Association for Collaborative Leadership

The resource for collaboration in higher education.

ACL News & Updates

  • Thursday, April 29, 2021 4:19 PM | Deleted user

    As we head into year two of the pandemic, we honor the lives of so many loved ones lost to COVID-19.  In carrying their hopes and dreams, we are inspired to do and be more.  

    Recently as members of our Association for Collaborative Leadership board gathered virtually for our Spring meeting to advance ACL’s strategic priorities, it’s heartening to see how ACL is helping Higher Education meet the moment:

    • Our 2020 Reimagining Collaboration Conference highlighted collaborative responses from across the country;

    • The Claire Ramsbottom Scholarship and Equity Fund expands access to professional development opportunities for leaders from emerging, racially and economically diverse consortia;

    • Our virtual professional development committee is developing a set of offerings that respond directly to member feedback including a faculty development series on the science of learning, a coffee chat on mental health topics, and an “emerging leaders workshop” that builds upon one of the emerging leaders sessions from the fall 2020 conference.

    • We will be doing more in ACL to help members build capacity for diversity, equity and inclusion.

    Be sure to check out our events page for upcoming offerings and past events.

    ACL’s top three priorities remain the focus for efforts:

    • Provide the highest quality professional development opportunities through our conference, institute and webinars

    • Continue to make the website an active, accessible resource for members

    • Strengthen and support our membership 

    We are excited to welcome new committee members and new consortia:

    • Omar Acevedo, Five Colleges, Inc, joins ACL’s Technology Advisory Committee

    • Mei Mendez, Boston Library Consortium, joins ACL’s Technology Advisory Committee

    • Debra Mashek, Independent Consultant

    • Gregg Haddad, Hartford Consortium for Higher Education

    • Dr. Michael Hodge, Atlanta University Center Consortium

    Check out our list of committees and reach out to chairs if you are interested in joining. We welcome your energy!

    Summer Institute moved to July, 2022

    After careful consideration of the goals of the Summer Institute and the impacts of the pandemic, the ACL Board has made the decision to postpone the next Summer Leadership Institute to July 2022 – planning is underway for a July 2022 Institute in Claremont, California.

    Best Regards,

    Beth Moy

    Executive Director, SEPCHE

    President, Association for Collaborative Leadership

  • Thursday, October 15, 2020 9:00 AM | Anonymous

    The beginning of a new academic year that is like no other.  Along with students, faculty and staff on our campuses we are reimagining how our “work” is done.  And wondering when the new normal will be clearly defined.   At the same time, it is clear that the need for collaboration both within and among institutions of higher education is critical, as is the need between institutions and their communities.    We have much work to do in helping to raise awareness of the value of collaboration, in facilitating effective collaboration, in identifying new opportunities and in demonstrating best practices.  The principles and values that we hold as those who foster collaboration have applications in so many areas across many different organizations and sectors – it is time to share these tenets.  

    Our annual conference offers both an opportunity to connect with colleagues in new ways and to address some of the most important issues facing society and higher education.  One of the benefits of a virtual conference is that it is easy to expand participation – we have lowered the cost of participation for additional staff to attend and invite you to share the invitation with colleagues on your campuses – particularly those who may be helping you shape the vision for the future of your organization.If you haven’t already done so, now is the time spread the word and to register

    We are looking forward to welcoming three new board members: Amber Cox from the Council of Colleges of Arts and Sciences, Corie Dugas from the NELLCO Law Library Consortium, Inc., and Todd Greene from the Atlanta University Center Consortium.   And we thank Jeanne Went from the Higher Education Consortium of Center Massachusetts for her three years of service to the ACL Board.   Jeanine has chaired the Knowledge Committee, providing leadership to the team responsible for collating resources and adding them to the website. 

    I hope that you are all doing what you can to remind others about the importance of completing the census right now and voting on November 3rd.   I see this as part of extending our personal educational missions.

    And finally I hope you are all finding time to pause amidst the complexities of the day – talk to a friend, cheer on a colleague, take in the beauty of nature – this is what can sustain us.  See you on Zoom!

