Great Lakes Colleges Association

Strengthening Education in the Tradition of the Liberal Arts

Global Liberal Arts Alliance

Global Alliance Institute
Leadership and Liberal Arts: A Foundation for Social Good

June 18-20, 2018
FLAME University, Pune India


Locally and globally, we face a daunting set of challenges: economic instability, racial and ethnic tensions, political instability, climate change, migration and displacement, health crises. Addressing and resolving large, complex problems requires actions of many kinds involving multiple parties in diverse settings. While the strategies taken to strengthen societal well-being will differ by local circumstances, a common element in any approach must be thoughtful and effective leadership. Qualities of leadership can be taught and learned for virtually any operation involving the mobilization of people for productive ends. Yet the major challenges to our society call for leadership of a kind that links the values and skills of the liberal arts with the standard lessons of managing change in effective ways. This enhanced conception of leadership is one that liberal arts institutions are uniquely qualified to instill in students through curricular and co-curricular programming and through the institution’s own efforts to effect positive change.

We call on the institutions of the Global Liberal Arts Alliance to pool their strengths in ways that enhance public understanding of how to prepare undergraduate students to become leaders in confronting local and global challenges.

The Global Liberal Arts Alliance Institute Leadership and Liberal Arts: A Foundation for Social Good will explore the ways that Alliance institutions articulate the role of liberal education in the development of leadership for social good. This exploration will encompass those aspects of liberal education that Alliance schools have in common and the unique institutional contexts that shape their approaches to leadership and make them vital.

Institute Goals

In this highly interactive institute, we will work together to:

  1. Articulate the role of liberal education in the development of leadership for social good.
  2. Explore cultural dimensions of leadership in a global context that lead to social good.
  3. Identify best practices for curricular and co-curricular programs that develop and apply leadership for social good.
  4. Enable sharing of and collaborating on resources for leadership development.

Institute Themes

We invite proposals from faculty, staff, and students from the 29 Alliance institutions for workshops, panel discussions, and case studies that explore the drivers, mechanisms for and challenges of leadership development including curricular and co-curricular opportunities, and how to launch, manage, and evaluate leadership programs. We are particularly interested in proposals that explore the following themes:

Student Leadership

Central to the mission of liberal arts institutions is preparing individuals for a lifetime of personal and professional growth – graduates who are civically-minded, value service to others, and can contribute to solving complex problems.

What is the responsibility of liberal education to develop future leaders?

How does leadership for the social good differ from other kinds of leadership? What are the implications for leadership development in a liberal arts context?

How do we anchor aspects of leadership in a liberal arts education?

What are national, cultural, and societal factors that influence successful leadership models across nations?

What does it mean to develop “global leaders”? Do the approaches that meet this goal differ from educating leaders to achieve more local purposes?

What sparks passion in students to expand the scope of their ambitions, to enlist their talents to meet grander challenges than they might originally conceive for themselves?

Institutional Leadership

Alliance institutions have themselves taken a leadership role and have taken remarkable steps in response to local challenges: accommodating refugees and working with immigrant communities, responding to climate change, advancing social justice, addressing educational needs, rebuilding local communities, advancing women’s rights, and promoting civil discourse. This work demonstrates not just a commitment by Alliance institutions to engage in their communities to make a positive difference, but a sense of responsibility to do so.

What is the responsibility of liberal arts institutions to lead cooperative efforts to address social needs? What or who catalyzes institutions to act?

How does an institution’s commitment to address social needs drive the creation and design of curricular and co-curricular programs?

What strategies have proven effective for Alliance institutions to respond to challenges in their communities?

What actions can an institution take to encourage leadership roles to become more firmly vested in a community over time, helping to ensure the sustainability of programs the institution has helped create?

What ethical checks can students, faculty, and staff provide in these efforts to ensure that institutions are collaborative and responsive, rather than prescriptive?

