Vol. 3 (new series), No. 2, Winter 2017

President’s Update
First Thoughts as a New ACS Employee
Faculty Advancement Grant Progress and Priorities
Faculty Advancement Program Selection Committee
New Initiatives in Diversity and Inclusion
ACS Welcomes
Enrollment Officers Meeting
International Program Officers’ Meeting
Faculty Produce Study on Enhancing Curricular Coherence
25th Latin American Studies Symposium, April 7-8, 2017
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President’s Update

-Owen Williams
It has been very quiet in the ACS office for the past few months, given the rather introverted nature of the four people on staff, but that has changed dramatically with the addition of two “nuclear power plants.” We are delighted to announce the addition of our newest and long awaited staff members at ACS, both of whom bring great energy and ability to our organization.

Jennifer Dugan has joined us from Randolph College, where she was an Assistant Dean and professor of global studies. As Director of Faculty Programs. Jennifer is now responsible for all aspects of our extensive faculty grants and programs. Dr. Dugan earned a BA in political science from California State University, Los Angeles and a PhD in political science and economics from the University of California, Riverside. She served as an American Council on Education fellow in 2009-2010, and has a special interest in curricular innovation and shared governance in the liberal arts. Her publications include Governing Academic Civic Engagement (Partnerships, 2015) and The Liberal Arts and Organizational Design: Cultivating for Change (Liberal Education, 2015).

Many of you already know Anita Davis, who has joined ACS for three years as part of our Mellon grant programs. Serving as our Director of Diversity and Inclusion, Anita is a tenured member of the faculty at Rhodes College, where she taught courses in the psychology and urban studies programs and held various positions including director of the African American studies program and Associate Dean of Academic Affairs. She holds a PhD in clinical/community psychology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and a BA from Rhodes College. Jennifer and Anita have already scheduled visits to many of our ACS campuses, so expect to meet them soon. They are eager to work with you all.

First Thoughts as a New ACS Employee

–Jennifer Dugan

After settling in ACS Director of Faculty Programs in early January, I started in on the priority that will shape my work over the next months: setting the Faculty Advancement grant process in motion. I am engaged with leaders on our campuses, learning from my counterparts at other consortia, putting web content together, and guiding the creation of a selection committee for work that begins this spring. Now that these core elements are in place, it is a good time to get out on our campuses and meet with faculty and staff to talk about the grant and encourage proposals. For me, the visits are like the icing on the cake.
Our universe of 16 colleges and universities offers something new each day in the ways I approach and meet grant-related goals. I am learning appropriate ways to balance ACS’s call to both lead and follow, to work at multiple levels of governance, and to be a mission-driven advocate for change. While each day I realize what I don’t yet know, I am good at “beginning with the end in mind” and filling in the information gaps. I look forward to coming to work each day, partly because I am getting better at avoiding Atlanta traffic, but mainly because I believe in the power of liberal education to effect positive change. Together with the new ACS Director of Diversity and Inclusion, I can say with confidence that we are off to a strong start.

Faculty Advancement Grant Progress and Priorities

If you haven’t heard of the new ACS Faculty Advancement grant program yet, allow me to outline the basics here. ACS received a grant for 2016-2020 to support faculty advancement in several distinct areas, including innovative instruction, collaborative curriculum, and diversity/inclusion. We produced a short video a few months ago that defines what we mean by those terms, and I encourage you to watch it first. The next step is to engage faculty, staff, and administrators in the process of writing proposals to take advantage of grant funding. You’ll be hearing more from us soon, via the Palladian, our listservs, and campus visits.

The timetable for the 2017-2018 grant cycle looks like this:

  • February-June: ACS will conduct outreach via campus visits, a new grants webpage, and conference calls
  • June 16: Pre-proposals for proposals will be due
  • June-August: ACS will provide guidance on writing final proposals
  • November 2: Full proposals will be due
  • December 15: ACS will announce grant awards
  • January 5: Funding will commence

As you think and talk about funding possibilities, please keep the following information in mind:

Key elements of a successful grant project:

  • Experimentation
  • Innovation
  • Collaboration

Finding collaborators:

Collaboration is a necessary component of all grant proposals. ACS will help you find collaborators. For one, we will provide an online search tool that faculty and staff can use to find each other across member institutions; we want to make it as convenient as possible to form collaborative partnerships. ACS staff will also serve as intermediaries to help connect you with your colleagues at other ACS campuses.

