The Pennsylvania Consortium for the Liberal Arts (PCLA) is pleased to announce that we have received a $150,000 grant from the Booth Ferris Foundation to augment and support the robust faculty diversity initiatives underway at our member institutions. Specifically, this two year award, titled “Sustaining Underrepresented Faculty”, will enable the PCLA to bridge two PCLA member sponsored efforts, with revamped consortium sponsored offerings that will enhance our collective impact in this crucial area of faculty recruitment and retention.

In January of 2018, Swarthmore College, with the support of a National Institutes of Health (NIH) Biomedical/Biobehavioral Research Administration Development (BRAD) Award, hosted the National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity (NCFDD) workshop entitled “Solo Success: How to thrive in the Academy when you’re the only ______ in your Department” in collaboration with the PCLA. Facilitated by Connecticut College associate professor of Dance Rosemarie Roberts, PhD, the daylong workshop focused on the unique pressures underrepresented faculty face within the context of a residential small liberal arts institution. Faculty and staff from seven consortium members attended this event that was spearheaded by Swarthmore colleagues Tania Johnson, director of Sponsored Programs, and Sunka Simon, PhD, professor of German, Film and Media Studies (and former associate provost for Faculty Development).

On November 9th and 10th 2018, Muhlenberg College, with the support of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, will be hosting a conference entitled “Expanding and Welcoming a Diverse Professoriate” which will offer a chance for liberal arts institutions to share best practices on how to address this critical piece of the faculty recruitment and retention process. Keynoted by University of Maryland, Baltimore County president Freeman A. Hrabowski III, PhD, panelists and speakers will include senior leaders from Amherst College, Bucknell University, The Collaborative on Academic Careers in Higher Education (COACHE) at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, Muhlenberg College, and more. The full schedule may be accessed here, and registration closes on October 17th 2018. Funding from the Booth Ferris Foundation award will be available to reimburse consortium institutions for travel costs associated with attending this event.

Beginning in May of 2017, the PCLA has offered our annual daylong “Department Chair Workshop” a comprehensive overview of the conflict management skills, mentoring, and administrative role that academic department chairs play within their institutions. Originally conceived solely as a daylong workshop on managing conflict at the department level, the workshop expanded to its current form to ensure that recently appointed department chairs were aware of the full scope of their new responsibilities. With funding from the Booth Ferris Foundation, we will be able to further expand this workshop to include modules on the role a department chair plays in the recruitment and retention of diverse faculty colleagues.

If you would like further information about this award, please contact the consortium’s implementation manager for assistance.

The Pennsylvania Consortium for the Liberal Arts (PCLA), founded in 2014, is a consortium of eleven small liberal arts colleges across the commonwealth of Pennsylvania (Bryn Mawr, Dickinson, Franklin & Marshall, Gettysburg, Haverford, Juniata, Lafayette, Muhlenberg, Swarthmore, Ursinus, and Washington & Jefferson Colleges) serving ~20,000 undergraduate students.

The PCLA is governed by the eleven member Board of Presidents, which is in turn led by a four person Executive Committee. The daily administration of PCLA activities is guided by the implementation manager. The PCLA office is hosted by Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, PA with employment and financial services provided by Washington & Jefferson College in Washington, PA.