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A Year in Review: ACTA’s 2018 Accomplishments

January 7, 2019
  • To date, 54 institutions or university systems have adopted the Chicago Principles on Freedom of Expression. Roughly half of the schools that have adopted the statement have done so at ACTA’s urging. And momentum is building: In 2018, 18 institutions endorsed the principles, the most of any year since the Chicago Principles were written in 2015.
  • ACTA released two pamphlets in 2018 in order to advise trustees on how best to protect academic freedom and free speech. Building a Culture of Free Expression on the American College Campus and Guarding the Freedom to Speak, Freedom to Hear, both in collaboration with Professor Joyce Lee Malcolm of George Mason University, acclimate trustees to today’s most pressing threats to academic freedom.
  • ACTA has executed a massive project to collect the contact information for high school guidance counselors across the country. With almost 50,000 contacts in our database, ACTA will deliver What Will They Learn?—our annual core curriculum guide—into the hands of incoming college students across the country, creating bottom-up change.
  • ATHENA 2018 featured such distinguished panelists as Nadine Strossen (former president of the ACLU), The Honorable Hank Brown (former U.S. Senator), Jonathan Rauch (Senior Fellow at The Brookings Institution), Douglas Belkin (education reporter at the Wall Street Journal), and Paul Levy (founder of JLL Partners and former University of Pennsylvania trustee).
  • ACTA has worked tirelessly since its conception to reform accreditation. In September, ACTA hosted an excellent panel on accreditation reform, entitled “Accreditation on the Edge.”
  • Our Trustee & Government Affairs department engaged and consulted with many trustees across the country, enabling real reform with actionable advice.
  • Since its re-launch in January 2017, ACTA’s Fund for Academic Renewal has influenced more than $12.5 million in executed gifts towards high quality academic programs.
  • ACTA’s experts have had numerous press engagements and have been published in periodicals nationwide, offering insights on higher education reform, trustee board best practices, and accountable college leadership. Just a few of the outlets that featured ACTA in 2018 include the Los Angeles Times, The Hill, Inside Higher Ed, the Richmond Times-Dispatch, The Baltimore Sun, and The Federalist.
  • In 2018, much of the work was completed for the January 2019 launch of our new website, which will allow users to compare how much of colleges’ budgets are spent on administration versus instruction in order to hold higher education accountable for educating our young people. 

Launched in 1995, we are the only organization that works with alumni, donors, trustees, and education leaders across the United States to support liberal arts education, uphold high academic standards, safeguard the free exchange of ideas on campus, and ensure that the next generation receives an intellectually rich, high-quality college education at an affordable price.

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