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New! Students from 11 NAC&U Member Campuses will Travel Abroad on Fulbright Scholarships

Fulbright Winners from PLU
  2014 graduates, from left, Tommy Flanagan, Brianna Walling and Lillian Ferraz are three of PLU's five new Fulbright Scholars. (Photo: John Froschauer/PLU)
Twenty-six recent graduates and two current students will travel to a combined total of 18 countries after earning scholarships through the Fulbright Program. Sponsored by the United States Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, the Fulbright Program provides funding for students, scholars, teachers, and professionals to undertake graduate study, advanced research, university teaching, and teaching in elementary and secondary schools.

The awardees are:

St. Edward’s University

Elvia Valle, a 2014 graduate who majored in global studies, received a full grant in political science and will study at the Diplomatic Academy of Vienna in Austria.

Danielle Cravens, a 2014 who majored in international business, will teach English in Germany.

Courtney Dymowski, a 2014 graduate who double majored in photocommunications and art history, received an English Teaching Assistantship in Thailand. Courtney accepted the Davies Jackson Scholarship in lieu of the Fulbright Student Scholarship, and will spend the next year at the University of Cambridge.

Irma Fernandez, a 2013 graduate who majored in political science, will teach English in Brazil.

Kayla Larson, a Spanish and education major, will teach English in Brazil.

Catherine Maloney (BS Biology ‘16) received a cultural immersion scholarship through the UK Fulbright Commission Summer Institute at the University of Exeter in England.

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Pacific Lutheran University

Brianna Walling, a 2014 graduate who double majored in political science and global studies with a minor in Hispanic studies, will teach English in Argentina.

Lillian Ferraz, a 2014 graduate who majored in English literature with a minor in music, will teach English in Taiwan.

Thomas Flanagan, a 2014 graduate, will teach English in Germany.

Natalie Burton, a 2013 graduate, will teach English and study piano education and culture in China, a continuation of her senior research project at PLU.  She will conduct her research at Central China Normal University in the Wuhan area this fall.

Ted Charles, a 2012 graduate, will study in Turkey during his one-year scholarship. Charles is studying for his masters in Archeology at the University of Idaho and would like to eventually get his doctorate in this field and become a university professor.

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The University of Scranton

Emmanuel Akpan Jr., a 2014 graduate and member of the University Honors program who majored in neuroscience, will teach English in Cyprus.

Olivia Salama, a 2014 graduate who double majored in philosophy and political science with a minor in criminal justice, will study the policing of white collar crime in Finland after the 2008 global financial Crisis. She will study at the University of Turku in Finland.

Matthew Tibbitts, a 2014 graduate who majored in health administration with minors in business and economics, will teach English in Malaysia.

Marc Andris Vallone, a 2010 graduate, will teach English in Brazil.

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Nazareth College

Teri Bunce, a 2014 graduate who double majored in international studies and history with a minor in French, will teach English in South Korea.

Katelynn Kundrata, a 2014 graduate who majored in TESOL (teaching English to speakers of other languages), will teach English in primary and secondary schools in Malaysia.

Matthew Maloney, a 2014 graduate who double majored in history and Spanish with minors in legal studies and political science, will travel to Andorra to teach English at Centre de Formació Professional to young adults ages 16-18.

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North Central College

Ian Wright, a 2014 graduate who double majored in global studies and studio art, will teach English in

Britney Kravish, a 2014 graduate who majored in Spanish with minors in secondary education and English Language Learning (ELL), will teach English in Mexico.

Mark Zajac, a 2012 graduate, will teach English in Germany.

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Samford University

Zach Brown, a 2014 graduate and University Fellows student who majored in a history, will teach English in Tajikistan.

Chris Barbee, a 2013 graduate who majored in music education, will study choral conducting and music education at the Jazeps Vītols Latvian National Conservatory.

Stone Hendrickson, who recently completed his freshman year, was accepted to the four-week Fulbright Summer Institute at England’s Durham University.

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University of Redlands

Kyle Van de Bittner, a 2014 graduate who double majored in biochemistry and molecular biology will conduct research at Canterbury University, Christ’s Church in South Island, New Zealand.

Kailey DeBoi, a 2014 graduate who double majored in global business and German with a minor in mathematics has decided to decline her Fulbright Scholar award to pursue and career with Boeing.

Valparaiso University

Noah Finegan, a 2014 graduate who majored in German, will teach English in Austria.

Ryan Huffman, a 2013 graduate, will teach in Taiwan.

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Hamline University

Jenna Potter, a 2014 graduate who majored in English with a double minor in German and communication studies, will teach English in Hamburg, Germany.

