AALE hosts virtual meeting of Charter Associate Members

On October 27, 2020 the American Academy for Liberal Education (AALE) hosted a virtual first meeting of the newly formed post-secondary Charter Associate Membership group. The  group engaged in an open discussion of the challenges liberal arts programs are facing, particularly now in light of COVID-19;  general concerns regarding the future of college enrollments and attracting students to member programs; and strategies that are working for programs, and how to make a strong case for genuine liberal education.  As introductory reading for the discussion, members were given a recent essay, “The Task of the Liberal Arts in Troubled Times” by Lorraine Pangle. Pangle is Co-Director of the Thomas Jefferson Center for the Study of Core Texts and Ideas at the University of Texas-Austin, a Charter Associate Member of AALE.  A summary of the meeting is being prepared and will be available to all Charter Associate Members.   

AALE Board establishes Membership Committee

The AALE Board of Trustees has established a new Membership Committee.  The 2020-21 Committee consists of Sara Henary as Chair and members Josh Hochschild and Rene Paddags. The Committee will continue to serve the new post-secondary Charter Associate Membership group and oversee its development. They are also charged with examining the relevancy of AALE Affiliate Membership policy; exploring ways of establishing and publically recognizing relationships with non-profit organizations and college/university study/research centers whose activities and services are consonant with AALE’s commitment to support and advance genuine liberal education; and examining possible non-accredited membership options for K-12 schools.  The Committee announced that it will be hosting a virtual meeting of the Charter Associate members in late October.

AALE Elects New Board and Council Members

The American Academy for Liberal Education (AALE) held annual elections on June 9, 2020. Joining the Board is Ted Eismeier, Vice President at Whiteboard Advisors (DC), and elected to serve on the Council of Scholars is Lee Skallerup Bessette.

Mr. Ted Eisemeier is Vice President and senior leader in the education communications practice at Whiteboard Advisors where his responsibilities include advising education technology companies, social impact investors, and non-profit organizations on national media and communications strategy.  Prior to joining Whiteboard Advisors, he was Director of Communications and External Affairs at Higher Learning Advocates, a nonprofit advocacy organization working to advance federal policy solutions to respond to the country’s shifting college student demographics.  Currently he serves as a trustee of Harmony DC Public Charter School and a board member of Community Tax Aid (DC). Ted received his B.A. in History from Kenyon College (OH).  

Ms. Lee Skallerup Bessette is a Learning Design Specialist at the Center for New Designs in Learning and Scholarship at Georgetown University, where she works on the design and development of online courses.  She is the author of Found in Translation: The Journey of Anne Hébert’s Poetry in(to) English. Lee has written for Inside Higher Ed under College Ready Writing.  She has taught at Morehead University, University of Mary Washington, and is an on-line instructor at Ashland University teaching The Language and Culture of Quebec, and Composition in Ashland’s Prisons Outreach Program.  Lee received her Ph.D. from the University of Alberta (Canada) and her M.A. and B.A. from the Université de Sherbrooke (Canada).

AALE Releases COVID-19 Statement

The mission of the American Academy for Liberal Education (AALE) is to promote excellence in liberal education by providing recognition of schools and programs that maintain the highest standards of liberal arts learning. AALE achieves its mission by articulating standards designed to support excellence in liberal arts learning and teaching, offering rigorous peer-review accreditation, and fostering dialogue on the ends and means of quality liberal arts education.

AALE recognizes that as a result of COVID-19, accredited member schools and programs have been required to close their facilities in response to mandated closure orders issued by state and national authority. Any operations allowed on-site have been severely limited by national CDC guidelines. Faced with these extraordinary challenges, many member schools and programs have continued to serve their students by delivering classroom instruction on-line.

AALE’s policy regarding on-line instruction falls under Standard 3. Curriculum, and states the following:
AALE PK-12 School Standards
Standard 3. Curriculum
3.g The school maintains a policy on the use of off-site or distance education classes that meet graduation requirements that is consistent with its learning objectives.
AALE Program Standards (post-secondary)
Standard 3. Curriculum
3.g The program maintains a policy on the use of distance education and correspondence education courses to meet program requirements that is consistent with its learning objectives and meets all requirements of the institution’s policy on distance education and correspondence education at which the program is offered.

Permission to use on-line technology to provide instruction and to facilitate opportunities for student learning during COVID-19 conditions has been granted by state authorizers of PK-12 education to schools on a temporary basis, and by the US Department of Education for institutions of higher learning. AALE acknowledges this permission, and is not requiring a school or program to file a substantive change report to previous policy submitted for review under Standard 3, assuming that the changes made were temporary and enacted solely to address continuation of instruction during a COVID-19 mandated closure.

AALE will be requiring all accredited member schools and programs to submit, a) narrative summary describing measures taken to continue instruction during COVID-19 closure that began on or after March 1, 2020, and b) any plans designed to accommodate future mandated closure for any period of time during the academic year 2020-2021.

