In keeping with the cost-saving and efficiency aspect of the Consortium mission, the New York Six schools pursue administrative and operational collaborations that reduce cost and duplication of effort.
These collaborations include areas such as joint procurement, risk management, off-campus programs administration, sustainability programs, staff development, and benchmarking.
Arts and Humanities Initiatives
The New York Six Liberal Arts Consortium has developed a new initiative in the arts and humanities called the New York Six Think Tank: Advocating for the Arts and Humanities. This project consists of a community of faculty, professionals, and students who are interested in reshaping the public conversation about the state of these important disciplines.
The NY Six Think Tank seeks to foster an environment of exchange and understanding of the ways in which the arts and humanities are being represented in public discourse today, develop collaborations that encourage conversation and creativity, and support the expression, writing, production, visualization and publication of advocacy material for a wide range of audiences.
In addition to the NY Six Think Tank, our focus on the arts and humanities includes the 4Humanities@NY6 chapter and a partnership with the Mellon-funded Humanities Corridor of Central New York.
Connected Consortium Partnership
An outgrowth of the successful MediaShare Project, the New York Six Connected Consortium Partnership is a collaboration of the library directors and chief information officers and their staffs on the six member campuses. Through the CCP, the schools will explore issues related to information management and technology and develop resources that will make possible the sharing of information among the six campuses.
Through the CCP, students and faculty participating in Consortium activities will interact both electronically (through the use of video-conferencing, web collaboration tools, real-time chats, emerging social media, and digital storytelling, among other means) and in person (for example, via workshops, symposia, and conferences). Through the libraries, they will have access to information resources across our six institutions. These interactions will create learning communities across the Consortium built around identified scholarly themes that are enabled through modern technology, resulting in greater breadth and depth of curricular exploration by students, development and utilization of new technologies, and teaching and research partnerships across the Consortium. The first Consortium academic program to benefit from the CCP will be the International Initiative.
The New York Six campuses share the goals of supporting an increasingly diverse student body, faculty, and staff through educational, cultural, and social programs and activities; and building understanding and acceptance among community members from diverse backgrounds and with varying points of view.
We believe that our campuses can help each other achieve these goals more efficiently and effectively by sharing resources and programs. Among our collaborative activities are a series of Consortium-wide diversity events for faculty, staff, and students with expert speakers and facilitators and shared training for faculty and staff.
The New York Six seeks to provide opportunities for faculty across the Consortium to come together around scholarly or pedagogical issues of mutual interest. We also are interesting in supporting faculty who are taking on key leadership and governance roles, particularly department chairs and chairs of key committees, such as tenure and promotion, through workshops and information-sharing.
The New York Six Educational Technology Working Group has created a highly collaborative initiative called ITAP (Instructional Technology Apprenticeship Program), which is designed to give NY Six students practical, hands-on, educational technology experiences in an IT environment at their home campus, along with additional training and mentoring from peers and staff across the Consortium. The ITAP program is geared for students who are interested in coupling their liberal arts degree with paraprofessional experiences in the field of instructional technology.
Language Learning Groups
As our institutions are under increasing pressure to control costs, they must carefully consider the need to offer the breadth of educational opportunities which are at the heart of the liberal-arts experience. With lower enrollments and less demand, the less-commonly taught languages often face the most scrutiny. And yet the availability of instruction in these languages is critical for students who wish to study (and perhaps work) in countries in which these are the primary languages. In many cases, students are required to study the native language before they are permitted to travel on a study abroad program.
This project seeks to create faculty learning groups in at least two languages to conduct a pilot to test how we can pool resources in the less-commonly taught languages for more efficient and effective delivery of language instruction. There are three possible approaches we might explore. The first is to use blended learning pedagogy through which students can take language courses that are taught by faculty on other New York Six campuses. This approach would complement our exploration of blended learning that is currently funded by the Teagle Foundation. It would also be well supported by the information technology infrastructure that we are developing through the Connected Consortium Partnership. Two other approaches involve self-instructional programs that rely on the support of traditional instructors or language mentors (Fulbright scholars or international students) to provide private or small group instruction supplemented by intensive independent study and assessment by external examiners.
