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September 11, 2009

College Receives $200,000 Grant
to Implement, Expand Faculty Career Flexibility Initiatives

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Reading , Pa.- The American Council on Education (ACE) today announced that Albright College was one of six recipients of the 2009 Alfred P. Sloan Awards for Faculty Career Flexibility.  The award of $200,000 will enable the institutions to expand and enhance flexible career paths for faculty.

The award recognizes baccalaureate colleges for their leadership and accomplishments in implementing groundbreaking policies and practices supporting career flexibility for tenured and tenure-track faculty. The awards program is sponsored by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and conducted by ACE.

Other recipients are Bowdoin College (ME), Middlebury College (VT), Mount Holyoke College (MA), Oberlin College (OH), and Washington and Lee University (VA).    In addition, Dickinson College and Smith College will receive $25,000 awards in recognition of innovative practices in career flexibility. All eight awards will be formally presented during ACE’s Board of Directors meeting on Sept. 14 in Washington, DC.

Albright’s ambitious array of efforts will address flexibility from early to late career:  a shared-position policy where two faculty members may share the equivalent of a full-time tenure track position; mid-career faculty issues including how work load, governance responsibilities and promotion criteria affect faculty work/life balance; developing programs to promote faculty understanding and use of flexibility policies; and enhancing retirement support.

“This award will help Albright further develop and expand innovative projects that we have already started,” said Andrea Chapdelaine, Albright’s provost. “”A flexible and supportive work environment is essential for faculty recruitment and retention.  Our goal is to foster a culture that supports our wonderful faculty in their responsibilities of teaching, scholarship and service, all while enabling a rewarding work/life balance.”

"Campuses across the country are grappling with the economic downturn and making difficult decisions about how best to deploy their resources," said ACE President Molly Corbett Broad. "The dedication these eight campuses have shown to advancing faculty career flexibility options in light of these economic conditions is admirable. These efforts send a clear message to faculty that their institutions are committed to attracting and serving the needs of an increasingly diverse faculty."

"Since the inception of the awards program, we have seen remarkable changes on campuses with much greater awareness of the need for career flexibility, as well as significant advances in practice," said Kathleen Christensen, program director for Workplace, Work Force and Working Families at The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

The awards program was open to the 287 institutions defined in the 2008 Carnegie Classifications as baccalaureate-arts and sciences institutions. Applicants were evaluated in a two-part process. During the first round, tenured and tenure-track faculty completed an institutional survey about career flexibility. The second round included a faculty survey and an institution-wide accelerator plan for the development and use of career flexibility programs among faculty. Among the issues considered were faculty recruitment and retention; strengthening faculty commitment, engagement, and morale; achieving institutional excellence; and maintaining academic competitiveness in a global market. In all, 60 colleges participated in the first round survey and 30 advanced to the second round of competition. 

"These baccalaureate institutions are at the forefront of providing career flexibility to their faculty," said Claire Van Ummersen, ACE vice president, Center for Effective Leadership. "These awards will assist in the full development and implementation of critical management policies that are part of a growing national trend and will assist in the recruitment and retention of valued faculty."

Previous rounds of Sloan Awards honored research extensive and intensive universities in 2006 and master's colleges and universities in 2008.

Founded in 1856, Albright College is a nationally ranked, private college with a rigorous liberal arts curriculum with an interdisciplinary focus. The College’s hallmarks are connecting fields of learning, collaborative teaching and learning, and a flexible curriculum that allows students to create an individualized education. Two-thirds of students graduate with dual/individualized majors in more than 200 different combinations. Albright enrolls about 1,625 undergraduates in traditional programs, another 500 adult students in accelerated degree programs, and 100 students in the master’s program in education. Albright College is located in Reading, Pennsylvania, about 60 miles west of Philadelphia.

Founded in 1918, ACE (www.acenet.edu) is the major coordinating body for all the nation’s higher education institutions, representing more than 1,600 college and university presidents, and more than 200 related associations, nationwide.  It seeks to provide leadership and a unifying voice on key higher education issues and influence public policy through advocacy, research and program initiatives.

The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, established in 1934, makes grants to support original research and broad-based education related to science, technology, and economic performance; and to improve the quality of American life. It has played a vital role in developing the field of work-family scholarship through its Workplace, Work Force and Working Families program.  In 2002, the foundation established the Alfred P. Sloan Awards for Faculty Career Flexibility to raise awareness throughout higher education.

Albright College. A Different Way of Thinking