Skip to main content

ACM Notes-Fall 2008

ACM Notes is a newsletter for faculty and administrators at ACM member colleges.


Table of contents

President’s Column


Dear ACM Colleagues,

While it is not novel to recognize that effective communication is necessary for the success of collective endeavors — thinkers as far back as Plato, after all, had a few things to say about the subject — ACM’s new website effectively shows new links between communication and community.

The web, as we’re still learning, is not just about information but also interaction. We’re excited about this new vehicle for telling the stories of your joint action through ACM. Yet we’re even more enthused about how this new site will help the you and your colleagues come together and collaborate still more effectively, both virtually and face-to-face. 

On this new site students, faculty advisors, and off-campus study staff will find user-friendly web pages for the portfolio of student programs you operate through the ACM, in the U.S. and abroad. The pages, we hope, make visible the specific liberal arts learning goals for each program and the ways each program integrates curriculum and location in a pedagogy of place

The program pages aim to convey a textured sense of what a student’s studies, activities, and life involve at each site, and the life-changing experiences students find there. From the time a student shows initial interest in a program through the application process, enrollment, travel to a site, coursework, evaluation, and alumni outreach, the new website will provide timely information and contact with program staff for students and their parents, professors, and campus advisors.

We expect that the new web presence of ACM off-campus programs, together with simplified brochures that send students to the site, will elicit more applications to the programs. As always, however, strong programs and robust enrollments will continue to depend upon the irreplaceable networks of support from you on ACM campuses, especially through our faculty advisory committees, and through the power of word-of-mouth reports from students returning home.  The website, we hope, will provide timely program information for your efforts within these networks.

The tab called Our Collaborations: Connecting Faculty, Staff, and Students, located at the top of the webpage,  points to another core element of ACM’s mission: the formal and informal building of community among you, the faculty and staff of the ACM colleges. Here, faculty can get information about grants for collaborative research, for joint workshops, for travel to program sites, and for other professional development activities.  You’ll find the latest on ACM conferences and workshops, such as the “Faculty Assessment of Student Learning” workshop on Oct. 24-25 at Lake Forest College.

The calendar at the bottom of every page will quickly show you all the faculty, administrative, program, and governance meetings on the calendar — including the events throughout this year to commemorate ACM’s 50th anniversary.  Members of the ACM speak enthusiastically about the importance of these networking opportunities; we hope this new website helps you build these peer relationships and sustain your collaborations through the consortium.

Resources developed by ACM admissions officers and staff for high school guidance counselors, students, and parents, as well as the activities of the Committee on Minority Concerns (CMC) and the Committee on the Status of Women (CSW) also appear under the Collaborations tab.  They point further to the wide range of our collaborations in ACM.

More is in the works.  In the weeks and months ahead we will add new capabilities to the site to promote the work of constituent communities within the ACM. These will include online registration for ACM events, “intranet” web space for groups of faculty or staff to post and share materials among themselves, and web forms to facilitate data collection and sharing.

An online application will also soon be available for your students looking to join off-campus study programs; and the site should soon feature more student-generated content — including blogs and slideshows — testifying to the impact of our programs. Throughout the site, we’ll be introducing other new visual enhancements — and, happily, a new ACM logo to mark our 50th year as a consortium.

ACM staff, doggedly led by Vice President John Ottenhoff, have worked intensively to launch this (massive) project. Webitects, based in Chicago, has been a terrific partner, starting with their thorough-going efforts to understand the special work we do. We hope the new website helps all of us — on campuses and in consortial offices — to be in active and productive communication as we demonstrate, through joint action, the ways that ACM colleges are exemplars of liberal arts learning.

Please take a look around the site, and help us connect communication and community by letting us know what you think.

Yours in collaborative ventures,

Christopher Welna

Return to Table of Contents


Collegium on Student Learning begins with faculty conference exploring cognitive research


Faculty will have an opportunity this fall to explore ways that new cognitive research might inform — and reinvigorate — classroom teaching. The two-year Collegium on Student Learning, funded by a $150,000 grant from the Teagle Foundation, will begin with a conference on November 21-23 at Monmouth College.

The conference will provide a broad overview of research on student learning, with a particular focus on metacognition — learners’ abilities to predict their performance, to monitor their learning, to reflect on progress, and to make adjustments to achieve their goals. Discussion will move from this overview to more practical applications on how this research informs teaching at liberal arts institutions.

The keynote speaker will be Patricia M. King, Professor of Higher Education at the University of Michigan, whose teaching and research focus on learning and development among late adolescents and adults, including college students. Other sessions will feature more detailed considerations of metacognition, including issues of novice/expert learners, self-reflection, conscious control of learning, analyzing the effectiveness of learning strategies, identifying preconceptions and misconceptions, and transfer of knowledge issues.

