- New GLCA President
- New Alliance Members
- Global Course Connections
- Athens Democracy Forum
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 25 years of experience 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 James H. Mullen, Jr., Chair of the Board of Directors and President of Allegheny College.
For the past ten years, McDonald has served as Provost of Kalamazoo College in Kalamazoo, Michigan. During this time, he 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 .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. 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 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. 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.
The Global Liberal Arts Alliance is pleased to announce the addition of two institutions: Universidad San Francisco de Quito in Quito, Ecuador and the International University of Grand-Bassam in Grand-Bassam, Ivory Coast.
Universidad San Francisco de Quito (USFQ) – Quito, Ecuador
USFQ, located in Quito, Ecuador, was founded in 1988 in response to the need for a private institution of high quality. Its purpose is to serve the community within a liberal arts philosophy to educate diverse individuals to be free, environmentally aware, entrepreneurial, creative, and independent. The university enrolls about 4500 undergraduates and 1000 graduate students; about 10% are from indigenous groups (for whom Spanish is a foreign language) and about 1000 international students are enrolled. With a significant general education requirement that comprises at least 30% of courses taken for graduation and a broad range of programs in the humanities, social sciences, and sciences, it also offers a number of professional programs including law, health sciences, business, tourism, hospitality, and architecture. Additionally, the university operates significant biological/ecological research stations in the Amazon and in the Galapagos.
Ninety percent of courses are taught in Spanish and 10% in English; most faculty and many administrators also speak English. With the goal of better preparing students to be successful in a global context, English proficiency is a graduation requirement, and they are working toward having the entire senior year taught in English. While there is a very active campus life (student government, clubs, activities), students are non-residential.
The university is non-profit with an independent board; 60% of its board is elected by the university community (faculty, staff, and students) and the president is likewise elected by the community. The university is accredited by the Ecuadorian Council of Evaluation and Accreditation of Higher Education and is one of only three universities in Ecuador to have the highest quality rating.
International University of Grand-Bassam (IUGB) – Ivory Coast
IUGB is in the beach city of Grand-Bassam in Cote d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast) West Africa about 30 minutes from the capital of Abidjan. Its mission is to provide an “English-language, American-style university in francophone Africa” and to “provide internationally recognized higher education through technology-enhanced English medium instruction in fields critical to regional development, international success, and life-long learning.”
All students must complete a core curriculum of a minimum of 45 credit hours which involves courses in the humanities, social sciences, and sciences; in addition, at least one internship is required. Their goal is to “produce qualified and skilled personnel who are trained in problem resolution and intercultural cooperation.”
The university was founded in 2005 and initially operated under a “two plus two” arrangement with Georgia State University; in 2014, it became an independent university granting its own bachelor’s degrees and now enrolls 764 students from 22 countries. They are committed to gender, ethnic, and socio-economic diversity, so work to ensure that students of all backgrounds have access. All courses are taught in English (there is a large number of local languages as well as international enrollment). Current majors include business administration, political science, mathematics, computer science, and engineering technology; minors and areas of concentration are offered in international relations, accounting, finance, economics, marketing, and management.
Students are strongly encouraged to engage in co-curricular activities, to attend presentations by guest speakers, and to participate in study visits. In addition to 10 clubs, the student government association is very active; they sponsor guest speakers, visits to companies, films, public speaking and debating sessions, dinners, a sport day, and outings to other locations in Côte d’Ivoire and abroad. Nearly half of the students live in campus residences (future construction will bring that number to 70%). The university is nonprofit and independent, and accredited by the Côte d’Ivoire government. Very uniquely, it has been granted the status of a diplomatic mission, so is completely free of government control. Its board is independent and self-perpetuating.
Global Course Connections “connects” a course offered on an Alliance campus in one country to a course offered on an Alliance campus in another country, providing the courses with an authentic multicultural/multinational dimension they would not otherwise have. Globally connected courses need not be the same course or from the same discipline; what matters is that the courses provide different perspectives on one or more themes present in both courses. Planned classroom interactions as well as the unplanned, informal exchanges that occur make a difference in how students think about parts of the world that are very different from their own and about which students know little.
The Global Liberal Arts Alliance joined with Deree-The American College of Greece as Educational Partner for the prestigious New York Times Athens Democracy Forum held in Athens, Greece September 13-17, 2017. The Forum involved a broad range of participants from around the world; from New York Times columnists Roger Cohen and Paul Krugman to representatives of the United Nations to business executives, representatives of NGOs, and senior government officials.
The Forum's theme, ‘Solutions for a Changing World’, addressed important questions about globalization, international cooperation, and the enduring nature of democracy at a time of unique challenges around the world. The theme also speaks to the heart of Liberal Arts education and its mission to educate global citizens who can work together to solve complex problems that bring positive change to a turbulent world.
Deree-The American College of Greece, in close cooperation with the Global Liberal Arts Alliance, coordinated Forum programming for a team of student delegates from Alliance institutions. Through a two-level competitive application process, 23 students from 12 countries were selected to participate in the Forum as student delegates. With generous support from the Endeavor Foundation, each student delegate was awarded an Endeavor Fellowship to offset travel costs to attend the Forum.
Working in groups of six, the student delegates considered questions raised by the Forum’s theme from their own generational and national perspectives. We aspired for the student delegates to make meaningful contributions to the Forum, to communicate their thinking and experiences both to their home campuses and to the Alliance, and to present a plan of action to their home institutions for addressing a specific challenge identified at the Forum. Some of those resulting projects may be presented at the 2018 Global Alliance Institute on Leadership and Liberal Arts: A Foundation for Social Good. Information about the student delegates and the work they did can be found on the Youth Democracy Forum page.
We look forward to returning to Athens for the 2018 Athens Democracy Forum.