Strategic Plan for MI-ACE Women's Network 2022-2025


We envision an open and just higher education environment in which women and men share their talents and voices equally to improve the quality of higher education. Although there have been gains in gender equity in higher education, more attention is called for. Therefore, we focus on building a substantial network of women in Michigan higher education by providing leadership, resources, and services.  Our efforts include professional development, networking, advocacy, and partnerships with other professional women’s networks, to empower our members to achieve career success and gain a greater voice.


In concert with the American Council on Education (ACE) and the ACE Women’s Network Executive Council, the Michigan ACE Women’s Network is committed to improving the general climate and professional environment for women by identifying, developing, encouraging, advancing, linking, and supporting (IDEALS) women in higher education careers throughout the state.


We value:

  • Quality leadership
  • Inclusive participation, community, and leadership
  • Diversity
  • Teamwork
  • Mentoring
  • Collaboration with other groups/building alliances
  • Support for women in higher education, including balance in professional and personal pursuits

Our planning efforts and actions will be based on these values and guiding principles because we believe that quality higher education governance is best practiced in a fair, equitable, and supportive environment for both women and men of different ethnicities and backgrounds.

Strategic Priorities

Strategic Planning is critical for continuous quality improvement, efficiency and effectiveness in achieving the Network’s mission and operations.  The strategic planning process is a collaborative tool that promotes the development of a “living” document that is aligned with the Network’s mission and values.  During this three-year period (2023-2025), as a part of fulfilling our goals and objectives, we will focus on the following strategic priorities:

  • Membership:  Membership in MI-ACE is a complete win/win for current and potential members.  There can be no doubt of the value of belonging to the MI-ACE Women’s Network and we will work to capitalize on that perception.  Each year, we strive to increase our membership, in order to make meaningful, useful, productive and practical connections, and reaffirm those we have.
  • Interconnectedness:  We must look at the potential stumbling blocks in the road ahead, uncertainty being one of them.  The remaining challenges of COVID present an equal and related concern.  We recognize that our member institutions have and may continue to face budget constraints that will limit travel and professional development.  However, we must also learn lessons from the pandemic – that we can rely on each other even when physically distant, that partnerships can elevate the outcomes of our efforts, and that we can be resilient in the face of adversity.   This reinforces our determination to find creative ways to make the best use of our resources (partnering?) and the advantages we can offer in being leading-edge in our thinking and spirit.
  • Mentoring:  Mentorship is one of the foundational elements of our mission and provides an opportunity for senior or experienced leaders to build relationships and aid in the professional development of our members.  Younger members are a special target to explore, yet, our more seasoned members may also benefit from the mentor/mentee relationship.

Goals and Objectives

Goal 1:  Increase Visibility of Women Leaders in Higher Education

  1. Identify and nominate women leaders from the state of Michigan for recognition at the state and national level;   
  2. Expand number of member institutions in the state of Michigan; 
  3. Expand recognition opportunities beyond the Distinguished Woman Award;
  4. Achieve national recognition for  the  Women of Color Collaborative:
    • Establish ongoing benchmarks for success;
  5. Restructure the Young Women Strong Leaders (YWSL) program to be more aligned with national objectives;
  6. Incorporate YWSL component into Annual Conference;
  7. Create marketing material.


Goal 2:  Develop Leadership Skills to facilitate advancement of Women in Higher Education

  1. Provide professional development/networking opportunities to increase the number of women aspiring to senior leadership positions  in the state of Michigan;
  2. Establish a program of mentorship for mid-level positions;
  3. Incorporate the pre-conference mentoring and Mentoring Mondays web posts into the responsibilities of the Professional Development Committee;
  4. Continue to identify, recognize and actively engage the Network’s Presidential Sponsors who are interested in advancing and supporting women in Michigan higher education;
  5. Invite women trustees to the annual conference;
  6. Strengthen and expand support for Young Women Strong Leaders:  
    • Create memoranda of understanding regarding the roles of all involved;
    • Develop/update the manual in order to ensure transfer of knowledge;
  7. Strengthen and expand support for Women of Color Collaborative:
    • Establish benchmarks for success each year;
  8. Provide funding for participation in regional and national professional development opportunities for women, based on pre-established selection criteria and level of engagement within the Network.


Goal 3:  Educate, Empower, and Advocate for the MI-ACE Public Policy Agenda

  1. Research, survey, identify, and respond to MI-ACE Public Policy priorities impacting women in higher education;
  2. Educate and empower Board members, IRs, and educational stakeholders to be MI-ACE public policy advocates;
  3. Strengthen and expand connections with policymakers and organizations in support of the MI-ACE Public Policy agenda;
  4.  Publicly honor women in public policy leadership through the annual Public Policy Pioneer Recognition.


Goal 4:  Strengthen Relationship with Institutional Representatives

  1. Create and promote opportunities to professionally develop IRs in their leadership roles;
    • Analyze feedback and assessment from IRs to determine professional development needs.
  2. Maintain ongoing guidance, communication, and engagement with the IRs through the IR Committee;
  3. Develop a central digital repository of resources to assist IRs in their role. 


Goal 5:  Develop Sustainability Plan for MI-ACE Network

  1. Develop a timeline and action steps for achieving the goals and objectives identified in our strategic plan.  Review progress annually and revise plan in keeping with the needs andpriorities of the Network;                                                                    
  2. Identify host institution for the annual conference two years in advance;
  3. Identify host institutions for Young Women Strong Leaders regional conferences two years in advance;
  4. Expand committee structure;
  5. Align with other women’s  organizations;
  6. Provide continuous interesting communication from the network;
  7. Identify and publicize opportunities for engagement with the MI-ACE Women’s Network;
  8. Make communication tools excellent and desirable, a place to go for information;
  9. Increase fund-raising/sponsorship dollars:
    • Charge the finance committee with establishing targeted goals;
  10. Secure a level of permanent administrative support for the MI-ACE Women’s Network.


The Executive Board and Standing Committees will focus on the accomplishment of these goals, as the key performance indicators, to measure and track the effectiveness of the Network’s programs.

Page last modified October 27, 2022