AALE Board appoints new President

The American Academy for Liberal Education (AALE) Board of Trustees appointed Dr. Robert Manzer President of AALE at the annual meeting on June 14, 2022. Manzer has served on the AALE Council of Scholars since 2015 and brings to his role as AALE president an extensive range of teaching, academic, administrative, and business experience that covers the entire higher education landscape. He has worked for non-profit and for-profit institutions, regulatory bodies, professional associations, and education technology companies. Most recently he is the co-founder and Chief Academic Officer of Acadeum a company that facilitates sharing on-line courses, credits, and tuition.

Manzer began his academic career at the University of Dallas (UD) as an Assistant Professor and Coordinator for Undergraduate Affairs in Politics. Later he became the Associate Dean of UD’s Constantin College. He went on to serve at several academic institutions in various capacities including: Associate Vice President of Academic Affairs at Nebraska Wesleyan University (NWU); Dean of the Getty College of Arts and Sciences at Ohio Northern University; and Vice President of Academic Affairs at St. Edward’s University in Austin, TX. While at NWU, Manzer initiated and developed a Capitol Hill Internship Program in Washington, DC and a 10-college United Methodist College Washington Consortium to support the Program.

Prior to founding Acadeum, Manzer served as the Chief Operating Officer for the Texas Association of Non Profits; the Regional Vice-President for Synergis Education, a third party on-line management company; and the Provost and Chief Academic Officer for American Intercontinental University, a for-profit online and ground campus university. 

Manzer received his Ph.D. and M.S. in Political Philosophy/Political Science from the University of Chicago (IL) and his B.S. in Political Science from Carleton College (MN). He is the author of articles in the American Political Science Review and the American Journal of Political Science.    

AALE holds annual elections

The American Academy for Liberal Education (AALE) held annual elections on June 14, 2022. Board of Trustees members Peter Keith, Robert Maranto and Karl Schumann were each reelected for a second four-year term. New Board members include Kathryn Hougham, Terry Croy Lewis and Rene Paddags.  

Kathryn Hougham is a Program Associate at Philanthropy Roundtable in Washington (DC). She is an accomplished violist, who has served on the music faculty of the Holton-Arms School in Bethesda (MD) and the Indianapolis Suzuki Academy (IN). Hougham received her D.M.A. in Viola Performance from the University of Maryland College Park, her M.A. from Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, and B.A. from the Cleveland Institute of Music (OH).  

Terry Croy Lewis is the Executive Director at the Colorado Charter School Institute in Denver (CO). Prior to working at the Institute, Croy Lewis served as the Vice President of School Quality and Support at the Colorado League of Charter Schools. She founded the Platte River Academy (CO) and the High Point Academy (CO), where she also held the position of Executive Director/Principal. Croy Lewis received her Ph.D. in Rhetoric and Public Address from the University of Maryland, and her M.A. and B.S in Communications from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.  

Rene Paddags is Associate Professor of History and Political Science at Ashland University (OH) and a resident faculty member at the Ashbrook Center, Ashland (OH). He joins the Board after having served as Chair of the AALE Council of Scholars for five years. A recent recipient of a Fulbright Senior Scholar Grant – Universidad Autonoma de Madrid (Spain), Paddags received his Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Maryland, his M.A. in International Relations from John Hopkins University and his B.A. from the University of North Dakota.  

The AALE Board also elected Dr. Sara Henary, Associate Professor of Political Science at Missouri State University (MO) to serve a four-year term on the AALE Council of Scholars. Henary recently completed a three-year replacement term on the AALE Board of Trustees.

AALE and ACTC to meet on April 23, 2022

AALE and ACTC (Association of Core Texts and Courses) have scheduled a special planning session: AALE and ACTC: Our shared ‘core text’ and a course for common action to be conducted during the annual ACTC conference being held at the University of Notre Dame. Representatives from AALE and ACTC will be discussing the new partnership between the organizations which is designed to explore joint projects in accreditation and professional development opportunities for K-12 teachers and administrators. If you are planning to attend the ACTC conference, please join us on Saturday April 23, 2022. Bring your ideas to the table as we begin to build our partnership in support of genuine liberal education.

AALE Council member explores professional paths in higher education

Dr. Lee Skallerup Bessette, a member of the AALE Council of Scholars is the author of a new series in the Chronicle of Higher Education that explores the professional paths and challenges of staff members in higher education. The opening piece in the series, published September 28, 2021, provides advice to faculty on how to translate their skill sets to successfully transition from faculty ranks to staff positions in higher education. Skallerup Bessette is the Assistant Director for Digital Learning and an affiliated faculty member in the Master’s in Learning, Design and Technology program at Georgetown University.  

AALE Council member pens op-ed: African Americans and the Great Books

Dr. Anika Prather, a member of the AALE Council of Scholars, is co-author of the op-ed: “The Post-COVID Classical Education Boom: African Americans and the Great Books”, published in the National Review (September 22, 2021).  Prather is the founder of The Living Water School in Temple Hills, MD. A frequent speaker and writer on the topic of African American students’ engagement with the Great Books tradition, she is currently serving as a Lecturer in the English Department at Howard University.

AALE Holds Annual Elections

The American Academy for Liberal Education (AALE) held annual elections on June 8, 2021. Board of Trustees members Geoff Baum and Dale Larson were reelected for a second and fourth term, respectively. Serving on the Executive Committee are: Jacqueline Pfeffer Merrill, Chair; Dale Larson, Vice-Chair/Treasurer; and Joshua Hochschild, Secretary. Joining the Council of Scholars is Anika Prather. 

Ms. Anika Prather is the Founder and Head of School at The Living Water School in Temple Hills (MD. Prather is a Scholar in Residence at the Classical Academic Press (PA), and serves on the task force for diversity at St. John’s College-Annapolis (MD). The author of Living in the Constellation of the Canon: The Lived Experiences of African-American Students Reading Great Books Literature, she has taught Blacks in Classics at Howard University. Prather received her Ph.D. from the University of Maryland (College Park), a Masters in Liberal Arts from St. John’s College-Annapolis (MD), a M.A. from New York University and a B.A. from Howard University (DC).

AALE Implements Virtual Site Visits

In light of the COVID-19 interruption to the delivery of on-site education and corresponding educational practices in and outside of the US, the American Academy for Liberal Education (AALE) has adopted a temporary policy pertaining to site visits required for initial accreditation, renewal of accreditation and interim reporting.  

Effective August 1, 2020 through December 31, 2021 virtual site visits are being conducted on a case-by-case basis. The visits are designed to be interactive, and consist of both on-line video sessions and conference calls. Within a reasonable amount of time after a virtual site visit, an on-site visit is required to review facilities. 

AALE plans to evaluate the virtual site visit experience at the end of 2021 to determine if positive aspects of the virtual process can be incorporated into the structure of the traditional on-site visit required for accreditation.

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 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.