    Best Regards,

    Claire Ramsbottom

    Executive Director, Colleges of the Fenway

    President, Association for Collaborative Leadership

    Welcome to Our New Member

    Boston Library Consortium

    Member Spotlight Special Feature

    The New American Colleges and Universities (NACU) was founded in 1995 as a collaborative network of private, comprehensive institutions that purposefully integrate liberal arts, professional programs, and civic engagement. NACU campuses embrace the legacy of Ernest Boyer who called for higher education and scholarship to be a service to society and who lauded institutions that recognized the importance of teaching.

    NACU connects its campuses to collaborate in the delivery of innovative ideas and to champion the belief that a comprehensive liberal, professional, and civic education is essential to the future of our world. To help its campuses remain strong, NACU concentrates on research, strategy, and people development.

    NACU’s tagline is Connect, Collaborate, Champion, which is also the name of its podcast. You can find NACU on Twitter at @NACandU.

    The Lowcountry Graduate Center (LGC) is a state-funded organization dedicated to providing Charleston-area residents with convenient access to graduate-level academic programs.

    In partnership with top-rated universities, the LGC offers both degree and certificate programs in a growing number of subject areas including education, engineering, social work, business, health, and community wellness.

    Our current graduate programs are offered through our founding institutions the College of Charleston, The Citadel, and the Medical University of South Carolina  – as well as our partnering institutions, the University of South Carolina, and SC State University.

    Recognizing that an educated populace is a key to economic growth and well-being, the LGC works with trusted advisors – business leaders, major employers, and academic institutions – throughout the Tri-County to identify which graduate certificates and degrees will help meet the workforce needs in the Lowcountry region.

    The LGC aims to ensure that local students have access to the resources necessary for career advancement. If a required graduate program is not available through our current partners, the LGC has the ability to develop further partnerships with universities in South Carolina and beyond.

    The ACL Board continues to work to improve the organization.  We would love to have you involved in helping to strengthen the value we bring to our members! Shoot us an email at and we'll help you get connected. 

  • Monday, April 20, 2020 12:43 PM | Deleted user

    I hope you and your family are safe and well; we are clearly living in unprecedented times.  As we try to retain some sense of normalcy while reframing our priorities, I am thankful for this strong network of colleagues who so freely share ideas and expertise with each other.  I so appreciated the quick thinking of the Virtual Professional Development Committee to bring us together on a webinar as our institutions were making decisions to move classes on-line and the resource sharing that has continued. ACL serves to build connections and those connections can ground us as we chart new territory that we never asked to explore.  We are here to support your leadership as you provide leadership to your organization and institutions.

    I am sure that you all share the feeling that projects discussed and begun in February seem like they were from another lifetime. My intent after the February 25th ACL Board meeting was to send you a breezy update about the great meeting we had with representatives from the Teagle and Alfred P Sloan Foundations, and our plans for the year. And while I still want to share those points with you, now in our “Member Spotlight” you will also find notes about how the highlighted consortia are supporting their institutions in responding to the pandemic, a query for support as we consider alternatives for our annual conference, and an invitation to help host virtual "coffee talks" to share ideas, questions, initiatives and lessons learned as we operate in this new reality.

    Increasing Our Visibility

    One of the priorities the ACL Board identified is increasing our visibility with foundations that support higher education.  With the generous offer from the Big Ten Academic Alliance, we were able to hold our “spring” board meeting in New York City and have Andrew Delbanco and Loni Bordoloi Pazich from the Teagle Foundation and Elizabeth Boylan from the Sloan Foundation join us for a couple of hours.

    Key Takeaways from our conversation:

    • Theme of Higher Education as a public good is central to vision

    • Both have a strong focus on tenured faculty led initiatives

    • Opportunities exist for ACL to increase foundations’ awareness of who we are and what we do

    • We have some expertise to share in terms of how to facilitate successful collaborations.

    We also spent time at the meeting reviewing our strategy map and refining our priorities.   We acknowledged that ACL has deep penetration into the known universe of formal higher ed consortia and that our focus will be on ensuring we are providing value to our members and being a resource for new collaborations that are trying to get off the ground. We will continue to look for opportunities to get the word out about the work we all do in supporting higher education. We are always cognizant that we are a volunteer working board, many of whom are leading one and two person organizations which are  representative of much of our membership.

