President Marcy joins panel examining future of higher ed

Dominican University of California President Mary B. Marcy has been named to a steering committee of college and university presidents that will assess the future of independent colleges.

 The Council of Independent Colleges (CIC) has organized the 22-member panel to develop a plan that encourages independent colleges and universities to revitalize their missions and business models. The project on the Future of Independent Liberal Arts Colleges is funded by the Lumina Foundation.

The project will provide a new opportunity for Dominican and other CIC members to lead the national conversation about what it means to offer a high-quality education in the 21st century. The CIC is an association of 744 nonprofit independent colleges and universities and higher education affiliates and organizations that has worked since 1956 to support college and university leadership, advance institutional excellence, and enhance public understanding of private higher education's contributions to society.

“I am honored to be named to the CIC steering committee and look forward to contributing to this important project focused on elevating the discourse about higher education by giving small, private liberal arts colleges a stronger voice in reshaping the future of higher education,” President Marcy said.

The committee’s initial meeting convened September 16-17 in Washington, D.C. With the guidance of the steering committee, the project will explore new approaches to higher education, alternative college business models, and potentially disruptive trends in American society and education along with the traditional characteristics and missions of independent liberal arts colleges.

“Predictions about the future of higher education by politicians, journalists, and policy analysts often disregard or deride the effectiveness of traditional colleges and universities,” said CIC President Richard Ekman. “CIC, however, has always tried to find an appropriate balance between innovations in higher education that show real promise for the future and the existing features of member institutions that have long demonstrated their value. In this spirit, CIC’s new project will explore the future of independent colleges.”

During its initial meeting, the steering committee focused on the development of a research agenda for the coming year. CIC staff and others then will conduct the research and prepare several framing papers based on the steering committee’s guidance. The committee’s second meeting will be devoted to development of an action plan to help CIC member institutions reexamine their missions and long-term strategic plans in intentional ways.

The long-term goal of this project is to engage CIC’s institutional members in a reconsideration of institutional missions, strategic plans, and financial models that retain the student-centered nature of independent colleges. The project also is an opportunity for CIC and its members to exercise more visible leadership in the national conversation about what it means to offer a high-quality education in the 21st century.