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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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Integrating Liberal Arts, Professional Studies, and Civic Responsibility


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New! California Lutheran University Becomes a Member of NAC&U

Photo of chapel interiorCalifornia Lutheran University has joined The New American Colleges and Universities (NAC&U), a consortium of colleges and universities that purposefully integrate liberal education, professional studies and civic engagement.

“Cal Lutheran encourages students to find their purpose in life and commit to serving their local and global communities. They do this through meaningful experiential learning and faculty-student interactions,” said Nancy Hensel, president of NAC&U. “This approach strongly aligns with NAC&U members who, as a group, are dedicated to providing hands-on, integrative learning, access to faculty and civic engagement opportunities.”

NAC&U affords its members many opportunities to collaborate on projects and share best practices through events such as its annual Summer Institute, grant-funded projects such as its recent Teagle Foundation-funded monograph, “Redefining the Paradigm: Faculty Models to Support Student Learning,” and multi-campus projects, such as its Civic Engagement Collaborative which will launch in Fall 2015. Read more

New! NAC&U Welcomes Roger Williams University into Consortium

Photo of campus signRoger Williams University, located in Bristol, R.I., recently joined The New American Colleges and Universities (NAC&U), a consortium of colleges and universities that purposefully integrate liberal education, professional studies and civic engagement.

“The approach to education at Roger Williams University mirrors that of our members,” said Nancy Hensel, president of NAC&U. “Their emphasis on blending strong liberal arts programs with well-regarded professional schools while providing experiential education through community service, study abroad and undergraduate research makes Roger Williams an ideal fit for our organization.”

NAC&U members are small- to medium-sized institutions across the nation that are committed to providing hands-on, project-based learning so that students can connect theory to practice and classroom learning to real-world situations. Members also emphasize civic responsibility from a local, regional and global perspective. Read more

Faculty, Administrators Network and Move Forward on Collaborative Projects at Summer Institute

Photo of group at SIThe 19th Annual Summer Institute held at Hamline University from June 17-19, 2015, gave administrators and faculty the opportunity to explore news ways of addressing opportunities and challenges in higher education.

The theme, “Convergence: Developing the Holistic University,” was inspired by the recent release of the Teagle-funded monograph, “Redefining the Paradigm: Faculty Models to Support Student Learning.” There was an extensive department chair workshop to learn how to begin creating holistic departments – or elements thereof – on their campuses.

Pre-conference activities included constituency meetings among ambassadors and civic engagement directors, with the latter completing plans to launch the NAC&U Civic Engagement Collaborative this fall. Ambassadors provided provosts and presidents with an impressive recap of collaborative activities during the past year, including the development of an early career faculty institute to begin this fall. Read more

Photo of Nuala BoyleNAC&U’s New Civic Engagement Collaborative Will Draw on Members’ Strengths to Promote Sustainable Pre-K to 12 Outreach

This fall NAC&U will launch a Civic Engagement Collaborative (CEC) that will bring campus, community and student leaders together through reciprocal community-based partnerships that encourage opportunities for social innovation while deepening members’ shared commitment to civic engagement. The first collaborative project will focus on pre-K to 12 education issues that are important to the various communities, whether it is literacy, graduation rates or other forms of youth empowerment.

Photo of SamanthaOrganizing an effort of this magnitude across a nationwide consortium required dedicated coordinators. Nuala Boyle, director of the Center for Civic Engagement at Nazareth College, and Samantha Siegel, director of the Center for Leadership and Community Engagement of Wagner College, spent the 2014-15 academic year initiating and directing conferences calls and a planning meeting to move forward with the CEC. The group also met prior to the Summer Institute at Hamline University where they had the opportunity to discuss the CEC with 2015 Boyer Award recipient Ira Harkavy, associate vice president and founding director of The Netter Center for Community Partnerships at the University of Pennsylvania. Read more

Photo of Brownell with Satyan Devadoss
Eileen V. Brownell (l) with Satyan Devadoss, one of the speakers at the Summer Institute.

Sage Students Build Foundation before Committing to Civic Engagement

Building on the civic engagement theme at the Summer Institute, Eileen V. Brownell, an associate professor and chairperson of the School of Management at The Sage Colleges, gave an inspirational workshop on how she approached a civic engagement project in the Leadership and Diversity course that she teaches.

“I didn’t want to go in on the first day and say ‘We’re doing this project’ because then it’s Professor Brownell’s project, not theirs,” said Brownell.

Instead Brownell encouraged students to take ownership of the civic engagement project, leading to greater satisfaction for the students and positive outcomes for the community partner, the Brighter Choice Charter School in Albany, NY that sought to boost enrollment and retention in afterschool programs.  Before the project began, the program was filling only 65 of its available 80 spots. That meant there were stages—action exercises designed to build trust and inspire cooperation – before the project could be introduced to students. This was a critical component of the course. Read more

Westminster Announces New President

Photo of Stephen MorganWestminster College’s Board of Trustees unanimously voted to appoint Stephen R. Morgan as Westminster College’s 18th president. President Morgan has been serving as acting president since February when Dr. Brian Levin-Stankevich announced his retirement from Westminster. A formal inauguration will take place in September.