    We have witnessed an unprecedented increase in communication via the ACL Discussion List (listserv) the past few weeks, as colleagues seek community and aim to build on the work of their peers in navigating uncharted waters. Although ACL always aims to anticipate the evolving needs of our consortia, we would now especially like to understand the new ways that we can best serve our  members. Whether it be a webinar topic, a toolkit, a list of resources, or something brand new please let me know of any ideas that you feel might be beneficial during this time. In this time of separation, connection has never felt more important. 

    To that end, we are launching an open series of “ACL Coffee Hours” available to ACL members. If you have a topic for which you would like to host a discussion with your peers – pick a time, email us to reserve the ACL Zoom, and send the announcement out to the ACL Discussion List. Our goal is for conversations to last about an hour. I have volunteered to host one Friday, April 24th at 10AM (EDT)- since this is the first one, it will be an open check-in to see how you are doing, hear what’s on your mind and perhaps generate ideas for future check-ins. ACL members can register here, and we hope you will join us. 

    Best regards,

    Claire Ramsbottom

    Executive Director, Colleges of the Fenway

    President, Association for Collaborative Leadership

    Upcoming ACL Webinar:

    ACL Board Member Elections: Nominations Open

    The Association for Collaborative Leadership (ACL) seeks nominations of individuals from member organizations to serve on the Board of Directors, the governing body of the organization.

    Nominations open today and close on April 30, 2020, at which point the Nominating Committee will review nominations and make recommendations to the ACL Board of Directors. The election process will take place via an online voting by ACL Members beginning in May. A list of current Board of Directors can be found here.

    Click here to download ACL Board Member Qualifications and Expectations document.

    Nominate Today!

    Welcome to our Newest ACL Member!

    Independent Colleges of Indiana

    Member Spotlight Special Feature:

    Two ACL Member Organizations share how they've taken a strong lead for their schools during the pandemic.

    Great Lakes Colleges Association

    by Michael (Mickey) McDonald, President

    Founded in 1962, the Great Lakes Colleges Association (GLCA) is a consortium of 13 liberal arts colleges in Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania. While initially founded primarily to develop collaborative study abroad programs, the GLCA has focused its activities over the last few decades around administrative and faculty convenings, and faculty development in teaching, learning and scholarship.  The GLCA is also the founder and administrator of the Global Liberal Arts Alliance, an international partnership of 30 colleges and universities advancing liberal arts education within the contexts of its member institutions.

    Given that the 13 GLCA institutions are not co-located and that we have not had a history of shared services (like emergency planning or response, cross-registration, etc.), we found ways to support our institutions and institutional leaders during this pandemic based on our current strengths of convening and faculty development.  Actions we took included:

    • Compiling institutional responses to the coronavirus and sharing this information in “real time” with institutional leadership
    • Convening virtual conversations of those in like positions (presidents, CAOs, deans of students, deans of admission, CFOs, CIOs, registrars, human resources directors, admissions campus visit and event planners, and more) so that they can share resources, policy actions, change in practices, and engage in open conversations with peers about issues, questions and concerns.
    • Inviting faculty by discipline to join listservs or Zoom conversations to share resources and seek advice from each other.  This has been less well received we believe because (1) faculty are overwhelmed already trying to manage these teaching and life changes, (2) they have resources on campuses for taking their teaching virtual, and (3) many are connected through their disciplinary organizations.
    • Advocating for financial and regulatory relief on behalf of our institutions through national organizations like ACE and NAICU.

    The Association of Independent Colleges of Art & Design 

    by Deborah Obalil, President & Executive Director

    The Association for Independent Colleges of Art & Design (AICAD) is comprised of 40 leading, specialized art and design colleges and universities in the US and Canada, as well as a small but growing number of international affiliates. The organization has existed since 1991, originating as a platform for the presidents of “the similarly structured art schools” to find peer support and a means for collective action. Over its nearly thirty-year history, AICAD has grown to reach nearly every administrative role within its member institutions, as well as some faculty and students through its regular programming and services including an annual Academic Symposium, biennial Student Success Conference, the AICAD Post Graduate Teaching Fellowship, AICAD Exchange for student mobility, a collaborative portfolio development program for students in grades 9-12, and numerous other means of connecting peers and sharing information across institutions.

