Past Meetings

Is There a Case for the Liberal Arts?

Sponsored by The American Conference of Academic Deans and The Phi Beta Kappa Society
October 17-19, 2013
Memphis, TN

In October 2013 ACAD and PBK hosted their fifth joint conference. ACAD and PBK have successfully co-sponsored four previous conferences on matters of importance to the work of the academy and for this fifth collaboration we engaged participants in conversations around this question: “What case, if any, can be made that the liberal arts and sciences merit America’s investment?”

This conference format was designed to promote serious, sustained inquiry about the state of the liberal arts and sciences in American higher education. Sessions were focused on activities that engaged conference participants as part of the conversation.  The intent was to structure the inquiry around different, but complementary lines of analysis: economic, political, cultural, and more, so that intersecting patterns of disclosure may bring focus to decision processes that will be pursued, state by state, institution by institution, across the country in the years ahead.

Featured plenary speakers were: Dr. Christopher Nelson, President, St. John’s College-Annapolis; Dr. David Anderson, President, St. Olaf College; and Dr. Princilla Evans Morris, Executive Vice President and Provost, Fisk University.

Conference Program (PDF)

Are the Humanities Now a Luxury?

Sponsored by The American Conference of Academic Deans and The Phi Beta Kappa Society
November 10-12, 2011
Charleston, SC

In November 2011 ACAD and PBK hosted their fourth joint conference. We have successfully co-sponsored three previous conferences on matters of importance to the intellectual and pedagogical work of the academy and we enjoyed returning to the site of our original collaboration for this fourth endeavor.  This conference took a look at the Humanities in an attempt to answer the question are they now a luxury?

Featured speakers included Lynn Pasquerella, President, Mt. Holyoke College who addressed the humanities, economic opportunity and social justice; Ronald A. Crutcher, President, Wheaton College who made a compelling case for the humanities in the 21st century; and Mark Bauerlein, Professor, Emory University who engaged participants in a lively discussion about the costs of the research productivity model in literary studies.

Conference Program (PDF, 4.73 MB)

Promoting the Sciences:  Science As Liberal Education

Sponsored by The American Conference of Academic Deans and The Phi Beta Kappa Society
October 25-27, 2007
Washington, D.C.

In October 2007, ACAD and the Phi Beta Kappa Society held their third biennial conference  at the Madison Hotel in Washington, DC.  Deans, provosts, faculty and other academicians from across the nation and abroad attended the three-day event.  Featured speakers were James Trefil, Clarence J. Robinson Professor of Physics at George Mason University, who discussed “The Other 98%:  Science Education for Non-scientists”; Eric Jolly, president of the Minnesota Museum of Science, whose topic was “Science as an Essential Literacy”; and Philip Glotzbach, president of Skidmore College, who presented “Young Men, Young Women and Fire: The Underappreciated Aesthetics of Scientific Understanding.”

Elizabeth Redden, reporting for Inside Higher Ed, attended sessions and interviewed organizers and participants.  Her article about the event, “Interdisciplinarity and the Science Classroom”, was pu blushed on October 29, 2007, inspiring a substantial discussion on the Web.

Conference Program (PDF, 304KB)

Liberal Arts Education in America and the World

Sponsored by The American Conference of Academic Deans and The Phi Beta Kappa Society
October 27-29, 2005
Washington, D.C.

In October 2005, ACAD and the Phi Beta Kappa Society (PBK) joined forces again on their second co-sponsored conference: “Liberal Arts Education in America and the World,” hosted by the George Washington University. Over 150 deans, provosts, faculty and other academicians from across the nation and abroad attended the three-day conference.

Following our first successful collaboration in 2003 (“Intellectual Leadership in the Liberal Arts hosted by the College of Charleston”), the conference engaged participants in the important conversations about the possibilities and promises of liberal arts education in global contexts. It also challenged attendees to imagine and think in new ways about the leadership required from academics in the United States to promote a rich understanding of global issues and cultures. Featured speakers were Dr. Madeleine F. Green, Vice President and Director, Center for Institutional Initiatives, The American Council on Education; Mr. Jesse Sheidlower, North American Editor, The Oxford English Dictionary; Dr. Joseph N. White, Foreign Service Institute; and Dr. Katherine H. Will, President, Gettysburg College.

Conference program (PDF, 192KB)

Intellectual Leadership in the Liberal Arts

Sponsored by The American Conference of Academic Deans and The Phi Beta Kappa Society and hosted by the College of Charleston
October 23-25, 2003
Charleston, SC

Academic leaders committed to the liberal arts are often erudite and passionate in examining, debating, reforming and reaffirming the ideas and ideals of liberal education. As they well know, intellectual leadership is crucial for its continued flourishing – and, in some cases, survival. In this unprecedented collaboration, the American Conference of Academic Deans is partnering with Phi Beta Kappa, the nation’s preeminent undergraduate honors organization, to provide academic leaders with the opportunity to reflect on the many intellectual issues that they face as they advocate for the liberal arts.

Conference program (PDF, 364KB)

Strategic Budgeting for Shrinking Budgets: A One-Day ACAD Workshop

July 28, 2003
Chicago, IL
Loyola University Chicago (Water Tower Campus)

One of the challenges deans and provosts face is linking
budgets to academic priorities. In times of shrinking resources, this challenge increases in magnitude. The American Conference of Academic Deans (ACAD) is offering a one-day workshop providing a practical forum for academic officers to problem-solve with their peers on this important and timely topic.

Facilitators: Pete Facione, Loyola University Chicago; Jeanne Narum, The Independent Colleges Office (ICO) and Project Kaleidoscope (PKAL); Jim Pence, Pacific Lutheran University and ACAD

Conference program (PDF, 12 KB)