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President Hodge to speak on university Merit at national conference

By Liz Greve, For The Miami Student

University president David Hodge will speak next month at the annual conference Promise to Keep: Higher Education and the Public Trust, sponsored by the American Council on Education (ACE).

This will be ACE's 97th Annual Meeting and the first time that a Miami University official has been asked to speak. Hodge will be among other noteworthy speakers. Some of these speakers include award-winning historian Michael Beschloss and Mitchell E. Daniels, president of Purdue University and former governor of Indiana.

ACE's Annual Meeting brings together nearly 2,000 of the top higher education leaders to discuss, learn and network with one another while tackling some of the most prominent issues in higher education today.

According to the ACE website, the meeting will honor and reflect on the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act, the Higher Education Act and the Voting Rights Act. Hodge will discuss strategies in running a university and, more specifically, a new movement called "Merit."

Merit emphasizes the importance of college education by highlighting accomplished students at universities nation-wide.

Throughout the country, people are beginning to question the value of a college degree. Merit combats these uncertainties by building a public, verified record of students' accomplishments. Miami is a user of Merit, but has yet to make the movement widely used and known.

"It is my hope that Merit soon becomes more popular among students," said Ritter Hoy, university media relations coordinator. "Through your own personal online Merit page, you can add your activities, your affiliations, where you've worked, and it is all verified by the university. It's a great place to send employers or to use if you are applying for graduate school, medical school or law school."

Hodge has been working with 160over90, the agency Miami uses to help with major branding initiatives. This agency does a great deal of work with universities; therefore, they were asked to present at the conference and invited Hodge to present with them.

The president will be speaking with Ryan Brown, the account director for 160over90, and Tammo Walter, the vice president and executive creative director for the agency.

This partner session is called "Falling in Love Again: Rekindling the Public's Relationship with Colleges and Universities."

The university considers it a great honor to be included in the ACE conference.

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"Miami University was asked to speak because of its focus and absolute dedication to its vision for undergraduate students and its commitment to undergraduate teaching," said Deedie Dowdle, associate vice president of university communications. "They were looking for an example of a university that has stayed with their focus over time, and Miami is a great example of a university that has done that."

Miami has stayed committed to its original mission of providing students with the best possible undergraduate experience in the country. This commitment can be seen in Miami's procedures and marketing strategies.

Many presidents and university leaders attend the conference every year.

"It is an honor to be included in this conference as it is the national conference for the American Council of Education," said Dowdle.

The conference will run from March 14-17, 2015 in Washington, DC.

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