    With “connect and strengthen our member institutions” at the forefront of our mission, AICAD always has the needs of our member institutions as our primary guiding force.  This has provided us with the organizational culture and capacity to quickly assess the needs of our members during this unprecedented time and adjust our programs and services to address both ongoing and newly developed needs. Key elements of this response include communication, adaptability and foresight – not surprisingly all aspects of what our institutions deliver through art and design education.


    Communication is a central aspect of what AICAD provides at all times, so we’ve simply ramped that up during the last month as COVID-19 has begun to impact all our members. Our existing listservs saw increased traffic almost immediately, with members knowing they could quickly access their peers in this way. For topics that emerged on the listservs where more conversation would clearly be valued, we quickly set up online web meetings for those groups and topics. In the first three weeks of the crisis we’ve hosted six of these “virtual roundtables” for groups ranging in size from a dozen participants to over 80. We do not record these roundtables but do distribute summary notes following, many of which have evolved into living Google docs that can be updated as situations change. We already have multiple virtual roundtables scheduled for the next few months as the rapidly changing environment is driving a desire to stay connected across our membership.

    Our presidents especially have appreciated the connectivity to their peers during this time. We’ve held three conversations to date, and have settled on a bi-weekly schedule of virtual roundtables for presidents for the foreseeable future. As they work to address both the immediate needs of their campuses as well as plan for a drastically changed and uncertain future, having connectivity to each other for both moral and intellectual support is proving invaluable.

    AICAD also serves in a limited way as an advocacy organization for its members, so our activities in this area have also increased during this crisis. We’re in constant contact with the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (NAICU) as the lead lobbying organization for private higher education, signing on to advocacy letters and encouraging our members to actively communicate with their elected representatives on various legislative matters. We’ve quickly and consistently shared news of relief efforts that will impact our members and directed them to analysis of any of the relief legislation to help them make the best decisions possible for their own institutions.


    Second only to the need for communication in a crisis is adaptability. At AICAD we have quickly assessed the landscape and adapted both current and future programming to address the new needs of our members. We made the decision in early March to hold our April 1 Board meeting virtually instead of in person. We also drastically changed the agenda to address only the urgent business needs of the association and the concerns of our members in the moment. All other business suddenly seemed inappropriate and unnecessary, tabling many items for the future. The Board also decided to table the passage of our FY21 Budget. Despite being finalized only six weeks ago, enough has changed that we all concluded that new financial planning is called for.

    We’ve canceled all in-person programming through the end of 2020. While this might seem extreme, we determined that, given the uncertainty of what our members face this fall, the only equitable means to deliver programming was to do so online. As a national and even international association, travel costs are always an aspect of our in-person programming. We expect that both personal and professional constraints may make travel not possible for many in our membership through the remainder of the calendar year.

    Thinking more expansively, we’ve organized virtual roundtables and communications platforms for constituents within our member institutions we’ve never served before. The need to transfer studio-based, hands on art and design education to emergency remote teaching methods was a new challenge for faculty and curriculum leaders across our membership. Instead of saying, “we don’t serve them,” AICAD immediately rose to the challenge and convened more than 80 department and division leaders in a virtual roundtable and ongoing online conversation. Many of the ideas and resources shared in that forum became the basis for a compiled Tips for Teaching Art & Design Online that we’ve widely shared beyond our membership, recognizing that faculty in these fields could benefit regardless of where they teach.

    Lastly, we’ve adapted a core capacity of the organization – research and data collection – to serve our members’ most immediate needs. We’ve pressed pause on all regular, in-process internal data collection efforts to relieve our members from completing any data reporting not tied to urgent needs. We’ve coordinated with any 3rd party research efforts in which our members participate as a cohort (e.g NSSE) to address implementation disruptions and ensure cohort reporting can be fulfilled in a flexible fashion. We’ve refocused our research staff on collecting information that matters now and providing regular updates to those compilations.


