CLIR Report on NITLE

Logo designed by Khaled Al-Saai

I finally read through this report on NITLE (the National Institute for Technology and Liberal Education), and I must say I agree with most of it’s findings.  It is a thorough survey of what was accomplished and what is needed. Thanks are due to Jason Brodeur, Morgan Daniels, Annie Johnson, Natsuko Nicholls, Sarah Pickle, and Elizabeth A. WaraksaI, as well as all who participated in the surveys they conducted, for this job well done.

I was very proud of my involvement in NITLE, which started our as a visionary organization, assisting member institutions to be forward looking and to think big about what they could accomplish. I was Program Director of NITLE’s Al-Musharaka Initiative, which is mentioned early in the report. I am immensely proud of my involvement with that project. Our focus really was on building community, facilitating collaboration, and fostering intellectual exchange, not just across institutions, but also across sectors within the academic community.  Much of what has been published about the initiative focusing on the Arab Culture and Civilization Online Resource (the ACC site), one of our first projects, but it was really the collaborative projects that were the most interesting and produced the most exciting results.  Continue reading

Help Me with a Concert List: My Memory Doesn’t Serve Me Well

Ryan Bingham and the Dead Horses in Boston MA. Always a great show!

If you have ever been to a concert with me, I need your help! I’ve been trying to come up with complete list of every musical act I’ve seen in concert, from the cradle to now. Well, not every act.  They have to be nationally or internationally known, because if I list every band I’ve seen at a local event, I’d never stop listing.  I’d also never be able to do it.  I’m also not including choruses, orchestras, musicals or theatrical events.  Let’s take Harry Connick Jr. or Bernadette Peters for example.  Both of these people have done concerts on Broadway and been in shows.  Harry Connick Jr. I list because I have seen him in concert.  I have not seen him in a musical, but even if I had, I wouldn’t list him unless I had also seen him in concert.  I have seen Bernadette Peters in musicals, but I have yet to see her in concert, except recorded.  So she is not on my list.

Anyway, I can’t remember them all.  I know I am missing some.  One act came back to me today since I originally developed this list and posted in on Facebook last night.  Something brought them to mind.  It was a good show, too!  It’s just hard to bring all acts to mind in a list like this.

So if you’ve been to a show or festival with me, could you look at this list and make sure all the artists we saw are included here. The band has to have made enough of an impression on my that I remember seeing them of course.  If I don;t remember them, I’m not going to add them, but I know the list should be longer than this.  Plus I keep finding duplicates, so it isn’t even really this long!

  • Bruce Springsteen
  • Dave Matthews Band
  • James Morrison
  • The Gaslight Anthem
  • Suzanne Vega
  • Idir
  • Najat Attabou
  • Cheb Mami
  • Khaled
  • Cesaria Evora
  • Red Hot Chilli Peppers
  • Prince
  • Foreigner
  • Bryan Adams
  • Tinariwen
  • Ashley MacIsaac
  • Tina Turner
  • Midnight Oil

Continue reading

“Internationalized Academe Is Inevitable,” but Will We Do it Well

“The internationalization of higher education is inevitable,” Mr. Levine, a former president of Teachers College at Columbia University, said in a speech on Wednesday to the Association of International Education Administrators whose members are meeting here this week.

In internationalization, “some bold universities will lead,” Mr. Levine said. “Others will be populizers. And others will hold onto the past and will be destined to fail.”

via “Internationalized Academe Is Inevitable, but Its Form Is Not,” The Chronicle of Higher Education.

The quotation above is from a short version of a longer article the was published in the February 26 print edition of the Chronicle.  A recurring point of tension at that meeting, and one that is also clear from the comments on the report linked above, is that there is a tension between the need to internationalize curricula and the costs of doing so. Like so many sectors of the economy, higher education is experiencing significant financial challenges and this is the problem.

Continue reading Includes NITLE ACC Site

This evening I was happy to learn that the NITLE Arab Culture and Civilization Online Resource is once again publicly available, generously hosted by the Middle East Policy Council, a nonprofit organization that seeks to enhance American understanding of the political, economic and cultural issues affecting U.S. policy in the Middle East. I was principal editor of the site throughout much of its existence, and was very proud of the collaborative effort that went into building, launching, and nurturing the site throughout its life. At the time of its retirement it was registering thousands of hits on a daily basis.

