How can ACM colleges – and more broadly, liberal arts and sciences colleges nationally – take advantage of new understandings of teaching and learning to ensure that their students are learning effectively in the decades ahead?
The Teagle Foundation has awarded a planning grant of $15,000 to the ACM to address this question. It will support a planning workshop in which ACM academic deans and other key faculty and administrators will gather to develop the focus, goals, and overall structure of a consortial project to respond to the changing nature of liberal education, faculty work, and student learning.
“We are excited about this opportunity and grateful to the Teagle Foundation for its support,” said ACM President Christopher Welna. “The planning grant will enable leaders from all 14 ACM member institutions to explore the broad set of educational issues prioritized by the Teagle Foundation and to design a compelling project to act on these issues. We hope this will position the ACM colleges as leaders in the field.”
The focus of the planning workshop will be a set of questions laid out in a Request for Proposals from the Teagle Foundation:
- What does the changing nature of liberal education — increasingly defined as the development of intellectual and personal capacities through the use of engaged forms of learning, and increasingly shaped by the constrained economic climate in which we live – mean for how colleges and universities and their faculties in the arts and sciences educate undergraduate students?
- More specifically, what does it mean for faculty work and professional responsibilities in the 21st century – at the level of faculty-student interaction, in programs and departments, and in institution-wide offerings like general education?
- What knowledge, skills and capacities will faculty need to have to perform effectively in the future and to be confident that their students are learning at the highest possible levels?
The workshop will be held in June and facilitated by Daniel Sullivan, President Emeritus of St. Lawrence University. Previously, he served as President of Allegheny College and was Vice President for Planning and Development and a member of the sociology faculty at Carleton College. Sullivan has served as a higher education consultant in a range of areas, including strategic and academic planning for liberal arts institutions.
The ACM colleges are well situated to build on their collaborative experiences in designing this project. The consortium recently completed a two-year Collegium on Student Learning project funded by the Teagle Foundation, which supported a group of ACM faculty as they developed and tested new approaches to student learning. The group’s efforts led to an ACM-wide conference and a well-received presentation at the 2011 national meeting of the Association of American Colleges & Universities (AAC&U).
ACM also is participating in the Teagle-funded Study Abroad Learning and Cost Alliance, a project aimed at strengthening learning outcomes for students on off-campus study programs. The three-year initiative involves the ACM, the Great Lakes Colleges Association (GLCA), and the Center of Inquiry in the Liberal Arts at Wabash College.
Twelve of the 14 ACM colleges have engaged in other multi-college projects supported by the Teagle Foundation in areas such as: developing students’ critical thinking skills, “high impact” pedagogical practices, intellectual development and civic engagement, and assessing learning outcomes.
The Teagle Foundation provides leadership for liberal education, mobilizing the intellectual and financial resources that are necessary if today’s students are to have access to a challenging and transformative liberal education. The Foundation’s commitment to such education includes its grantmaking to institutions of higher education across the country, its long-established scholarship program for the children of employees of ExxonMobil, and its work helping economically disadvantaged young people in New York City – where where the Foundation is based – gain admission to college and succeed once there.