Public Policy Agenda

Michigan ACE Network for Women Leaders in Higher Education
Public Policy Agenda

The Michigan American Council on Education Network for Women Leaders in Higher Education is dedicated to improving the quality of higher education through its extensive leadership and policy agendas. Emphasis is placed on the importance of bringing current issues to the attention of our membership, policy makers, and the multiple constituencies which they represent. The Michigan ACE Network for Women Leaders in Higher Education is committed to championing the cause for improving the institutional culture and professional environment for women in the state of Michigan and the nation at large.

Higher Education is in a state of change and transformation as is the case with all social institutions. This challenge compels us to look beyond the traditional definition of advocacy and encourages us to reach out to all stakeholders in our communities and in our state. Together we must actively look for solutions to some of the nation’s most complex and challenging issues involving policy and practice in higher education.

New collaborations and partnerships including schools, businesses, churches, health and human service organizations and others must be developed. Our challenge is to link and unite diverse constituencies while focusing them towards a shared vision and shared goals. Such linkages involve the realization and acknowledgement that coalitions, like colleges and universities, are systems and, as such, are independent and interconnected.

The primary goal of The Public Policy Initiative of the Michigan ACE Network for Women Leaders in Higher Education is to create the opportunity for dialogue and to study, evaluate and advocate for opportunities that improve the institutional culture and professional environment for women and their families. There is a realization that no one organization or system can adequately address -much less begin to solve- the complex issues with which women are struggling today.

The Michigan ACE Network for Women Leaders in Higher Education demonstrates in policy and practice that it “Stands for Women in Higher Education”. The Public Policy Agenda builds on the collective expertise of our membership as they develop leadership skills and advance, network, and support women in higher education throughout the state. The Public Policy Agenda creates a strategy to interact with local, state, institutional and national policymakers and elected public officials regarding these matters.

Public policy initiatives will be addressed through briefings, presentations, and policy discussions. Collaboration has involved constituencies from within higher education and in external organizations. The Michigan ACE Network for Women Leaders in Higher Education Public Policy Initiative will connect to similar policy statewide and national initiatives including ACE’s Women’s Network. Accordingly, we are positioned to become a major player on the world stage by empowering our members to achieve career success and to gain a greater voice in public policy matters affecting American Higher Education today.

The Public Policy Advocacy Committee of the Michigan ACE Women’s Network develops (and revisits on a semi-annual basis) a priority list of policy initiatives which it submits for adoption by the Executive Board. These priority initiatives will be highlighted on the network webpage and linked to Executive Board and Institutional Representative members for their information and follow-up.

Linkages with other organizations that share our goals and priorities will be established and /or renewed as appropriate. Opportunities to advance the Public Policy Agenda will be a part of state-wide meetings including meetings with IR’s and the Annual State Conference. This advocacy will be especially key as Institutional Representatives work with Presidents and their institutional policy makers, including governing board members, to implement the vision to the organization: to improve higher education and empower our members to achieve career success.

The Policy Agenda enables members to:

  1. Become familiar with the nature of advocacy. Brown bag opportunities should be created to link the expertise of financial aids officers, public relations officers, and state relations officers.
  2. Have access to accurate and timely information about policy issues so members and member institutions can access a broad base of comprehensive information via our website
  3. Know the issues: what they are, what they mean, and how to discuss them:
  4. Serve as the “policy eyes and ears” for Institutional Representatives and the Network Executive Board by providing a significant benefit to the Institutional Representatives and their campus Financial Aids Officers, Public Relations Officers, and Legislative Liaison Officers at the member institutions. Programs should be developed to teach advocacy principles and strategies to enhance learning and communication with the media and other publics.
  5. As follow up to our commitment involvement with issues dealing with Welfare Reform, the committee held conversations with the Michigan ACLU. We also developed correspondence that was sent to members of the Michigan state legislature regarding funding needs for higher education. We are also involved in the national policy discussions on workforce development.

The Michigan ACE Women’s Network Public Policy Priorities for 2016-2018 which will inform our plan of work and conference planning during this 2 year period are:

1. Advancement/ Promotional/ Support Issues [pay equity, etc.]

2. Changing Demographics: Inclusive Access and Opportunity in Higher Education

3. Cost and Funding Issues: [Affordability, Financial aid, Appropriations, etc.]

4. Funding for Programs, Research & Issues that Impact Women and Girls

5. Safety on Campus: [sexual assault, guns, violence and human trafficking]

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