Christopher Welna, who has served as president of the Associated Colleges of the Midwest (ACM) since 2006, announced that he will retire from his position in September 2017.
Welna propelled the ACM to strengthen its effectiveness in serving the evolving needs of the member colleges across the organization’s three major areas of activity — off-campus study, faculty development, and collaboration among administrative leaders on the campuses.
“Under Christopher Welna’s able leadership, ACM has expanded and strengthened its professional development programs for faculty, and developed new off-campus programs enabling students to explore the world through the liberal arts,” said ACM Board of Directors President Raynard S. Kington, president of Grinnell College.
“During Welna’s tenure,” Kington added, “ACM also established the successful Institute on College Futures (ICF) to help member colleges cope with the financial forces impacting private liberal arts colleges. In addition, ACM has quadrupled total consortial assets to nearly $22 million and received external grants totaling $19.6 million.”
In addition to funding ICF, the 18 external grants awarded to the ACM during Welna’s tenure have supported many other opportunities for faculty, staff, and students on the ACM campuses, including faculty-designed innovations in teaching and learning; development of new curricular materials and ways to use technology in the liberal arts classroom; and post-doctoral fellowships for faculty positions at ACM colleges. Three consortial grant-supported positions were created to support faculty and staff development and collaboration, campus efforts to diversify the professoriate, and enrichment opportunities for students.
Since 2008, ACM has opened new study-away programs in Brazil, China, India, Jordan, and the US, with a program in the Netherlands set to open in fall 2017. The consortium developed a wider variety of off-campus study options in response to the varied academic calendars of ACM member colleges. Welna led efforts to strengthen off-campus study administration and efficiency, and to leverage consortial resources at program sites for faculty development activities.
Prior to joining the ACM, Welna served as executive director of the Kellogg Institute for International Studies at the University of Notre Dame, where he also directed the Latin American Studies Program and taught Latin American politics. He previously taught public policy at Duke University’s Sanford School of Public Policy and was a program officer for The Ford Foundation in Rio de Janeiro and Mexico City.
“The work of leading the ACM colleges is tremendously rewarding,” said Welna. “For more than a decade, I’ve been fortunate to collaborate with a first-rate consortial staff, generous funders, and outstanding faculty, administrative leaders, and students at member colleges. I have no doubt that the next president will build on our strong programs and relationships to further advance the colleges’ missions through collaboration in new ways.”