Carlow University Selected to Participate in New Consortium for Online Humanities Instruction

Carlow University has been selected as one of 21 institutions nationwide by the Council of Independent Colleges (CIC) to participate in the new Consortium for Online Humanities Instruction.

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21 Institutions Will Develop and Share Advanced Humanities Courses Online

Pittsburgh, Pa. – Carlow University has been selected as one of a nationwide group of 21 colleges and universities chosen by the Council of Independent Colleges (CIC) to participate in the new Consortium for Online Humanities Instruction.

The Consortium is part of a multi-year project to improve teaching and learning in the humanities, explore new approaches to online education, and promote collaboration among smaller private, liberal arts colleges.

“Online teaching and learning has tremendous potential to sustain the humanities at smaller liberal arts colleges,” said Richard Ekman, CIC president.  “By sharing courses that might be under-enrolled at a single institution, humanities programs can maximize the use of their instructional resources and offer their students a wider range of high-quality courses.”

A $1.38 million grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation will support the work of four-person teams from each participating institution over three years.  Two faculty members from each team will develop new upper-level courses in the humanities, pilot the courses in 2017, revise the courses, and offer them again in 2018 to students from all the participating colleges.  Two administrators, the chief academic officer and the registrar, will focus on institutional support for online learning, policies for sharing courses, and other aspects of institutional collaboration.  The teams will come together for three national workshops, beginning in August 2016.

Carlow will offer two courses online as part of this consortium.  Jack Alverson, PhD, a professor of theology, will teach “Christianity and American Society,” a course which has been offered before on campus, but will be offered for the first time online as a result of this grant.

The other Carlow course being offered is taught by Sylvia Rhor, PhD, a professor of art history, who will teach “20th Century Art in the United States: from Cassatt to Warhol and Beyond.”  In this course, Rhor will do virtual site visits of local art installations.

Both courses will work with Carlow’s Center for Digital Learning and Innovation (CDLI) to implement new and emerging technologies and best practices in online learning.

“I’m delighted that Carlow was selected to be part of this innovative CIC Consortium,” said Matthew Gordley, PhD, dean of the College of Learning and Innovation at Carlow.  “This consortium aligns directly with several of our strategic goals for the college, and we look forward to seeing what we will be able to learn from our sister schools.”

Gordley believes Carlow will have a lot to offer other schools in the consortium, too, not the least of which is the distinguished reputation of both faculty members teaching these inaugural courses.

“We have offered a handful of classes in the humanities online thus far, but this will be a great opportunity to explore ways in which our humanities faculty can bring their passion for classroom teaching and rich face-to-face discussions into a digital environment,” said Gordley.  “This promises to be a great opportunity for Carlow University, for our faculty, and for our students.”

New York-based Ithaka S+R, a leading research and consulting service for academic innovation in the digital environment, will advise participants and evaluate the entire project. Deanna Marcum, managing director of Ithaka S+R, said, “We are delighted to partner with CIC again on this important project. Thanks to a cohort of CIC institutions that have collaborated since 2014, we already know that online humanities courses can produce excellent results for students. This new Consortium provides an opportunity to learn more about innovative approaches to pedagogy, faculty support for online learning at smaller liberal arts colleges, and new approaches to collaboration—and then share the findings with other institutions.”

The first meeting of the Consortium will take place in Alexandria, Virginia, August 7–9, 2016. Presenters will include prominent national experts in online learning.

More information about the project and the participating institutions is available on the CIC website at

Consortium for Online Humanities Instruction (2016-2018)

Participating Institutions

Bloomfield College (NJ)                                 Randolph-Macon College (VA)

Carlow University (PA)                                 Rosemont College (PA)

Carroll College (MT)                                      Shenandoah University (VA)

Carroll University (WI)                                  Siena College (NY)

Claflin University (SC)                                   Simpson College (IA)

Clarke University (IA)                                   St. Edward’s University (TX)

Concordia University Texas (TX)                  St. Olaf College (MN)

Gettysburg College (PA)                                Ursuline College (OH)

Lasell College (MA)                                       Walsh University (OH)

Mount Mary University (WI)                            Wesleyan College (GA)

Northwestern College (IA)

### About Carlow University – Carlow is a private, co-educational, Catholic university located in the heart of Pittsburgh’s “Tech, Ed, and Med” district. Founded by the Sisters of Mercy, Carlow’s graduates, curriculum, and partnerships reflect its strong commitment to social justice; ethical, forward-thinking and responsible leadership; and service to the community that has a meaningful impact. Undergraduate and graduate degrees are offered in three major areas: Health and Wellness, Leadership and Social Change, and Innovation and Learning. Carlow graduates are in demand for their professional expertise, in fields ranging from nursing, the sciences, and perfusion technology to counseling, education, and forensic accounting; their entrepreneurial spirit and creative mindset; and their ability to manage change.  Our student-athletes compete on eleven different teams, including men’s basketball and men’s and women’s golf—and our mascot is Shammy—the cute green shamrock that is a reflection of the university’s Irish heritage and roots.

The Council of Independent Colleges is an association of 765 nonprofit independent colleges and universities and higher education affiliates and organizations that has worked since 1956 to support college and university leadership, advance institutional excellence, and enhance public understanding of private higher education’s contributions to society. CIC is the major national organization that focuses on providing services to leaders of independent colleges and universities as well as conferences, seminars, and other programs that help institutions to improve educational quality, administrative and financial performance, and institutional visibility. CIC conducts the largest annual conferences of college and university presidents and of chief academic officers. CIC also provides support to state fundraising associations that organize programs and generate contributions for private colleges and universities. The Council is headquartered at One Dupont Circle in Washington, DC. For more information, visit

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