Complete information about the purposes, possibilities, and process for grant funding will soon be available on the ACS website.

Faculty Advancement Program Selection Committee

The creation of a selection committee that will evaluate proposals for new Faculty Advancement grants is now complete. It is a strong group, with members from diverse institutions and backgrounds. The committee’s work will pick up in late spring of 2017, ahead of the June 16 pre-proposal deadline.


Lisa Hibbard: Associate Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Spelman College
Shadow Robinson: Professor and Chair of Physics and Director of the Compass Curriculum, Millsaps College
Betsy Sandlin: Associate Professor of Spanish and co-Director of the Center for Teaching, Sewanee (and Director of the ACS annual summer teaching and learning workshop)
Terri Bonebright: Executive Vice President/Provost and Professor of Psychology, Hendrix College
Jennifer Cavenaugh: Dean of the Faculty and Professor of Theater, Rollins College
Alisa Gaunder: Dean of the Faculty and Professor of Political Science, Southwestern University
Anita Davis, ACS Director of Diversity and Inclusion
Jennifer Dugan, ACS Director of Faculty Programs
Owen Williams, President of ACS, (ex officio)

New Initiatives in Diversity and Inclusion

–Anita Davis
I am honored to have the opportunity to serve as the first ACS Director of Diversity and Inclusion. I look ahead with great excitement to the work that we will accomplish together. The Andrew Mellon foundation recently funded an ACS grant that will support my efforts to achieve the following three major goals.

I will work with each campus to determine the professional development needs for faculty and staff in the area of diversity and inclusion in order to design and implement relevant workshops. These workshops will share some common core elements (e.g., raising awareness about one’s own identities and how they shape interactions with others), but will also include topics tailored to each specific campus.

I will also serve as a resource to support campuses in accomplishing their goals in the area of diversity and inclusion. Even at these early stages of getting to know our campuses better, my conversations have confirmed both the similarities and the great variation among our member institutions in terms of their diversity and inclusion journeys. I will be working to capitalize on the many strengths within the consortium by identifying opportunities for collaboration and sharing of best practices. I am convinced that these collaborations will enable us to share our successes as a consortium with a more national audience.

Finally, I will work collaboratively with colleagues responsible for diversity and inclusion initiatives on each campus to identify a clear sense of the metrics and benchmarks that we as a consortium endorse in the area of diversity and inclusion. In turn, these metrics and benchmarks can be used to help inform the strategic diversity and inclusion plans on our member campuses. ACS will hold a Diversity Summit in the summer of 2018 that will serve as a catalyst for this important endeavor.

I want to close by saying that, without your support, ideas, involvement, and feedback, I will not be able to accomplish these goals. Moreover, as is often the case in the academy and in the world, the landscape for diversity and inclusion shifts quickly. Working together is the best strategy for recognizing and responding to the unique opportunities that we will encounter. I look forward to our work together.

ACS Welcomes. . .

On January 1st of 2017, Will Dudley began his term at Washington and Lee University Dr. Dudley, formerly a Provost of Williams College, is a Virginia native and a philosopher by training. He replaces Ken Ruscio, who was president from 2007 to 2016.

–Owen Williams

Enrollment Officers Meeting

The ACS enrollment officers held their second-ever meeting this past November, in Atlanta, building on the success of their first meeting in February of last year.  The group engaged in a lively philosophical discussion about the merits of joint recruiting and the possible marketing of (or creation of) an “ACS brand” that ties together the ACS members for recruitment purposes.

The group spent a significant amount of time planning for ACS enrollment officers to attend the coming Texas Association for College Admission Counseling (TACAC) Super Conference for college counselors from three regions: Texas, Rocky Mountains, and the South.  The conference will take place in San Antonio, Texas, on April 23-25, 2017.  ACS will participate in several ways, including a panel presentation, hosting a booth at which we will distribute a new ACS brochure about member institutions, attending the card swap, and a reception for ACS members.

Whenever our constituent groups convene, there are always flashes of real brilliance, and this meeting was no exception.  The enrollment officers proposed a large ACS Summit with all constituent groups attending (presidents, provosts, deans of student affairs, CBOs, enrollment officers, etc.), which we all agreed would be well worth the effort and expense.   This idea has been put on the agenda for the annual ACS board meeting of the presidents in June.

