Professional Development Grants

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For 30 years, the ACM academic deans sponsored a program for professional development designed to support meetings, workshops, seminars, visiting scholar programs, and other projects that addressed subjects of importance to faculty within a particular discipline or across a range of disciplines. Through the years, more than 50 events were funded.


Teaching Islam and Islamic Civilization

Februrary 2006 at Lake Forest College

The conference explored an academically appropriate manner in which to teach Islam and Islamic Civilizations to college students.  Faculty from a variety of disciplines discussed broadening the presence of Islam in the curriculum, Islamic Studies major, and resources for continued education on the topic — for both faculty and students.

Strengthening Quantitative Reasoning: From Campus Conversations to Effective Curricular Reforms

October 2005 at Carleton College

The workshop centered on developing and implementing quantitative reasoning initiatives at ACM colleges. The workshop addressed efforts to improve student skills in quantitative reasoning and also considered how to engage faculty outside of quantitative areas in the effort to include quantitative reasoning in the curriculum.

Civil War Colloquium

April 2005 at Lawrence University

The colloquium focused on incorporating interdisciplinary materials into the teaching of the Civil War and examined texts in history, art history, and literature Participants devised strategies for broadening the ways in which students conceive of the Civil War.

ACM Medievalists’ Conference

November 2004 at Beloit College

This conference brought together faculty in a variety of disciplines whose research and teaching is primarily concerned with the Middle Ages, for both European culture and other parts of the globe during the centuries from 300 to 1500. The conference provided an opportunity to share experiences in teaching medieval topics in an interdisciplinary way and considered how to plan study abroad for students with interests in the Middle Ages.

Research and Pedagogy in Political Ecology: An Interdisciplinary Workshop on Environment and Development Studies

October 2003 at Macalester College

Twenty faculty from eight ACM schools shared experiences and built a network of colleagues to enhance their teaching, research, and scholarship in political ecology. Faculty considered the development or reformulation of courses, as well as possibilities for collaborative research.

Prairies, Rivers, and Towns: Liberal Arts and the Pedagogy of Place

September 2003 at Ripon College

This expanded workshop, with thirty-two faculty from twelve ACM institutions, provided an investigation of how courses in several disciplines integrated local sites into course design and student learning. A series of lively presentations demonstrated varied approaches to using the college location as a pedagogical resource.

Exploring Interdisciplinary Thought, Discourse and Communication

October 2002 at Beloit College

The workshop addressed the central question of how disciplinary structures and cultures exist within ACM institutions and how authentic interdisciplinary communication can be fostered. Twenty-two faculty attended from seven ACM colleges.

Whither Film and Media Studies?

April 2002 at Carleton College

Participants discussed further development of ACM Media Studies Programs and considered definitions of the field, generating coherent programs, integrating critical studies and media production, and creating faculty education and development plans. The participants made valuable connections with their consortial colleagues and hope to reconvene in the future.

Shaping Teacher Education in the Information Technology Age

April 2002 at Lake Forest College

Education faculty from ten ACM colleges participated in a discussion of the ways in which they are currently addressing technology and information literacy in their programs. The workshop included formal presentations, discussion, and planning for continued collaboration.

ACM/GLCA/ACS Classicists Conference

October 2001 at Lake Forest College

ACM and Great Lakes Colleges Association (GLCA) classicists, with two colleagues from Associated Colleges of the South (ACS), continued their on-going discussion of curriculum, evolving student interests, and ideas on off-campus programs. The Classicists from ACS gave a presentation on their collaborative courses and project.

Redefining the 18th Century

March 2001 at Lawrence University

Participants and panelists addressed issues of recent developments in 18th century scholarship across the humanities and fine arts. Members of the Lawrence Conservatory of Music presented an evening concert of vocal music that spanned the entire century.

Integrating Global Feminism into the Women’s Studies Curriculum

February 2001 at Colorado College

In four major sessions, participants discussed methods for insuring the success of global feminism scholarship as a permanent part of the curricula at ACM colleges. Topics included research, curriculum, film, and study abroad programs and translation.


Moving Women’s/Gender/Feminist Studies into the New Millennium

December 1999 at Lawrence University

Participants discussed how to effect curricular revisions in women’s, gender, and feminist studies in light of developments in scholarship over the past five to ten years.

Technology in the Teaching and Learning of Foreign Languages

October 1999 at Beloit College

The workshop considered the use of technology as a pedagogical tool, and examined demonstrations of new technology.

Virtual Art – Real Questions

October 1999 at Beloit College

Participants discussed the integration of electronic media into the art curriculum and considered ways to incorporate technology into art instruction.

