Liberal Arts Colleges and Small Universities (LACSU) Network

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This network was established to promote interaction and collaboration among Directors and Associate Directors of Humanities Centers at CHCI-member liberal arts institutions (colleges and smaller universities focused primarily on undergraduate liberal arts education) and leaders of humanities initiatives at similar schools who are participating in CHCI. This network facilitates conversations emerging from our particular funding and administrative challenges and the particular strengths and opportunities that emerge from our structures, our work as teacher-scholars, and our aspirations to promote interdisciplinary research and teaching at our institutions.

Based on our shared experience, this network offers opportunities to discuss and learn from each other in a number of areas, such as:

  • The integrative learning processes, which in liberal arts colleges have the potential to realize many of the goals of education and research outlined recently by humanists. Our institutional structures provide a natural home for interdisciplinary teaching and research relationships between faculty and students. Teacher-scholars at liberal arts institutions are regularly engaged in the fine art of ‘framing Humanities for a general public,’ which is essential to teaching students drawn from a variety of majors across different academic divisions and departments. Such scholars engage in ‘horizontal collaborations’ with students in advanced research projects, including Digital or Public Humanities projects. Our CHCI network enables us to examine and maximize the benefits of horizontal research activity through collaboration and sharing of resources.
  • Understanding grant funding, and in making ourselves visible as a constituency that seeks opportunities for further collaborations not only within its network, but also regionally and with research institutions that are exploring new ways of facilitating faculty and undergraduate student research and teaching in the Humanities. Liberal arts colleges have the potential to serve as resources and incubators for new modes of interdisciplinary research and pedagogy.
  • As the CHCI moves toward greater ‘internationalization,’ liberal arts colleges are doing the same. Our network is well placed to think about the consequences and implications of horizontal collaborations with international liberal arts institutions.

The first meeting of the Network for Liberal Arts Colleges and Small Universities in CHCI took place at CHCI’s annual meeting in at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in June 2015.

Following a 2-day conference at Colby College in 2018, "Liberal Arts and the Humanities: Case Studies from Liberal Arts Colleges and Small Universities", attendee Aaron O'Hanlon reflected on the value of HCIs at teaching-focused institutions in an article for Inside Higher Ed.

The LACSU Network continues to meet formally and informally on an annual basis.

Steering Committee

Participating CHCI Member Organizations

    • Amherst College, Center for Humanistic Inquiry
    • Bard College, The Human Rights Project
    • Bentley University, Valente Center for Arts & Sciences
    • Carleton College, Humanities Center
    • Carroll College, Humanities Center
    • Clark University, Higgins School of Humanities
    • Colby College, Center for the Arts and Humanities
    • Dartmouth College, Leslie Center for the Humanities
    • Duke-Kunshan University, Humanities Research Center
    • Fairfield University, Humanities Institute
    • Franklin and Marshall Humanities Initiative
    • Furman University, Humanities Center
    • Grinnell College, Center for the Humanities
    • Hamilton College, Humanities Center
    • Haverford College, Hurford Center for the Arts and Humanities
    • Macalester College, Digital Liberal Arts
    • Middlebury College, Axinn Center for the Humanities
    • Pomona College, Humanities Studio
    • Roanoke College, Center for Studying Structures of Race
    • Saint Anselm College, Gregory Grappone Humanities Institute
    • Scripps College, Humanities Institute
    • Smith College, Kahn Institute
    • Tufts University, Center for the Humanities at Tufts (CHAT )
    • University of Richmond, School of Arts and Sciences
    • University of San Diego, Humanities Center
    • University of Tulsa Oklahoma, Center for the Humanities
    • University of Tyumen, School of Advanced Studies
    • Wake Forest University, Humanities Institute
    • Wellesley College Suzy, Newhouse Center for the Humanities
    • Wesleyan University, Center for the Humanities
    • Wheaton College, Wheaton Institute for the Interdisciplinary Humanities
    • Williams College, Oakley Center for the Humanities and Social Sciences