The Associated Colleges of the Midwest (ACM) is a consortium of academically excellent, independent liberal arts colleges located in Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Colorado.
They are among the oldest, most prestigious undergraduate institutions in the nation, and each has a distinctive identity and set of traditions. At the same time, the ACM colleges share many characteristics, especially a fundamental commitment to the liberal arts as the best preparation for life, employment, and contributing to society.
ACM colleges are residential; student engagement — both within the campus community and in the wider world — is an integral aspect of the education these colleges provide. Challenging curricula, close contact with faculty, undergraduate research opportunities, off-campus study, community service, internships and a wealth of co-curricular activities are all parts of the college experience for students at ACM institutions.
Leaders in innovative education
Through the years, the ACM colleges have been leaders in providing innovative education that engages students as active participants in the learning process. This leadership is exemplified by the colleges’ achievements in international study and instruction in the sciences, as well as an emerging involvement in instructional technology.
ACM has offered consortial off-campus study programs for more than 50 years. Individual ACM colleges also offer programs in locations around the world and in subjects ranging from art history to marine biology. Each year, nearly 1,500 students from ACM colleges spend a term or longer on an off-campus study program. On some ACM campuses, one-half to three-fourths of recent graduating classes have participated in off-campus study.
ACM colleges have a rich history of shared commitment to promoting excellence in teaching and learning, especially as achieved through collaboration. ACM presidents, deans, faculty, and administrators meet regularly to shape policies and share information. Through the generous support of partner foundations and organizations, ACM faculty pursue collaborative projects focused on innovations in teaching, student learning, and research.
Over five decades of collaboration, the ACM colleges have collectively constructed a powerful asset for their faculty and administrative leaders: a variety of forums and other opportunities for peers to discuss not only the direction of programs but, with great candor, the common challenges and emerging opportunities they face on their campuses. This experience has shown that regular, ongoing engagement with peers from other campuses — especially when set in the context of multiple, overlapping relationships among the campuses — enriches the intellectual lives and professional capacity of faculty and administrative leaders alike.