Magazine article University Business

Putting a High Priority on Technology: A President's Perspective on Moving a Nonprofit's Headquarters to Campus

Magazine article University Business

Putting a High Priority on Technology: A President's Perspective on Moving a Nonprofit's Headquarters to Campus

Article excerpt

THE FIRST WORD THAT rings to mind in conjunction with the phrase "liberal arts education" is not "technology." In the 21st century, however, it should.

Historically, liberal arts colleges have not placed a heavy emphasis on technology, either in the curriculum or as a teaching tool. But we hit a tipping point earlier this decade on liberal arts campuses. Not a single young person on our campus can remember life before the internet. If we don't teach even our most traditional courses--humanities, history, literature--using today's technology, we are probably failing as educators.

This is why I'm delighted the National Institute for Technology and Liberal Education (NITLE; pronounced "nightly") has moved to our campus; Southwestern University (Texas) will be responsible for NITLE's operations. The nonprofit initiative's mission is to advance liberal education in the digital age. It was established in 2004 with funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and has operated until now through a network of centers and regional offices with staff in nine states.

The move to Southwestern marks the first time NITLE, which has some 130 participating liberal arts campuses, has been headquartered on a college campus. With this move, the opportunities are numerous.

CAMPUS CONNECTIONS

Southwestern has a long history with NITLE. For the Associated Colleges of the South, we hosted one of three regional technology centers beginning in 2001; the ACS Technology Center is now part of NITLE.

We have served as a regional host campus since 2004 for NITLE staff who design and deliver professional development and networking programs for faculty, technologists, and librarians from participating campuses.

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Hosting NITLE on Southwestern's campus in Central Texas places us front and center in the national conversation about technology and the future of liberal arts.

We're enthusiastic about the best-practices, real-world approach NITLE can take as part of the Southwestern community, deepening NITLE's connection to participating institutions and positioning it for even greater influence in undergraduate education. Particularly during the current recession, colleges are smart to work collaboratively through initiatives such as NITLE; we can share resources and tap into the best minds from around the country. …

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