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John Carroll University

Diana Naoum, a 2014 graduate who majored in political science, will teach English in Turkey.

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Wagner College

Kellie Griffith, a 2014 graduate who double majored in education and Spanish, will teach English in Ecuador.

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New! Valparaiso Forges New Partnerships with Israelis, Palestinians


Photo of Mark HecklerLocated in the metropolitan Chicago area, Valparaiso University is surrounded by a diverse population, but President Mark Heckler envisions the campus as a “microcosm of the world.” Although 56 countries are represented in Valpo’s student population, Heckler traveled with his wife, Veronica, and Peter Kanelos, dean of Valpo’s honors college – Christ College – to Israel to create opportunities for both faculty and students. He also hopes to encourage potential students from Israel and Palestine to enroll at Valpo.
The trip to Israel reinforced several pre-existing relationships. Bishop Munib Younan, bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land and president of the Lutheran World Federation, had invited Dr. Heckler to Israel after speaking at Valpo’s commencement two years ago. (Younan’s son graduated from Valpo.) A Christian pastor and Palestinian in Bethlehem, Reverend Mitri Raheb, also extended an invitation to visit two organizations that he established. One is the International Center of Bethlehem which hosts academic symposia and discussions on Group photo outside Jerusalempeace and justice, and the other is Dar al-Kalima University in Jerusalem which educates Muslim and Christian Palestinians, a population with a high unemployment rate. Lastly, Dr. Heckler’s relationship with the Israeli Consulate in Chicago was a factor in the visit.

The journey served its purpose in creating opportunities for Valpo faculty and students. Christ College is undertaking a new translation of Martin Luther’s Small Catechism and the Augsburg Confessions into Arabic for print and online publication. Through an exchange agreement with the Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) in Herzliya, Valpo faculty will present guest lectureships at IDC, and IDC faculty will present at Valpo. In addition, a reciprocal faculty arrangement with Dar al-Kalima will allow Valpo faculty to travel there while their faculty visits Valpo to develop graduate programs. Faculty relationships will facilitate student exchanges over time.

Dr. Heckler aims to establish a study center in Bethlehem with Dar al-Kalima, similar to Valpo study centers that exist in China, Germany, Mexico, England, and Costa Rica. Currently Valpo offers a short-term study abroad program in Israel, which gives students two weeks to examine the region.

Danielle Slowik, a Valpo freshman majoring in theology and global service, traveled to Israel this past spring with Professor George Heider and 13 other students.

“I wanted to go on this trip to see the places that I've read about in the Bible,” said Ms. Slowik. “Just like any other part of history, the stories become much more impactful when you can see where they happened firsthand.”

Creating a study center in the region would build on the short-term program goals, allowing students to more deeply immerse themselves in the culture and dynamics of the region in a safe, supportive environment.

These relationships also may contribute to Dr. Heckler’s goal of bringing as much global diversity as possible to the Valpo campus, which he said is important to making sure graduates are culturally competent and have the skills they need to live in and contribute to an interconnected world.

There has been significant progress toward Dr. Heckler’s goal of creating a microcosm on campus. When he arrived at Valpo in 2008, the incoming class had 244 international students. The incoming class of fall 2013 had 556 international students, representing a 127% increase. In 2008 there were 430 domestic minority students; last fall there were 801 domestic minority students, reflecting an 86% increase. Dr. Heckler’s goal is to enroll 1,000 international students.

“We are very intentionally building an international community that represents every major religion in the world,” said Dr. Heckler. “Valpo’s vision is to be a university constituted by people from many beliefs and backgrounds in dialogue with one another and in the common pursuit of truth.”

Whether home or abroad, making new connections with people from different backgrounds is having a major impact on Valpo students. Deborah Metcalf, a Valpo junior with a theology major and music minor, was moved by the stories she heard while traveling with Dr. Heider’s group this spring.

“When I was in Israel, I learned a lot about the story of suffering of the Palestinians – a story we don't often hear in America. But the Palestinian people do not want our sympathy, they simply want their story to be heard,” said Ms. Metcalf. “Before I went to Israel, I didn't know anything about Palestine, or the Palestinian-Israeli conflict from the Palestinian point of view. What I will remember most about my trip to Israel is the people I met, and the stories they shared – stories of struggle, stories of hope, stories of the Palestinian people, because really, we are all just people living in one small world.”


