Mission of the Alliance to Advance Liberal Arts Colleges (AALAC)

The liberal arts colleges that comprise the AALAC vary in size, region and resources but share common educational goals and institutional challenges. The AALAC strives to advance liberal arts education through collective efforts to support faculty research and teaching so as to enhance the overall experience of students and to develop faculty leadership. By working together, AALAC members seek to develop a broader view of their institutions in the landscape of higher education and thereby to address more effectively the pressing challenges facing American liberal arts colleges. Through assessment of AALAC activities and dissemination of our findings, the organization seeks to share best practices with other liberal arts colleges and to make the case to the larger public for the value of liberal education in the twenty-first century.

The AALAC Faculty Workshops

The AALAC provides funds to support workshops that enable faculty members from AALAC institutions to gather and work together on a subject of mutual interest.  Designed and organized by the faculty, the workshops may focus on topics relating to research, curricula, or pedagogy and, where relevant, may be either disciplinary or inter disciplinary.  The workshops may take place during the academic year or summer and may be held on member institution campuses or may extend a stay at professional meetings by a day or two.   

History of the AALAC

In 2006, the Mellon Foundation awarded the Mellon 23, a group of twenty-three liberal arts colleges a Faculty Career Enhancement Program grant. This grant was used to fund collaborative initiatives to support faculty in their scholarly and creative work and to aid them in gaining a broader view of their institutions and of the pressing challenges facing American liberal arts colleges. Between 2008 and 2011, thirty-four multi-institution faculty development workshop proposals were funded.  In January of 2011, the Mellon 23 was renamed the Alliance to Advance Liberal Arts Colleges to acknowledge the commitment of most of the member colleges to continue their collaborative work after the completion of the Mellon 23 grant.  Twenty-one schools are now part of AALAC, which is supported entirely with funding from these institutions.

Questions? Contact Janet Tobin in the dean's office. Jstobin@amherst.edu, ext. 8483.

Member Institutions

Amherst College, Barnard College, Bryn Mawr College, Carleton College, Denison University, Furman University, Grinnell College, Haverford College, Macalester College, Middlebury College, Oberlin College, Pomona College, Reed College, Rhodes College, Scripps College, Smith College, Swarthmore College, Vassar College, Wesleyan University, Wellesley College, and Williams College