North Central College - Naperville, IL

Overview of 2011 Summer Institute

Goals and Objectives for the Summer Institute:

  • To share best practices at NAC&U member institutions.
  • To be informed about and inspired by NAC&U member institutional examples and issues related to the Institute theme.   
  • To provide an opportunity for faculty and staff development in specific areas. 
  • To enhance one’s institutional perspective by connecting individual performance/practice to institutional mission.
  • To offer a memorable conference exploration of issues in higher education in the 21st century with a special focus on their relevance to NAC&U-type institutions.

Institute Theme: The New American Colleges and Universities:
From Founding Conversations to 21st Century Best Practices

For the 15th anniversary of the Summer Institute, it seems fitting to return to both the roots of the NAC&U’s founding conversations regarding how New American Colleges & Universities have defined their identity and to project forward to pivotal next steps.   How are we positioned to provide intellectual and institutional leadership in addressing the challenges of the changing higher education and information-rich environment of the 21st century?  We will collectively build a deep description of the ways in which NAC&U institutions provide a site for innovation, integration, and application in the present and aspire to bring those commitments into the future.

Presentations prepared for the Institute will address the following questions:

  • What programs or practices best reflect innovative and integrative approaches to student learning and student development within our NAC&U institutions? How do our colleges and universities contribute to the goals articulated nationally for “high impact practices” and to efforts to address today’s students’ needs?  Whether in the classroom, in co-curricular programs, or in the myriad of ways in which we prepare students, how do our individual efforts and/or partnerships represent best practices?   
  • In a world in which value-added education is prized, how do NAC&U campuses contribute to effective assessment of widely recognized student learning and student development outcomes?  What are the measures of effectiveness, and what processes enable our institutions to draw upon assessment outcomes to influence the direction of academic and student affairs planning?  What distinctive approaches have been used to assess programs and functions outside the curriculum?
  • What characteristics of scholarship and service arise out of the special environment of NAC&U colleges and universities?  In such areas as undergraduate research, civic engagement, collaborative and interdisciplinary inquiry, how do our institutions take advantage of the scale, location, blend of liberal arts and pre-professional programs, or other distinctive features of our campuses to further student learning? What programs or practices offer a bridge to our surrounding communities (local and global)?
  • In what ways do NAC&U institutions model a distinctive approach to institutional decision-making?  What best practices of shared governance and/or approaches to planning for innovation have proven to be effective or have promise?  Who are the players?  What are the structures?  Where do good ideas come to fruition? 
  • In imagining the next ten years of the higher education landscape, with its changed economic circumstances, increasingly global reach, and transformed social media contexts, what “big ideas” are possible?  What are the big ideas?  What concerns do they address? What would it take to bring them to fruition?  We welcome manifestos and “dreaming big.”

Two special features of the 2011 Institute will uniquely contribute to this year’s dialogue. They include:

  • Guest speakers and honored presenters Professors Emeriti Alexander and Helen Astin, who are the first recipients of the NAC&U’s Ernest Boyer Award--extraordinary researchers, leading voices in the call for cultivating the relationships among intellectual inquiry, traditional academic values, and the formation of the inner life, and generous narrators of students’ values, hopes, and concerns,--that award honors the memory and achievements of another internationally-recognized scholar, the late Ernest A. Boyer, whose early contributions to the founding dialogue of ANAC from study group to organization, built upon mutual interest in the centrality of student learning, integrative approaches to theory and practice within and outside of the classroom, and the breakdown of barriers inside and across campus roles.
  •  The announcement of NAC&U’s ambitious 2011 Strategic Plan during the Presidents’ Panel.  The plan will help to advance a collective vision of academic and institutional excellence and enhance our partnerships within higher education, in the communities that serve as home to our institutions, and across the globe. Both will spark discussion of first principles, aspirational partners, and ways in which our campuses, experimental laboratories in many kinds of innovation, can foster increasingly informed, grounded, and yet bold initiatives to transform the educational landscape.