Enrollment Managers, CFOs Gather at North Central


Photo of campusFor the first time in NAC&U history, enrollment management administrators joined CFOs for their annual affinity group meeting which was held at North Central College in Naperville, IL, from March 19 – 21, 2014. The meeting afforded the CFOs and enrollment managers time to meet together and among their respective groups. It was the first time that enrollment managers met as a group.

Photo of Paul Loscheider
Paul Loscheider

Formal presentations from Matt Hamill of the National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO) and Bill Hall and Brad Griesbach of Applied Policy Research, Inc. served as jumping off points for discussion. Hamill, who also facilitated the meeting as he does annually, gave an update on federal policies that affect NAC&U institutions. Paul Loscheider, vice president for business affairs at North Central and regular attendee of the CFO annual meeting, said that Hamill’s presentation always ignites discussion. This year was no different as the group talked about compliance with the Affordable Care Act.

Photo of William Bisset
Bill Bisset

Hall’s presentation on net tuition revenue, which he has provided for the past ten years, gives attendees a picture of each institution. Bill Bisset, vice president of enrollment management at Manhattan College, found it helpful that his institution was one of the case studies.

“I’m always picking apart our numbers. I can’t get enough of that data,” said Bisset.

Finding Common Ground

Formal presentations are beneficial, but Loscheider said that the roundtable discussions are valuable when the group is asked “What’s on your mind?” Candid conversation flows, and affinity group members feel they really have a chance to speak openly among peers and learn from each other.

That candor led Bisset to refer to the two-day meeting as “inspiring.” As an admissions/enrollment professional for 26 years, Bisset remembered a time when institutions freely shared their successes and challenges, but finding that in today’s fast-paced, competitive environment is rare. NAC&U group discussions tend toward openness and honesty because members share commonalities but are not direct competitors.

All enrollment managers agreed that they are facing lower conversion rates since students, aided by the common application, are applying to more schools than in the past. Finances are heavily factoring into a prospect’s decision-making process, and honors programs at community colleges are wooing students who want to complete prerequisite courses at a lower cost.

“The uncertainty of the field has never been greater,” said Bisset.

That challenge is something that affects everyone.

“NAC&U institutions depend heavily on enrollments.  If enrollment managers don’t bring in the students, the CFOs – as well as the rest of the institution – have an issue,” Loscheider said.

Informal discussions helped the two groups understand the other’s challenges while brainstorming possible solutions. For example, Loscheider said, transfer students can be a significant enrollment population for colleges that have a robust community or junior college system nearby.

Looking Ahead

CFOs have met with provosts/CAOs in the past, and the plan is to bring all three groups together next year. Bisset welcomes the dynamic that the provosts will bring to the meeting and believes the three groups can benefit by talking openly.

"While enrollment officers manage the admissions process, recruitment is ultimately the responsibility of everyone on campus,” said Loscheider.

Loscheider hopes that these meetings help NAC&U members to continue to capitalize on relationships and potential collaborations within the consortium. Bisset echoed that, saying he hopes that enrollment managers form an affinity group as many others have done within NAC&U.


New! Westminster Participates in National Effort for Competency-based Education


Photo of campusAs Westminster College develops its competency-based education (CBE) programs, it looks at what students must be able to accomplish at the conclusion. Westminster’s CBE programs flip the classroom – outcomes drive projects, students take responsibility for learning, and faculty serve as mentors.

Westminster offers four CBE programs, the first being its Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) which began in 2008. It also offers a project-based Master of Business Administration, Master of Strategic Communication and RN to Bachelor of Science in Nursing. The competency-based programs consist of project sequences rather than semesters. Because time to completion is variable and is not based on seat time, students can gain the skill sets needed to advance their careers while maintaining personal and professional responsibilities.

Westminster is different than most CBE institutions in that it is a traditional campus offering CBE. Most CBE is found at CBE-exclusive institutions (such as the College of America) or separate entities within larger systems (for example, the University of Wisconsin Extension School). While there are some challenges – ensuring a seamless technology interface exists and getting buy-in from campus stakeholders – it allows students to receive the benefits of a flexible education along with Westminster’s high-touch learning experience in which students and faculty develop close relationships.

Photo of Cid Seidelman
Cid Seidelman

In CBE, learning is a constant, but time is variable, noted Westminster’s Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Cid Seidelman. Theoretically students can take as long as they like to complete a project sequence. Westminster has found, however, that completion rates are better if they hold students to some measure of accountability. Every student interaction is tracked which allows Westminster to follow up with those who have not checked in for a certain amount of time.

When learning is not measured by seat time, reimbursement and financial aid can be tricky.  Westminster translates project sequences into credit hours. In the BBA program, students complete a project with five sequences, and each sequence is worth 12 credit hours even though the time to completion can vary.

