A Message from the Executive Director

Nov 02, 2016


Fall descends on the Big Ten campuses with an especial beauty. Students and faculty rush from class to event to neighborhood as the canopy above turns a rich and vibrant hue. The built environments of the campuses are shown to best advantage, it seems, at this time of year. And in the classroom, ideas are interrogated with a special vigor during the opening semester. It is easy to see and feel the history behind these buildings and the methods of transferring knowledge. Each fall, we engage in practices that have been part of teaching and learning for millennia.

It is easy to get caught up in our own, individual stories of heroism and action. To believe that we are blazing new trails. But, of course, that is rarely the case. So much of what we do builds upon the work of dozens, hundreds, even thousands of individuals who, over time, have set down the path for us to follow.

So it is here at the Big Ten Academic Alliance.  I'm reminded of this by the news of a number of important efforts described in this months’ newsletter – all of which capitalize on the brilliant and talented leadership of our headquarters staff and member university colleagues. But that also build on work started nearly 60 years ago by the founders of the then Committee on Institutional Cooperation.

As I look ahead to my final year of leading this remarkable organization, I am humbled in recognizing how little my contributions have mattered set against the sweeping progress represented by these great universities. The work of the Big Ten Academic Alliance is bound up in the success of the individual member universities, and rests upon a solid foundation of trust and collaboration built over many years by thousands of dedicated faculty and administrators.

The Big Ten Academic Alliance has become, like the four seasons of the year, part of the rhythm of these great universities.

Best Regards,


Barbara McFadden Allen