Barbara McFadden Allen to Retire September, 2017

Sep 15, 2016

Barbara McFadden Allen, the longtime Executive Director of the Big Ten Academic Alliance, has announced that she will be retiring from her position in September 2017.

BarbAllen2-2015Under Allen’s leadership, Big Ten universities have made tremendous strides collaborating to advance their academic missions, generating unique opportunities for students and faculty, and serving the common good by sharing expertise, leveraging campus resources, and creating innovative programming.

Most recently, the Big Ten Academic Alliance has launched several successful large-scale collaborations such as the National Science Foundation-funded Professorial Advancement initiative to support efforts to diversify the professoriate; UMETRICS, a groundbreaking effort to build and provide a data platform for large-scale systematic analysis of the infrastructure and outcomes of university-based science; and the Big Ten/Ivy League Traumatic Brain Injury Research Collaboration, which brings together the nation’s best experts to advance the research on concussions and head injuries.

"Barb has been a superb executive director," said Chair of the Big Ten Academic Alliance and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost at the University of Minnesota, Karen Hanson. "The success of our academic consortium is in no small measure attributable to her leadership and acumen. She is smart, strategic, and dedicated, and she has managed bold, productive initiatives by deftly balancing our highest collective aspirations with unerring tact about the independence of the member universities. She’s enormously knowledgeable about the landscape of higher education and university research, and she’s been creative in pursuing appropriate opportunities for our institutional alliance. We've all been grateful for the energy, intelligence, and expertise she’s brought to her work, and grateful as well for the humor and deep kindness she brings to personal interactions. It’s been both a huge pleasure and great privilege to work with her."

A leader in higher education, Allen is the Vice President of the Association of Collaborative Leadership and previously served on the board of the National Consortium for Continuous Improvement in Higher Education. She has published, lectured, and consulted widely on building successful collaborations, global higher education issues, technologies for library services, and digital information resources.

"Barb has been enormously successful in working with the member universities to strengthen our collective efforts in education and research. That success is especially notable given the differences in how the individual universities operate," said Daniel Linzer, Provost, Northwestern University. "With thoughtfulness, creativity, humor, patience, clear and effective communication, and a genuine caring for all of the people and institutions within the Big Ten Academic Alliance, Barb has turned those differences from barriers into opportunities. Her leadership will be greatly missed by all of us."

Allen has been with the organization for 23 years, serving as Executive Director for the past 16. She plans to move to Iowa, where she will continue involvement in higher education through project-based work, writing, and presenting.

Headquartered in the Midwest, the Big Ten Academic Alliance is the nation's pre-eminent model for effective collaboration among research universities. With $9.7 billion in funded research, more than a half million students and close to 50,000 faculty, the Big Ten universities occupy a significant footprint in American higher education. For more than 50 years, these world-class institutions have worked together to build on a deeply rooted network of trust to achieve their mission to teach, conduct research and engage their communities.

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