Assessment closely mimics the real world. Students don’t receive grades but rather keep working on a project sequence until they meet the expectations. Even after meeting expectations students can work to exceed expectations. They move to the next project sequence when they have mastered the current one.

Seidelman would like to integrate CBE into more of Westminster’s programs because it creates meaningful interactions between faculty and students which stays true to the College’s culture. Feedback from BBA graduates indicates that students enjoyed having close relationships with faculty while being responsible for their own learning. The number of campus stakeholders who support CBE continues to increase over time.

Although Seidelman believes that CBE can be applied to all programs, there aren’t many models for how to do so. Westminster is a member of C-BEN, a national consortium funded by the Lumina Foundation that convenes regularly to advance the national conversation on CBE. The group hopes to deliver best practices for CBE.

Seidelman believes that CBE could help to address some of the concerns about the value of a higher education because it focuses on demonstrated learning rather than learning based on credit hours and seat time.

He noted, “It’s not what you know. It’s what you can do with what you know.”


Technology and Intercampus Teaching Expand Networks, Opportunities


Although technology can require a learning curve and at times bring us to new levels of frustration, it inarguably yields significant benefits. That sentiment holds true for the use of instructional technology as it relates to intercampus teaching. While there are hurdles to overcome, its successful use can mean better opportunities for students and faculty without straining current institutional resources.

Photo of DavisRebecca Frost Davis, director of instructional and emerging technology at St. Edward's University, enjoyed her career as a professor of Classical Studies, but she finds her work in instructional technology exciting because she gets to work across disciplines rather than focusing in one area.  Davis has worked with emerging technologies since she finished graduate school, serving as assistant director for instructional technology at the Associated Colleges of the South Technology Center and teaching within and helping to coordinate the virtual classics department of Sunoikisis, a national classics consortium. Davis then began work as a research fellow on intercampus teaching (which she continues) with the National Institute for Technology in Liberal Education (NITLE) before joining St. Edward’s last summer.

Davis has seen intercampus teaching used for various reasons, such as:

To expand expertise and develop a networked community. Small departments that feel the need for a larger community can achieve that with intercampus teaching. Faculty gain colleagues from similar backgrounds (if institutions with similar cultures and sizes are paired), and students are exposed to the expertise of other professors. Grading standards are higher as professors grade students that they do not know personally, and students work to compete with students from other campuses.  “There is a network effect,” said Davis. Students gain the confidence of knowing that they can achieve when matched against peers at other institutions. Even though the network is expanded, they still have the benefits of being at a small campus.

To expose students to diverse perspectives. To support St. Edward's strong emphasis on global learning, faculty use technology to expose students to global concepts, usually by leveraging the professor’s or the university’s global network. There are two global digital classrooms with high-definition videoconferencing, but students first interact asynchronously, perhaps by reading and commenting on blogs written by the person or people with whom they will connect. The initial asynchronous interaction makes the live interaction more fruitful when it does happen. Davis recommends taking the learning a step further by having the groups engage in a collaborative project online rather than simply talking with each other via videoconferencing. Also, this collaboration does not need to be with networks abroad as diverse perspectives can come from different regions within the U.S.

To expand opportunities and resources for students. Davis worked with five institutions that formed the Texas Language Consortium to fill gaps in first year languages through shared courses. Their goals are to develop stronger programs by aggregating demand across campuses and offer less commonly taught languages. To date, through the use of high-definition video conferencing, they have been able to offer Chinese and Portuguese, in addition to German, French, and Spanish.  This program opens up opportunities for students who may otherwise be unable to take these languages.

Photo of campusIntercampus teaching is not without its challenges, however. Cost is often a concern, but Davis advises that the lack of a pricing structure at the onset shouldn’t hamper moving forward with the collaboration. Inter-institutional collaboration has worked for regional consortia for years, but collaborating virtually across a wide geographical area is new so it will take experience to figure it out. Scheduling can be challenging when institutions differ in time zones, start/end dates (semester v. trimester), vacations, and class start times. Davis said that institutions need to work around these issues, perhaps collaborating for 10 to 12 weeks rather than an entire semester or by recording sessions that happen during an institution’s break. She also said that many find it easier to collaborate occasionally rather than consistently. Finally, cultural differences – even something like amount of homework assigned – need to be discussed and anticipated prior to collaboration.

