2017 Annual Meeting: Making the Case for Liberal Learning in and Beyond the Classroom

Mansfield UniversityToday more than ever, it is vital for public liberal arts colleges to demonstrate the value added of the liberal arts experience  with meaningful data. That’s why the 2017 COPLAC Annual Meeting theme is “Making the Case for Liberal Learning in and Beyond the Classroom.”

Mansfield University of Pennsylvania will serve as host for the 29th annual meeting June 22-24. The meeting will feature a new model of working sessions for designated professional groups. COPLAC members’ communication and institutional research specialists will gather to develop and discuss new strategies for advancing our sector with the wider public.

Registration for the 2017 COPLAC Annual Meeting will close May 26, 2017. Please visit http://www.mansfield.edu/coplac2017/ to register and learn more. Find additional information regarding guest speakers, board meetings, and workshops below.


Governing Board

Cole WoodcoxColleagues will have the opportunity to meet and interact with the new Director of COPLAC, Cole Woodcox. Dr. Woodcox, who comes to COPLAC from member campus Truman State University, will join the Governing Board during its working session and business meeting.

COPLAC’S Strategic Plan Committee will share the penultimate draft of the 2017-2025 COPLAC Strategic Plan with Board members. After discussion and final edits, the new plan will be put to a vote at the business meeting.

Strategic Plan Committee members include: President Denise Battles of SUNY Geneseo, Provost Brad Cook of Southern Utah University, President Steve Dorman of Georgia College, President Kate Foster (Chair) of University of Maine Farmington, President Don O’Shea of New College of Florida, President Suzanne Shipley of Midwestern State University, Provost Bart Finzel of University of Minnesota Morris, and Provost Joe Urgo of University of North Carolina Asheville.


Communication and Institutional Research Professionals

In order to make the case for liberal learning, communicating relevant data is necessary. We invite COPLAC colleagues from communication, marketing, and public relations fields, as well as institutional research professionals, to join us at the Annual Meeting. These groups will meet separately for three concurrent sessions with targeted outcomes outlined by the COPLAC Governing Board.

Following the concurrent sessions, the groups will convene for a concluding session to share results, best practices, and future goals. Sample topics for the communication workshop include: The COPLAC Brand Promise and new perspectives on marketing the value of the public liberal college experience; Communicating qualitative and quantitative metrics identified by Institutional Research officers; Sharing public liberal arts stories and successes on social media and with media outlets; and Recruitment/enrollment strategies in 2017. Sample topics for the institutional research workshop include: Refining the COPLAC Annual Data Profile; Developing evidence-based common metrics that will help member institutions to better advocate for their individual campuses; Identifying and refining comparative data that help to identify our common strengths and highlight these in COPLAC’s branding work; Working with Marketing and Advocacy professionals at our member institutions.


Plenary Speakers

Stu Weiss“I was a tattered mess when I came to Mansfield, and I left here as a television marketing executive,”  said Stu Weiss, a 1980 Mansfield University graduate and owner of Studio City.

Weiss will join the meeting as the opening speaker. In addition to leading one of the largest and most recognized media agencies, Weiss has also worked for FOX and NBC. Weiss was awarded the Outstanding Young Alumni award from the MU Alumni Association in 1991 and later The President’s Coin for Excellence by President Fran Hendricks in 2015.

On Saturday, an update will be given on the COPLAC Digital initiative funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Students and faculty from the Spring 2017 course “The Social Life of Books” will present an overview of course projects, and discuss successes and challenges. Co-Principal Investigators, Jeffrey McClurken of University of Mary Washington and Ellen Pearson of University of North Carolina Asheville, and Program Associate, Leah Tams of University of Mary Washington, will be present to answer questions regarding the initiative and distribute upcoming course information.
Full schedule and registration can be found here.

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