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President's Letter


Dear Colleagues,

One of the more interesting parts of my position at ACCU is to engage in conversations with so many of you on so many different topics.  Some campuses are grappling with issues related to the college’s sponsoring order or local bishop; others are thinking through interesting new business arrangements with partners; still others are working through sensitive issues of diversity or academic and student affairs.  There’s really no end to the many and varied issues that come ACCU’s way.

This is nothing new.  Catholic university leaders have turned to one another from ACCU’s beginnings a century ago.  Whether the conversation is limited to a 30-minute phone call or develops into a long-term consulting arrangement, it is one of the most impactful benefits that our association can offer.


Now, I am happy to share with all of you that we are reshaping this valuable member benefit to better coordinate it.  ACCU Consulting Services will help us manage the requests that we receive; expand the range of services available to member presidents; and offer both informal advising and more structured consultations.

The nature of this confidential service is president to president.  Consultations will be coordinated by Dr. Tom Flynn, president emeritus of Alvernia University, who is known and respected throughout Catholic higher education and brings a strong consulting background.  I will continue to serve as a consultant occasionally, and we will recommend or draw upon other past presidents and experts as required.  The services are shaped so that presidents will be talking to their peers who have navigated many of the same challenges.  There will be no need to explain the special nature and complications of Catholic higher education.

Assistance will be customized to the needs of the individual ACCU president who contacts us and always designed in a manner that the president finds helpful and approves.  The conversations need not be formal — but they will be positioned within the context of Catholic higher education, using a framework that is mission-centric from the perspective of both Catholic and charism identity.

Another important point (perhaps the most important to some campuses):  While this initiative represents an expansion of an existing ACCU member service for presidents, there will be no fees for informal conversations, whether in person or by phone.  Should more in-depth consultation be required, fees will be at a cost considerably below market value and based on the size and resources of the institution.  

Why are we doing this?  Central to the mission of the service is addressing those concerns that threaten the vitality, even the survival, of Catholic campuses, including financial pressures.  Indeed, because much of the work will be done pro bono or at a modest cost, the service may be of particular use to institutions with limited resources.  Simply put, the best service that ACCU can provide is to help ensure that its members — your campuses — thrive in a world that so desperately needs them.


Rev. Dennis Holtschneider, CM


Find more information on our ACCU Consulting Services webpage.