In concert with the Inclusive Excellence Group of the American Council on Education, the Michigan ACE Network is committed to identifying, developing the leadership of, advancing, and supporting the retention of women in higher education throughout the state. The Michigan ACE Network is open to all public and private, two-year and four-year institutions in the state and requires institutional membership for participation in Network activities.
The Michigan ACE Network was formed in 1978, one year after the national program was inaugurated. Initially, a planning committee (now the Executive Board) was formed to represent all segments of higher education in the state, and a woman holding a senior-level administrative position was identified to lead the effort. A 16-member Executive Board, chaired by the State Coordinator, currently conducts the Network’s activities.
Professional development, networking, mentoring, advocacy, and support for women in Michigan’s higher education system are provided through the Network. At an annual conference, women in the state learn new leadership strategies and network with other women in leadership positions. Service as institutional representatives (appointed by the presidents of member institutions) provides an opportunity for women to exercise leadership on their campuses and to identify as well as develop emerging women faculty and staff leaders. Through work on the Executive Board, women in Michigan assist in developing, promoting, supporting, and recognizing other women who are making a difference in higher education through official programming and informal communications.
Institutional representatives work directly with their presidents to ensure that women on their campuses have opportunities for leadership development and advancement; in effect, the institutional representatives create the backbone of the Michigan ACE Network. In addition to working with institutional representatives, the Executive Board communicates directly with college and university presidents and their statewide associations to facilitate interaction between women with executive potential and chief executive officers in the state; such interaction is designed to acquaint hiring officials with the availability of a substantial leadership talent pool of women in the higher education leadership pipeline.
Information for and about women leaders in higher education nationally and in Michigan is located on the Network’s website athttp://www.miacenetwork.org. While currently under development, the website has links to the Inclusive Excellence Group; resources about leadership for women nationally; job opportunities in the state; professional development opportunities; and the State Coordinator, Executive Board, and institutional representatives.
Created in 2001, the Distinguished Woman in Higher Education Leadership Award is given annually to a woman faculty member or administrator in Michigan who has made continuing and significant contributions to the advancement of women in higher education through service, scholarly contributions, leadership, and advocacy. Nominees for the Award are screened by a committee of the Executive Board, and the recipient is featured on the Network’s website as well as at the annual conference.
Overall, the Michigan ACE Network was formed to promote the leadership of women in Michigan colleges and universities and to improve the general climate for women in Michigan higher education. In that regard, the effort continues.