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.

AALE Announces Death of Board Member

It is with great sadness that the American Academy for Liberal Education (AALE) announces the death of Board member John B. ‘Jack’ Tieder, Jr. who passed away on December 3, 2017 following a period of illness. Jack has served on the AALE Board since 2010. Most recently he was a member of the Finance Committee. Jack’s leadership, broad business experience, and dedication to liberal education and life-long-learning will be sorely missed by AALE and its members. Following is the Memoriam published by Watt, Tieder, Hoffar and Fitzgerald LLC, the law firm Jack founded and served as senior partner. 

John B. Tieder, Jr.
May 8, 1946 – December 3, 2017

We mourn the passing of our dear friend, mentor, founding partner and oracle of construction law, Jack Tieder, this past week. Jack opened the doors of the firm forty years ago and crafted the very foundation of our construction, international and government contracts practice. Under his guidance and example, the firm rose to prominence to become one of the elite firms in our area of practice both in the United States and throughout the world. His indefatigable spirit, intellectual curiosity, commitment to the profession and exuberant wanderlust advanced the development of construction law around the globe. Jack had an influential presence in every major construction-related legal organization from the American College of Construction Lawyers to the International Bar Association, the London Court of International Arbitration, the International Academy of Construction Lawyers and many more. Over the last four decades, he personally trained, tested and challenged scores of attorneys in our firm. He then would board a plane to lecture eager lawyers in Eastern Europe, Russia, China and the Middle East. He pursued this passion right up to the end of his life. Attorneys, clients, and consultants from around the world join us in sorrow. Many of you may receive our firm’s newsletter and are familiar with Jack’s frequent articles bringing to life exotic locations from his travels. He was a brilliant, demanding, learned, and creative attorney with a thirst for life and a sense of humor that shines through in his writings. These qualities also combined to make him one of the world’s most formidable opponents in any legal contest. In recent years, Jack gravitated towards serving on arbitration panels and dispute review boards on many large, complicated construction projects. Regardless of the outcome of those matters, his thoughtful, well-reasoned decisions typically were lauded by the participating parties. In sum, we and the world have lost one of the paragons of construction law. We can only remember his teachings, his discipline, his spirit and his exacting standards and then carry them forward into the firm’s fifth decade. Please join us throughout this coming year in celebrating Jack’s legacy and remembering how much he contributed to the practice of construction law, literally, everywhere.

AALE Welcomes New Board and Council Members

The American Academy for Liberal Education (AALE) held annual elections on June 13, 2017. The Board of Trustees welcomes new members: Geoffrey Baum, Joshua Hochschild, Gary Kelly, and Amy Richards.  Joining the Council of Scholars are Melissa Matthes and Kelly Sorensen.

Mr. Geoffrey Baum is the Director of Media Relations at the Milken Institute in Santa Monica (CA).  A former C-SPAN executive producer, he has also worked for Public Radio’s Marketplace and ABC News, and served as assistant dean of the USC Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism.  Baum is a member and past president of the California Community Colleges Board of Governors and has served as a governing board member of Pasadena City College.  He holds an M.A. in Broadcast Journalism from the University of Southern California and a B.A. in Economics and Literature from Claremont McKenna College (CA). 

Mr. Joshua Hochschild is Monsignor Robert R. Kline Professor of Philosophy at Mount St. Mary’s University in Emmitsburg (MD).  He served as inaugural Dean of the College of Liberal Arts at Mount St. Mary’s University and Director of the university’s freshman liberal arts seminar, the Veritas Symposium.  Hochschild is the author of The Semantics of Analogy: Rereading Cajetan’s De Nominum Analogia (University of Notre Dame Press, 2010) and co-editor of Virtue’s End (St. Augustine’s Press, 2008) and Ethics Without God? (St. Augustine’s Press, 2008).  He received a Ph.D. from the University of Notre Dame (IN) and a B.A from Yale University (CT). 

