      • Lindsey Interlante, Executive Director, Colonial Academic Alliance
      • Jeanine Went, Higher Education Consortium of Central Massachusetts

      For one-year terms:

      • Keith Marshall, Executive Director, Big Ten Academic Alliance
      • Sarah Stone, Executive Director, Five Colleges of Ohio
      • R. Owen Williams, President, Associated Colleges of the South

      Additional ACL Board Members:

      • Amy Doonan Cronin, Executive Director, New York Six Liberal Arts Consortium
      • Dr. Lawrence G. Dotolo, President, Virginia Tidewater Consortium for Higher Education
      • Steven Harvey, Executive Director, WNY Consortium of Higher Education
      • Stig Lanesskog, Chief Executive Officer, The Claremont Colleges Services
      • Kiernan Mathews, Executive Director, The Collaborative on Academic Careers in Higher Education (COACHE), Harvard Graduate School of Education
      • Claire Ramsbottom, Executive Director, Colleges of the Fenway

      The newly elected members will begin their terms on October 9, 2018, during the board meeting that precedes ACL’s national conference.

      Thank you for your support and participation in the voting process!

      If you are interested in leadership opportunities with ACL, please see board member qualifications and expectations, and send a note to me or to

      And don’t forget to mark your calendars! ACL’s Annual Conference, Marking 50 Years of Collaboration, is October 10-12, 2018 in Norfolk, Virginia.Registration is open.

      Best regards,

      ACL’s Board Nominating Committee

      Cristin Toutsi Grigos

    • Thursday, May 31, 2018 7:30 AM | ACL Administrator (Administrator)

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