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2013 Seminar

ICF Seminar on June 19-21, 2013

  • Holiday Inn Chicago Mart Plaza, Chicago, IL

See videos of the seminar presentations!

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The 2013 Institute on College Futures (ICF) seminar gathered faculty participants from each ACM institution, particularly drawn from campus leadership and committees that participate in budget and planning processes. The campus delegations were nominated by the presidents and chief academic officers at ACM colleges.

The main goals of this seminar were to provide participants with:

  • A "big picture" view of the economics and finances of higher education, particularly the liberal arts college sector, and
  • A framework and language to share their understanding with other faculty.

Following is the seminar program, including the list of faculty participants, readings and assignments, descriptions of the sessions and links to presentation materials, bios of the presenters, and a bibliography.


Seminar Program

Ronald Ehrenberg

Ronald Ehrenberg

Wednesday, June 19

Keynote: Is the Golden Age of Selective Liberal Arts Colleges Over? - [see the video]

Speaker: Ronald G. Ehrenberg, Irving M. Ives Professor of Industrial and Labor Relations and Economics, and Director, Cornell Higher Education Research Institute, Cornell University

Reception & Dinner

Thursday, June 20

Session 1: Economics

Among the issues addressed in this session, led by Jill Tiefenthaler and Scott Bierman, were the reasons for the steady increase in tuition during the past 30 years; the central role played by perceptions of quality in the economics of higher education; the economic benefits of degree attainment; what it really means to be a tuition-dependent institution; and how game theory and the prisoners' dilemma can explain why competition between schools results in the escalation of merit aid awards despite the negative impact such awards have on institutional net revenue.

Presenter: Jill Tiefenthaler, President, Colorado College

Presenter: Scott Bierman, President, Beloit College

Session 2: Finance

The session began with an overview by Michael Orr of the basic financial model for ACM institutions, analyzing the major categories of revenues and expenses and explaining concepts such as the discount rate, endowment draw policies, and the components of financial equilibrium. The second part of the session dealt with the dynamics of the financial model. Using an operating statement representative of a typical ACM college, David Wheaton mapped out the impact of a variety of growth scenarios on revenues and expenses and demonstrated the difficulty ACM institutions face in keeping the growth of expenses in balance with revenue increases so as to balance the budget.

Presenter: Michael T. Orr, Krebs Provost & Dean of the Faculty, Lake Forest College

Presenter: David Wheaton, Vice President for Administration & Finance, Macalester College

Friday, June 21

Session 3: Governance

Using a case study approach, Elizabeth McKinsey and Frank Boyd engaged the seminar participants in considering how ACM institutions can best utilize the principals and practices of shared governance to respond to institutional challenges during a time of constrained resources.

Presenter: Elizabeth McKinsey, Professor of English & American Studies and former Dean of the College, Carleton College
Presenter: Frank Boyd, Associate Provost, Illinois Wesleyan University

Concluding Remarks: David Schodt, Senior Program Officer for Faculty & Staff Development Programs, ACM