ACM and GLCA Conference of Mathematicians

April 1999 at Lake Forest College

The workshop for faculty from ACM and Great Lakes Colleges Association (GLCA) institutions compared mathematics curricula and considered how the calculus reform movement has affected the entire curriculum. The workshop resulted in the creation of a website to encourage further communication and collaboration.

ACM Pre-Healthcare Advisors

February 1999 at Colorado College

Advisors from six ACM colleges attended and engaged in a lively exchange outlining their common concerns and their different approaches to serving their students.

Bibliographic Instruction: Indispensable or Irrelevant in the Age of Technology?

October 1998 at St. Olaf College

Ten ACM colleges were represented at the meeting, with sixteen participants from nine colleges and a group of seven from the host college. The participants concluded that issues of bibliographic instruction were important and there was a continuing need for dialogue between faculty and librarians to develop best approaches.

ACM/GLCA Classicists Conference

October 1997 at Lake Forest College

ACM and Great Lakes Colleges Association (GLCA) classicists continued their on-going discussion of curriculum, evolving student interests, and interest in a consortial program in Greece.

Statistical Education: An Interdisciplinary Approach

June 1997 at Macalester College

Twenty-four participants from eleven ACM colleges and at least five different disciplines exchanged examples and ideas about how to teach statistics to different groups of students, and considered the evaluation of text-books, the use of ICPSR, soft-ware and case studies.

Challenge and Opportunity in the Undergraduate Economics Major

March 1997 at Colorado College

The conference allowed economists to gather and discuss shared interests regarding teaching economics on the undergraduate level. Issues discussed included revitalized curriculum, declining enrollments, and economics in the liberal arts.


March 1996 at Lake Forest College

ACM faculty participated in this regional workshop on Environment and Development in Africa, Latin America, and the Caribbean. Participants discussed issues of trade, the environment, sovereignty, biodiversity, land use, as well as art and literature and the environment.

Jewish Studies

October 1995 at Macalester College

The conference, held jointly with Great Lakes Colleges Association (GLCA) faculty and the Midwest Jewish Studies Association, allowed faculty to discuss common concerns, share ideas, and establish a network of communication around Jewish Studies issues.

Anthropology in the Liberal Arts

April 1995 at Beloit College

Thirteen ACM Anthropologists gathered to compare curricula, discuss effective ways of presenting anthropological perspectives, and plan a fall 1995 ACM/Ford Curriculum Workshop for Anthropologists in Colorado.

Teaching Institutional Economics

September 1994 at St. Olaf College and Carleton College

In connection with the Veblen Symposium, sixteen ACM Economists learned pedagogy, shared ideas about teaching, and examined the challenges and advantages of teaching Economics in a liberal arts environment.

Writing in Multicultural Classrooms

June 1994 at Colorado College

Eight ACM participants focused on multiculturalism in relation to teaching writing by sharing ideas and bibliographies and developing implementation plans for their campuses.

ACM/GLCA Classicists

October 1993 at Lake Forest College

Nine ACM and eleven Great Lakes Colleges Association (GLCA) classicists met to continue their cross-consortial network, with working sessions ranging from the state of the Classics on their own institutions to pedagogy, Classics majors, curricula, and national policy.

Teaching U.S. History

September 1993 at Beloit College

The workshop, attended by nine ACM U.S. history teachers, focused narrowly on U.S. history and specific ideas for teaching, including: teaching in the light of postmodernism and multiculturalism, reconsidering the primary narrative approach to U.S. history, sharing of syllabi, and common readings.

Environmental Studies Conference

February 1993 at Grinnell College

The conference was organized around four main themes: environmental science, environmental ethics, environmental management, and environmental education and environmental activism. ACM faculty shared information on the variety of ways in which these areas are treated in the ACM.

Computer Applications in Music

June 1992 at Ripon College

Forty-six participants from ACM, Great Lakes Colleges Association (GLCA), and Wisconsin institutions met for presentations exploring various ways computers could be used in teaching and studying music, and to examine a variety of hardware and software related to the topic.

Languages Across the Curriculum

November 1991 at St. Olaf College

Teams of language faculty and other discipline faculty from nine ACM colleges met to share experiences and explore new directions in language learning across the curriculum.

Educational Studies and Liberal Learning

October 1991 at Knox College

About a hundred people from thirteen ACM schools met to examine how liberal arts colleges can play a significant role in addressing the demand for good teachers in America’s public schools. (Also funded by The Joyce Foundation.)

Teaching About Technology in the Liberal Arts College

March 1991 at Macalester College

Twenty representatives from ACM schools met to stimulate faculty interest and know-how about the design and teaching of courses that would advance technological awareness/literacy among liberal arts students.

