Swarthmore College

The Aydelotte Foundation is an interdisciplinary research center and intellectual community located at Swarthmore College.

It supports the creation and dissemination of knowledge about liberal arts education as it exists across the broadest possible range of contexts and institutions.

The Aydelotte Foundation was founded in 2012 through the generous gift of Jim and Anahita Naficy Lovelace. It draws its mission out of the long history of creative research and experimentation in higher education and takes inspiration from the spirit of open inquiry long associated with liberal arts education. We aim to help build a more robust, varied, and accurate picture of what liberal arts education has been by sharing the outcomes of all of our projects in a variety of genres, forms, and media for the widest possible range of audiences. We hope to engage existing audiences for these debates and discussion by offering fresh evidence and representations of liberal arts education, and to spark the interest of new audiences by revealing a wide world of liberal arts practices flourishing beyond the bounds of the traditional small liberal arts college. By untethering liberal arts practices and thinking from the liberal arts college, we believe we can think about the concept of the liberal arts in new and open-ended ways.

The Aydelotte carries out its own research and investigation into liberal arts education and supports similar work by faculty, students, staff and others both at Swarthmore and elsewhere. In the research it sponsors and conducts directly, the Aydelotte Foundation values curiosity; open inquiry; non-instrumental research; undetermined outcomes. We seek to bring a spirit of experimentation and optimism to the project of discovering and sharing new forms of evidence-based knowledge about liberal arts education. We will collaborate and develop partnerships with a wide range of existing researchers, policymakers, and practitioners currently thinking about liberal arts education. We strive to turn the attention of other researchers to the applications their own work might have to questions about the liberal arts.

The Aydelotte Foundation is committed to inquiry at all scales engaging all types of evidence. We want to understand what liberal arts education was in the past, is now, and could be in the future.