The GLCA NEH Endowment fund supports faculty travel to Japan and other East Asian countries in support of projects involving the study of Japan.

Prof Sugimori, William Shaw, Ri Jonsu at the Cultural Center Arirang

Noriko Sugimori, Associate Professor of Japanese and Chair of the East Asian Studies Department at Kalamazoo College, received an NEH Endowment award to travel to  Japan to interview activists working on social justice issues and to conduct research at the National Diet Library in Tokyo. This work provided important background material for a reference book Professor Sugimori is co-authoring to help instructors of Japanese incorporate social justice topics into their teaching of Japanese as a world language at all skill levels. Professor Sugimori believes that to achieve the goal of preparing students to better understand and live successfully in a diverse world, social justice topics should be explored in all language classrooms. To do so, it is important to show students the efforts of activists in Japan. Professor Sugimori conducted several interviews in Toyama and visited the Cultural Center Arirang in Tokyo, a library focused on fostering interactions among Japanese residents, Koreans in Japan, and Koreans, where she interviewed the library staff. An unexpected outcome of this visit is that Professor Sugimori hopes to set up internships for Kalamazoo students at the Cultural Center Arirang.

Prof. Sugimori and William Shaw ’23

At the National Diet Library, Professor Sugimori researched social justice issues in Japan, including what is arguably one of the most widely recognized forms of discrimination in Japan, the ostracized community known as the “burakumin.” There will be Japanese and English versions of the reference book available as an open-access text and a traditional print publication of the Japanese language edition.

Nayda Colazo-Llorens, Visiting Assistant Professor of Art and Art History at Kalamazoo College, received an NEH Endowment award to visit the Tokyo Geijitsu Daigaku (Tokyo University of the Arts), also known as Geidai. Professor Colazo-Llorens gave a lecture on Mark-making and Mapping. The primary purpose of the visit was to learn about traditional and contemporary Japanese printmaking and techniques such as Mokuhanga, which Professor Colazo-Llorens will incorporate into her printmaking course at Kalamazoo College.

Makuhanga Studio at Gedai
Sumida Hokusai Museum

She learned more about the printmaking technique Mokuhanga at Geidai’s Mokuhanga studio, looking at students’ work in progress and becoming familiar with the specialized tools that are used. Professor Colazo-Llorens purchased some of the necessary tools to take back to her studio at Kalamazoo. At the Sumida Hokusai Museum, Professor Colazo-Llorens was able delve into Hokusai’s art practice and context and learn more about the Mokuhanga inking process. She focused on Hokusai’s influential print series Thirty-Six Views of Mt. Fuji (ca. 1829-1833)and his 102 designs for the printed book One Hundred Views of Mt. Fuji (1829-ca. 1847).

Seeing these works in person was a unique experience and was made more special by a visit to Mt. Fuji the next day. This combination of art and site visit gave Professor Colazo-Llorens the opportunity to consider how Hokusai translated his context and landscape in a distinctive graphic way that has been influential to artists all over the world. During her visit, Professor

Makuhanga Exhibition At Sumida Hokusai Museum

Colazo-Llorens also visited the Mori Art Museum, the high-tech interactive digital museum teamLab Planets, and the National Art Center. The trip provided an opportunity to connect with fellow teaching artists, art historians, and other Japanese art professionals involved in higher education.

Donn Charles Neal, age 82, formerly of Pittsburgh, passed away on August 6, 2023. Son of Charles and Irene Neal of Michigan, he was preceded in death by his beloved wife of 52 years Peggy and is survived by sons David (Stephanie) and Peter (Allison) and two granddaughters, Quincy and Piper.

Donn graduated summa cum laude from Alma College (MI) in 1962 and earned a PhD in history from the University of Michigan in 1973.  He taught as a professor at Elmira College (NY) from 1969-1976, became the Vice President of the Great Lakes Colleges Association in Ann Arbor, MI from 1976-1981, moved to Pittsburgh to lead the Pittsburgh Council on Higher Education as Executive Director from 1981-1985, then accepted the same position for the Society of American Archivists in Chicago from 1986-1990.  His final career change found him in Washington DC at the National Archives from 1990-2000 serving as the Director of Congressional and External Affairs and Assistant to the Archivist.  Upon retirement he and Peggy spent several years in the Shenandoah Valley before moving back to Pittsburgh.  The last few years were spent in Beaverton, Oregon.

Donn authored “The World Beyond the Hudson: Alfred E. Smith and National Politics 1918-1928” and edited “Consortia and Inter-Institutional Cooperation,” as well as creating an extensive family history which appears on his website.