President Morgan has devoted more than 30 years to Westminster in various administrative roles, most recently as the vice president of the Office of Institutional Advancement. During his tenure, he led the growth of the college’s endowment to more than $70 million and directed fundraising for major construction projects, including the Giovale Library, renovations to the Gore School of Business and the Shaw Center, and the construction of the Emma Eccles Jones Conservatory, the Dolores Doré Eccles Health, Wellness, & Athletic Center and the Meldrum Science Center. Morgan received his BA in accounting from the University of Utah and is a certified public accountant (CPA). His wife and their three children are all Westminster graduates. Morgan has served on the executive cabinet of six presidents at Westminster College. Read more

University of New Haven Becomes Newest NAC&U Member

Photo of UNH campusThe University of New Haven, West Haven, Conn., recently joined The New American Colleges and Universities (NAC&U), a consortium of colleges and universities that purposefully integrate liberal education, professional studies and civic engagement.

“We are excited to welcome the University of New Haven as an NAC&U member,” said Nancy Hensel, president of NAC&U. “The University’s strength in combining experiential education with a strong liberal arts foundation makes them a valuable addition to our current membership.”

Although regionally diverse, NAC&U members Photo of Steven Kaplanare like-minded peers in terms of size and mission and therefore can come together to collaborate on projects and share best practices in a warm, collegial manner.

“I am thrilled that NAC&U recognized that UNH is a university on the move and thus voted to include us,” UNH President Steven H. Kaplan said. “We will benefit a great deal from this affiliation as the current members are what we would consider role models in the area of engaged learning.  All of these schools rank among the very best in their respective regions and our interactions with them will strengthen us as we continue the transformation of UNH.” Read more

NAC&U Publication Aims to Increase Student Learning by Restructuring Faculty Workloads, AssessmentsPhoto of book cover

Read "Redefining the Paradigm..."

When the New American Colleges and Universities (NAC&U) meet next week for the consortium’s 20th anniversary and annual Summer Institute they will discuss findings from a two-year Teagle Foundation-funded project on forming holistic departments and updating methods used to evaluate faculty. The project team, including 16 of NAC&U’s members, has created  “Redefining the Paradigm: Faculty Models to Support Student Learning” – a monograph that encourages colleges and universities to more effectively structure departments to address changes in higher education and better support student learning.

“Colleges and universities haven’t really changed the way departments are structured and the way faculty are evaluated despite major shifts in pedagogy and faculty responsibilities over the past few decades,” said the monograph’s co-editor David Salomon, professor of English and director of undergraduate research at The Sage Colleges. “We need to move away from viewing professors as the ‘sage on the stage’ and instead focus on the various activities – inside and outside of the classroom – that they do to foster student learning and advance the institutional mission.”

In the monograph, NAC&U outlines a new way of organizing departments and programs as “holistic departments” and recommends a new process for faculty evaluation called “the learning-centered paradigm.” Traditionally faculty have been evaluated on scholarship, teaching and service, but this monograph addresses the reality that faculty are engaged in many activities that cannot be easily separated into those categories. Instead, it argues for a holistic view of a department’s collective workload and seeks to achieve fluid, equitable workloads that can change as the department’s and faculty members’ needs change. Read more

Notable Quotations from NAC&U Member Commencement Ceremonies

Congratulations to the Class of 2015! Below are a few memorable quotations from commencement speeches.

Photo of graduation at HamlineHamline University

"In a way, each of us will walk away from Hamline with a degree in global citizenship. And when asked “so what are you gonna do with that?,” we can confidently respond: 'Make a difference.'"

—Andrew Brady, Hamline University Class of 2015

Drury University

“The quality of education you’ve had here at a small liberal arts university will serve you well for the rest of your life. All you need to do is leave Drury University with your degree in one hand and your self-esteem in the other – and look out, world.”

—Dr. Will Keim, motivational speaker and author

Wagner College

“I finished my undergrad experience 13 years ago, and the truth is, no one ever asks me anymore, ‘So, Wes, what did you major in in college?’ ... The question that will never fade for you is, ‘Who did you choose to fight for? Who did you choose to stand up for when it wasn’t easy? Who did you choose to advocate for when it wasn’t convenient? Who did you choose to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with when it might have been just you two standing there, but you did it because it was the right thing to do?’ What you study will fade. Who you fight for will not.”

—Wes Moore, authorPhoto of King Harald

Pacific Lutheran University

"When the Queen and I visited PLU 20 years ago, she received an Honorary Doctorate – of which I have been informed quite a few times. I am therefore particularly proud to have been awarded an Honorary Doctorate myself. Finally, the Queen and I are equal – at least on your campus."

—His Majesty King Harald V of Norway, who received a Doctor of Laws jure dignitatis, an honor his wife, Queen Sonja, received 20 years ago

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List of our members:

Arcadia University
Belmont University
California Lutheran University
Drury University
Hamline University
Hampton University
John Carroll University
Manhattan College
Nazareth College
North Central College
Ohio Northern University
Pacific Lutheran University
Roger Williams University

St. Edward's University
Samford University
The Sage Colleges
The University of Scranton
University of Evansville
University of La Verne
University of New Haven
University of Redlands
Valparaiso University
Wagner College
Westminster College
Widener University