To ensure the greatest chance for success, support and collaboration from departments such as IT and library staff is crucial, said Davis. To facilitate scheduling in the Texas Language Consortium, registrars are connected. Also, Davis said, if rooms with special technology are scarce it’s helpful to have an administrator who can prioritize the space according to which programs need it most. Lastly, outcomes are better if there is a dedicated project manager who will make sure that the project is moving forward and institutions are indeed working together.

Despite its challenges, intercampus teaching can offer positive outcomes that make it worth pursuing.  Davis already has one idea for NAC&U campuses.

“I’d like to see NAC&U offer a unique course for its students, perhaps one that is focused on undergraduate research in which students perform studies in their own locations but network the data with other campuses and then put together the results for a symposium.”

As NAC&U looks to further consortial collaboration the use of technology and intercampus teaching may be worth considering as a way to increase opportunities and expand networks for students and faculty.

For more on digital pedagogy and its application to liberal education, see Rebecca Frost Davis’ blog: Liberal Education in a Networked World.


Under a Microsope: Examining How We Can Promote Diversity in STEM


Photo of AsaiApproximately 30 percent of Americans are black, Latino, or Native American, as are nearly 30 percent of freshmen STEM students. But at graduation, the seats are filled with only 17 percent of the same minority groups. Dr. David Asai, senior director of the undergraduate and graduate science education program at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute in Chevy Chase, MD, spends much time thinking about this conundrum.

Asai believes that it could be that the way science is taught fails to engage all students.

“We who teach science need to make sure that all students are learning,” he said. “Three hours of lectures a week might not be reaching all students.”

While the data show that students who leave STEM go on to successfully graduate in other disciplines, the lack of these minorities is hindering science. Because science is so collaborative, Asai noted, it’s important to have diversity among working groups because that fosters looking at problems from various points of view.

Despite a successful career in the sciences, Asai said that as an undergraduate he often sat in the back of the lecture hall and didn’t ask or answer questions. It was his participation in undergraduate research that engaged him in his studies.

The more popular apprentice-based research is hit-or-miss, Asai said, because only a small number of students are selected. Those who aren’t as assertive or who don’t have a relationship with the professor traditionally aren’t selected. Instead he argues for class-based research, which while not an alternative to apprentice-based, gives many students the opportunity to learn the process of science.

Looking at Successful Models
Photo of Meyerhoff Web SiteThere are programs successfully graduating larger cohorts of underrepresented students in the STEM fields, especially the University of Maryland – Baltimore County’s Meyerhoff Scholars Program, a 25-year program with more than 800 alumni working successfully in STEM fields, and the Posse STEM program which has been adopted at ten colleges and universities around the country. Currently HHMI is engaging in experiments with other universities to see if they can replicate success with strategies from the Meyerhoff program.

One of his key points is that science education is important for all students, especially as departments and disciplines become more integrated, and because technology touches everyone’s lives. He believes that institutions need to look at how they allocate resources, especially if low-level courses are low priority.

“If an introductory course is the only time many students are exposed to science don’t we want to do better than allotting limited resources to these courses?” Asai said.
Asai will speak at this year’s NAC&U Summer Institute, June 25 to 27, at the University of Redlands. There he will discuss the importance of diversity in the STEM fields as well as how undergraduate research can help all students more fully engage in their studies.


New! University of Evansville Launches Loan Repayment Assistance Program


The University of Evansville (UE) will offer a Loan Repayment Assistance Program (LRAP) to assist eligible students with loan repayment after graduation. After earning a bachelor’s degree from the University of Evansville, eligible graduates, beginning with the class arriving in the fall of 2014, who do not obtain full-time employment with annual earnings of $37,000 or more will receive a quarterly check to reimburse some or all of their student loan payments. Loan assistance will continue until the graduate’s income rises above the program’s upper income threshold of $37,000 or until loans are paid off.

Photo of Shane DavidsonShane Davidson, vice president of enrollment services at UE, hopes that the program will increase access to college by solving the affordability problem and allaying families’ common fear that students won’t be able to make loan payments after graduation.

UE will not offer LRAP to each incoming student but instead will offer it to a segment of students that it hopes will come to UE. First UE will send letters to the parents of all students in this target group who have been accepted to UE. The university will send a follow-up email to students, suggesting that they speak with their parents about the letter they received. Also, UE will send a mailer to students who they hope will apply to UE, alerting them about LRAP.

For each student that opts for LRAP, UE will pay $1300 to LRAP out of UE’s operating budget. Students will need to maintain certain academic standards throughout their matriculation, and they will need to become employed by the time they start paying back their student loans. They can work any number of jobs in any field; they just need to maintain three-fourth time employment. The student will begin paying their loans, and if they can document that their income is less than $37,000, LRAP will reimburse them for a portion of their loan payment, depending on income, on a quarterly basis.