Donn was an active member of the Smithfield United Church of Christ, serving as archivist, treasurer, and president.  His extensive volunteer work encompassed the Friends of the Fort Pitt Museum (PA), Clarke County Historical Society (VA), the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, the Heinz History Center (PA), the Burwell-Morgan Mill (VA), the Handley Library (VA), and Sky Meadows State Park (VA).

Donn loved family, travel, and making people laugh or at least groan.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to The Homeless Children’s Education Fund ( or Cedar Hills United Church of Christ (

In May 2022, the GLCA held a capstone meeting of the Mellon Foundation-supported Opening Doors of Dialogue initiative, bringing together campus and community representatives from 10 of our 13 member institutions. Information on the convening and some of the core recommendations emanating from the meeting can be found here.

As part of the convening, we brought together four scholar-practitioners who have worked in the field of community-campus collaboration. They were Hannah Apps, The Thomas K. Kreilick Professor of Economics at Kalamazoo College; Vicki Baker, E. Maynard Aris Endowed Professor in Economics and Management at Albion College; Rennie Parker, Community Schools Coordinator at Samuel Gompers School in the city of Philadelphia; and Professor Aimee La Pointe Teroski, Professor of Educational Leadership at Saint Joseph’s University. These scholar-practitioners opened the two and a half day convening with a panel discussion to offer insights that helped us consider issues in a broader frame. After a day of presentations by campus/community partners on what had been learned through roundtables held earlier in the year at each location, the scholar-practitioners also provided initial reflections on broad themes about what can best support successful campus-community collaboration.

Their work at this convening led these four to write the recently published article:

Baker, V. L., Apps, H., Terosky, A. L. & Parker, R. (2023). Setting an Agenda: The Role of Community-Engaged Scholarship and Practice in Liberal Arts Colleges. Collaborations: A Journal of Community-Based Research and Practice, 6(1): 7, pp. 1–8.

In this article they note that liberal arts colleges, due to their mission, are poised to contribute to scholarship and practice that advances the field of community-engaged partnerships. They summarize key takeaways from the GLCA’s Opening Doors of Dialogue capstone convening. Importantly they learned that collaborations that engage diverse stakeholders are critical to the success and future of our institutions and our communities.

The Midwest College Showcase, a collaboration between the Great Lakes Colleges Association and the Associated Colleges of the Midwest, hosted nearly 150 high school counselors over two days of programming to discuss topics relevant to students applying to liberal arts colleges.

Counselor in conversation At each of the two February events, held in Chicago and nearby Schaumburg, counselors gathered for breakfast and informal conversation with admissions officers from among the 27 collective small liberal arts colleges of the GLCA and ACM. Each day, two panels of professional admission and financial aid staff from the consortia spoke on general admissions topics and financial aid. Each event concluded with a college fair providing one-on-one conversations between high school counselors and admission staff.

“The counselor breakfasts were a huge success this year! The counselors were engaged more than ever, and we discussed many of the hot topics including mental health, the upcoming FAFSA changes, and students applying test-optional,” said Kyle Vowell, Associate Director of Out-of-State Recruitment at Wabash College. “The collaboration between ACM and GLCA allowed us to engage with over 100 counselors at two separate events for a fraction of the cost of hosting just one event for Wabash.”

Charla White Leads a Discussion The panels covered pertinent topics including the benefits of attending a small residential liberal arts college, such as the individual attention students receive, a topic of particular importance as mental health concerns have risen on campuses following COVID-19.

“Something that I hear across the board at liberal arts colleges is that you have so many people supporting you on campus that it’s very hard to fall through the cracks,” said Jordan Castillo, Assistant Dean of Admissions at St. Olaf College. “If you don’t show up for class, your professors could reach out to you, or see you walking along the quad and be like, ‘Hey, how are you doing? How ​are things going? ​I d​idn’t see you in class today.’ The Academic Resource Centers are usually very, very full of people to support students. The mental health resources can be very specific according to the needs that they have,” he added.

The Midwest College Showcase provides counselors, parents, and students with opportunities to explore and learn more about small Midwest private residential colleges. “This collaboration between the GLCA and ACM builds on decades of both consortia separately organizing ‘joint admission’ events and activities,” said Betsy Hutula, Chief Operating Officer and Vice President for Administration at ACM.

Campus Tables “After a successful pivot to virtual activities during the pandemic, these breakfasts were the Midwest College Showcase’s first foray back into in-person gatherings. We tailored the program to cover topics that were of most interest to counselors and their students, and we are thrilled that so many counselors joined us. We will be adding more information on the topics covered to the Midwest College Showcase website and look forward to hosting more in-person and virtual events to help students consider and access a liberal arts college experience,” Hutula said.

