Courtesy: America East Communications

Member Institutions of America East Conference Form Academic Consortium

Release: 10/09/2014
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — The nine member institutions of the America East Conference have formed a voluntary partnership aimed at strengthening the group’s academic programs through inter-institutional collaboration. The newly formed America East Academic Consortium, established by the conference’s Board of Presidents in June, will provide America East universities a unique opportunity to leverage the visibility of athletics for the purposes of promoting collaborative academic endeavors and advancing their already strong academic reputations.

“The establishment of the America East Academic Consortium is evidence of the conference’s commitment to academic excellence and leadership,” said America East Commissioner Amy Huchthausen. “Our member institutions are so alike in many ways. With all eight of our public institutions ranked among the Top 100 Public Universities and only the Ivy League having more schools in the Top 100 National Universities among non-FBS conferences in the latest U.S. News & World Report Best College Rankings, the strength of our institutions is evident. Through collaboration and cooperation, the consortium will facilitate the development of academic programming that will benefit not only America East student-athletes, but all students enrolled at our member institutions.”

While specific initiatives have yet to be determined, the consortium hopes to expand educational opportunities for students and faculty; recognize the academic achievements of students and faculty; provide a space for faculty and administrators to share best practices in the areas of teaching, research, and administration; and strengthen institutional and conference appeal regionally, nationally, and internationally.

“Our conference is about the student-athlete and his or her academic, cultural and social development and maturity, as an athlete and as a student,” said University of Vermont President Tom Sullivan. “This consortium will allow our colleagues across and among our campuses to have serious academic conversations where there are commonalities. No one institution may be able to have a full competency or capacity in every area, but by sharing resources in a joint venture, much more can be achieved.”

“We are nine leading institutions who share a commitment to excellence in academics and the notion of being leading institutions in our state and region,” said University of Hartford President Walter Harrison. “By working together within this consortium, we can take the strengths of all nine of our institutions and create more than any one institution can individually.”

In its infancy, the America East Academic Consortium will function as an arm of the America East Conference and draw financial resources from the conference’s nine member institutions. Juliette Kenny, former Associate Director of Academic and Membership Affairs at the NCAA, will serve as the consortium’s Executive Director.

“I am thrilled to have joined the America East staff and look forward to connecting with academic officials across the conference so that we may begin to think strategically about programming, messaging, and student and faculty engagement,” said Kenny. “Despite important distinctions, America East institutions enjoy great compatibility at the undergraduate, graduate and research levels, contributing to a sense of shared purpose. At their core, the conference’s nine institutions are committed to facilitating innovation and entrepreneurship, advancing research and meeting the academic, intellectual and pedagogical needs of students and faculty. By leveraging member institutions’ existing capabilities and resources, the consortium will serve as a mechanism through which such commitments are promoted and advanced.”

America East joins the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC), Big Ten Conference, Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) and Southeastern Athletic Conference (SEC) as Division I conferences with formal, joint academic ventures.

Founded in 1979, the America East Conference consists of nine member institutions: University at Albany, Binghamton University, University of Hartford, University of Maine, UMBC, UMass Lowell, University of New Hampshire, Stony Brook University and University of Vermont. The conference sponsors championships in 18 sports and provides its member schools and their athletic programs a platform upon which student-athletes can achieve both collegiate and life success through the promotion and nurturing of athletic excellence, academic achievement and leadership, on and off the field.