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ACM Notes-Spring 2007

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


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President's Column

Dear Friends,

ACM's new office suite is open and we hope you can visit. You'll find us in the same building at 205 W. Wacker, in bright second-floor offices overlooking the Chicago River, the El train, and the city beyond. Within this space, our new conference room has already become a crossroads for member colleges, hosting the kinds of gatherings and discussions that keep ACM vital.

  • Moving boxes were still piled along the wall in early January when 17 students came in for a day-long orientation before embarking on an exciting semester in Tanzania.
  • Faculty advisors to the Japan, London & Florence, Tanzania and India programs have met to review student applications, pore over directors' reports, and talk about enrollment trends, finances and curriculum.
  • Administrative groups -- academic deans, vice presidents for advancement, and athletic directors, among others -- have gathered to exchange ideas about the challenges and opportunities facing their institutions, ACM and higher education in general.

These meetings reflect and strengthen one of ACM's core values -- the community that arises from joint action. In an ACM office staff retreat this semester, discussion pointed emphatically to the relationships ACM creates among peers across member campuses as the consortium's greatest asset. Members of the ACM Board of Directors have emphasized the same idea.

Over the years, ACM's common enterprise of providing off-campus study programs has fostered multiple layers of conversation among peer communities. Whether these discussions take place by conference call, by e-mail, in the ACM conference room, or on a member campus, they often generate interesting consensus.

Yet the fact that participants all come from institutions that value inquiry, debate, and a search for improvement means that conversations often take up tough issues. This generates vigorous debate. Recently, such issues have included the structure of the Chicago Arts Program, teacher education needs of member campuses, how to take real advantage of the differences between ACM's research university and small college members, and the future purpose and activities of the ACM.

I trust that conversations among the faculty, staff and leadership of the member colleges and ACM will continue to focus on vital topics. Overall this very variety is a sign of vigor in the ACM, and a promise of an interesting, productive path ahead.

We hope you will be involved in the conversations, and we hope to see you here in your new conference room.

All best,


Christopher Welna, President

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ACM to open off-campus programs in Botswana and Chicago

From southern Africa to the Midwest, changes are coming to ACM off-campus study programs in 2008. The Culture and Society in Africa program will move to a new site in Gaborone, Botswana, and an exciting new program featuring business internships is being created in Chicago.

ACM returns to Southern Africa

ACM will return to southern Africa next year as the Culture and Society in Africa program begins its new affiliation with the University of Botswana in spring 2008.

With one of the most dynamic economies in Africa and 40 years of uninterrupted civilian government, Botswana offers students a view of possible solutions to crises found in other parts of the continent.

Botswana hosts many international governmental organizations, including the Southern Africa Development Council (SADC) and branches of the United Nations. Principal industries are diamond mining, tourism, financial services and cattle ranching. The country boasts extensive nature preserves and has made significant investments in education. Yet Botswana still must grapple with challenges faced by other African nations, such as public health, poverty and rural-to-urban migration.

Students on the program will enroll in the University of Botswana (UB) in the capital city of Gaborone and take courses alongside local students from a menu of offerings in Africa Studies. The ACM faculty director in spring 2008, Kim Lanegran (political science, Coe College) will have Visiting Lecturer status and offer a course to ACM and UB students. She will work with local non-governmental organizations and University faculty to coordinate independent study projects for the program participants.

In addition, the program curriculum includes intensive training in the local language, Setswana, and field trips, both locally and throughout Botswana. The students will live with host families or in UB graduate student dormitories.

From 1989 to 2001, ACM operated a program in Zimbabwe. Due to to rising political and economic instability there, the program was transferred to Dar es Salaam, Tanzania in 2002.

For additional information, visit the Culture and Society in Africa page on the ACM website or contact Meghan Beltmann at ACM (312-263-5000).

Students will get down to business in Chicago

Many graduates of ACM colleges, regardless of their majors, pursue careers in business. And many companies actively recruit liberal arts graduates because of their writing ability and problem-solving skills.

