The Aydelotte Foundation at Swarthmore College focuses on the idea of liberal arts: What do we mean when we say the term? It also examines what we do in the name of liberal arts, both at Swarthmore and across higher education. We look behind the scenes and into the histories of liberal education, ranging from high-minded rhetoric about the aims of liberal arts education to the operations of everyday business in administrative and faculty offices.
In discussions with our Advisory Board and our local faculty steering committee, we’ve noted that in the crowded space of higher education consultancies there is an important and troubling absence. For the most part, existing consultancies do not draw on current and emeritus faculty who have lengthy, productive experience in institutional governance but who have chosen not to pursue administrative ambitions that take them out of the ranks of faculty.
Since its creation, the Aydelotte Foundation has served informally as a consultant to Swarthmore faculty and staff. As a result of this experience and our overall research interests, we are in the early stages of exploring the creation of a consultancy practice intended to draw upon the institutional knowledge and insight of faculty across academia.