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The New American Colleges and Universities 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.
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Photo of Helen HuNew! Debugging the Gender Inequity in Computer Science

Surveying her students, Westminster College computer science professor Dr. Helen Hu is often reminded of the gender inequity in her field. It’s not unusual for Hu to be the only woman in the room in upper level computer science courses, and she can even recall a second semester course that consisted of only male students. Yet Hu is working on several strategies to correct the gender imbalance in computer science.

Photo of students at campFor the past ten years, Hu has taught a programming course to eighth grade girls at Westminster’s AWE+SUM camp. Although the popular, three-day sleep-away camp usually draws between 60 and 80 girls each summer, Hu knows that it’s too short of a time to have a long-term effect. As a college professor with limited time, she felt that making an impact on high school teachers might be the best way to encourage more girls to pursue computer science. Read more

New! St. Edward’s Focuses on Latinos and other Underrepresented Groups to Ensure Student Success

Photo of bandLocated in Austin, TX, 35 percent of the nearly 5,000 students at St. Edward’s University in 2013 identified as Hispanic/Latino. Additionally, at St. Edward’s, the number of undergraduate college freshmen who characterize themselves as Hispanic/Latino grew from 31.8 percent in fall 2009 to 43.4 percent in fall 2013. Special programs at St. Edward’s make sure that the institution is not leaving it to chance that these students will be successful.

Photo of CAMP participantsThe College Assistance Migrant Program (CAMP) welcomes 35 students each year who come from a family in which migrant or seasonal farm work is the primary source of income. CAMP addresses the challenges these students face when transitioning to college, including providing health care services to them. The students attend a weeklong orientation prior to the start of classes, and upper-class CAMPers serve as mentors to help guide freshmen through their first week on campus.

“From the day they arrive on campus, CAMP students are surrounded by former CAMP participants, CAMP staff and other university advocates,” said CAMP director Esther Yacono. “They attend a team building weekend where they can begin to build new friendships that feel like family.” Read more

photo of BiermannNew! Valparaiso’s Biermann Reflects on His Journey to Provost

In “A Thoughtful Reflection, a Bright Future: Provost Biermann Sees Light at Valpo,” Provost Mark Biermann reflects on his career and coming to Valparaiso University earlier this year. In the article he is quoted: “I desperately miss teaching. I desperately miss being in the classroom with the students. As an academic administrator, if you don’t have a real love for teaching and scholarship, then your chances of being really effective decrease. You have to love what you’re trying to support.” Read more

New! Hamline Exercise Science Students Conduct Research On Side Effect of Statins

Photo of researchUnder the guidance of Hamline University professor and Integrative Physiology Laboratory Director Lisa Ferguson Stegall, a group of undergraduate Hamline students conducted a summer research study entitled, The Effects of Statins on Measures of Cardiorespiratory Fitness, Functional Mobility, and Muscular Strength in Masters Swimmers. Although statin drugs generally do not produce life-threatening side effects, up to 20 percent of individuals using them have experienced muscle damage and weakness. The timely nature of the study means that the high-quality research being done by Hamline students will help advance scientific knowledge on the issue of statin-induced myopathy. Five Hamline students were responsible for determining how to conduct the study. Professor Stegall managed the test-subject recruitment and scheduling, but allowed the students to design the majority of the research. The data collection was carried out in Hamline University’s new physiology laboratory. Read more

Ohio Northern University Joins NAC&U

Photo of campusOhio Northern University in Ada, Ohio, recently joined The New American Colleges and Universities (NAC&U), bringing the total number of members to 23. Ohio Northern University shares the NAC&U core mission to purposefully integrate liberal education, professional studies and civic engagement.

“While all NAC&U institutions are like-minded peers in terms of size and mission, our expanding membership brings diverse backgrounds and expertise to the table,” said Nancy Hensel, president of NAC&U. “Since collaboration is a major initiative for us, expanding our membership will mean more opportunities for students and faculty within the consortium.”

NAC&U members span 15 states. Ohio Northern is one of two current members from Ohio; John Carroll University in University Heights, Ohio, is also a member. This is the second new member that has joined NAC&U this year; the University of La Verne in La Verne, Calif., joined in June. Read more

Widener’s Civic Engagement Portal Facilitates Students’ Connection to the Community

Photo of Elizabeth HousholderWhen Elizabeth Housholder, assistant dean for civic engagement, began working at Widener University in November 2011, she became inundated with the volunteer opportunities available to students in the Chester, PA area where Widener is located. Housholder fielded inquiries via phone, voicemail, email, and in person, and then manually entered them into an internal website for students to view. The process was time-consuming and inefficient, and because the site had limited functionality – sorting and searching the list were not options – students hardly used it.

Seeking a way to “work smarter, not harder,” Housholder was inspired by the Cities of Service websites, an online tool which allows cities to link residents to volunteer opportunities.  She contacted the website’s host, interactive design studio Cloudred, to see if something similar existed for universities, as she had found that building a site from scratch was well beyond her budget. Cloudred CEO Allen Yee quickly replied to say that the product did not exist, but he believed that higher education could be a potential market for his company. Read more


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List of our members:
Arcadia University
Belmont University
Drury University
Hamline University
Hampton University
John Carroll University
Manhattan College
Nazareth College
North Central College
Ohio Northern University
Pacific Lutheran University
St. Edward's University
Samford University
Stetson University
The Sage Colleges
The University of Scranton
University of Evansville
University of La Verne
University of Redlands
Valparaiso University
Wagner College
Westminster College
Widener University