Through an $800,000 grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the newly formed Northwest Five Consortium of Liberal Arts Colleges will create learning, research and development opportunities for faculty and students.

Lewis & Clark, Reed College, University of Puget Sound, Whitman College and Willamette University make up the consortium, which will use combined resources to establish a broader and more diverse intellectual community. Through the partnership, faculty members will join communities of practice to enhance research, develop innovative approaches to teaching and create new academic initiatives.

At Whitman, Tim Kaufman-Osborn, provost and dean of the faculty, reports that there are four specific projects that will be carried out with support from the grant during the next four years:

  1. An annual NW5C conference: a large conference that is an opportunity for faculty members to meet their peers from other institutions and learn about best practices and new ideas related to a pedagogical topic.
  2. A thematic workshop: a small three day long workshop in which a small group of faculty members from each of the five institutions will gather for an in depth discussion of curricular topics of common interest to faculty.
  3. Creation of an NW5C Fund for Innovation in Teaching and Learning: a competitive grant program meant to encourage cross institutional partnerships of individuals, departments and interdisciplinary programs to develop new approaches to advancing student learning.
  4. Development of a website and a Teaching/Scholarship Resource Database: an inventory of faculty activities and academic programs that are occurring on the five campuses.

“The purpose of the Northwest 5 Consortium is to enhance the student academic experience at our five liberal arts colleges through enrichment and development of our faculty in their roles as teacher scholars,” Kaufman-Osborn said. “The NW5C will provide the infrastructure to support a vibrant and sustainable intellectual community of scholars in our region. Each of our institutions brings to the Consortium its own unique culture and character. By sharing our resources, we can benefit from each other’s knowledge and strengths and accomplish together what we cannot do as individual institutions.”