Theatre and the Liberal Arts

September 1990 at Beloit College

Theatre faculty and others met to examine theatre as an integral component of a good undergraduate education; to consider the educational significance of theatre as a humanistic and artistic discipline; and to share interests, challenges and practical information in support of theatre programs.


ACM/GLCA Classicists’ Conference

October 1989 at Lake Forest College

ACM and Great Lakes Colleges Association (GLCA) faculty met to build upon the insights of earlier Classicists’ conferences.

Computers and the Teaching of Writing

May 1988 at Ripon College

Two representatives from each ACM school were invited to meet and discuss the application of computer resources to writing development, including demonstrations, panel discussions, and hands-on experience.

Latin American Studies at ACM Institutions

October 1987 at Carleton College and St. Olaf College

ACM faculty in Latin American Studies, and guest speakers, met to exchange information and further strengthen Latin American Studies at ACM institutions. (Coordinated with Midwest Latin American Studies Association.)

Studying Peace Studies

June 1987 at St. Olaf College

One or two faculty and students were invited from each ACM college to explore the scope and character of Peace Studies programs across the country, the changing complexion of Peace Studies programs, and curriculum development and pedagogy of Peace Studies.

Legal Studies in a Liberal Arts Context

April 1987 at Beloit College

One or two faculty from each college from various disciplines who taught, or were interested in teaching, courses related to law, and a few, select faculty from law schools as speakers, met to discuss the structure, context, and pedagogy of law-related courses in a liberal arts context, and to form a network and possible faculty exchange.

Writing Across the Curriculum Programs: Theory and Practice

April 1986 at Lake Forest College

From each ACM school, one or two faculty with involvement in Writing Across the Curriculum programs met to discuss the topic as it involves student placement, recruitment, and motivation of faculty, commentary on students’ papers, writing in the disciplines, the role of writing/learning skills centers and administrative support for the programs.

ACM/GLCA Classicists’ Conference

October 1985 at Lake Forest College

ACM and Great Lakes Colleges Association (GLCA) faculty met to review the status of the Classics at those institutions, to discuss current and future directions, and to investigate contemporary resources and directions in pedagogy and research.

The History of Science

October 1984 at St. Olaf College

One or two faculty from each ACM college discussed issues related to the history of science and how the field can be presented in a liberal arts college curriculum.

Teaching Modern China

October 1984 at Carleton College and St. Olaf College

Faculty from different disciplines, both specialists and non-specialists, met to discuss issues and pedagogy in teaching about modern China.

Anthropology, Liberal Arts, and General Education

October 1983 at Beloit College

One participant was invited from each ACM anthropology department to exchange information and ideas about the structure of anthropology programs in relation to the organization of general education on ACM campuses.

Teaching About Post-War Japan

September 1983 at Macalester College

Conference for ACM and Great Lakes Colleges Association (GLCA) social scientists and humanists who wished to add components to their courses focusing on some aspect of the Japanese experience in the Post World War II era. (Co-sponsored by ACM/GLCA Japan Studies Program, Midwest Japan Seminar and ACM Professional Development Grant.)

Teaching Non-Western Religions

March 1983 at Macalester College

One to two faculty members from each ACM school interested in the teaching of non-Western religions in small, liberal arts colleges, as well as faculty from some Great Lakes Colleges Association (GLCA) and Twin City area institutions, met to share experiences, learn of new resources, and discuss common concerns of teaching non-Western religions.

Teaching Undergraduate Psychology

September 1982 at Lawrence University

One to two psychology faculty from each ACM school were invited to discuss departmental issues, pedagogy, and professional concerns regarding the teaching of undergraduate psychology.

Creative Writing Conference

October 1981 at Beloit College

One teacher of creative writing from each ACM school was invited for an exchange of ideas and materials regarding the teaching of creative writing on ACM campuses, including workshops, panels and a public reading.

ACM/GLCA Classicists’ Conference

October 1980 at Lake Forest College

ACM and Great Lakes Colleges Association (GLCA) faculty and students in classical studies met to share ideas, discuss mutual problems (present and future), and develop a network among departments.

ACM Librarians’ Conference

April 1980 at Beloit College

ACM librarians met to discuss usage, budgets, personnel, resources, statistics and future cooperation.


ACM Geologists Speakers’ Circuit


Geologists from ACM schools gave talks at other ACM institutions.

ACM Historians’ Conference

May 1979 at Beloit College

ACM history faculty met to discuss the teaching of history and possible faculty visit exchanges within the consortium.

ACM Visiting Speakers Program for Economics


Economists from ACM colleges visited other ACM schools to speak on various topics in economics.

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