One outcome of the November conference will be to form a smaller Collegium Group (ideally, one member from each of the 13 ACM campuses) which will meet in spring and summer 2009 for intense discussions of the research. In these small workshops, the Collegium participants will also begin to design classroom research projects that they will conduct in the 2009-2010 academic year. The products of that research would be reported in a fall 2010 conference, with the hope that a new cycle of research might begin.

Return to Table of Contents


ACM’s Post-doctoral Fellowship Program starts up


Six ACM colleges have begun searching for recent PhDs to be part of the first group of ACM-Mellon Post-doctoral Fellows. The Fellows will be recruited this fall and winter and will begin their two-year positions in fall 2009.

The Fellowships, supported by a generous $4 million grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, are intended to attract scholars who recently completed their graduate work at top research universities to ACM campuses and encourage them to pursue careers in undergraduate teaching and research at liberal arts colleges. The fellowships will also help ACM colleges advance institutional goals in academic programs or departments. The grant program is expected to support up to 26 Fellows over the next five to six years, distributed among the ACM colleges.

The Fellows will teach half-time and have support for their research while also participating in three workshops each year intended to help them build careers in the liberal arts environment.

Six colleges have received authorization to hire in this first round:

  • Coe College: a position in cultural anthropology;
  • Colorado College: a position in environmental security and resource politics;
  • Cornell College: a position in ethics in the philosophy department;
  • Lake Forest College: a position in the religious study of Islam;
  • Ripon College: a position in Asian religions; and
  • St. Olaf College: a position for an ethnomusicologist, shared by the Asian studies and music departments.

Return to Table of Contents


FaCE grants support models of collaboration


The Faculty Career Enhancement (FaCE) project, supported by the Mellon Foundation, seeks to help faculty at ACM colleges develop models of pedagogical and scholarly collaboration. Grants are available to fund projects in the categories of New Research Collaborations and Collaborative Events.

Six projects were funded in the first round of grants awarded during the summer, on topics such as social movement research, assessment of student learning, international student teaching, and Latino Studies.

Faculty at ACM colleges are invited to participate in a FaCE-supported workshop on The Outdoor Classroom: Recent advances in mobile computing for the field sciences in June 2009 <url>.

November 15 is the deadline for proposals for the next round of ACM FaCE Project grants.

Return to Table of Contents



Carol Dickerman joins ACM staff


ACM welcomes Carol Dickerman, who began as Director of International Study Programs in early September. Carol’s primary responsibility is to manage and develop ACM’s international off-campus study programs in Botswana, Tanzania, India, Costa Rica, Brazil, Florence, and London. She will also work with faculty and staff at ACM colleges in creating new ACM programs.

She arrives at ACM from the University of Michigan, where she was Director of the Office of International Programs for 16 years, responsible for the administration of more than 80 study abroad programs for the University’s liberal arts and sciences undergraduates. Under Carol’s leadership, student enrollments and the number and variety of international programs at Michigan increased significantly. She also developed collaborative study abroad programs through CIC, the consortium of Big Ten universities plus the University of Chicago.

Carol is an Africanist, having earned her Ph.D. in African history at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She managed grants and designed research projects in Africa and the Caribbean for the Land Tenure Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Ethiopia. Carol has been active in the Forum on Education Abroad, NAFSA, and CIEE. She earned her undergraduate degree at Middlebury College.

Return to Table of Contents


Soccer Classic kicks off ACM’s 50th year


ACM 50th Anniversary Soccer ClassicACM’s 50th Anniversary celebration got off to a rousing start over Labor Day weekend with a soccer tournament featuring women’s and men’s teams from seven ACM colleges. Carleton, Macalester, and St. Olaf hosted the three-day event and were joined by teams from Colorado, Lake Forest, Lawrence, and Ripon.

“Competition and Collaboration: 1958-2008” was the theme for the ACM 50th Anniversary Invitational Soccer Classic, a tribute to the consortium’s focus on academic collaboration and a reminder that the ten colleges that founded ACM were members of the same athletic conference.

Several other events are being planned to celebrate ACM’s 50th Anniversary.

Return to Table of Contents


Opportunities for faculty as off-campus study program directors and visiting faculty


A variety of semester-length positions are available for programs in Botswana, Tanzania, India, Florence, and London, and at the Newberry Library in Chicago. Applications deadlines are approaching.

Return to Table of Contents


Robyne Hart’s entry on liberal arts blog is a “must read”


Robyne Hart, Director of Business, Entrepreneurship, and Society at the ACM Chicago Programs, wrote a popular entry for the Teagle Foundation’s Liblog, or liberal arts web log. Hart’s July 2007 entry, The Tortoise, the Hare, and a Better Approach to Business Education, was one of the most frequently-read entries on the Liblog during the past year.

Return to Table of Contents

<Go to the ACM Notes archive> 

ACM Notes is published by the Associated Colleges of the Midwest (ACM) for faculty and administrators at the ACM member colleges.

Posted on October 13, 2008