Director’s Welcome

Cole Woodcox

Small classes, mentor-instructors, and transformative opportunities characterize COPLAC’s member institutions. Our twenty-nine nationally-recognized colleges and universities provide a liberal arts education at an affordable price. Combining excellence and accessibility, COPLAC campuses are small to medium-sized. They focus mainly on undergraduate education and exemplify the residential college experience. Whether working in classrooms or communities, studios or labs, libraries or galleries, internships or study abroad programs, our students, staff, faculty, visiting artists and scholars come together and create vibrant educational environments.

Working at a public liberal arts college has profoundly shaped me as a teacher, scholar, and administrator. My own lifelong commitment to liberal arts education was formed in places where I learned from, was mentored by, and have worked with incredible, multi-disciplinary people. A liberal arts education ask us to think deeply about issues that shape our lives. It has us consider often conflicting positions, arrange multiple viewpoints, and navigate through them. We learn across significant differences and, through that learning, are made flexible.

COPLAC promotes interrelated knowledge through its collaborative enterprises. We bring members together as a whole, as well as in more compact, regional or discipline-specific cohorts. We host annual summer institutes for faculty and staff on learning in the liberal arts context. We sponsor regional undergraduate research and creative project conferences and have an electronic undergraduate journal, Metamorphosis. We highlight student and faculty accomplishments with annual awards. COPLAC promotes curricular enhancement; we have received generous funding from the Council on Undergraduate Research and the Reynolds, Teagle, and Mellon Foundations for teaching and learning opportunities. There is always an exciting project at COPLAC. When students, faculty, and staff join a COPLAC institution, they become part of a dynamic network of peers across the United States and Canada.

Ask us about our work as we strive to build community, demonstrate the value of a liberal arts education, strengthen our connections with other organizations, and reach our aspirations. I look forward to working alongside students, faculty, staff, community partners, and alumni as COPLAC promotes economical, public access to a life-changing education. Whether we meet in person or electronically, I would like to talk with you about a liberal arts education. What are your ideas for COPLAC as we move forward?

Cole Woodcox
Executive Director
Council of Public Liberal Arts Colleges