The Washington, D.C.-based Council of Independent Colleges has announced the appointment of Brenau University President Ed Schrader to a 22-member blue-ribbon panel to develop a plan that encourages independent colleges and universities to revitalize their missions and business models to be more responsive to needs of future students.
The project will explore new approaches to higher education, alternative college business models, and potentially disruptive trends in American society and education along with the traditional characteristics and missions of independent liberal arts colleges that are regarded as essential to their success.
Entitled The Future of Independent Liberal Arts Colleges, the project is funded by the Lumina Foundation, the independent Indianapolis-based organization dedicated to expanding educational opportunities beyond high school.
“This is an exciting opportunity for me and presidents of other top liberal arts institutions in the United States to discuss openly the ‘elephant-in-the-room’ issue in higher education,” said Schrader. “I believe that liberal arts institutions like Brenau still produce the best examples of well-rounded, critically thinking graduates. The models that served liberal arts institutions well in the 18th and 19th centuries need to adapt to a fast-paced, global society.”
Brenau, based in Gainesville, Georgia, about 50 miles north of Atlanta, started in 1878 as an all-female seminary. Although the Brenau Women’s College today is growing as one of only 45 U.S. women’s colleges, the not-for-profit, independent Brenau also has expanded with coeducational undergraduate and graduate opportunities online and on campuses throughout Georgia. Some of its best programs include doctoral-level clinical health care programs in nursing, occupational therapy, physical therapy and specialized master of business administration degrees in multiple specialties.
“Predictions about the future of higher education by politicians, journalists, and policy analysts often disregard or deride the effectiveness of traditional colleges and universities,” said CIC President Richard Ekman. “CIC, however, has always tried to find an appropriate balance between innovations in higher education that show real promise for the future and the existing features of member institutions that have long demonstrated their value. In this spirit, CIC’s new project will explore the future of independent colleges.”
The commission plans to convene Sept. 16-17 in Washington to develop a research agenda for the following year. After CIC staff members and others complete the various studies, the commission will regroup to produce an action plan to help CIC member institutions deliberately reexamine their missions and long-term strategic plan in intentional ways.
Others on the committee include: Steven C. Bahls, president of Augustana College in Rock Island, Illinois; Luis Maria R. Calingo, president of Woodbury University in Burbank, California; Ronald L. Carter, president of Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte, North Carolina; Roger N. Casey, president of McDaniel College in Westminster, Maryland; Margaret L. Drugovich, president of Hartwick College in Oneonta, New York; Elizabeth A. Fleming, president of Converse College in Spartanburg, South Carolina; Thomas F. Flynn, president of Alvernia University in Reading, Pennsylvania; Christopher B. Howard, president of Hampden-Sydney College in Hampden Sydney, Virginia; Todd S. Hutton, president of Utica College in Utica, New York; Chris Kimball, president of California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks, California; Walter M. Kimbrough, president of Dillard University in New Orleans, Louisiana; Larry D. Large, president of Oregon Alliance of Independent Colleges and Universities in Portland, Oregon; Paul J. LeBlanc, president of Southern New Hampshire University in Hooksett, New Hampshire; Mary B. Marcy, president of Dominican University of California in San Rafael, California; John McCardell, President and Vice Chancellor of Sewanee: The University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee; Kevin M. Ross, president of Lynn University in Boca Raton, Florida; Elizabeth J. Stroble, president of Webster University in Webster Groves, Missouri; Henry N. Tisdale, president of Claflin University in Orangeburg, South Carolina; Edwin H. Welch, president of University of Charleston in Charleston, West Virginia; John S. Wilson, president of Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia; and Cynthia Zane, president of Hilbert College in Hamburg, New York.