Provost Laura Niesen de Abruna Elected to Inaugural Board of Directors of the ACAO

News Story: March 27, 2014
   Laura Niesen de Abruna

Laura Niesen de Abruna, provost and vice president for academic affairs at Sacred Heart University, has been elected to the inaugural Board of Directors of the Association of Chief Academic Officers (ACAO). The ACAO is the first national organization representing chief academic officers (CAOs), such as provosts and vice presidents for academic affairs, from all accredited higher education institutions. The organization provides a forum for discussing important academic affairs issues, as well as an environment where CAOs can communicate with, inform and educate one another.

Wendy K. Wilkins, executive vice president and provost emerita at New Mexico State University, headed the steering committee of CAOs who worked to initiate the organization, serving as the ACAO’s interim president. Other steering committee members were Denise A. Battles, University of North Carolina, Wilmington; Doris Helms, Clemson University; April Mason, Kansas State University; Steve O. Michael, Arcadia University (PA); and Carolyn J. Stefanco, Agnes Scott College (GA).

“The groundswell of support from CAOs across the country and across institutional types for ACAO has demonstrated the need for an organization of this character,” said Wilkins. “Since the luncheons in 2012 and 2013 that were sponsored by Sage Publications, during which we discussed the founding of an organization of this type, and through the fully subscribed meals and panels at the 2013 and 2014 annual meetings, CAOs have turned out in record numbers. We anticipate a rapidly growing set of institutional members now that the organization is incorporated and the inaugural Board of Directors has been elected.”

“I am excited to have been elected to the ACAO’s inaugural board,” said de Abruna. “Sacred Heart is one of the first universities to have joined this organization, and I am looking forward to not only representing the University, but also having the chance to influence important academic issues that will impact all accredited higher education institutions.”

Accepting its first members in 2013, ACAO has enrolled 75 institutions as charter members, in addition to association and individual members. The organization is actively soliciting institutional, association and individual members.  Membership information is available at the ACAO’s website,