AALE/ACTC co-sponsor webinar 

The American Academy for Liberal Education (AALE) and the Association of Core Texts and Courses (ACTC) co-sponsored a webinar entitled Supporting Liberal Education and Liberal Arts: Five Ways Accreditation Can Help on October 20, 2022. Co-hosts Mary Ann Powers, Executive Director of AALE, and Charlotte Thomas, Executive Director of ACTC, welcomed primary speaker Robert Manzer, President of AALE. The webinar addressed the latest challenges programs and institutions committed to genuine liberal education are facing in what is today a volatile and rapidly changing higher education environment. The importance of the webinar’s content was recognized by those in attendance, and AALE will be conducting a follow-up discussion session at the 2023 ACTC National Conference in Dallas (TX) March 30-April 2, 2023.

AALE President hosts K-12 Focus Group

Dr. Robert Manzer, newly appointed president of AALE, attended the Classical Education Symposium: Festival of Ideas in Fort Collins, CO on October 1, 2022. Working with board member Terry Croy Lewis, Executive Director of the Colorado Charter School Initiative, Manzer hosted a focus group on How Accreditation Can Unlock Higher Education Resources for Classical Education Schools.The discussion with the focus group explored how accreditation can best support more transparent liberal education pathways, aligned dual enrollment opportunities, and dual-enrollment instructor credentialing.

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.