Summer Institute

The annual Summer Institute brings together faculty and/or staff for two days of workshops, discussions, and networking. For 2024 we invite faculty in world languages.

2023: Political Studies
2022: Women Faculty in STEM
2021: Racial Justice in the Public Liberal Arts
2020: Music
2019: Business
2018: Education Matters
2017: Art & Art History
2016: COPLAC Digital
2015: Communications & Marketing
2014: Commitment to Place
2013: Roads Taken
2012: Mathematics
2009: History

Engage with peers:

Discuss common challenges, identify successes, and build strategies for strengthening programs on your campus. Using an interactive form, we explore topics related to political studies in a public liberal arts context. Results of these discussions form both a shared resource and a springboard for further collaboration among COPLAC programs.

Create the Institute’s agenda:

Programming focuses on shared issues. As you register online, select topics you believe will be valuable to discuss with COPLAC peers, indicate which sessions you’d like to facilitate, and suggest additional topics for discussion.

Connect with colleagues:

Enjoy informal conversations with peers, networking opportunities with colleagues, and excursions with friends in the relaxing mountains of North Carolina. The 2024 institute will be held on the beautiful campus of UNC Asheville. The Institute concludes with a session identifying shared best practices; crafts a plan of action for institutions to reach aspirations; and forms recommendations to administrators. Read last year's statement here.

Frequently asked questions

What if I need to cancel?
If you need to cancel, you may transfer your registration to another member of your institution, or we are able to issue full refunds up to 7 days in advance.
What does the schedule look like?
You will help us plan it! Session topics will be selected and led by registrants. We anticipate a mix of plenary and concurrent sessions that will focus on issues relevant to political studies faculty at public liberal arts institutions.
What should I pack?
Dress for the institute is casual, so no need to overpack. Check the weather forecast: nights in the mountains can be cool. Lodging is in a residence hall and linens/towels/pillows are provided, but other amenities that a hotel might offer are not. Bring your own toiletries, alarm clock, hair dryer, etc. (Campus is also walking distance from a CVS, Trader Joes, etc.)
Will I have time to explore Asheville?
Yes! On Friday afternoon you will have a choice of off-campus excursions. Friday night will be dinner on-your-own downtown where there is a wide variety of restaurants, pubs, coffee shops, and specialty dessert locations. If you would like to extend your visit to Asheville, we are not able to offer additional nights in the residence hall but there are numerous hotels, Airbnbs/Vrbos, and traditional B&B options.
Where can I park on campus?
If you are driving yourself to the Institute, we will provide you with a parking pass at check-in. Parking is available in a deck P4 on the campus map right next to the residence hall (R10).
Do I need to prepare a presentation?
No, the sessions will be largely informal. Please simply come prepared to discuss with your colleagues your experiences, challenges, and best practices as faculty at public liberal arts colleges.
Will there be another Summer Institute for faculty in world languages?
The Institute changes focus every year so unfortunately, we will not be able to offer this event for political studies faculty again. We hope, though, that the connections you make during this year's event will help you for years to come by providing a network of colleagues across the consortium.
What meals are provided?
Reception and dinner Thursday; breakfast, lunch, and breaks Friday; breakfast, lunch, dinner and breaks Saturday. (Friday dinner is on-your-own downtown and Sunday breakfast is on-your-own while traveling.)
When does the airport shuttle run?
We will have the shuttle running between the airport and campus from 12-4pm on Thursday afternoon and from 4:30-11am on Sunday morning. If your arrival or departure is outside these windows, please let Claire Bailey know at
How accessible are your campus and facilities?
Distances at UNC Asheville are easily walkable but we are in the mountains, so campus is not flat! We can provide rides from the residence hall to the meeting areas if needed. The residence hall does have an elevator, and ground floor rooms are available upon request.