Press Releases | About ACTA

Dr. Michael Poliakoff To Be ACTA’s Next President

May 11, 2016

WASHINGTON, DC—The American Council of Trustees and Alumni Board of Directors has chosen Dr. Michael Poliakoff to serve as ACTA’s next president, effective July 1. Dr. Poliakoff is currently ACTA’s Vice President of Policy, a position he has held since March 2010.

“We are utterly delighted that Michael has agreed to serve as ACTA’s next president,” said ACTA’s Board chairman, Dr. Robert Lewit. “ACTA’s focus on academic freedom, excellence and accountability is more important than ever before. We conducted a national search, and it was clear that Michael offers an unmatched record of hard-charging reform.”

Since joining ACTA, Dr. Poliakoff has overseen ACTA’s programming and publications, including its signature What Will They Learn? project, which grades more than 1,100 institutions around the country on general education.  He has also authored or co-authored numerous reports including The Cost of Chaos in the Curriculum (with former Arizona State Provost Betty Capaldi Phillips) in 2016 and The Unkindest Cut: Shakespeare in Exile 2015.  He has also provided regular consultation to boards of trustees on issues ranging from presidential evaluation and compensation to intellectual diversity. 

Dr. Poliakoff previously served as vice president for academic affairs and research at the University of Colorado and in senior roles at the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Council on Teacher Quality, the American Academy for Liberal Education and the Pennsylvania Department of Education.

He has taught at Georgetown University, George Washington University, Hillsdale College, the University of Illinois at Chicago, and Wellesley College. 

Dr. Poliakoff received his B.A. magna cum laude from Yale University and went on to study at Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar, earning a Class I degree in Literae Humaniores. Thereafter, he earned his PhD in classical studies at the University of Michigan. He has been a junior fellow at the Center for Hellenic Studies and his research has been supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Deutscher Akademischer Austausch Dienst, and the Alexander Von Humbolt Stiftung.

Dr. Poliakoff is the author of numerous books and journal articles in classical studies and education policy and has received the American Philological Association’s Excellence in Teaching Award and the Pennsylvania Department of Education’s Distinguished Service to Education Award.

“ACTA enters its third decade at a time when the failings of higher education are in the national spotlight.” Dr. Lewit added, “Michael brings clear vision and a steady hand that will enable ACTA to move to ever higher levels of impact, outreach and success.”    

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