Board Appoints Member Liaisons

AALE Board members Sara Henary and Josh Hochschild are now serving as the official Board liaisons for the new charter Associate Membership group. Sara is Assistant Professor of Political Science at Missouri State University in Springfield, MO. Before being elected to the Board in 2019, Sara served one year on the AALE Council of Scholars. Josh Hochschild is Professor of Philosophy at Mount St. Mary’s University in Emmitsburg, MD. He was elected to the Board in 2017, and currently serves on the Executive Committee. Both Sara and Josh came to AALE with a strong interest in developing an active post-secondary membership base that would advocate for genuine liberal education. Their primary responsibility is to assist the new Associate members with establishing an agenda of action and growing the Associate membership base. Both Sara and Josh can be contacted at: aaleinfo@aale.org Attn: Associate liaisons.

AALE Welcomes New Post-Secondary Members

The American Academy for Liberal Education (AALE) is pleased to introduce the new charter Associate Members who have joined AALE’s efforts to strengthen the value and public awareness of genuine liberal education.

Each program distinctly models AALE standards for excellence in liberal education, and 

  • possesses a mission statement emphasizing the importance of liberal education;
  • fosters learning objectives encouraging an ability to reason and communicate effectively and an inclination to inquire;
  • offers a curriculum designed to acquaint students in rigorous and substantial ways with broad and integrated knowledge of the liberal arts;
  • promotes the importance of teaching and the use of instructional practices suitable to liberal education. 

If you are a post-secondary program and would like to join the efforts of our charter Associate members in advocating for and promoting excellence in liberal education, an application for Associate membership is available by contacting AALE staff at aaleinfo@aale.org.

AALE Expands Board and Elects New Council Members

The American Academy for Liberal Education (AALE) held annual elections on June 12, 2018, expanding its Board to 16 members. Joining the Board for the first time are Peter Keith, Robert Maranto, Jacqueline Pfeffer Merrill and Karl Schumann. Elected to serve on the Council of Scholars were Joseph Wysocki and, by special election at the October Board meeting, Sara Henary.

Mr. Peter Keith is a partner at Gallagher, Evelius & Jones LLP and specializes in civil litigation. He has been an active practitioner in federal and Maryland state courts since 1980. Keith has held the position of Assistant Attorney General of Maryland, and has served as Board Chair of the Independent College Fund of Maryland. Currently he is an Adjunct Professor at the University of Maryland Law School where he teaches Civil Litigation. Keith received his B.A. and J.D. degrees from the University of Virginia.

Mr. Robert Maranto is the 21st Century Chair in Leadership at the Department of Education Reform at the University of Arkansas. Maranto has written and edited numerous books on education reform including President Obama and Education Reform: The personal and the political (2012), and A Guide to Charter Schools (2006). He is widely published in scholarly journals and his op-eds can be found in the Wall Street Journal, Huffington Post, Houston Chronicle, Atlanta Journal Constitution, Philadelphia Inquirer, and Baltimore Sun. Maranto received his Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota and B.S. from the University of Maryland.

Ms. Jacqueline Pfeffer Merrill is the Executive Director of the Fund for Academic Renewal. Prior to assuming this position, she served as the Vice President of Development for the American Council of Trustees and Alumni. Merrill has taught at St. John’s College in Annapolis and The College of William and Mary. She is a member of the board of the Advocates for the Goucher Prison Education Partnership and has taught in the college program at Maryland’s only prison for women. Her essays on philanthropy and higher education have appeared in Philanthropy and Philanthropy Daily. Merrill received her M.A. and Ph.D. from Duke University and B.A. from the University of Calgary.

Mr. Karl Schumann is Technical Delivery Manager at Appian, an international custom software development company in Reston (VA). Prior to his position with Appian, Schumann served as a consultant at UPD Consulting, designing and managing data projects for the Washington, DC Public Schools department. He has taught mathematics and economics at public, private and charter schools in Washington, DC. Schumann received his M.S. from the University of Virginia, M.A. from George Washington University and B.A. from The College of William and Mary.

Mr. Joseph Wysocki is Assistant Dean of Academic Affairs at Belmont Abbey College (NC). He is co-founder of the new Honors College at Belmont Abbey College and Schola – a summer Great Books program for high school students. Wysocki also teaches Classic Texts of Political Philosophy: Ancient and Modern, American Political Thought, and the American Constitution. He is the author of several introductions in The Belmont Abbey College Reader, an anthology of philosophical, rhetorical, literary, political, and theological texts in the Catholic intellectual tradition. Wysocki received his Ph.D. and M.A. from Baylor University and B.A. from Belmont Abbey College.

Ms. Sara Henary is Assistant Professor of Political Science and a member of the Honors College faculty at Missouri State University in Springfield (MO). She has held teaching appointments in the Department of Political Science at Wake Forest University, the Program on Constitutionalism and Democracy at the University of Virginia, and the Department of Government at American University. Henary has lectured and published on Locke, Tocqueville and Trollope, and is currently completing a manuscript, John Locke on Nature and Politics. Henary received her Ph.D. and M.A. from the University of Virginia, and B.A. from Rhodes College.