    Lastly, to provide leadership for our members and ensure effective future operations of AICAD, I’ve turned much of my energy now as a leader on envisioning various future scenarios for our membership and the association.  There is no returning back to what was considered normal prior to this crisis, even after the immediate health and economic threats have dissipated.  On the positive side, we will all be more comfortable and adept at using online tools for learning and communication. While I don’t believe it will completely replace the need for in-person opportunities to connect, I do think we’ll be better positioned to offer a mix of online and in-person programs and services that is more expansive than what we previously offered as an association.  I’m sure many other new realities will emerge in the coming months, and while none of us can truly see the future, I aim to be as prepared as possible in leading my organization and our members to meet those new challenges.

    Serve ACL: Help Reimagine the ACL Annual Conference

    The insight and experience of ACL members are our greatest assets. If you have insights about or experience in executing inventive, engaging programming at a distance, please join the Annual Conference Committee today. We also welcome any members eager to research and develop both the format and content of this event.  Help ACL: Please email with subject line "ACL Skunkworks" to register your interest. 

  • Monday, January 13, 2020 1:07 PM | Deleted user

                  ACL President's Update              

    January 2020

    Happy New Year!

    It’s hard to believe that it’s 2020 – especially when I can so clearly remember all the hoopla that swirled around Y2K as we entered the year 2000. It’s this time of year when I so appreciate the rhythm of higher education and the quiet reflective time that the first few days of the new year offer. 

    Those of you who attended the ACL Annual Conference know that the ACL Board has been reflecting on the vision and goals for our organization with a clear focus on how to best serve our members. We appreciate the feedback we heard and welcome input at any point. We enter the new year committed to continuing our focus on: Expanding Our Professional Community; Building our Members Capacity for Collaborative Work; and Creating a Stronger Voice for Collaboration in Higher Education. 

    Is there a person or organization you know who would benefit from the colleagueship and professional development opportunities that ACL offers? Send us a note and we will reach out to them – or better yet, invite them to participate in a webinar or join the email discussion list.

    Are you looking to build your own network? Join one the ACL committees. I have learned so much from listening to what others are doing within their organizations both in terms of specific programs and approaches to working across member institutions. And I can honestly say that the leadership of our members finds value in the information we share about what other higher education consortia are doing.

    And just in case you were wondering, 2020 is the Year of the Mouse or Rat - according to “it ranks first on the Chinese zodiac signs. It has characteristics of an animal with spirit, wit, alertness, delicacy, flexibility and vitality;" all good things for collaborators!

    Best Regards,

    Claire Ramsbottom

    Executive Director, Colleges of the Fenway

    President, Association for Collaborative Leadership

    2019 ACL Annual Conference in Photos



    Here's what our 2019 ACL Annual Conference attendees had to say about their experience:

    "The opening collaborative exercise was a great way to get to know people, the other consortia, and see what the field in general is grappling with."

    "Provocative. Got me to think outside my usual ruts.”

    "This was one of the best professional development and networking opportunities I've attended." 

    "Loved the setting, and really appreciate all the extra work the staff needed to do to make it work.”

    2020 ACL Professional Development/Webinar Update

    The Virtual Professional Development is at work on the Spring schedule of webinars and other virtual professional development opportunities. We have several topics currently under development and will have a list ready to announce by mid-January.
    We want to remind all ACL members of the recorded 2019 webinars, available on the ACL VPD Archive website, which can be accessed by logging in, selecting “Members Only” and accessing the Archive). If you missed a webinar, semester breaks are a great time to catch up on these highly rated conversations, including:

    • Leading an Equity-minded Consortium
    • Surviving Presidential Turnover: President-Proofing Your Consortium
    • Managing Change to Sustain Collaboration

    Welcome to our Newest ACL Members!

    The Annapolis Group of Liberal Arts Colleges, Inc.

    Independent College Enterprise

    The Massachusetts Higher Education Consortium (MHEC) 

    ACL Member Spotlight: 

    Pittsburgh Council on Higher Education (PCHE)

    Dr. Paul Hennigan, President, Point Park University, Dr. Chris Howard, President, Robert Morris University, Ken Gormley, President, Duquesne University, Dr. Candace Introcaso, President, La Roche University, Dr. Quintin Bullock, President, Community College of Allegheny County, Mrs. Colleen Hennigan, Karina Chavez, Executive Director, PCHE.

