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Three-Year Grant Supports Institutionalizing High-Impact Practices in the Liberal Arts

Published: February 18, 2020

Three-Year Grant Supports Institutionalizing High-Impact Practices in the Liberal Arts

Students from ACM member colleges explore the National Museum of Mexican Art in Chicago. Undergraduate research and community-based learning are among the high-impact practices in the liberal arts that ACM colleges will work to better understand and institutionalize, supported by a grant from the Arthur Vining Davis Foundations.

Undergraduate research, community-based learning, and their intersection—community-based research­—are all known to be high-impact educational practices in the liberal arts. But what are the best practices when it comes to high-impact teaching, and how can colleges institutionalize these to maximize student learning?

The 14 member colleges of the Associated Colleges of the Midwest are working to answer these questions with the help of a $297,500 grant from the Arthur Vining Davis Foundations, $100,000 of which will fund a competitive re-granting phase to encourage faculty projects. This is the ACM’s first grant from the Arthur Vining Davis Foundations.

“We are incredibly grateful to the Arthur Vining Davis Foundations for supporting this study of high-impact practices in the liberal arts,” said Sonya Malunda, President of the ACM. “Through this project, members of the Associated Colleges of the Midwest will enhance their capacities to institutionalize these practices in an academic setting, and we look forward to hearing their findings and sharing them with the higher education community broadly.”

“Through this project, members of the Associated Colleges of the Midwest will enhance their capacities to institutionalize these practices in an academic setting, and we look forward to hearing their findings and sharing them with the higher education community broadly.”

Sonya Malunda, President of the ACM

In the first year of the Collaboration to Institutionalize High-Impact Practices in the Liberal Arts project, which commences this month, ACM colleges will inventory their current undergraduate research, community-based learning, and community-based research activities. The year will culminate with a conference of all the colleges in November to evaluate the inventory and identify strategies to better institutionalize those practices.

In the second year, faculty will propose collaborative projects to drive innovation on and across the 14 campuses with the promise to institutionalize high-impact practices. A steering committee of three ACM Deans will evaluate the proposals and distribute $100,000 in re-granting funds from the Arthur Vining Davis Foundations to support the projects, which will run during years two and three.

“The funding from the Arthur Vining Davis Foundations will encourage innovative faculty development opportunities as well as collaboration among our 14 member colleges.”

Brian Williams, Vice President for Faculty Development and Grant Programs at the ACM

At the end of the third year, the ACM will host a summative conference where faculty will share curricular and structural outcomes from their funded projects, and participants will discuss and set strategies to disseminate and institutionalize the findings across ACM member colleges. ACM staff will coordinate closely with a Steering Committee composed of ACM academic leaders to implement all three phases of this project. The members of that Committee include: Karine Moe, Provost and Dean of the Faculty, Macalester College; Beverly Nagel, Dean of the College, Carleton College; Michael Schneider, Provost and Dean of the College, Knox College; and Davis Schneiderman, Krebs Provost and Dean of the Faculty, Lake Forest College.

“The funding from the Arthur Vining Davis Foundations will encourage innovative faculty development opportunities as well as collaboration among our 14 member colleges,” said Brian Williams, Vice President for Faculty Development and Grant Programs at the ACM. “Through the faculty projects, we expect to identify and implement new incentive structures that will reliably improve student access to high-impact practices, increase their participation, and ultimately enhance their education.”

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