Fall 2023 Bulletin: Annual Report


A person with long dark hair and tan skin sits at a table in a library. They face an open laptop computer and look down to take notes.
Photo by iStock.com/Marco VDM.

Projects in the Education program area examine the vital role that education plays in our nation and the world. Work in this area seeks to inform policy and practice in support of high-quality educational opportunities for all Americans. From advancing equitable educational outcomes to leveraging new developments in the learning sciences and digital technologies to understanding the vital role that public universities play as engines of economic growth, innovation, social mobility, and citizenship, projects in this area draw on scholars and practitioners from diverse fields to provide guidance and actionable solutions to policymakers, higher education leaders, and philanthropists.


The Higher Education Forum

A person with short black curled locs and brown skin sits at a desk among a class of adult students. They raise their hand, smiling and face the instructor.
Photo by iStock.com/Drazen Zigic.

In early 2022, the Academy acquired The Forum for the Future of Higher Education, a collaboration of higher education leaders and scholars that was established in 1984. Renamed The Higher Education Forum at the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Forum draws on the strengths of Academy Affiliates and members to provide leadership on pressing issues in higher education through an interdisciplinary and cross-sector approach.

The Higher Education Forum’s annual convening was held in Aspen, CO, on June 12–15, 2023. More than one hundred higher education experts and leaders, including university presidents, provosts, and academic deans from many of the Academy’s Affiliate institutions, engaged in discussions on topics that included the future of work, speech on campus and beyond, the changing political landscape, the health of our communities, artificial intelligence in our world, and maintaining diversity on campus.

The Higher Education Forum Advisory Committee

Deborah Loewenberg Ball
University of Michigan

Joanne Berger-Sweeney
Trinity College

Mary Schmidt Campbell
formerly, Spelman College

Nancy Cantor
Rutgers University–Newark

Sean Decatur
American Museum of Natural History

John DeGioia
Georgetown University

Howard Gardner
Harvard University

Nicholas Lemann
Columbia University

Kathleen McCartney
Smith College

Michael McPherson
formerly, Spencer Foundation

John Mitchell
Stanford University

David W. Oxtoby
American Academy of Arts and Sciences

Francesca Purcell
Harvard Graduate School of Education

Marcelo Suárez-Orozco
University of Massachusetts Boston



Bank of America

Kaplan, Inc.

Lumina Foundation

Hilltop Securities

United Educators


A photo of Judith Brown Clarke, a person with brown skin and long black wavy hair. Clark wears a pink and green sweater over a green blouse. She holds a microphone and speaks to a person off-camera.
Judith Brown Clarke (Stony Brook University). Photo by Daniel Bayer.
A photo of Jamie Merisotis, a person with pale skin and short graying hair. Merisotis wears a gray suit and glasses, and stands at a lectern with a microphone.
Jamie Merisotis (Lumina Foundation) speaking about Higher Education at the Crossroads. Photo by Daniel Bayer.
A black and white portrait of Ted Mitchell, Goodwin Liu, and Jamie Merisotis facing the camera and smiling. Mitchell has pale skin and is bald. He wears a sweater over a dark shirt. Liu has short black hair and light skin. He wears a dark coat over a checkered shirt. Merisotis has pale skin and short graying hair. He wears a gray suit and glasses.
Ted Mitchell (American Council on Education), Goodwin Liu (Supreme Court of California), and Jamie Merisotis (Lumina Foundation). Photo by Daniel Bayer.
A photo of G. Gabrielle Starr , a person with light skin and curly short graying hair; Gary S. May, a person with brown skin and short graying hair; and Mark Becker, a person with pale skin and short gray hair. They all wear business attire and sit at a long table.
President Mark Becker (Association of Public and Land-grant Universities), Chancellor Gary S. May (University of California, Davis), and President G. Gabrielle Starr (Pomona College) in a panel discussion on Moving Forward: Equity and Higher Education. Photo by Daniel Bayer.


Commission on Opportunities After High School

An aerial view of five people sitting at a round table with open books and laptops between them. They take notes and lean over their materials to engage with each other.
Photo by iStock.com/Jacob Ammentorp Lund.

The Commission on Opportunities After High School, approved by the Academy’s Council and Board of Directors in April 2023, will identify effective responses that address some of the systemic failures that perpetuate inequality and challenge the ability of young people in America to succeed after high school, with close attention to those who have historically encountered financial and racial barriers to a quality education and economic opportunity. The Commission will examine student pathways after high school and recommend ways to increase student information and understanding about those opportunities to ensure they can choose, and succeed in, the path that best serves their needs and aspirations.

Commission Chairs

Austin Beutner
Vision to Learn

Nancy Cantor
Rutgers University–Newark

Bridget Terry Long
Harvard University


Project Staff

Lywana Dorzilor
Program Coordinator for Education

Kimberlee Eberle-Sudré
Program Director for Education



Spencer Foundation

Carnegie Corporation of New York

Exploratory Meeting

Leading for a Future of Higher Education Equity: Transforming Supreme Court Challenges into Opportunities for Positive Change

House of the Academy, Cambridge, Massachusetts
August 2023

The Academy partnered with the American Council on Education and EducationCounsel to convene an exploratory meeting with senior leaders from a range of higher education institutions, including public and private institutions, large and small institutions, Historically Black Colleges and Universities, and some institutions already operating within environments that had banned affirmative action. The participants discussed the anticipated impact of Supreme Court rulings on affirmative action. They also shared how they could continue to advance equity and diversity through available avenues.

Meeting Chairs

Joanne Berger-Sweeney
Trinity College

Kim Wilcox
University of California, Riverside



Alfred P. Sloan Foundation

Mellon Foundation

Academy Partners

Ted Mitchell

American Council on Education

Art Coleman


Jamie Lewis Keith


Three people face the viewer and smile. They each wear business attire.
Kim Wilcox (University of California, Riverside), Joanne Berger-Sweeney (Trinity College), and David W. Oxtoby (American Academy of Arts and Sciences). Photo by Jen Smith.
Five speakers at the event to discuss the future of higher education sit together at a long table, face the viewer and smile.
From left to right: Yvette Pearson (University of Texas, Dallas), Sangeeta Lamba (Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences), Phil Kass (University of California, Davis), Valeria Sinclair-Chapman (American Association for the Advancement of Science), and Travis York (American Association for the Advancement of Science). Photo by Jen Smith.