Leadership Programs: Where Student and Institutional Leadership Converge

Alliance schools have launched programs that develop leadership skills and provide students with “real-world” opportunities for meaningful community engagement through social entrepreneurship, civic engagement, and community-based research/learning.

What are cognitively and developmentally appropriate pedagogies for teaching leadership to college students?

How can we ensure that leadership development models are inclusive and represent a range of experiences (e.g. first generation, low income, underrepresented, international)?

What are models and best practices of curricular and co-curricular programs that develop leadership?

How does an institution prepare faculty and staff to develop leadership in their students? How does a commitment to lead in their communities change faculty selection, preparation, promotion, and tenure?

How do we know that programs to develop leadership are successful?

Session Formats

We invite proposals that explore one or more of the Session Themes using one of the following formats. We seek proposals that encourage discussion and have concrete takeaways that will benefit Institute attendees. Proposers who would like to discuss an idea before submitting are encouraged to contact Simon Gray (

Panels with representatives from Alliance schools in different parts of the world are especially welcome. To allow each panelist sufficient time to present his or her perspective and still enable audience participation, a panel will normally have at most three panelists, and possibly a moderator. Full panel submissions should include a list of the panelists, their affiliations, and a description of the panel topic, with brief position statements from panelists.

Individuals may submit a proposal for a 15-minute presentation with an additional 5 minutes for questions. The conference organizers will create panels from topically-related proposals.

A panel session is allocated 60 minutes.

Workshops offer participants opportunities to learn new approaches and pedagogies designed to foster education, scholarship, and collaboration. Workshops must be interactive. Proposals must specify equipment needs (e.g., participant-supplied laptops, room configurations, and A/V equipment) and any limitation on the number of participants. Workshops on course design, reflection, community partnerships, internship programs, pedagogy, and assessment are possibilities, but other ideas are welcome.

A workshop is allocated 60 or 90 minutes.

Case Studies
Case studies are a way for the community to see the relevance, potential, and innovation of a proven approach to leadership development and allow time for discussion with the program developers. Proposers should delineate the roles of students, faculty, community, international, and government organizations, and higher education institutions, and should emphasize general characteristics of a successful program that can be adapted or adopted on other campuses.

A Case Study session is allocated 30 minutes.

Submitting a Proposal

To propose a session, please complete the Proposal Form and email it to Simon Gray ( Please contact Simon Gray if you have questions.

Funding Support

Faculty and Staff
The Alliance will provide travel support (airfare, lodging, and most meals) for one faculty or staff member from each Alliance institution, and will cover half of the airfare for a second faculty or staff member (lodging and most meals will be covered). Additional participants from an institution are welcome at the institution’s expense.

Nominations for faculty/staff travel support should be sent to Simon Gray ( by the institution’s Chief Academic Officer.

The Global Alliance understands that the depth of learning at this Institute will be enhanced by the presence of students from across the Alliance. To encourage their attendance and, particularly, to invite them to present or co-present, we have set aside funds for airfare, lodging, and meals during the Institute for one student from each Alliance school. Alliance institutions that wish to include more students are encouraged to do so at the institution’s expense.

A student nominated by his/her Chief Academic Officer to receive Alliance travel support must complete the Leadership Institute Student Participation Statement and submit it to Simon Gray ( by March 12, 2018.

Students must be accompanied by a staff or faculty member from the nominating Alliance institution. Institutions are responsible for ensuring their student(s) have the necessary visa for travel.

Important Dates

Proposal submission deadline: March 12, 2018

Proposal acceptance announcement: April 16, 2018

Planning Committee

Simon Gray GLCA
Tania Boster Oberlin College
Glenn Bryan Ohio Wesleyan University
Ferdinand Che American University in Nigeria
Roberto Cordon Franklin University Switzerland
Renu Dhadwal FLAME University
Viraj Shah FLAME University

The Global Liberal Arts Alliance
535 West William Suite 301
Ann Arbor, MI 48103
Voice: +1.734.661.2350
Facsimile: +1.734.661.2349

Map & Directions

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)