Bonnie Dow, Dean of Academic Affairs at Vanderbilt University, in discussion at the ACLS Research University Consortium Meeting in October 2022.
Bonnie Dow, Dean of Academic Affairs at Vanderbilt University, in discussion at the ACLS Research University Consortium Meeting in October 2022.

ACLS works with its member institutions to learn how to best support the humanities and interpretive social sciences at their institutions, with particular attention to the needs of our HBCU and HSI members. These colleges, universities, and research libraries also play a crucial role in developing and supporting ACLS programs including the Luce Design Workshop for A New Academy, the ACLS HBCU Faculty Fellowship and Grant Program, and the Emerging Voices Fellowship Program.

Our Work with the ACLS Research University Consortium

In 2023, ACLS welcomed the University of California, Santa Cruz, Tulane University and the University of Iowa to the Research University Consortium, bringing the membership to 44. In addition to a now annual convening in New York City in the fall, ACLS hosts a monthly series of virtual meetings where Consortium deans and representatives can discuss and exchange ideas about topics shaping academia, as well as learn more about ACLS competitions, initiatives, and events. Most Consortium member institutions serve as hosts to the third and final cohort of Emerging Voices Fellows, with 40 outstanding emerging scholars appointed to two-year placements at graduate schools across the US starting for academic years 2022-23 and 2023-24.

Our Work with ACLS Associate Members

ACLS has continued to expand and diversify its Associate member network, increasing outreach to small liberal arts colleges and adding new engagement opportunities including monthly virtual meet ups. New Associate members include the City University of New York, LaGuardia Community College; Rochester Institute of Technology; the Smithsonian Institution; Tennessee State University; Tougaloo College; University of Texas at El Paso; and York University.

ACLS Associate members also participated in the Luce Design Workshop for a New Academy, which aimed to design and circulate blueprints for action on positive change in higher education. The initiative was showcased in the February 2022 virtual panel “Change or Be Changed: Designing Solutions for Challenges Facing the Humanities and Social Sciences,” as well as in a live panel at the 2022 Annual Meeting. Working intensively in the spring and summer of 2021, the teams designed solutions to challenges to the humanities and social sciences, including changes to how faculty are evaluated for advancement, proactive support for doctoral students pursuing a variety of careers, and raising the profile of humanistic scholarship within the university.

Convening with other humanities leaders across the country provides an invaluable opportunity to share our respective approaches to the most urgent challenges of higher education today—first and foremost the dual crises of the pandemic and the nation’s violent racial history. In these regular meetings we take up key issues that resonate (or diverge in interesting ways) across our diverse institutions. The consortium reminds me how much better and more creative we can be when we collaborate.

Carla Freeman
Interim Dean of Emory College of Arts and Sciences and Goodrich C. White Professor of Women’s, Gender & Sexuality Studies, Emory University