Concordia Represents at AAC&U

President William Craft and members of the Concordia College faculty and staff represented the college through presentations and in leadership roles at the annual meeting of the Association of American Colleges & Universities.

President Craft was named the vice chair of the AAC&U board and will become chair next January. Craft also chairs the Ness Book Award Committee and moderated a session with Ness Book Award recipient Cathy Davidson. Her book, “The New Education,” proposes the need for a revolution in higher learning if we want students to succeed in a time of precarious work and technological disruption. Craft was also one of three college leaders on a panel for presidents titled “Better Left Unsaid? Building Competitive Advantage When What we Believe About the Liberal Arts Isn’t Enough.”

Also presenting on the AAC&U annual meeting theme of “Raising Our Voices: Reclaiming the Narrative on the Value of Higher Education” were Concordia faculty and staff. They led a session on the new integrative learning model at Concordia called PEAK, Pivotal Experience in Applied Knowledge. Dr. Joan Kopperud, director of integrative learning; Nathalie Rinehardt, director of student engagement; Dr. Eric Eliason, dean of the college; and Dr. Mark Krejci, professor of psychology, presented a session titled “Bridging Campus Divides with a College-Wide Transformative Integrative Learning Program.” Kopperud says their team was fortunate to have the opportunity to present Concordia’s innovative program to such a wide array of colleagues. 

“We were pleased to showcase what Concordia is doing with our bold approach to integrative learning,” Kopperud says. “Integrative learning is distinctive at Concordia, in part, because our approach has brought every dimension of the campus into the narrative of educating students for tomorrow. From the classroom to research labs to study away to the performing arts and athletics, PEAK holds the possibility of directly involving faculty, staff, and students in meaningful ways.”

Additionally, Concordia’s chief diversity officer, Dr. Edward Antonio, was a panelist in a session titled “Implementing Interfaith Cooperation.”

President Craft says he is pleased Concordia is engaging boldly with this organization that sets the tone for colleges and universities. 

“For more than 100 years, AAC&U has set the agenda for liberal education in America and around the world. Its focus now is on making discovery and innovation the defining experience for all students, advancing the equity in learning fundamental to engaged democracy,” Craft says. “What I love about AAC&U is that it’s an organization designed as much for faculty as for deans and presidents. We learn from one another and tell the story of how liberal education transforms individual lives and enhances the diverse community on which our democracy depends.”