Continue reading

Innovative Practices for Challenging Times

An message from Michael Nanfito and NITLE.

In March 2009, five exemplary projects from the liberal arts community received the NITLE Community Contribution Award, which includes an opportunity to publish a case study with Academic Commons. Today, I’m happy to announce the publication of “Innovative Practices for Challenging Times,” a new issue of Academic Commons that showcases these projects and gives readers a chance to find out how their leaders made them happen.

Articles featured in this issue of Academic Commons include:

War News Radio” by Abdulla A. Mizead. Mizead tells how one creative alum, a group of dedicated students, and a supportive college community launched a new major reporting initiative covering the war zones in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Come for the Content, Stay for the Community” by Ethan Benatan, Jezmynne Dene, Hilary Eppley, Margret Geselbracht, Elizabeth Jamieson, Adam Johnson, Barbara Reisner, Joanne Stewart, Lori Watson, and B. Scott Williams. Find out how a group of inorganic chemists used social networking technologies to build a scientific community for support, exchange of ideas, and friendship — all in the interest of improving chemistry education across campuses and having a bit of fun in the process.

Curricular Uses of Visual Material: A Research-Driven Process for Improving Institutional Sources of Curricular Support” by Andrea Lisa Nixon, Heather Tompkins, and Paula Lackie. When students work with visual materials in all parts of the curriculum, how do you make sure they get the technical support they need? An extensive research study of faculty and students led to a new coordinated support model. Nixon, Tompkins, and Lackie explain how they got it done.

The History Engine: Doing History with Digital Tools” by Robert K. Nelson, Scott Nesbit, and Andrew Torget. The History Engine offers a rich digital repository of episodes from American history and even more important, a chance for undergraduates to “do history” long before the senior seminar or capstone course.

The Collaborative Liberal Arts Moodle Project: A Case Study” by Ken Newquist. The Collaborative Liberal Arts Moodle Project, or CLAMP as it’s better known, proves the power of collaboration across campuses. By creating a network of Moodle users from multiple campuses across the country, CLAMP has developed a highly effective system for adapting the open-source software Moodle for the specific needs of liberal arts colleges.

At NITLE, we’re pleased to partner with Academic Commons to bring you these case studies and to enable their authors to share the knowledge they’ve developed along with their projects. We thank the featured authors and their partners for their work and Academic Commons for collaborating with us. If you would like to nominate a project for the next round of awards, please contact me at by November 16, 2009.

Wellesley College teams with Olin, Babson to offer new curricula – The Boston Globe

This an interesting story about a collaboration between three colleges in Wellesley, MA.  This is how institutions with complementary strengths consolidate them to the advantage of the group.  It so happens that these three colleges are in close geographical proximity but with very distinct academic programs.

WELLESLEY – Wellesley College will launch a unique collaboration this fall with two neighboring schools with very different missions, as part of an effort to offer students from each of the colleges a more diverse educational experience at little additional cost.

At a time when many colleges have been forced to cut back and reevaluate what they offer, the elite liberal arts school for women has found common ground with Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering, a tiny school just 7 years old, and Babson College, a business school with an entrepreneurial bent.

Under the new partnership, faculty will jointly develop programs designed to equip students to tackle major world problems, such as energy supply and national security, from different academic perspectives, said Wellesley’s president, Kim Bottomly. The triumvirate will give undergraduates expanded educational opportunities through new academic programs that none of the schools could afford on its own.

“No institution alone can effectively aspire to a general level of excellence in today’s world,’’ said Leonard Schlesinger, president of Babson. “I don’t care if you’re Harvard. There just aren’t the resources with which to do it.’’

Amid bleak economic times, the new model is drawing the attention of higher education officials and policy makers concerned about rising tuition costs, said Richard Doherty, president of the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities in Massachusetts.

via Wellesley College teams with Olin, Babson to offer new curricula – The Boston Globe.