“This continues to be a successful event whether in-person or virtually because of the high school counselors’ high level of energy and thirst for knowledge. Colleges of both consortia have a rich and dedicated commitment to reach students and provide them with unique opportunities in education and experience both globally and domestically,” said Charla White, Program Officer and Controller at GLCA.

On April 19 and 20, 2023, the Midwest College Showcase will host two virtual sessions intended for students and families to learn more about applying to and attending a liberal arts college. Participants will have the opportunity to meet and interact with representatives from all participating campuses.

Join an Upcoming Virtual College Fair

  • Click here to register for the April 19 Virtual College Fair
  • Click here to register for the April 20 Virtual College Fair

The Great Lakes Colleges Association is pleased to announce the winners of the 2023 GLCA New Writers Award for Poetry, Fiction, and Creative Non-fiction. Since 1970, the New Writers Award confers recognition on promising writers who have published a first volume in one of the three genres.  Judges of the New Writers Award are faculty members of creative writing and literature at GLCA’s member colleges.  Winning writers receive invitations to visit GLCA member colleges, where they give readings, meet with students and faculty members, and discuss technique and creativity in the writing process.  

The 2023 winner for Poetry is James Fujinami Mooreindecent hours, published by Four Way Books.  Our GLCA judges note:

indecent hours is a brilliant debut collection by a poet who isn’t afraid to be both flawed and vulnerable.  Fujinami Moore’s poems are suffused with a timely and timeless quality as they address the fraught contemporary social fabric of American life, especially as experienced by an Asian-American person, “Maybe I am like Bruce Lee.  I form the shape of what I am given,” and reflect on the fundamental experiences of being human.  In one instant he’s lulling us into submission with a surrealist’s touch and in another, snapping us into sobering wakefulness with uncharacteristic lucidity.  This poet is a showoff but, then, can you blame him?  He can be both smart and disturbingly funny, “The fish was immortal, I think” within the same line. The poet reminds us that “we must do our part to fight the stereotype.” The problem is that they are everywhere.  Free verse, elegy, epistolary, and structural experimentation offer a variety of modes for the poet to traverse encounters with others, place and environment, and the self.  There’s beauty in this economic language that keeps me reading for more.  indecent hours is a gorgeous construction of the American narrative that celebrates and abhors our history of violence and questions the joys and terrors we enact as humans.

Judges of the Poetry Award were:
Chanda Feldman, Oberlin College
Eugene Gloria, DePauw University
Tim Lake, Wabash College

The 2023 winner for Fiction is Tsering Yangzom Lama, We Measure the Earth with Our Bodies published by Bloomsbury Publishing.  Our GLCA judges note:

Lama’s beautifully-crafted multigenerational novel asks what it means to lose and try to reclaim one’s cultural inheritance. As children, Tibetan sisters Lhamo and Tenkyi lose nearly everything when they flee Western Tibet and wind up in a refugee camp in Nepal. Later, Lhamo’s daughter, Dolma, and her sister Tenkyi make it to Canada, but remain bereft.  This novel traces a remarkable scope of time, geography, and culture, as Lama writes through the exile of Nepalese after Communist occupation. Like the Nameless Saint—a sacred relic worshipped by the sisters’ exiled Tibetan community that is repeatedly stolen and reclaimed—they too are condemned to dislocation, yearning for their homeland and inheritance that have been lost and destroyed.  Oracles, and icons, and sisters connect as a way to share the history of a place and tell stories that must be shared to keep alive a vital part of cultural connection which is not so much historical but, instead, current and vibrant because these very stories are shared. The novel speaks to the often forgotten tragedy of Tibet and focuses on individual and cultural trauma that follows over an ocean and into the lives of people who know only of loss.  It sheds new light on important questions of colonialism, exile, and cultural identity.  The management of time and characters make this book a stunning read.

Judges of the Fiction Award were:
Margot Singer, Denison University
Matthew Ferrence, Allegheny College
Ira Sukrungruang, Kenyon College

The 2023 winner for Creative Non-Fiction is Lars HornVoice of the Fish:  A Lyric Essay, published by Graywolf Press.  Our GLCA judges note:

Lars Horn’s Voice of the Fish: A Lyric Essay is compelling and uniformly beautiful on every page; it charts a poet’s attention to detail. A slippery, enigmatic thing—a thoughtful and imaginative rumination on the human body, art, illness, and family. Horn’s prose questions delicate ideas of performance and exhibition and is impressively inquisitive, lyric and rhapsodic. What a marriage of form to content! Horn uses a sustained water metaphor to “float” questions of trans identity as they relate to the larger human quest to net meaning in a sea of indeterminacy. Voice of the Fish offers a strangely subtle erudition.  From the faulty eyesight of Greenland sharks to the Graeco-Roman distinction between branding and tattooing, the range of information here never calls attention to itself, never makes a show of knowing.  It all fits. The vignettes pace the reader, gathering momentum like a current getting stronger. A mesmerizing debut.