    The Pittsburgh Council on Higher Education (PCHE) is a voluntary, multi-purpose consortium of the ten accredited colleges and universities in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. Founded in 1966, the membership includes Carlow University, Carnegie Mellon University, Chatham University, Community College of Allegheny County, Duquesne University, La Roche University, Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, Point Park University, Robert Morris University, and the University of Pittsburgh. The main purposes of PCHE is to share resources, insights and information among participating member institutions, engage in joint or cooperative activities and projects, and to offer a common voice on matters that affect all member institutions. PCHE’s latest Economic Impact Report reflecting 2017 highlighted the $9.05 overall regional economic impact and the 61,000+ jobs supported in the City of Pittsburgh. During the academic year of 2016 – 2017, PCHE schools awarded 22,401 degrees, driving innovation, sector growth and the revitalization efforts of Pittsburgh.

    PCHE’s highlighted activities, programs and initiatives include:

    • A collaborative focus on all Title IX areas including regional training for investigators, first responders, Green Dot Bystander Intervention facilitators, joint response teams and a coordinated policy and process effort with the District Attorney’s Office, City of Pittsburgh Bureau of Police and our community survivor advocacy services.
    • An annual Faculty Development Symposium aimed at engaging, professionally developing and supporting all faculty via innovative and participatory workshops and networking. This event is in its third year, attracting over 250 faculty to last year’s event.
    • An annual Collegiate Basic Needs Dialogue event, focusing on housing and food insecurity needs, best practices and initiatives. Eden Hall Foundation funded a PCHE study focusing on students who are or who are at risk of homelessness.
    • A robust cross-registration program, allowing students from any PCHE school to enroll in one class per semester as approved by their advisor. The PCHE student pays the tuition of the home campus regardless of the tuition rate. This is particularly helpful for our community college students who are preparing to transfer into four year programs.
    • Establishing a Pittsburgh Fulbright Scholar Chapter for scholars and friends of scholars.
    • Launching a University Talent Alliance initiative, focusing on the intentional recruitment, training and hiring of local underrepresented candidates.

    Get Involved in ACL!

    The ACL Board continues to work to improve the organization.  We would love to have you involved in helping to strengthen the value we bring to our members! Shoot us an email at and we'll help you get connected. 

    ACL Members-Only Portal

    Members, make sure you login and check out the members-only portal for exclusive access to the Online Webinar Learning Archive! This portal contains helpful resources for those who work in consortia, including guides, salary surveys, event highlights, and more. 

    And, please take the time to fill out the directory information about the programs and initiatives in which your organization is engaged.  We are working on a searchable directory so members can find others who are working in similar areas!

    Has your membership lapsed? No problem! Login to your account to renew.

    The ACL Board of Directors

    Claire Ramsbottom, ACL President, Colleges of the Fenway
    Beth Moy, ACL Vice President, Southeastern Pennsylvania Consortium of Higher Education
    Cristin Toutsi Grigos, ACL Secretary, Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges
    Diane Dimitroff, Treasurer, Lehigh Valley Association of Independent Colleges
    Kiernan Mathews, Professional Development Committee Chair, The Collaborative on Academic Careers in Higher Education, Harvard Graduate School of Education 
    Amy Doonan Cronin, New York Six Liberal Arts Consortium
    Larry Dotolo, Virginia Tidewater Consortium for Higher Education   
    Stig Lanesskog, Claremont University Consortium
    Martha Malinski, Association of Colleges of the Sisters of St. Joseph
    Keith Marshall, Big Ten Academic Alliance

    Michael McDonald, Great Lakes Colleges Association

    Sarah Pfatteicher, Five College Consortium

    Sarah Stone, Five Colleges of Ohio
    Jeanine Went, Higher Education Consortium of Central Massachusetts

    Cole Woodcox, Council of Public Liberal Arts Colleges

  • Thursday, August 01, 2019 3:36 PM | Anonymous

    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 | Deleted user

      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 9:00 AM | Deleted user

      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 8:33 AM | Deleted user

      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 8:30 AM | Deleted user

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