Public Policy Agenda


The Michigan ACE Women’s Network 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, policymakers, and the multiple constituencies which they represent. The MI ACE Women’s Network 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.

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 acknowledgment that coalitions, like colleges and universities, are systems and, as such, are independent and interconnected.

The primary goal of the public policy initiative 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 MI ACE Women’s Network 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 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 MI ACE public policy initiative will connect to similar policy statewide and national initiatives including ACE’s Inclusive Excellence.

The MI ACE Public Policy Committee develops (and revisits on a semi-annual basis) a priority list of policy initiatives that it submits for adoption by the Executive Board.

Linkages with other organizations that share our goals and priorities will be established and /or renewed as appropriate. Opportunities to advance the agenda will be a part of statewide meetings including meetings with IRs and the annual conference. This advocacy will be especially key as IRs work with presidents and their institutional policymakers, 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. 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.
  2. Know the issues: what they are, what they mean, and how to discuss them.
  3. Serve as the “policy eyes and ears” for IRs and the Executive Board by providing a significant benefit to the IRs and their campus leaders at member institutions. Programs should be developed to teach advocacy principles and strategies to enhance learning and communication with the media and the public.
  4. 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 national policy discussions on workforce development.

Public Policy Priorities (2019-2022)

The public policy issues which need attention, priority, voice, and visibility of the MI ACE Women’s Network in 2019-2022 are listed in the priority order below. These priorities will inform our plan of work, including conference planning, during this period.

The priorities were determined by an annual survey conducted during the MI ACE conference.

  • Cost and Funding Issues: Affordability, Financial Aid, Appropriations, etc.
    • Supporting resources necessary to positively impact student growth and advancement, such as adequate State funding, Pell grants, scholarships, and paid internships.
  • Changing Student Demographics: Inclusive Access and Opportunity in Higher Education, including internationalizing campuses.
    • Recognizing demographic changes impacting our campuses and supporting adaptations which can best help students thrive.
  • Funding for Programs, Research & Issues that Impact Women and Girls
    • Supporting the acquisition of resources which can help advance research and programs that positively impact women’s health, professional growth, advancement, and equity.