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COPLAC Articles


Andrew W. Mellon Foundation supports Digital Liberal Arts initiative.

COPLAC has been awarded a three-year grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to scale up its multi-campus, distance- and team-taught digital liberal arts research seminars.

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Campuses convene for 6th annual conference October 22-23, 2015

Seven of our member campuses gathered at Ramapo College of New Jersey for the 6th annual Northeast Regional Undergraduate Research, Scholarly, and Creative Activity Conference.

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Chairs' Leadership Institute Planned

At its recent Annual Meeting, the COPLAC Board approved the establishment of a Department Chairs/Program Directors' Summer Leadership Institute, to be launched in June 2016 at Southern Utah University.

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Faculty and Student Award Winners Named

Ryan Lindsay, an Outdoor Education/Physical Education major at the University of Alberta’s Augustana Campus has been named the recipient of the 2015 David J. Prior COPLAC Award. Eastern Connecticut State University Psychology Professor Margaret Letterman and University of Alberta-Augustana German Associate Professor Kim Misfeldt have been chosen to share the 2015 Charles Dunn COPLAC Award.

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New Digital Liberal Arts Seminars Planned

Faculty members from seven COPLAC campuses met recently at the University of Mary Washington to share and discuss topics for future multi-campus seminars in digital liberal arts. The current “Century America” seminar, involving 12 students from six COPLAC campuses, will wrap up in May 2015. Future team-taught seminars will explore topics ranging from personal and institutional narratives of campus life to the architectural transformations of member campuses.

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Mansfield University joins COPLAC

On January 23rd, 2015, Mansfield University of Pennsylvania was invited to membership in COPLAC by unanimous vote of the Governing Board. Mansfield President Fran Hendricks joined his new colleagues at the Annual Meeting of AAC&U to accept the formal invitation to join the consortium. COPLAC’s 29 member institutions now represent 27 States and one Canadian Province.

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COPLAC Prepares for AAC&U Centennial

Faculty and student leaders of COPLAC's "Century America" multi-campus digital history project will present their work on Thursday January 22 at the centennial meeting of the Association of American Colleges and Universities. COPLAC's Governing Board will meet to consider new programming initiatives on Friday January 23rd.

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Northeast Regional Conference expands

The fifth annual Northeast Regional Undergraduate Research conference saw a few changes this year, with positive results.

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COPLAC in Change Magazine

Truman State University alumna Analia Albuja and University of Mary Washington Economics Professor have co-authored an article for the current edition of Change Magazine, a leading print and electronic publication covering key innovations in higher education.

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Commitment To Place Initiative Begins

COPLAC's "Commitment to Place" initiative will document the work of civic learning and engagement on its member campuses and assess the student learning outcomes of these community-based educational experiences.

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University of South Carolina Aiken Joins COPLAC

At its recent Annual Meeting, the COPLAC Board of Governors voted unanimously to extend an offer of membership to the University of South Carolina Aiken. Founded in 1961 and currently enrolling 3200 students, USC Aiken becomes the 28th member campus.

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Summer Institute 2014 "Commitment to Place"

The 2014 COPLAC Summer Institute at UNC Asheville brought together thirty-four faculty and staff members from fourteen COPLAC campuses across the country to discuss civic engagement and launch the year-long initiative "Commitment to Place."

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David J. Prior COPLAC Award Winners Announced

Two students have been named winners of the David J. Prior Award for 2014. Jane Jackson (Fort Lewis College) and Sherry Leung (SUNY Geneseo) submitted outstanding essays describing the transformative power of the liberal arts and sciences experience at a COPLAC institution.

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COPLAC Campuses Travel to Montevallo for Undergraduate Research

The University of Montevallo welcomed student researchers from Georgia College, New College of Florida, University of North Carolina at Asheville, and University of Virginia’s College at Wise earlier this month for a two-day Southeast Regional Undergraduate Research Conference. Over thirty student researchers presented their original scholarship through both poster and oral presentations. The presentations ranged throughout the natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities and reflected a wide variety of interests and experiences.

