The Washington Higher Education Secretariat, coordinated by the American Council of Education, meets monthly, October through June. The Secretariat does not normally hold meetings in December and January.

Meetings are typically held at the offices of ACE in the National Center for Higher Education. Special meetings are scheduled as necessary.

An annual Secretariat “Retreat” is scheduled each fall to provide input to the group’s annual agenda.

Secretariat meetings are limited to the Chief Executive Officer of member associations; however, in the case of Secretariat members with headquarters outside the Washington metropolitan area, the CEO may designate the most senior officer in the D.C. office to attend the WHES meeting. Also, a CEO may invite a guest as long as the CEO is present, except when the Secretariat is in executive session.

Working Groups

Secretariat members may form working groups that focus on specific issues. Secretariat members can recommend to the Steering Committee the establishment of a working group that would assume responsibility for an issue that requires, and would benefit from, study, development, and deliberation.

Working groups will be chaired by a Secretariat member (appointed by the Steering Committee) who will recruit members from among Secretariat members. (Experts or others who are not Secretariat members may be invited to participate in deliberations at the discretion of the working group’s chair.)

The chair of a working group will clarify the charge of the group and will share final reports and/or recommendations with the full Secretariat for discussion and, if appropriate, action (voluntary). Occasionally, informal discussion groups may also be established at the request of Secretariat members.

Steering Committee


The Secretariat is led by a Steering Committee composed of nine member Chief Executives and the President of ACE. The Steering Committee’s responsibilities include oversight and planning. The Committee, which meets at least two times each year, plays an active role in planning the Secretariat’s program agenda as well as the orientation of new Secretariat members. The Steering Committee reviews applications for membership and presents its recommendations to the full Secretariat for consideration.

Term Limits

Each of the nine Committee members is appointed to a three-year term, effective in March, with one third of the members rotating off each year. The members of the Steering Committee shall be broadly representative of Secretariat’s membership and appointed by the Steering Committee in consultation with the ACE President.

Selection of the Steering Committee Chair

The Chair of the Steering Committee is selected by the Steering Committee and serves a one-year term, effective March of each year. The Chair represents the Secretariat on the Board of Directors of the American Council on Education.

Development of the Annual Agenda

The Chair of the Steering Committee, in consultation with the President of ACE, will develop an agenda for each meeting of the full Secretariat. The Committee will consult regularly with Secretariat members about program opportunities that will benefit member associations, their chief executive officers, and higher education.