UE plans to offer LRAP to about 40 to 50 students this year. According to the LRAP website, client results indicate that when offered LRAP, 68% of eligible “on-the-fence” freshmen matriculated, and clients saw an average 10.1% increase in retention from Freshman to Sophomore year due to LRAP.


NAC&U to Present Boyer Award at AAC&U Annual Meeting This Month

Photo of Carol Geary Schneider
Edward L. Ayers
NAC&U welcomes all attendees to join us on Thursday, January 23 at 1:30 p.m. for the presentation of the 2014 Ernest L. Boyer Award at the annual AAC&U meeting in Washington, DC. This year’s recipient is Dr. Edward L. Ayers, president of the University of Richmond and nationally renowned American historian.

To honor the memory of Ernest Boyer, each year NAC&U recognizes an individual who has made significant contributions to higher education and whose ideas will be celebrated for generations to come. Ayers was selected because of his extensive work in the field of digital humanities scholarship, which has far-reaching impact on both faculty and students as well as the general public.

About Edward Ayers

photo of Edward AyersAyers has played a pioneering role in digital scholarship since the inception of the field in the early 1990s, overseeing the “Valley of the Shadow” project. The project details life in both a Northern town and a Southern town during the Civil War and allows open access to a digital archive with thousands of original letters, diaries, newspapers and speeches as well as census and church records. Ayers’ dedication to digital scholarship continues through his collaboration with the Digital Scholarship Lab based at the University of Richmond, where he is president and professor of history.

Ayers is a noted historian, author of ten books, and recipient of numerous honors and awards, including the National Medal for the Humanities awarded by President Obama. He has also won the Bancroft Prize for distinguished writing in American History, the Beveridge Prize for the best book in English on the history of the Americas since 1492; and was a finalist for both the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize.

Following the awards presentation, Dr. Ayers will present a session titled “The Future of Scholarship.”

AAC&U LogoOther Sessions at AAC&U

Colleagues throughout NAC&U will present at the annual AAC&U meeting. Sessions include the following:

National Coalitions of Small and Medium Institutions as a Path to Sustain Residential and Liberal Education

The New American Colleges & Universities (NAC&U) is developing policies to promote inter-institutional collaboration, innovation, and resource sharing with the goal of providing students with enriched curricular offerings through domestic and international exchanges, cross-institutional collaborative undergraduate research opportunities, and virtual specialty courses. Inter-institutional collaboration will promote faculty exchanges, collaborative research, collaborative proposals for external funding, and sharing of innovative approaches to student learning. Inter-institutional collaboration may also lead to reduced costs for various back office activities. Panelists will discuss NAC&U strategies to pave the way for easy cross-institutional registration, tuition, financial aid, and professional development opportunities for faculty.

Moderator: Nancy Hensel, President, New American Colleges and Universities

Panelists: Mark Heckler, President, Valparaiso University; Richard Guarasci, President, Wagner College; Thomas Kazee, President, University of Evansville

This session is presented by the New American Colleges & Universities (NAC&U)

Better Together: Higher Education Consortia and the Future of Change

What is the future of inter-institutional cooperation in the current higher educational environment?  Leadership of three active consortia consider the political, strategic, cultural, economic, and educational costs and benefits of working collaboratively.  It is truism that collective action aggregates expertise, talent, economic resources, and will, but what are the mechanisms that make such leverage lasting and effective? What do all of us in higher education gain when institutions choose to work together?

James Hall, Executive Director of the Consortium for Innovative Environments in Learning, University of Alabama; Nancy Hensel, President, New American Colleges and Universities; Timothy Eatman, Faculty Co-Director, Imagining America: Artists and Scholars in Public Life; Bill Spellman, Director, Council of Public Liberal Arts Colleges

Creating Cohesive Paths to Civic Engagement: Mapping the Curricular and Co-Curricular Offerings on 26 Campuses

Project Pericles works with provosts and faculty to enhance links between the curriculum, campus, and community. Creating Cohesive Paths to Civic Engagement, a project, to inventory, map, and develop more integrated programs for civic engagement and social responsibility creates pathways for students (including those in humanities and STEM) to integrate civic engagement into their education. The project enhances curricular and co-curricular programs that strengthen critical thinking, skills, social responsibility, and active engagement where students bring theory to practice. Audience and panelists will discuss replicable best practices, challenges, and solutions. Survey matrix and questionnaire developed for the project will be available.