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COPLAC Gets a Facelift

At January's COPLAC Board Meeting, the Presidents and Chancellors of the member institutions approved a new logo and look for our webpage and print media, designed by COPLAC students.

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COPLAC Celebrates Women’s History Year-round

Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts welcomed a legend to their campus this week as a part of their public policy lecture series and coinciding nicely with national Women’s History Month. Feminist icon and renowned writer Gloria Steinem spoke about issues facing women both in the United States and abroad. MCLA President Mary Grant pointed out the inequalities in pay for women and in their representation in leadership roles. According to Inside Higher Ed , in 2011 women made up only 26.4% of college presidents in the US. But a different trend has emerged at COPLAC member institutions, where 48% of both presidents/chancellors and chief academic officers are women.

To read more about the MCLA event click here.

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Roads Taken Reaches Its Destination

At the annual meeting of the Association of American Colleges and Universities COPLAC introduced its new publication, Roads Taken: The Professorial Life, Scholarship in Place, and the Public Good. A collection of essays written by COPLAC faculty members, the book examines the paths that lead those faculty to careers at small, public liberal arts schools. Those paths are sometimes surprising, requiring many adaptations to adjust to a life very different from their graduate studies at large research universities.

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Century America Digital Liberal Arts Project

The Century America Digital Liberal Arts Project is a collaborative effort between member campuses of the Council of Public Liberal Arts Colleges founded before 1914, the year when World War I began in Europe.

Using special collections and other library, campus and community resources, students will research their college communities in the year 1914, their missions and challenges, together with the life of the surrounding communities, just as Europe plunged into the Great War. The research will then shift to Spring 1917, when America entered the War, and look at those same communities in 1919, when a major influenza pandemic swept across the globe.

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4th Annual Northeast Regional Undergraduate Research Conference

Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) was the setting for this year's Northeast Regional Undergraduate Research Conference.

4th Annual

Over 100 student researchers, creative artists and performers from six COPLAC member campuses came together to share and discuss their work. Students were accompanied by faculty mentors, undergraduate research directors and senior administrators.

See photos of the event on Facebook...

Read more from MCLA's student newspaper, The Beacon...

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Inauguration of Dr. Glen Jones

Henderson State University will invest Dr. Glen Jones as its 17th University President on October 29, 2013, marking a new era for Henderson.

Dr. Jones' journey to become President began at Henderson State as a first-generation college student from a working class family. Dr. Jones "came to Henderson as a student athlete with a promise from his coach to his mother that he would be looked after if she allowed him to come. Now, Glendell, in the same way, desires to give back to another generation of students by promising their parents that their students will be well taken care of and given a great education at Henderson."

Since Dr. Jones' arrival, the campus has seen multiple facility upgrades and an expansion of majors for students to choose from.

The Council of Public Liberal Arts Colleges would like to congratulate Dr. Jones on his investiture and welcome his example of what a public liberal arts graduate can achieve.

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Inauguration of Dr. Kathryn Foster

University of Maine at Farmington celebrated the inauguration of Dr. Kathryn Foster as the 14th University President on October 4, 2013. An alumnus of Johns Hopkins, Berkeley, and Princeton, Dr. Foster brings her specialty in Regional Resilience to Farmington.

"Under Foster's leadership since her arrival last year, UMF received a full ten-year accreditation from the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, created a Division of University Advancement, expanded university governance and oversaw numerous changes to campus facilities and programs."

The Council of Public Liberal Arts Colleges applauds Dr. Foster on her great achievements.

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COPLAC Civic Learning and Engagement Project

COPLAC is joining with AAC&U and the LEAP Initiative to broaden the mission of higher education to include educational experiences and practices critical to a healthy democracy. During 2013-2014, COPLAC will work with AAC&U Senior Fellow Joseph Urgo to inventory current practices in the areas of civic learning and democratic engagement, highlight common curricular and co-curricular emphases, and begin to share best practices across the consortium.

