Great Lakes Colleges Association

Strengthening Education in the Tradition of the Liberal Arts

Global Liberal Arts Alliance

Grinnell Conference - Purposeful Lives & Meaningful Work: Thriving After College

On April 12–13, 2018, Grinnell College will host its fourth annual conference on student success. This year’s conference—Purposeful Lives and Meaningful Work: Thriving After College—will explore how institutions prepare students for post-graduate success. Through a series of plenary keynotes and panels, the conference will explore the following questions:

• Why do students attend college, and how have these motivations changed over time?
• What should colleges/universities be considering as they prepare the next generation of talent?
• How might we foster career readiness among students through curricular innovation and reimagining the liberal arts?
• What innovative advising and program models can help prepare students for work and life after college?
• When considering student success outcomes, what should be measured, when, and how?

The conference is designed for campus leaders, faculty members, policymakers, and other higher education stakeholders, we encourage members of the GLCA to participate.

Questions may be directed to:

Mark R. Peltz, Ph.D.
Daniel and Patricia Jipp Finkelman Dean
Center for Careers, Life, and Service
Grinnell College
1026 Park Street
Grinnell, IA 50112
641-269-4940 office

GLCA Announces 2018 Winners of the New Writers Award

The Great Lakes Colleges Association (GLCA) is pleased to announce the winners of the 2018 GLCA New Writers Award for fiction, poetry, and creative non-fiction. Now in its 49th year, the New Writers Award confers recognition on promising writers who have published a first volume in one of the three genres. Winning writers receive invitations to visit GLCA member colleges, where they give readings, meet and talk about writing with students and faculty members.

The 2018 winner for Creative Non-fiction is Hilary Plum, Watchfires, published by Rescue Press.  Our GLCA judges note:

Urgent and probing, generous and judicious, Hilary Plume’s Watchfires asks the big questions: what does it mean to be at war, to be sick, to be in love, to be family? This book possesses a beautiful lyricism, a deeply ruminative poeticism, and a steadily building sense of conviction that war and love, disease and health are perhaps more close than might make us comfortable. In this paradoxically expansive and compressed memoir, Plum seeks correspondences between personal pain and public trauma – from chronic illness to terrorism, from the truth-telling of art to the obfuscation of politics.  It’s a fascinating and intimate work that can be read as memoir, as essay, as poetry, as history, or as meditation.  It is important in terms of craft and also in subject.  Compelling, moving, and formally inventive narrative, it is a book that bears rereading.

The 2018 winner for Fiction is Emily Fridlund, History of Wolves, published by Atlantic Monthly Press.  Our GLCA judges note:

In this highly inventive first novel, set in remote Minnesota, Emily Fridlund explores the devastating consequences of isolation – both emotional and physical – and how far lonely people will compromise their own morality, turning a blind eye to the obvious, believing delusions, to achieve love and communion. It must be acknowledged how extraordinary the writing.  The talent is apparent.  The voice is inviting, beguiling, clever, smart, sometimes incantatory.  History of Wolves presents a strong narrative voice that brilliantly interweaves dramatic actions, emotional upshots, and character development. The subject matter is difficult and significant.  Fridlund depicts the beauty of the natural world and the frailty of the human one. Layered, raw, and heartbreaking, History of Wolves tells a story that is both intimate and monumental.

The 2018 winner for Poetry is Chen Chen, When I Grow Up I Want to Be a List of Further Possibilities, published by BOA Editions, Ltd.  Our GLCA judges note:

A mix of clever poetic premises and life’s abiding promise, Chen Chen’s When I Grow Up I Want to Be a List of Further Possibilities is a debut collection that cannot be ignored. This collection is by turns comic, dark, self-obsessed, playful, and restless. The poems move into and through and beyond a relationship with his family, particularly his mother, exploring queer identity in the face of familial disapproval.  This is a book whose narrator is bursting at the seams with energy because he has so much to say. There is clarity and unity of voice, employing simple language across poems that embody very different formal techniques in meditational, lyrical, and/or elegiac modes. His strategies of association allow him to say a lot, connect a lot, and feel fresh. These poems are embracing of our human flaws while also turning to the positive connections we make in our lives.

Judges of the New Writers Award are faculty members of creative writing and literature at GLCA’s member colleges.