To help prepare students at ACM colleges for business careers, ACM will inaugurate its Chicago Program in Business & Society (CPBS) in fall 2008. The program will be open to students from all majors and is expected to include three main components:

  • A formal internship in a business setting;
  • A core seminar about Chicago and the world of work; and,
  • An elective course on a topic informed by the Chicago experience (e.g. The Immigrant Experience, Chicago and the International Economy, Political Sociology in Cook County).

As with the ACM programs in urban studies and the arts, students will reside in apartments secured through ACM. The ACM Advisory Board of Deans recently appointed faculty advisors to the program, a number of whom have been contacted to advise on the program's structure and curriculum.

For additional information on CPBS, contact Kim Tunnicliff at ACM (312-263-5000).

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Chicago Arts Program curriculum to include a colloquium on working in the arts

Following consultation with a committee of arts faculty from ACM colleges, ACM proposed a change in the curricular components of the Chicago Arts Program (CAP). The proposal was endorsed by the ACM Advisory Board of Deans at their March 2007 meeting and authorized by the ACM Board of Directors at their meeting in April 2007.

The change calls for the offering of a Colloquium on Working in the Arts in Chicago to replace the program's studio workshop component. The Colloquium will afford students the opportunity to explore, develop, compare and evaluate the experience of working in the arts, whether in an arts organization or as a professional artist in Chicago. It will be taught each fall by the ACM Visiting Faculty.

Fall 2007 CAP Visiting Faculty George Williams, Jr. (art and art history, Beloit College) will be working with CAP and ACM staff, along with counsel and advice from the campuses, to formulate this course. While currently a work in progress, a syllabus should be in place in mid-August.

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Mellon smiles on FaCE and renews funding for the project

Building upon three years of successful workshops and other faculty development initiatives, the Mellon Foundation has renewed its support for ACM's Faculty Career Enhancement (FaCE) Project.

The continued grant support will focus on: innovative collaboration among faculty across disciplines and across campuses; collaborative research by faculty and students; and dissemination of the results of the project throughout ACM and beyond.

More information will be posted on the FaCE webpage as planning for the next phase of the project continues.

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Conference will focus on diversity at ACM colleges

Diversity on ACM campuses will be the focus of a major conference on September 28-30 at Colorado College. The conference planning committee has proposed discussion topics such as:

  • Institutional Goals: How are We Meeting our Core Values?
  • The Nurturing of Interdisciplinary Programs that Speak to Diversity
  • Approaches to Diversifying the Curriculum
  • Strategic Planning for New Markets to Diversify a Student Body
  • Faculty Recruitment, Retention, and Mentoring

Participants at the conference will include faculty and administrators in student life, enrollment management, financial aid and other areas. In addition, the ACM Committee on Minority Concerns will hold its fall meeting in connection with the conference.

The conference will be funded in part through a grant provided by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for the Faculty Career Enhancement Project (FaCE). FaCE funds will cover the costs for up to eight participants from each ACM college. Others are welcome to attend, but would require funding from their home institution.

The conference planning committee will meet on May 18 at the ACM office. Inquiries and comments should be directed to Kim Tunnicliff at ACM (312-263-5000).

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Faculty development opportunities

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Meet me in Chicago!

Since moving on January 2, the staff at the ACM office has been settling into Suite 220 at 205 W. Wacker Drive in downtown Chicago. Only the suite number has changed. The rest of the address and all of the telephone numbers remain the same.

The new space boasts a large conference room which will accommodate meetings of up to 28 people. Several ACM groups have already used the new facility, including academic deans, advancement officers, athletic directors, and faculty advisors for several programs.

ACM groups and individuals are encouraged to visit the office and hold meetings there.The office is conveniently located with access by train to both O'Hare and Midway airports. ACM also has arrangements for reasonably priced overnight accommodations nearby. Contact Betsy Hutula at ACM for more information.

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

Posted on May 8, 2007