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Scenes from the Annual Meeting at Shepherd University

The 25th Anniversary Meeting of COPLAC took place on the campus of Shepherd University on 20-22 June.

Close to 100 participants from 25 member campuses shared best practices in the creative and performing arts. Concurrent sessions for IR officers, chief academic officers, and Teagle Grant Steering Committee members set new goals for the 2013-2014 academic year. Photos and video from the meeting are now available on the COPLAC Facebook and Youtube sites. Facebook pictures Flickr pictures

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Annual Meeting Set for Shepherd University

The 25th Anniversary Meeting of COPLAC will take place on the campus of Shepherd University in West Virginia on 20-22 June. Registration information is now available at http://www.shepherd.edu/coplac/

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David J. Prior Award for 2013 Announced

COPLAC is pleased to recognize Mr. Cory Young (SUNY Geneseo) as the winner of the inaugural David J. Prior Award. The Prior Award, established in June 2012 in memory of UVa-Wise Chancellor and COPLAC President David J. Prior, celebrates a student whose academic career has been shaped by the transformative power of the liberal arts and sciences experience at a COPLAC institution.

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Why We Need the Liberal Arts

Joseph Urgo, President of St. Mary's College of Maryland

Aspects of recent debates about the value of a liberal arts education, its usefulness and its appropriateness strike a familiar and disturbing historical chord...

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COPLAC Welcomes Three New Leaders

Dr. Donna Price Henry appointed Chancellor of the University of Virginia’s College at Wise

Dr. Christopher Ames appointed Vice President for Academic Affairs at Shepherd University

Dr. Risa Dickson appointed Provost at Henderson State University

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COPLAC Schedule Set for AAC&U

The Council of Public Liberal Arts Colleges will sponsor two panel presentations at the 2013 Annual Meeting of the Association of American Colleges and Universities in Atlanta. In addition, there will be an afternoon working meeting for board members on Wednesday 23 January, a breakfast meeting for chief academic officers on Thursday 24 January, and a Thursday evening working meeting for members of the Teagle Grant Steering Committee. For a full schedule, click here.

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Northeast Regional Undergraduate Research Conference

Eastern Connecticut State University hosted the 3rd Annual Northeast Regional Undergraduate Research Conference on October 26-27. Over 150 student researchers, faculty mentors, deans and provosts from six COPLAC campuses (Keene State College, SUNY Geneseo, Ramapo College, MCLA, Maine-Farmington, and Eastern) participated in the meeting.

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COPLAC Welcomes Five New Presidents to Our Board

COPLAC is pleased to welcome five new presidents to our governing board. Pictured here, left to right: Michael T. Benson of Southern Utah University, Glendell Jones, Jr. of Henderson State University, Kathryn Foster of the University of Maine at Farmington, Donal O'Shea of New College of Florida, and Steve Dorman of Georgia College.

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Southern Utah University Joins COPLAC

On June 23rd 2012, the COPLAC Board voted unanimously to approve Southern Utah University for membership in the organization. As Utah’s designated Public Liberal Arts and Sciences University, SUU becomes COPLAC’s twenty-seventh member institution and the second campus located in the Intermountain West.

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COPLAC Named an AAC&U LEAP State

The Association of American Colleges and Universities has announced that COPLAC is now a member of the nation-wide LEAP States initiative. Eight states are currently part of the initiative and COPLAC represents the first consortium partner. COPLAC’S focus project for LEAP will be the expansion and institutionalization of undergraduate research.
Learn more here

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COPLAC Receives Teagle Foundation Grant for 2012-2014

The Teagle Foundation of New York has awarded COPLAC a two year grant under the Foundation's "Faculty Work and Student Learning in the 21st Century" initiative. The grant will support a pilot project to share faculty expertise through distance mentoring of undergraduate research. www.teaglefoundation.org

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