Association for Collaborative Leadership

The resource for collaboration in higher education.


The Gardner Institute and the Council of Public Liberal Arts Colleges are excited to host the 2023 ACL Annual Conference at the Doubletree by Hilton Downtown in Asheville, North Carolina. Friends from across two continents will come together on November 1 - 3, 2023 for three days of inspiring conversation and connection! Think of this year's Annual Conference as a robust professional event paired with amazing food, mountain views, outdoor recreation, and some of Asheville's legendary craft beers.  

This in-person conference will be held 1 - 3 November, 2023 with check-in Wednesday afternoon. The conference will close at the end of lunch on Friday. A preliminary program will be available soon. We hope you will plan to join your colleagues for three days of inspiring in-person conversation and connection! 

Early registration for the conference closes September 15, so take advantage of the discounted rate. A room block has been arranged at the Doubletree Downtown from Tuesday to Thursday nights. You might want to arrive on Tuesday and enjoy Asheville before the conference and pre-conference on Wednesday. The hotel reservation cut off date is October 3.  Let's ensure you don't miss a thing!  

Schedule at a Glance

The preliminary program is available here.

Register now!

Why Attend?

Interactive sessions on trails to success for higher education consortia are the conference's core programming. In addition to conversations and discussions with peers, the 2023 Annual Meeting includes a pre-conference workshop on achieving equitable outcomes facilitated by The Gardner Institute, an opening reception on Wednesday evening, two breakfasts (Thursday & Friday), and two lunches (Thursday & Friday). Dinner on Thursday evening is on your own; you're encouraged to make reservations early at one of Asheville's many restaurants. 

The Pre-Conference Workshop, Wednesday afternoon November 1

Designing to Achieve Equitable Outcomes: Advancing Equity through Continuous Improvement

Are you achieving the sort of equitable outcomes of your consortial efforts that you hope?  Do you even know if your initiatives are impacting historically resilient populations (of students, faculty or staff), much less the equity of that impact? Would you like to explore a current initiative through an equity lens to determine your impact?

The presenters will share case studies of how they have partnered with groups of institutions to improve equitable outcomes through a task-forced based, evidence-informed strategic planning process. Participants in this pre-conference event will be invited to select a current project to bring to the workshop.  The presenters will then engage participants in an exploration of how you can apply this process to your own consortial work. We will explore what evidence you have access to or could gain access to, principles of equitable planning, how to create an evidence-based plan and the implications of this work for programmatic policies and practices.

Participants will leave the workshop with a preliminary plan for how to advance this work with your group.

Presenters from The Gardner Institute: Andrew Koch, CEO; Vicki McGillin, Associate Vice President; Brandon Smith, Associate Vice President; Ed Willis, Senior Fellow

Registration Costs

Pre-conference workshop for ACL Members: $125 through September 15; $175 after September 15

Pre-conference workshop for Non-Members: $175 through September 15; $225 after September 15

Conference Registration for ACL Members: $500 through September 15; $550 after September 15

Conference Registration for Non-Members: $750 through September 15; $800 after September 15

Hotel information

A block of rooms has been held at the DoubleTree by Hilton in Downtown Asheville from Tuesday, 31 October through Friday morning, 3 November. To book, please use this link or call 1-800-445-8667 and ask for the Group Rate (SRP CODE-ACL) for the “ACL Conference”. The room rate is $179 + tax(es) per night and the deadline to receive the group rate is Tuesday, October 3, 2023.

The hotel, located at 199 Haywood Street, is easily accessible via taxi/uber/lyft from the Asheville airport (AVL) and sits on the northern edge of downtown Asheville.

If you would like to extend your stay in Asheville, we recommend that you book your accommodations as soon as possible! You may be able to reserve additional nights at the conference hotel at the regular rate, or there are many other options in town (including VRBO and AirBnB) but autumn is a peak visiting time to the area and hotels will fill up fast.

What to do in Asheville

If you're planning to extend your stay in Asheville, there is plenty to see and do in the area! See Best of Asheville.


Attire: Business casual attire is appropriate throughout the conference. On Friday of the conference, we encourage you to wear your consortium gear if you have it!

MealsThe welcome reception Wednesday night (being held at the Doubletree Hotel) will offer heavy hors d’oeuvres which likely will be sufficient for most; if you wish additional food that night, this will be on your own. Breakfast and lunch, along with coffee breaks and snacks will be provided at the Doubletree Hotel on Thursday. Dinner is on your own Thursday night.  You are encouraged to make reservations early for a restaurant in Asheville. Breakfast and lunch will be provided Friday at the Doubletree Hotel.


We are grateful to the following ACL PARTNER sponsors, Alera Group and Segal, and to our ACL SUPPORTER sponsors, BerryDunn and Credo.


Association for Collaborative Leadership is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization

Questions? Email

97 Spring Street, Amherst, MA 01002

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