Jan Liss, Executive Director, Project Pericles; Linda DeMeritt, Provost and Dean of the College, Allegheny College; Chad Berry, Academic Vice President and Dean of the Faculty, Berea College; Christy Hanson, Dean of the Institute for Global Citizenship, Macalester College; Lily McNair, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, Wagner College

Belmont Couple Heed a Call to Service and Receive an Extraordinary Blessing

Photo of familyIn 1984 Jason and Elizabeth Rogers ventured to Haiti on a trip that would profoundly affect their lives. As seniors at Baylor University it was a transformative experience because it was the first time either of them had been exposed to that level of poverty, recalled Jason, now vice president for administration and university counsel at Belmont University.

The couple planned to return to Haiti, but children and careers occupied their time. Elizabeth also works at Belmont as a senior programmer analyst, and the couple has three children, now ages 15 to 23. Before they knew it, they were on the brink of celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary. They decided to return to Haiti. Just months after the 2010 earthquake devastated the country, they traveled to an orphanage on a service trip. They also decided to become a foster family for an infant born on Valentine’s Day, about a month after the earthquake. The orphaned boy needed medical care to address his fibular hemimelia, a congenital leg condition in which a fibula does not form. Because of this the boy also had a deformed tibia and foot, and he had ptosis, a drooping eyelid that threatened his vision. After returning to Tennessee, Jason and Elizabeth spent the next 10 months arranging for medical care and a medical visa. In April 2011, they returned to Haiti to bring 14-month old Kenbe to the United States.

For two and half years, Kenbe received the medical care he needed, including an amputation of his lower left leg, a prosthesis, and surgery to begin correcting the ptosis. Every six months the Rogers renewed his medical visa, still acting as his foster family. That changed on November 23, 2013 when Kenbe Micah Louis Rogers’ adoption was finalized. The Rogers traveled back to Haiti with Kenbe for final interviews and paperwork, and when they arrived at Miami airport with an immigration visa, Kenbe became a U.S. citizen. His first name means “to hold or stand” in Creole, which Jason said was fitting given how Kenbe has worked to overcome his medical condition. The Rogers picked his middle name after their favorite prophet and the verse from Micah 6:8: “He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”

Kenbe’s medical care continues. He wears an eye patch two hours each day on his unaffected eye to help strengthen the affected eye. He’ll undergo another eye surgery in two to three years to continue correcting the ptosis. He also goes to physical therapy every three weeks and gets regular adjustments of his prosthesis. Because he grows so quickly, he needs a new prosthesis every six to 12 months. Soon he will get a carbon fiber running blade which will be more dynamic than his current prosthesis.

Medical conditions haven’t stopped Kenbe from being an active 3-year-old. The prosthesis is only evident when other children ask him about it, and he nonchalantly takes it off to show them. Jason calls him “extroverted, engaging, smart, loud and funny,” and said handwritten notes from Kenbe’s orphanage show that caregivers noticed the same qualities in him as an infant.

When asked how a father with three children, two of whom are adults, came to care for and eventually adopt a child with considerable medical challenges, Jason laughs about the fact that he and his wife adopted a 3-year-old when they turned 50. Their other children, however, were the first to push for Kenbe’s adoption, and he says that Kenbe has three mothers and two fathers when everyone is at home.

“Since that first trip we have had a sense of calling there, and after the earthquake we knew we needed to act on it,” said Jason. “Adopting Kenbe is an expression of our faith and our desire to be of help. We feel like we’re the ones who received the blessing.”

North Central College Hosts NAC&U Innovation Summit to Explore Collaboration
Contributed by North Central College

Photo from SummitNorth Central College on Nov. 7-8 hosted 40 faculty members from New American Colleges and Universities (NAC&U) schools at an Innovation Summit to share ideas about how the institutions could collaborate.

The three-day summit brought together professors from various disciplines to brainstorm and recommend to the NAC&U board ways in which the 21 member schools could help each other through collaboration. NAC&U is a national consortium of selective, small to mid-size independent colleges and universities dedicated to the purposeful integration of liberal education, professional studies and civic engagement.  

“Our consortium of 21 colleges and universities from coast to coast has the potential to give students access to the entire country,” said Nancy Hensel, NAC&U president. “Their educations will become more relevant when they’re able to think about where their opportunities could lead them.”

Though the participants’ recommendations won’t be disclosed until after the NAC&U board has a chance to consider them, discussions during brainstorming sessions about potential collaboration included such ideas as pooling resources for distance learning, opening enrollment for study abroad courses to students from other institutions and integrating career services to expand employment opportunities for graduates.

