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Best Practices Conference in 2001
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Keynote speaker: Milton Bennett
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Best Practices Conference, June 14-17, 2001


"Integrating Liberal Learning and Intercultural Education: Theoretical Frameworks and Best Practices"

June 14-17, 2001 at Lake Forest College

The Global Partners Project colleges and universities of ACM, ACS, and GLCA, Inc. have been leaders in preparing students for lives in a complex, global society as part of their commitment to liberal learning. The liberal arts missions of these schools emphasize breadth of knowledge, critical thinking and judgment, social and civic responsibility, and increasingly, the multicultural context of learning and teaching.

While individual institutions have developed thoughtful approaches to off-campus study, this conference presented an opportunity for Global Partners Project faculty and staff to collectively examine the distinctive perspective liberal arts institutions bring to the integration of liberal and intercultural learning.


Thanks to Andrew W. Mellon Foundation funding, the Best Practices initiative of Global Partners Project was able to host this four-day conference for exploring these issues and sharing expertise.

Each of the Global Partners Project member institutions was invited to send a team of three as participants to the conference to work on a campus issue or project for which the conference resources and time with colleagues would be helpful. The teams were composed of faculty, study abroad and international education directors, student life professionals, and/or administrators. Thirty-one of the 41 campuses were represented, with a total of 91 participants attending (including consortial staff).

Presentations and activities

The conference began on Thursday, June 14, with a dinner activity which served as both an ice breaker and an introduction to the goals and style of the conference. At assigned tables, everyone shared the personal and professional histories that had brought them to this conference, leading to discussion on hopes and goals for the weekend. The discussion continued at Friday's dinner at the same tables.

Plenary sessions opened and closed the conference. Friday morning, Dr. Milton Bennett, co-director of the Intercultural Communication Institute in Portland, Oregon, gave a keynote address and workshop on "Developing Cultural Context and Intercultural Competence."

Friday and Saturday, three workshop sessions were held, organized around three broad themes: integrating intercultural learning, developing intercultural learners and teachers, and liberal learning models and methods. Five different workshops offered during each session. All workshop presenters are faculty or staff at Global Partners institutions.

At scheduled points throughout the conference, team meetings were held, intended as opportunities for campus teams to regroup and compare notes from the different workshops they have attended and conversations they have had, and to continue to discuss their projects and how conference experiences might be contributing to the development of those projects. Teams were strongly encouraged to connect with other campuses during these and other times.

Sunday morning, the Partners Projects were formally introduced and explained. These are small, competitive grants which will be offered to fund projects to develop and enhance aspects of international education at and among Global Partners member institutions.

At the Closing Plenary later that morning, a panel of Best Practices Task Force members summarized and reflected upon the conference as a whole and considered long-term directions and outcomes which might emerge from the conference.

For more information, contact ACM, or 312/263-5000.



updated 11/21/01

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