Liberal Arts Colleges

Liberal arts colleges represent a valued, respected, and influential segment of American higher education.  Commentators praise their emphases on critical thinking, oral and written communication, visual and quantitative literacy, and the cultivation of a moral and civic character that serves the individual and public good.  No other sector has been as successful in developing students' capacities for curiosity, empathy, humility, and innovation or in supporting undergraduate research, close relationships between students and faculty, and a commitment to life-long learning. 

Grantmaking in the Liberal Arts College Sector

The Liberal Arts College sector of the Higher Education and Scholarship in the Humanities program helps institutions respond to the demographic, economic, technological, and competitive challenges facing higher education.  In light of the pressures associated with national concerns such as access, diversity, degree completion, cost, career paths, and productivity, our program areas emphasize measures that address faculty development, curricular renewal, pedagogical innovation, and undergraduate research in the humanities.

New areas as well as strengthened emphases include programs that:

  • Strengthen the faculty's pedagogical and scholarly development
  • Renew and diversify the professorial ranks
  • Develop students' critical, analytical, and creative capacities through the use of digital technologies, including blended learning
  • Embed interdisciplinary, comparative, and cross-cultural perspectives into the curriculum
  • Integrate study abroad, internships, community-based learning, and civic engagement into students' educational experiences
  • Provide faculty with a deeper knowledge of the macroeconomic issues facing liberal arts colleges and the means to use that knowledge in the shared governance process
  • Improve student learning outcomes through a new initiative on the scholarship of teaching and learning
  • Support institutional efforts to achieve financial equilibrium and cost reduction through the creation of economies of scale and collaborative partnerships