Pennsylvania Liberal Arts Colleges Form Consortium
Grant from The Mellon Foundation Allows Institutional Collaboration
Ten liberal arts colleges in Pennsylvania have received an $800,000 grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to create the Pennsylvania Consortium for the Liberal Arts (PCLA), an entity designed to help each institution create new cost efficiencies, improve the quality of academic and co-curricular programs, and enhance inter-institutional knowledge and collaboration.The consortium also plans to contribute in important ways to national discussions about improving access to higher education and improving affordability for families.
The 10 Pennsylvania colleges are: Bryn Mawr College, in Bryn Mawr, Pa.; Dickinson College, in Carlisle, Pa.; Franklin & Marshall College, in Lancaster, Pa.; Gettysburg College, in Gettysburg, Pa.; Haverford College, in Haverford, Pa.; Juniata College, in Huntingdon, Pa.; Muhlenberg College, in Allentown, Pa.; Swarthmore College, in Swarthmore, Pa.; Ursinus College, in Collegeville, Pa.; and Washington & Jefferson College, in Washington, Pa.
The grant, which will be expended over three years, will provide seed money for collaborative programs among the various participants. The member colleges, each with its individual assets, will contribute and benefit in ways distinct to their institutional strengths and needs. In pursuing the Mellon grant, the leaders of the institutions asserted that their first priority as a consortium "is to enhance the strong liberal arts preparation we provide our students while controlling associated costs."
“Liberal arts colleges across the country face serious challenges -- shifting demographics, student access, affordability and the pressure to keep up with new technology,” said Tori Haring-Smith, president of Washington & Jefferson College. “Bringing Pennsylvania liberal arts colleges into a consortium helps us leverage our collective strengths to better serve our students.”
The 10 consortium members will explore and develop collaborative programs in seven core areas: academic program improvement; faculty development; study abroad; library resources; administrative services; compliance and risk management; and enhancing the institutional climate for diversity.
Collaborative initiatives may include:
“Pennsylvania enjoys an extraordinary concentration of the nation’s finest private liberal arts colleges, and working together we can all be stronger and more effective and efficient in our missions," Muhlenberg President Randy Helm said. "This consortium will serve as the foundation for new, collective institutional efforts to tackle some of the pressing issues facing higher education.”