Marjorie Hass is a transformational higher education leader. She was named president of the Council of Independent Colleges (CIC) in 2021 after serving as president of Rhodes College in Memphis, Tennessee and Austin College in Sherman, Texas.
When she was appointed to her new role at CIC, Hass said, “This is a moment for bold action and meaningful leadership on behalf of independent higher education. If we fail to rise to what’s required of us, our sector may not survive to serve future generations of students. It is not hyperbole to say our country’s future as a global educational leader and democratic standard bearer is at stake. CIC’s role is unique in its focus on building capacity at every level and within every sphere of independent colleges and universities. Areas of particular urgency include building the leadership pipeline, strengthening financial models, education for democratic citizenship, and transformative action for equity, access, and inclusion.”
As president of Rhodes College, Hass led a comprehensive and inclusive strategic planning process, positioning the College for success in the next decade. She made access and equity a college-wide priority, appointing the College’s first chief diversity officer and vice president for strategic initiatives, increasing diversity within her cabinet and the student body, establishing a first-of-its-kind partnership with the Posse Foundation, and supporting the development of an ambitious three-year action plan for inclusion, diversity, access, and equity. Under her leadership, applications increased by more than 20%.
At Austin College, Hass paired a strong vision for its future, which included a culture of academic excellence and a commitment to educational access for talented students regardless of financial background, with a strategic approach to securing the resources needed to achieve that vision. Her accomplishments include considerable growth in the size and strength of the College’s applicant pool as well as increased retention, major steps to improve the environmental sustainability of the institution, and a significant improvement in the College’s financial position.
Hass began her career as a philosophy professor, publishing in the areas of philosophy of logic, philosophy of language, and feminist philosophy. She has won awards for her teaching at the University of Illinois and at Muhlenberg College, where she spent more than 16 years as a member of the faculty. She was appointed provost at Muhlenberg in 2005.
She is the author of A Leadership Guide for Women in Higher Education (2021, Johns Hopkins University Press). Her writing has appeared in both academic journals and the popular press. Recent essays can be found at Medium.com.
Hass holds a bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degree in philosophy from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.