5Cs Land Grant to Evaluate Consortium Cooperation

In the next three years, the Claremont Colleges will be evaluating the consortium’s approach to academic cooperation among the 5Cs. The project will be supported by a $280,000 grant from the Teagle Foundation, which in May awarded grants to 17 groups of liberal arts colleges looking to improve collaboration. 

Academic deans of faculty from all five undergraduate colleges will spearhead the implementation of the funds. 

“We hope to create a more coherent academic landscape and clearer educational pathways for our students,” said Martina Ebert, Pomona College’s senior director of foundation and corporate relations, who wrote much of the grant proposal. “We will carefully examine the structure of the consortium and its various component pieces to assess whether we have the functional tools we need to grow the curriculum in a more intentional and thoughtful way.”

The Teagle Foundation is a private family foundation that, according to its website, “intends to be an influential national voice and a catalyst for change in higher education” and supports “challenging and transformative liberal arts education.” The foundation invited the colleges to apply for a grant under the “Faculty Planning and Curricular Coherence” initiative, whose objective is to examine the function of the consortium at the curricular level.

Given that the project is still very much in its formative stages, the specifics of how the consortium will assess curricula across the 5Cs is unclear, but Ebert said that the examination of 5C collaboration will include an “evaluation of the technological and financial underpinnings of consortial collaboration.” 

“It will be essential to identify what technological modifications would need to be made in order to enable the curricular sharing and assessment we envision,” she said. 

This identification process will involve visiting other consortia, such as the Five College Consortium in Massachusetts, and analyzing the successes and challenges of those collegiate systems. 

Additionally, surveys of professors involved with joint programs such as art history and intercollegiate programs like media studies will be important sources of information. Cross registration and shared colloquia will also be considered, according to a Harvey Mudd College press release. The deans will solicit input from faculty members, deans, registrars, institutional researchers, treasurers, assessment teams, librarians and other consortium staff, the press release added.

“We are all interested in how to collaborate more effectively,” said Muriel E. Poston, Pitzer College’s vice president for academic affairs. “The grant gives us an opportunity to look at the ways in which our consortial academic programs work effectively and efficiently and ways in which programs that are not specifically targeted as intercollegiate programs may need additional support.”

At the end of the grant period, the colleges will share their findings with the Teagle Foundation.

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