Through more than five decades of collaboration, the ACM colleges have collectively constructed a powerful asset for their faculty and administrative leaders. ACM facilitates 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 ongoing engagement — and the multiple, overlapping relationships among the campuses it has fostered — enriches the intellectual lives and professional capacity of faculty and administrative leaders alike.
With generous support from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Teagle Foundation, and other partners, ACM continues to offer significant opportunities for faculty collaboration and development.
Current faculty development programs
- The Faculty Career Enhancement (FaCE) Program, funded by grants from the Mellon Foundation, has supported faculty collaboration across ACM campuses and across disciplines. Through workshops, conferences, and research collaborations, FaCE activities are designed to develop and disseminate effective and innovative teaching practices. Thanks to a $2 million renewal grant, FaCE will continue to support innovative, collaborative projects by ACM faculty in teaching, learning, and research through 2020.
The ACM-Mellon Seminars in Advanced Interdisciplinary Learning (SAIL)
are intensive off-campus study experiences for ACM faculty that provide opportunities for them to explore salient topics in cross-disciplinary contexts. The seminars immerse ACM faculty in a setting that encourages multiple perspectives and collaboration across disciplines and lay the foundation for the development of innovative, integrative advanced-level coursework.
- To support the member colleges' efforts in navigating the current economic climate, the ACM is creating the Institute on College Futures (ICF), funded by a grant from the Mellon Foundation. Through a series of seminars and conferences, the ICF aims to build a deeper understanding among ACM faculty of the economic challenges facing their colleges and strategies for strengthening and sustaining college finances.
- The ACM colleges and the CIC research universitities are joining forces in a new program to encourage more underrepresented students to become professors at liberal arts colleges. The seven-year initiative, called the Undergraduate and Faculty Fellows Program for a Diverse Professoriate, is supported by an $8.1 million grant from the Mellon Foundation.
- In a partnership supported by a planning grant provided by the Mellon Foundation, ACM is exploring areas of potential collaboration with major research universities. Enhancing the Midwest Knowledge Ecosystem (EMKE) links ACM with the Committee on Institutional Cooperation (CIC), an academic consortium of universities in the Big Ten Conference along with the University of Chicago.
- Learning from Study Away (LSA) is a continuing project ACM began during the 2013-14 academic year aimed at developing assessment tools to better understand what students are learning on ACM off-campus study programs and to give program faculty and staff information that they can use for program improvement.
- The goal of the Online Learning Project is to explore ways in which online learning could be used to enhance the educational missions of ACM colleges as small, residential liberal arts institutions. Through the project, ACM offered a pilot online course in applied calculus in summer 2013 and, based on the success of the pilot, offered the course again in summer 2014.
- Introducing Change: Introductory Courses and the Nature of Faculty Work, supported by a grant from the Teagle Foundation, has explored ways to help students become "higher-order thinkers" in introductory-level courses, and what kind of impact such changes would have on the structures of faculty work.
ACM faculty also participate in a variety of ways in the consortium's off-campus study programs. See the Opportunities
pages for details.
Past programs for faculty
- With support from the Mellon Foundation, the ACM-Mellon Post-doctoral Fellowships placed new PhDs in two-year teaching and research residencies on campuses of the ACM member colleges. The program, which ran from 2009-10 through 2013-14, combined campus-based mentoring with consortial orientation and workshops to introduce Fellows to the challenges and rewards of teaching, scholarship, and professional development in the residential liberal arts college.
Other ACM faculty development projects in the past decade have included such varied efforts as the ACM-Teagle Collegium on Student Learning, in which a small group of faculty focused on research on metacognition, and the Global Partners Project, which brought together faculty from across ACM, the Great Lakes Colleges Association (GLCA), and the Associated Colleges of the South (ACS).
- ACM institutions have also partnered through the years to share information about admissions data and approaches, to collaborate on meetings to reach college-bound students, and to support publication of pre-college planning materials for high school students and guidance counselors.
- Each year, ACM holds the Nick Adams Short Story Contest, which is open to students at ACM colleges. The winner, selected by a professional writer who serves as the final judge, receives a cash prize provided by a gift from an anonymous donor.