Judges of the Creative Non-Fiction Award were:
Nels Christensen, Albion College
Amy Butcher, Ohio Wesleyan University
Rhoda Janzen, Hope College

For more information on the New Writers Award, please contact Colleen Monahan Smith, ([email protected]) at the GLCA.

In mid-May a capstone meeting of the GLCA Opening Doors of Dialogue program engaged representatives from 10 Midwestern colleges and their host communities to share experiences and thinking about community-campus relationships and the potential for strengthening bonds through collaboration.  The Opening Doors of Dialogue was funded by a grant from the Mellon Foundation to the GLCA.

Through a lively set of exchanges, one community-campus team would “interview” another team, working from written accounts of community-campus roundtables carried out through the fall and winter of 2021-22. 

The meeting’s discussions centered on a core question:  What is the case for community-campus partnerships in the twenty-first century? The answers yielded expressions of reciprocal benefits collaboration can offer.  If there is a basis of trust and mutual commitment, both campus and community can inspire one another to discuss what is possible to achieve and act on ideas that are enhanced by working together.  In some instances, the liberal arts college can bring expertise to the community. No less important, though, the community offers lived experience and practical approaches to address challenges and enrich the learning college students can gain from the curriculum. 

In both cases, working with others who do not necessarily share the same background or experiences can provide fruitful, productive, and meaningful partnerships.  Employers today voice growing calls for college graduates who possess skills and understanding beyond academic knowledge.  Experiential learning, from engaging with and contributing to the community, can offer solidified grounding for student learning and application.

Some Core Recommendations

The dialogues of this three-day meeting addressed a range of topics. From a list of key takeaways written on flip charts the final morning, a few points attracted significant endorsement, as expressed through a “dot voting” process.

  • Build the relationships among people who will engage in a community-campus partnership. All successful collaborations stem from a foundation of trust which must be established at the front end of planning. Collaboration cannot succeed without first establishing strong bonds among the primary stakeholders as people who share the vision and can be trusted to support one another in pursuing the goals. Build the relationships to ensure success, strength, and longevity.
  • Create systems that will allow a collaborative project to make progress toward its goals, even as changes occur in the project’s setting and participants. It often happens that the founders of a campus-community partnership achieve their initial visions and move on to other things. Sustaining action toward a longer-term success requires that a program have a structure in place to engage others who can carry the progress forward. College students may offer important contributions, but they likely move on at graduation or the end of a semester. Community partners and stakeholders cannot be left in the lurch from such transitions.

  • Make reciprocity a core principle of campus-community collaboration. Leaders of a collaborative project must act to ensure that the benefit of their work accrues equitably to both parties.  A pointed question from one community-campus round table had asked, “So, the students earn credit and graduate.  What’s in it for the community?”  Campus leaders and college-educated students must be certain that a collaboration delivers value to members of the community as well as to themselves.  A college that wins a grant from a foundation to fund actions and people of a project must be certain that community partners who contribute to this work are recognized and compensated in comparable ways.  Leaders should strive to build a team that is not just diverse but inclusive and equitable – regardless of education, culture, race, or economic status.  Avoid the condescending attitude that community members should feel flattered simply to be invited to the college’s project.  Two heavily endorsed takeaways from the final meeting segment made these points:   

  • Colleges must affirm the value of faculty achievements in community-engaged learning and research, and they must fulfill this commitment through policy statements and actions that declare this work “counts” in the assessment of faculty for purposes of tenure and promotion. Statements expressing the importance of community-campus engagement can be found in publicity materials of virtually every college and university in the U.S.  There are differences, however, in the value that higher education institutions accord to community engagement.  Sometimes the imbalance contributes to different experiences for individual faculty members in terms of their career advancement.   One of the strongest takeaways from this capstone meeting was that college leadership needs to make a structural decision (involving dollars, policy, tenure & promotion) concerning the value of community-engaged learning. 

Steps Forward from the Roundtables

Another component of this program invites community-campus settings which had earlier hosted Opening Doors roundtables to apply for grant funding of up to $8,000.  The purpose of such a grant is to continue the dialogues or try a small pilot project as a test of concept to strengthen collaboration.  Ideally, some of these extended actions can yield a larger implementation proposal to a major foundation, which would help community and campus stakeholders to build stronger bonds and enhance the quality of life and learning in their setting. 

Visit GLCA Opening Doors of Dialogue Program for more information.