The judges of the 2018 award in Creative Non-fiction were:

Amy Butcher, Ohio Wesleyan University
Nels Christensen, Albion College
Jaquira Diaz, Kenyon College

The judges of the 2018 award in Fiction were:

Andy Mozina, Kalamazoo College
Robert Olmstead, Ohio Wesleyan University
Lili Wright, DePauw University

The judges of the 2018 award in Poetry were:

Derek Mong, Wabash College
Pablo Peschiera, Hope College
Ann Townsend, Denison University

For more information on the New Writers Award, please contact Gregory Wegner, director of
the New Writers Award (, Maryann Hafner, coordinator of the New Writers Award (, or Colleen Monahan Smith, coordinator of the New Writers Award.  ( 

Additional information is available on the GLCA web site:

Kalamazoo College Provost Named Eighth President of the Great Lakes Colleges Association


Kalamazoo College Provost Named Eighth President
of the Great Lakes Colleges Association

cDUGAL Michael McDonald 2016 6711  (photo by Anthony Dugal)

The Great Lakes Colleges Association (GLCA) Board of Directors announces that Michael A. (Mickey) McDonald will become the eighth President of the consortium in its 55-year history, effective July 2018. He brings to this role 25 years of experience both as a faculty member and administrator at liberal arts colleges.

The selection of McDonald was the result of a national search beginning in the spring of 2017, shortly after the current President, Richard A. Detweiler, announced he would retire from the position following more than a dozen years of service.  The search committee, including member college presidents and other campus representatives, was led by Chair of the Board of Directors and President of Allegheny College James H. Mullen, Jr. McDonald was chosen for the position out of a highly selective pool from across the United States.

“Throughout the selection process,” Chair Mullen said, “our committee worked to identify a candidate who conveyed an understanding of the GLCA and a desire to build on what it has created.  We looked for a person who clearly understood the mission and values of the GLCA, and who exhibited a deep commitment to liberal arts education and what it stands for. Dr. McDonald emerged as this candidate, and we are delighted to welcome him as our next President.”

McDonald’s experience and values align closely with the goals of this consortium of selective Midwest liberal arts colleges; he sees this position as a chance to contribute to the vitality of liberal arts colleges on a broader scale.  “I am humbled and thrilled to serve as President of the GLCA,” said McDonald, adding, “I am excited about collaboratively advancing our commitments to the centrality of the liberal arts in today’s world and promoting its role in preparing our students to be leaders, entrepreneurs and effective global citizens.”

A graduate of Davidson College and Duke University, McDonald was a faculty member of mathematics from 1993 to 2008 at Occidental College, where he also served in several administrative leadership roles. He was an American Council on Education (ACE) Fellow in 2001-2002. 

For the past ten years, McDonald has served as Provost of Kalamazoo College in Kalamazoo, Michigan.  During this time, he has hired approximately one-third of the faculty at the College and increased the proportion of women and faculty of color in tenure-line positions. He helped secure more than $3.25 million in grants from major foundations including, among others, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Sherman-Fairchild Foundation, National Science Foundation, the Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Foundation, and the Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE). In collaboration with the College’s President and others, he worked to envision and establish the Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership, now supported by a $20 million endowment from the Arcus Foundation. He also served as Kalamazoo College’s Acting President in winter 2014 and is co-chairing the College’s current strategic planning initiative. 

As Provost of a GLCA member college at which 70 percent of students engage in off-campus study, McDonald places a strong emphasis on international and intercultural learning as a component of liberal arts education.  He has been an active participant in the Global Liberal Arts Alliance (GLAA), a program providing opportunities for collaboration and development to faculty and staff of GLCA’s 13 member colleges in addition to 16 independent higher education institutions in different parts of the world.  McDonald has called the GLAA “an incredibly unique opportunity” for faculty and leaders of participating colleges to enrich intercultural knowledge and understanding in the liberal arts.



Jim Mullen, Allegheny College and Rick Detweiler, GLCA, welcome Mickey as the Eighth GLCA President with small tokens at the last GLCA Board of Directors Meeting.  

mullen mcdonald     detweiler mcdonald

(photos by Charla White)





GLCA Joint DACA Statement

Click here to read the GLCA Joint DACA Statement entitled "Pathways for Childhood Arrivals"

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Great Lakes Colleges Association

Strengthening Education in the Tradition of the Liberal Arts

The Great Lakes Colleges Association
535 West William. Suite 301
Ann Arbor, Michigan 48103

+1.734.661.2350 (voice)
+1.734.661.2349 (fax)