Mellon International Initiative
The New York Six International Initiative will assist the member schools in expanding the global aspects of their curricula and engaging students and faculty in the study of global issues, both at the home campuses and abroad. In keeping with Consortium policy, the schools will be able to choose to participate in whichever activities best fit their needs and support their goals.
The New York Six International Initiative has four components: the Upstate-Global Collective, the Study Abroad collaboration, Language Learning Groups in the less-frequently taught languages, and the New York Six International Student Community.
All of these components will be supported by the New York Six Connected Consortium Partnership (CCP), an extension of the existing collaborations among the schools’ Information Technology organizations. The CCP will integrate technology into all aspects of the International Initiative.
Student Affairs Initiatives
With a multitude of issues in common, the New York Six deans of students, their staff members, and student leaders collaborate on a range of programs to aid professional development and identify and share best practices. Among the areas explored are sexual assault; first-year programs, particularly the transition to the liberal-arts college environment; residence life, including staff training and the enhancement of intellectual life in campus residences; student activities, with an emphasis on campus climate and student leadership development; and multicultural affairs.
Study Abroad Collaboration
Across the New York Six, it is possible for students to study on six of the world's seven continents. While individual colleges cannot offer this breadth of programming on their own, we hope to open up programs to students across the Consortium on a space-available basis. We will learn from the experience of Hobart and William Smith Colleges and Union College, which together established the successful Partnership for Global Education with the support of the Mellon Foundation. The program will serve as a model for study abroad program sharing for the other members of the Consortium. In addition, this group will explore best practices and opportunities for collaboration on several back-office functions such as risk management, banking, employment, visa services, and SEVIS (federal Student Exchange and Visitor Information System) services, among others.
Teagle Blended Learning Project
This pilot project engages faculty from the six member campuses in the integration of blended or hybrid learning in new or existing courses, in which face-to-face engagement is combined with technology-based elements, such as online tutorials or modules, online journals, blogs, webinars, videos, and group chats. The goal of the project is to enhance and improve student learning outcomes while also examining the impact of blended learning on the experience of both students and faculty.
The New York Six Upstate-Global Collective (UGC) project aims to create a scholarly community supporting teaching and learning around academic themes that have rich historical roots in upstate New York but that also are of current consequence worldwide. For environmentalists seeking preservation of wild lands, the history of the Adirondack Park matters. For women seeking suffrage and other fundamental rights, the history of the women's movement in upstate New York matters. For those seeking understanding of the indigenous people and their relationship with foreign settlers, the history of the Iroquois nations matters. Our region has played a critical role in issues of global significance, and the UGC will provide an opportunity to heighten awareness and understanding of the history and cultural context we share in upstate New York while contributing to global scholarship in these areas of inquiry.
The Collective will be launched with two themes - sustainability and human rights - with other themes developing through faculty engagement over the course of the grant. These themes were chosen because of common interests among faculty on our six campuses and existing infrastructures to support this work. The interdisciplinary nature of these areas of study provide us with an opportunity to build a model for faculty engagement in future consortial activities. With the Mellon Foundation's support, our particular emphasis will be on activities that draw upon and enhance our school's rich resources in the humanities and human sciences.
The Initiative will combine study on the home campus related to the selected topic, followed by a study-abroad experience integrating the same theme. Students then will return to connect their experience back to the classroom and to the other New York Six colleges through mentored research projects and a research symposium. A key factor in the success of the UGC will be the participation of faculty and ensuring that they are well prepared for the combination of pedagogies the program will require. Faculty participants will be designated as UGC Fellows and provided with a stipend and support including training and other forms of faculty development. In particular, we are eager to bring faculty together to understand and experience best practices in the integration of technology into their work, as well as the integration of domestic and international experiences in the curriculum.