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President's Update June 2015
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Dear ACL Colleagues,

As we come to the close of another academic year, we are in the midst of some administrative changes at ACL.  The NELLCO Law Library Consortium under the leadership of board member Tracy Thompson will be taking on the administrative management of ACL, with support from Amanda Fore and her consulting firm Next Peak Strategy.  This is part of a strategic transition and assessment plan that will give us time to assess the needs and appropriate model for managing the association.  The most significant part of this change is that we have decided to use Your Membership as the core association management database and membership platform.   Tracy’s team at NELLCO is in the midst of working with CUC staff to transition the website and membership information to this platform.  NELLCO has utilized Your Membership for several years; we have confidence in their experience.   One of the benefits of this move is that it will allow you as our members to create your own profiles and maintain updated information on the work you are doing.   One of our goals is to make more information easily accessible to you. 

Another change you will see is that the invoices for membership dues will be handled electronically through this new system.    In my January update, I indicated that we anticipated some changes in our dues structure.  These were approved at the February board meeting and will be implemented for the FY16 year.   The new dues structure includes additional tiers related to organizational budgets. Membership fees had remained the same for over 15 years.  This new structure reflects the increasing diversity in size of our membership while keeping fees reasonable for small consortia.

More detailed update
The ACL Board met in February at the Big Ten New York City Headquarters.   There were several key decisions related to the future of ACL addressed at this meeting;

  • Approved the recommendation that ACL incorporate as a 501 (c)3.   Due the transitions outlined in my January letter and above, we decided to incorporate in Massachusetts and have submitted the necessary paperwork. 

  • Approved individual membership category language and rates.  We have a handful of individuals who are either retired consortium leaders or have a strong interest in higher education collaboration.  Individual members are eligible for election to the Board of Directors and for service on various committees, and for individual rates for programs and events, but they are not eligible to vote on the by-laws.

  • Approved board member election cycle.   The board had good discussions about how large the board membership should be and how to best manage our new voting process.   By now you have received emails from Susan Palmer and Amanda Fore regarding the voting process for board members and the designated delegate from each Member consortium or collaboration has received the electronic ballot.    We are thrilled with the number of nominations we received for the Board.

  • Approved purpose statements for our standing committees.  We recognize the need to practice what we preach and provide clear guidance.  

  • Approved a transition plan for ACL management that includes using Your Membership as the core association management database and membership platform and engages NELLCO to serve as the primary administrator for this tool.   In addition, ACL has contracted with Next Peak Strategy for staff support for the board. With Tracy and Amanda’s support we will spend the next year assessing the time required for managing the organization and determine whether it’s time to move the administration to an association management company or continue with our past history of contracting with a Member organization to serve in this role.   With the transition plan in place, Amanda Fore is not running for re-election to the board.   This also means that the organizers (and associated committees) for the annual conference, institute, and webinar will take on additional responsibility for logistics related to these events.  How we manage ACL is a significant decision and we are very interested in hearing from members regarding your experience, needs and expectations from the organization as we consider models for the future.   

  • Approved an increase in the annual membership fees for ACL including additional tiers related to organizational budgets.

  • Approved a communications and marketing plan developed by Amanda Fore.  This will start on July 1st.  With Amanda’s change in status, we are looking for a new chair of the Membership Committee.

  • Approved moving ahead with a fourth ACL book, with Larry Dotolo and Nicola Belt from the Virginia Tidewater Consortium serving as editors.

  • Continued discussion regarding our international strategy.  ACL representatives returned to China this April to present our second Institute in that country and to participate in the Wisdom Lake International Summit of Higher Education (WISHE) 2015, held in the Suzhou Dushu Lake Science and Education Innovation District.  Plans are in the works for a webinar to brief the ACL members about the trip and learn more about our member organizations’ interest in China as we determine our future directions.              


                                                  ACL China 2015 Participants                                                                          


Our February Board meeting also provided us with the opportunity to meet with the leaders of the Teagle and Mellon Foundations.   Many ACL members have received funding over the years from these two organizations and we agreed that it is important that we establish a dialogue regarding collaboration and consortia in higher education. Everyone in attendance reported that the meeting was valuable and agreed that we should make time to continue the dialogue.     

The webinar committee continues its work and hosted a program on social media communication tools in April.  A webinar on Changes in Leadership and Governance is scheduled for July 21st noon - 1p.m. They are currently working on their calendar for the next academic year.   The program for the fall conference in Atlanta is taking shape as the planning committee reviews the proposals that you have all submitted for sessions.   And finally, at Colleges of the Fenway we are thrilled to be getting ready to host 20 participants for the fifth ACL Summer Institute in Boston at the end of the month.  Fourteen organizations will be represented in the group that is attending!  

As we are all aware, higher education continues to undergo many changes as a sector.   Current consortia are constantly reevaluating themselves and determining their value to their members.  There is more call to quantify that value.  New consortia are being formed as colleges look for ways to maximize their return on investment and leverage resources.   One of the goals of ACL is to continually find new ways to share our learnings and resources with those who are part of this collaboration journey that is critical to the higher education landscape. 

If you have questions or ideas you think we should be considering as we continue to shape the organization to achieve our vision of serving as the recognized authority on consortial leadership and collaboration in higher education, providing our members with access to specialized expertise, knowledge and training so they can successfully develop, lead and manage higher education collaborations, please let me know.

Warm Regards,

Claire Ramsbottom
President, ACL

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