International Program Directors Meeting

–Jennifer Dugan, Giselda Beaudin (Rollins), and Anne Ledvina (Birmingham-Southern)

ACS international program officers gathered at Birmingham-Southern College on January 13th and 14th, 2017. Host Anne Ledvina, BSC’s Associate Director of International Programs, welcomed over a dozen colleagues from ACS member institutions. Giselda Beaudin, Director of International Programs at Rollins College, facilitated part of the discussion with two probing questions: How can collaboration for global learning and programming be more effectively coordinated, and what factors get in the way of sustained collaboration? ACS President Owen Williams, with ACS Director of Faculty Programs Jennifer Dugan, gave an overview of the new Mellon grant and helped participants see the possibilities for robust joint programming. Co-curricular partnerships between faculty and staff, along with new uses of technology in intercultural programming, are goals that align well with the grant themes. Several concrete ideas emerged that participants believed would have traction on their home campuses, including:

  • Shared Arabic language instruction and study abroad program(s)
  • Joint and technology-enhanced, pre- and post-departure programming focused on intercultural learning and development
  • The shared goal of increasing the participation of underrepresented students, such as male students and students of color, in study away programs

IPOs and ACS staff will follow through on these ideas and are committed to tangible action to realize their potential.

All ACS member campuses are committed to the “high impact” practice of study away. Students benefit in a myriad of ways from well-designed programs, as do participating faculty and staff. With its new Mellon grant, ACS seeks to fund multi-campus initiatives that expedite the development of these programs, as well as travel support to investigate new locations for potential programs.

For example, a German language content team has discussed consolidating the multiple summer programs offered in Berlin. One member campus has offered to open its program to other ACS institutions, and ACS hopes to offer a collaborative program as early as 2018. Our goals are to offer opportunities for intellectual exchange and reduce the burden and cost of providing these experiences.

We believe that all the other grant themes – blended learning, collaborative curricula, and inclusion and diversity – can be addressed through study away. Pre-trip orientations, post-trip debriefings, and ongoing intercultural learning, for example, can be arranged through video-conferencing and reflective electronic portfolios. ACS is especially enthusiastic about proposals that connect the themes of the grant in new and creative ways.

Faculty Produce Study on Enhancing Curricular Coherence

Faculty from Centre, Millsaps Rollins, and Sewanee recently submitted their results from a study titled “Enhancing Curricular Coherence,” funded by a $50,000 grant from the Teagle Foundation. According to Sarah Lashley, the grant manager, “educators and administrators must ensure that graduates of their institutions can effectively articulate the value of their education and experiences to family, friends and, importantly, potential employers.” Each of the four campuses developed training projects that sought to improve the faculty’s ability to understand and teach the “relevance and connectivity of student learning, curricular initiatives, and co-curricular activities.”

In addition to Dr. Lashley, key faculty included Stephanie Fabritius and John Wilson of Centre, Anita DeRouen and Keith Dunn of Millsaps, Toni Strollo Holbrook and Claire Strom of Rollins, and Eric Hartman and Betsy Sandlin of Sewanee. The full report is available here.

25th Latin American Studies Symposium, April 7-8, 2017

Birmingham-Southern College’s Annual Latin American Studies Symposium is a multi- and inter-disciplinary undergraduate research conference showcasing original research and creative projects conducted during the preceding year by undergraduate students from approximately 30 colleges and universities, including the Birmingham Area Consortium of Higher Education (BACHE) and the Associated Colleges of the South.

Established at BSC in 1992 to foster undergraduate research, the symposium increases public awareness of Latin America and provides a forum for students and faculty to share their interests and to establish contacts with colleagues in other disciplines.

Undergraduate papers on any topic relevant to Latin American Studies may be accepted: politics and culture, the global economy, literature, the environment, public health, gender, and art, for example. The symposium will run from Friday April 7 through Saturday, April 8.

This year’s keynote address “Anticipating Trump’s Taco Bowl of Trials, Tribulations, and Triumphs in Latin America” will be delivered by Vincent T. Gawronski, Ph.D., Professor of Political Science at Birmingham-Southern College.

Visit the symposium website at BSC for more information

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