Tom Stritikus, president of Fort Lewis College, and Carrie Besnette Hauser, president of Colorado Mountain College, were elected to the Board of Directors of the American Council on Education, the major coordinating body for the nation’s colleges and universities. They were selected Dec. 12 and their terms will begin in March 2020 after ACE2020, ACE’s 102nd Annual Meeting.
ACE's membership also elected Paul J. LeBlanc, president of Southern New Hampshire University, as chair; Ronald A. Crutcher, president of the University of Richmond, as vice chair; and Michael Rao, president of Virginia Commonwealth University, as secretary.
“ACE works every day to convene, organize, mobilize and lead advocacy efforts that shape effective public policy and help colleges and universities best serve their students, their communities and the wider public good, and we value the commitment of these leaders to help us fulfill this mission,” said ACE President Ted Mitchell in a press release from the organization.
“ACE has long provided gold standard national leadership when it comes to shaping policy and fostering innovation in higher education,” said Stritikus. “It is an honor to join the board with my presidential colleague from CMC and to have the opportunity to improve the higher education system for Colorado and the nation.”
President Stritikus arrived at FLC in August 2018 and began implementing strategies to advance higher education in Colorado, in addition to underpinning the college’s mission of providing professional education and regional economic vitality.
Previous to FLC, President Stritikus was a deputy director of education at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. He served on the Global Learning Initiative, building a strategy to improve education in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. In addition to his work in global education, President Stritikus spent three years leading work in improving education in the United States, where he oversaw initiatives of personalized learning, assessment for student learning, instructional leadership and teacher preparation.
Prior to joining the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, President Stritikus was the dean of the University of Washington College of Education. He earned his doctorate at the University of California, Berkeley in language, literacy and culture. His scholarly work examined the effects of bilingual education policy and teacher practice on the academic lives of Latino and Asian immigrants. President Stritikus began his teaching experience with Teach For America in Baltimore.
“It is an exciting time to join the ACE Board of Directors,” said Hauser. “Higher education is at a critical crossroads. As the pipeline of high school graduates is expected to decline, and the population of historically underrepresented and nontraditional students increases proportionally, colleges and universities must consider entirely new operational paradigms and prioritize inclusivity and success strategies for all students to compete in such a highly competitive workforce and knowledge-based economy. I look forward to working with my colleagues across the country to determine better ways our institutions can deliver the outcomes our states and nation need.”
Since 2013, Hauser has been president and CEO of Colorado Mountain College, a public dual-mission institution with 12 campus locations serving 12,000 square miles of the central Rocky Mountains. Through her innovative leadership at Colorado Mountain College, since 2012-13 the college has seen enrollment of Latinx students increase by 52% and credential completion rates of all students rise 33%, all while annual expenditures per student decrease by double digits.
Previously she has held leadership roles at the Kauffman Foundation, Metropolitan State University of Denver and the Daniels Fund, and has taught at UCLA, the University of Denver and Colorado State University. She has held research and legislative staff roles as well as positions with the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education and the University of Arizona, her undergraduate alma mater.
She is a governor’s appointee to the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission and a member of the Glenwood Springs Chamber Board of Directors, El Pomar Foundation Northwest Regional Council and Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank Economic Advisory Council. At the national level, President Hauser serves on the board of American Rivers and is past president of the National Scholarship Providers Association.