Mr. Gary Kelly is a private consultant, attorney and political scientist who resides in New York (NY).  He has held assignments for the Asian Development Bank, the United States Agency for International Development and the World Bank.  Kelly served as a consultant in the formulation of the successful World Trade Organization accession strategy for Georgia, and creator of a World Bank model for civil society input into parliamentary process in Albania in the development of reform legislation. He holds a Ph.D. in Political Science from Fordham University (NY), a JD from the University of Maryland School of Law, and a B.A. from the University of Maryland-College Park. 

Ms. Amy Richards is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Templeton Honors College-Eastern University in Saint Davids (PA).  Her area of specialization is Ethics. Richards’ administrative responsibilities include the design and implementation of a new M.A.T. in Classical Education at Templeton Honors College and admissions assessment for Templeton Honors College and its Summer Scholars Program.  She holds a Ph.D. in Philosophy from the University of Virginia, and a B.A. in Biochemistry and Philosophy from Eastern University-Templeton Honors College (PA).  

Ms. Melissa Matthes is Professor of Government and Humanities at the US Coast Guard Academy in New London (CT), where she teaches courses in the History of Political Theory, African American Political Thought (Modern), Religion and Politics, Feminist Political Thought, and Women, Religion and Globalization.  She is the author of The Rape of Lucretia and the Founding of Republics: Readings in Livy, Machiavelli, and Rousseau (Penn State Press, 2000).  She is a member of the Board of Directors of the Foote School (CT).  Matthes received a Ph.D. from the University of California-Santa Cruz, a M.Div. from Yale Divinity School (CT) and a B.A. from Williams College (MA). 

Mr. Kelly Sorensen is an Associate Professor of Philosophy and Religion, and Assistant Dean at Ursinus College in Collegeville (PA).   He teaches and writes about ethical theory, biomedical ethics, environmental ethics, and metaethics.  His work has appeared in The Journal of Philosophy, Ethical Theory and Moral Practice, Kantian Review, the Journal of Moral Philosophy, Bioethics, Neuroethics, Criminal Justice Ethics, and the Journal of Medical Ethics.   Sorensen holds a Ph.D. from Yale University, a M.S. from the University of Utah, and a B.S. from Brigham Young University (UT).

AALE Welcomes New Board and Council Members

The American Academy for Liberal Education (AALE) held annual elections on June 10, 2016. The Board of Trustees welcomes for a first-term of office on the Board, Steve Balch, Adam Kissel, Philip Lively, Barbara Oakley and for a one-year replacement position, Christine von Renesse. Returning for a third term is Donald D’Amour. Joining the Council of Scholars for a first-term are Steven Meyer and William Schmitt. Returning to the Council of Scholars for a third-term is James Beall.

Mr. Steve Balch is the Director of the Institute for the Study of Western Civilization at Texas Tech University. Previously he served for twenty-five years as founding president and chairman of the National Association of Scholars (NAS), a Princeton (NJ) based organization of higher education professionals dedicated to the traditional principles of liberal arts education. He has written on higher education issues for a variety of publications and co-authored The Vanishing West: 1964-2010, a report that documents the decline of the study of Western civilization in America’s universities. Balch received a Ph.D. and an M.A. in Political Science from the University of California at Berkeley.

Mr. Adam Kissel is Senior Program Officer for University Investments at the Charles Koch Foundation in Arlington (VA). Formerly he served as the Vice-President of Programs for the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) in Philadelphia (PA). Kissel is an active public speaker and writer on the topics of academic freedom, free speech, due process, and individual rights in higher education. Kissel completed doctoral coursework at the University of Chicago, and received a M.A. in Social Thought from the University of Chicago, and a B.A. in English and American Literature and Language from Harvard University.

