Mission and Goals
The mission of the Office of Women in Higher Education and the ACE Network is to identify, develop, advance, and support women in higher education at the national, state, and local levels. The goals of both The Network (national) and the Virginia Network are to promote women's leadership in higher education and throughout society as a whole; to create an educational, social, and political climate in which women, in all their diversity, can participate equally with men in setting public agendas; to facilitate connections among women in various sectors of higher education and with other organizations and networks with shared goals on the institutional, state, regional, professional, national, and international levels; and to foster strategic alliances and facilitate effective partnerships between women and men in the workplace.
Organization of the Virginia Network and Activities:
The major activities of the Virginia Network are coordinated by a statewide Executive Board, which is chaired by a Statewide Coordinator. Typically Virginia Network activities include:
The organization also depends on the involvement and initiative of Institutional Representatives of about 70 colleges and universities throughout the state.
Link to the Powerpoint presentation about the Virginia Network given by Connie Gores at the ACE Network State Coordinators' Leadership Conference Leadership held February 11-12, 2006.
The Virginia Network History
In 1977, the Office of Women in Higher Education of the American Council on Education began the National Identification Program for the advancement of women in higher education. Initially, the primary purpose of the National Identification Program was to identify and promote the advancement of women in higher education, especially women of color and those who have not participated in the past. Much of the attention was on identifying women for roles as college president, which is a major interest of the American Council on Education.
The program began in the twelve states with the largest number of institutions and students; it now operates in all fifty states, plus New York City, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico. A central objective of the national program is to strengthen the state and national networks that have been established. To accomplish this goal, forums and other programs are held in the states.
Virginia became one of the original affiliates, naming itself the Virginia Identification Program (VIP). Thus there is a long history of activity and commitment in the Commonwealth. Virginia is also one of the few states with a history of continuous involvement since other state networks have waxed and waned over the years.
In 1995 the name of the national program was changed to the ACE/National Network of Women Leaders (NNWL), and the program was revised to reflect an expanded role that had developed over the years as the national, regional, and state networks evolved. The changes underscored the program's commitment to crafting an educational, social and political climate in which the worldwide voices and values of women, in all their diversity and richness, are heard and included in efforts to shape the public agenda. Virginia followed suit and briefly became the Virginia Network for Women Leaders (VNWL).
During the early part of 1999, a decision was made at the national level to change the name again, this time to The Network of the American Council on Education, Office of Women in Higher Education. The Virginia affiliate of the national program is now called The Virginia Network of the American Council on Education, Office of Women in Higher Education.