The University of Alberta's Augustana Campus has been accepted as the 25th member, and first in Canada, of the Council of Public Liberal Arts Colleges (COPLAC).
“We are excited about the inclusion of this terrific institution to a consortium of exceptional, top-flight liberal arts colleges and universities. COPLAC schools are known for student engagement, civic involvement and the commitment to an educational experience that provides a foundation for a lifetime of learning and advancement. The Augustana Campus clearly shares those same values.”
Founded in 1987, the Council has become a leading advocate for public liberal education. Its membership includes small campuses of several major universities – including Wisconsin, Minnesota, Virginia, North Carolina – as well as experimental colleges such as Evergreen State in Washington and New College in Florida. “COPLAC puts Augustana in very good company,” said Dean Roger Epp, who attended the annual meeting. “As a part of a large, diverse university, Augustana needs a top-notch peer group like this to anchor our distinctive identity, affirm what we do, and make us better.”
“Our Canadian context is different in some respects, but the COPLAC conversations about the student experience, curriculum, and how we serve local and regional communities as public institutions are very familiar. We look forward to participating in those conversations and learning from them.”
The Augustana Campus’ application for membership followed exploratory discussions dating back two years. A formal site visit in March included meetings with faculty, students, recent graduates and the University of Alberta’s senior leaders, President Indira Samarasekera and Provost Carl Amrhein, who each strongly supported the application. COPLAC members are distinguished by such characteristics as a common commitment to a superior liberal arts and sciences education, small classes, innovative teaching, learning for active citizenship and opportunities for faculty-supervised student research in intimate, small-campus settings. Member campuses typically are located in small cities like Camrose.
Among other activities, COPLAC sponsors student exchanges and opportunities for faculty development. Psychology professor Tim Parker participated in this year’s summer institute at the University of North Carolina—Asheville.