NAC&U Launches the New American Academic Community

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Collaboration will Offer Nationwide Opportunities for Faculty and Students

“The New American Academic Community addresses present-day challenges in higher education by helping institutions operate more effectively and efficiently.” - Nancy Hensel, president of The New American Colleges and Universities.

The New American Colleges and Universities (NAC&U) has announced the New American Academic Community (NAAC), an initiative that will further leverage the collective resources of the consortium to provide additional opportunities for faculty and students. The 21 members of NAC&U share a commitment to quality education based on the intentional integration of liberal arts, professional studies and civic engagement. NAAC will enable students to more effectively take advantage of this collective mission, allowing them to draw more value from their educational investments.

“The New American Academic Community addresses present-day challenges in higher education by helping institutions operate more effectively and efficiently,” said Nancy Hensel, president of The New American Colleges and Universities. “This collaboration is a creative and innovative way to realize the promise of consortial collaboration, which is often aspired to in the abstract but seldom realized in practice.”

By sharing resources and opportunities through NAAC, students will have access to a wider range of courses and experiences without incurring additional costs. NAAC’s operational assumption that “my student is your student” is the key to its success, for it enables members to leverage their collective assets to the benefit of all students – and thus all institutions. Recently, the chief financial officers at NAC&U member campuses vetted a policy establishing a campus-based tuition agreement for Study Away (abroad and domestic exchange) programs and courses taken through the newly created online course inventory, allowing students to take these courses within the tuition they already pay at their home campuses.

“By bolstering our current programs and establishing new opportunities, NAAC provides students and families with a better return-on-investment, essentially offering them access to 21 campuses across the nation,” said Mark Heckler, chair of the NAC&U board of directors and president of Valparaiso University.

Through NAAC, faculty will be able to engage in discussions and research that further the goals of collaborative grant projects and enhance teaching and learning across the consortium. Last November, NAC&U held its first Innovation Summit during which 40 faculty from member campuses shared ideas about how the institutions could collaborate, including ideas such as sharing resources for distance learning, opening enrollment for study abroad, and integrating career services to expand employment opportunities for graduates.

The Innovation Summit spurred the idea of an Ambassador Program, which the NAC&U board of directors approved earlier this year. Through the Ambassador Program, member institutions appoint one or two faculty members to be the official liaisons for all collaborative projects within NAC&U, allowing collaboration to be centralized and streamlined.

“We are excited to embark on this new chapter of collaboration within NAC&U,” said Heckler. “By broadening the scope of our alliance – and taking advantage of all of the resources within the consortium – the opportunities for our faculty and students are multiplied exponentially in a way that benefits everyone.”

About The New American Colleges and Universities:

Founded in 1995, The New American Colleges and Universities is a national consortium of selective, small to mid-size (2,000-7,500 students) independent colleges and universities dedicated to the purposeful integration of liberal education, professional studies, and civic engagement. To improve the quality and effectiveness of teaching and learning among its members, The New American Colleges and Universities sponsor projects and conferences, administrator and faculty affinity groups, surveys and data benchmarking, and international study programs. The New American Colleges and Universities, collectively and individually, are often cited as models of the intentional integration of teaching and learning, scholarship, and service. For more information, visit http://www.newamericancolleges.org or follow us on Twitter @NACandU.

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