After a rescheduling caused by a Midwest snowstorm, dates for two meetings aimed at exploring potential areas of collaboration between the ACM colleges and a group of prominent research universities are set for the months ahead.
The meetings, sponsored by an initiative called Enhancing the Midwest Knowledge Ecosystem (EMKE), will bring together a representative from each member of the ACM and the Committee on Institutional Cooperation (CIC), a consortium of the universities in the Big Ten Conference plus the University of Chicago.
EMKE is focused on finding possible partnerships – such as by sharing resources and technology, teaching methodologies, and capacity – through which ACM and CIC institutions can enhance educational experiences in the humanities and arts for their students. The project is funded by a planning grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
The first EMKE meeting, with an agenda to discuss issues and commonalities regarding language pedagogy, language sharing, and less commonly taught languages, was “snowed out” on its original dates in February and will now take place on June 11-12, 2013 in Chicago.
Digital humanities will be the broad topic for discussion at the second EMKE-sponsored meeting to be held on October 25-26 at Macalester College in St. Paul, MN. A third meeting in 2014, on a topic yet to be determined, will complete the events under the planning grant.
“The point of this planning grant is simply to see whether there are ways we can work together productively,” said Elizabeth Ciner, Senior Program Officer for Faculty and Staff Development Programs at ACM. “I think these meetings will give participants an opportunity to learn from each other about innovative initiatives that are already taking place, and perhaps come up with some new ones.”
According to Ciner, the meeting on languages in June is likely to encompass a variety of ideas for ways to take advantage of the strengths and resources that the colleges and universities bring to the table. Some of the themes of the meeting will come out of discussions among the few representatives who were able to make it through the snow for the February meeting that was ultimately rescheduled.
“The six stalwarts who managed to get together for an abbreviated meeting affirmed an emphasis on innovation in pedagogy and technology,” Ciner said. “Their suggestions included a virtual exchange of teaching materials; building a sustained course of study in less commonly taught languages, which could potentially include upper division courses; and a close examination of study abroad as a mode of collaboration, concentrating on curricula relating to orientation and re-entry.”
Participants at each meeting will include faculty and administrators nominated by the academic deans at the ACM and CIC institutions, and agenda planning is carried out by a small committee drawn from the two consortia.
“We hope to emerge from these three meetings with ideas for one or two ways that ACM and CIC would really like to work together,” Ciner noted, “and then develop those ideas into grant proposals to take to the Mellon Foundation.”