Mr. Philip Lively is Vice-President of Finance and Administration and Treasurer at the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) International. Prior to his appointment as Vice-President of Finance and Administration, he served as ASTM International’s Vice-President of Information Technology Development and Application. Currently he also serves on the Board of Directors of the Clinical and Laboratories Standards Institute. Lively received his M.B.A. in Finance from Drexel University (PA), completed graduate studies in Political Philosophy at the University of Chicago, and received a B.A. in Politics from Assumption College (MA).

Ms. Barbara Oakley is Professor of Engineering at Oakland University (MI). Her research interests range from STEM education, to Engineering education, to learning practices. Oakley lectures internationally on STEM education, ‘Learning How to Learn’, and ‘Shaping Careers and Learning-21st Century Skills’. She is the author of A Mind for Numbers: How to Excel at Math and Science (Even If You Flunked Algebra). She is an elected Fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering. Oakley received a Ph.D. in Systems Engineering from Oakland University (MI), a M.S. in Electrical Computing Engineering from Oakland University (MI), a B.A. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Washington, and a B.A. in Slavic Languages and Literature from the University of Washington.

Ms. Christine von Renesse is an Associate Professor of Mathematics at Westfield State University (MA) and is an author and principal investigator for the project, Discovering the Art of Mathematics, which provides resources to support college faculty teaching Mathematics for Liberal Arts. She has also served as a principal investigator for project PRIME: Promoting Resources for the use of Inquiry throughout Mathematics Education, and has published specifically on inquiry-based learning and the art of mathematical discourse. Von Renesse received her Ph.D. and M.S. in Mathematics from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, a M.Ed. and a M.S. in Mathematics from the Technical University in Berlin, and completed undergraduate studies at the Hochschule der Künste, Berlin (Music Conservatory).

Mr. Steven Meyer is Assistant Professor of Theology at the University of St. Thomas, Houston (TX). He is the author of the forthcoming book, Theology of Christian Faith in the work of Cardinal Avery Dulles (Fordham University Press). He has taught on the secondary level and served as a certified accreditation visitor for the Texas Catholic Conference Education Department. Meyer received a Ph.D. from the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas, a Licentiate in Theology from the Dominican House of Studies in Washington DC, an M.A. in Theology from Franciscan University, Steubenville (OH) and a B.A. in History and Theology from Franciscan University, Steubenville (OH).

Mr. William Schmitt is headmaster of Trivium School, an independent co-educational day school in Lancaster (MA). He is the 2014 Recipient of the Henry Salvatori Prize for Excellence in Teaching, awarded through Hillsdale College for the purpose of focusing attention on teaching as the core ingredient of education reform. He has taught at the Thomas More College for Liberal Arts Rome campus and was the Managing Editor of Communio: International Catholic Review. Schmitt received a Doctorate in Sacred Theology from Pontifical John Paul II Institute, a B.A. and Licentiate in Theology (S.T.B. and S.T.L.) from the Pontifical Gregorian University, and a B.A. in History from the University of Dallas (TX).

AALE Chair of Board Addresses ALL Conference

Todd Breyfogle, Director of Seminars at The Aspen Institute and Chair of the American Academy for Liberal Education (AALE) served as a keynote speaker at the first Alliance for Liberal Learning Conference (ALL) held in Chicago November 6-7, 2015. Breyfogle has served on the AALE Board of Trustees since 2009 and was elected Chair in 2013. The ALL conference brought together representatives from educational organizations, schools and colleges with formal great books and core texts curricula, residential and travel learning programs, and degree-granting and non-degree granting programs, who share a common interest in the value of lifelong liberal education. Breyfogle’s presentation, entitled Navigating the Contours of Complexity, addressed the contemporary relevance of liberal learning in clarifying professional and personal priorities as part of a lifelong journey of learning.

The Alliance for Liberal Learning was founded in 2014/2015 when representatives working in discussion-based liberal education met in Chicago to discuss common challenges and opportunities. The mission of the new initiative (www.allianceforliberallearning.org) is to increase public awareness, understanding and appreciation for lifelong liberal education through enhanced collaborations.