The Innovation Summit was led by California-based education consultant Robin Heyden, who guided the group’s discussion with examples and stories about how innovative ideas are adopted into practices.

“Often we see the use of a new technology is trapped by the old way of doing things,” Heyden told the group. “It takes imagination and nontraditional thinking to get out of that trap.”

NAC&U sponsors projects and conferences, administrator and faculty affinity groups, surveys and data benchmarking and international study programs. Delegates were welcomed to Naperville Nov. 6 by North Central College President Troy D. Hammond.

“In higher education, more than ever before, we need to stay ahead of the game in being innovative—with our academic programs, our recruiting, our finances, our services to students (and) our application of technologies,” Hammond said.

North Central College was among NAC&U’s founding members when the consortium was established in 1995.

Check out a video about the NAC&U Innovation Summit by attendee Dr. Sybril Bennett, executive director of Belmont University's New Century Journalism program.

NAC&U Announces LEAP Partnership with Association of American Colleges and Universities
Collaboration to Focus on Integration of Liberal Arts and Professional Studies

AAC&U LogoThe New American Colleges and Universities (NAC&U) will leverage its members’ collective mission – to purposefully integrate liberal arts, professional studies, and civic engagement – to partner with the Association of American Colleges and Universities’ (AAC&U) on its signature national initiative, Liberal Education and America’s Promise (LEAP): Excellence for Everyone as a Nation Goes to College.  As part of the LEAP States Initiative, public state systems and other consortia of public and private colleges and universities participate collaboratively in the LEAP initiative to accelerate and advance changes to improve student learning outcomes.

Photo of Nancy Hensel“Historically NAC&U has been at the forefront of integrating liberal arts and professional studies, an aspect of undergraduate education that has become increasingly sought after by families and students,” said NAC&U President Nancy Hensel. “We’re grateful for the opportunity to continue building on our mission through AAC&U’s LEAP program because it will allow us to share our findings with a larger audience, which will lead to greater benefits for students.”

As a LEAP partner, NAC&U will strengthen its efforts to purposefully integrate liberal arts and professional studies. Through its participation in LEAP, the consortium will:

  • Develop a curriculum map of where liberal arts and professional skills and civic engagement are integrated into courses at NAC&U campuses.
  • Develop a program guide for students to assist them in planning their course of study to include courses that integrate professional and liberal arts with civic engagement.
  • Solicit syllabi of campus courses and vignettes of project activities that integrate professional and liberal studies and civic engagement to post on the NAC&U website.
  • Publish a monograph describing the innovative ways in which NAC&U campuses foster the development of professional and liberal arts through curricular and co-curricular civic engagement activities.

Photo of Carol”We are so pleased to welcome NAC&U into the family of LEAP partners,” said AAC&U President Carol Geary Schneider.  “The mission of NAC&U is perfectly aligned with the goals of the LEAP initiative and the broad vision for high-quality learning we are working together to advance throughout higher education.”

About LEAP

Liberal Education and America’s Promise (LEAP) is a national advocacy, campus action, and research initiative that champions the importance of a twenty-first century liberal education—for individuals and for a nation dependent on economic creativity and democratic vitality.   LEAP responds to the changing demands of the twenty-first century—demands for more college-educated workers and more engaged and informed citizens. Today, and in the years to come, college graduates need higher levels of learning and knowledge as well as strong intellectual and practical skills to navigate this more demanding environment successfully and responsibly.  Launched in 2005, LEAP challenges the traditional practice of providing liberal education to some students and narrow training to others. Through LEAP, hundreds of campuses and several state systems are making far-reaching educational changes to help all their students—whatever their chosen major field of study—achieve a set of Essential Learning Outcomes fostered through a liberal education.

About AAC&U 

AAC&U is the leading national association concerned with the quality, vitality, and public standing of undergraduate liberal education. Its members are committed to extending the advantages of a liberal education to all students, regardless of academic specialization or intended career. Founded in 1915, AAC&U now comprises nearly 1,300 member institutions—including accredited public and private colleges, community colleges, research universities, and comprehensive universities of every type and size.

AAC&U functions as a catalyst and facilitator, forging links among presidents, administrators, and faculty members who are engaged in institutional and curricular planning. Its mission is to reinforce the collective commitment to liberal education and inclusive excellence at both the national and local levels, and to help individual institutions keep the quality of student learning at the core of their work as they evolve to meet new economic and social challenges.

Information about AAC&U membership, programs, and publications can be found at


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