Director’s Welcome


The Council of Public Liberal Arts Colleges (COPLAC) has been advancing the cause of liberal arts and sciences education in a public college setting for more than a quarter century. Our 30 member institutions combine student-centered teaching in small classes with innovative curricula and student life programming. Distinctive among state-supported colleges and universities, COPLAC campuses are small-to-medium sized and the focus is primarily on undergraduate education.

As Director, one of my roles is to develop stronger internal programming for students, faculty, and staff. We are now in the thirteenth year of hosting summer faculty institutes on liberal learning in the disciplines. We have built new relationships with the Council on Undergraduate Research, developed regional undergraduate research conferences and launched an electronic undergraduate research journal. In 2012 COPLAC joined AAC&U's signature LEAP States initiative, and the consortium has received generous support from the Teagle and Mellon Foundations to pilot new online and hybrid teaching and learning opportunities.  When students enroll at a COPLAC institution, they join a dynamic and inclusive community of public liberal arts institutions across the U.S. and Canada.

In an era of escalating costs for higher education, COPLAC colleges and universities combine an egalitarian concern for access with academic rigor. The mission of COPLAC is not just to provide higher education for students who otherwise could not afford it, but a transformative liberal arts education commensurate with that offered by North America's finest private colleges. An education in the great tradition of the liberal arts and sciences remains, we believe, the best preparation for a meaningful life and professional career.

Thank you for visiting our website.

Bill Spellman, Director
Council of Public Liberal Arts Colleges