The BIPOC Faculty Leadership Council ended the 2023-2024 year with an in-person convening of seven members from five campuses along with GLCA President Mickey McDonald. They wrapped up conversations about this year’s topic – Recruiting and Retaining BIPOC Faculty – and also talked more generally about leadership on campus.


In February 2024, the GLCA held its inaugural Pop-Up GALI, hosted at Kalamazoo College, to focus on the dynamics of leadership and decision-making in a liberal arts college.  Members from Kalamazoo College, Hope College and Albion College participated in this one-day event to deepen understanding and appreciation of institution-level budgeting through presentation and an active budgeting exercise.  The group also discussed personal and institutional leadership when confronted with sticky or challenging situations.  (photos include participates getting to know each other, introduction to the program by Mickey McDonald and the small group budget exercise).   


The Great Lakes Colleges Association is pleased to announce the winners of the 2024 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 2024 winner for Poetry is Jesse NathanEggtooth, published by Unbound Edition Press.  Our GLCA judges note:

With lush sounds and an opulence of rhymes and off-rhymes, Jesse Nathan’s language evokes the intensity and insistence of memory.  The poems are born of an attention to the poet’s native Kansan landscape; they bristle with flora and fieldwork.  We learned new words (“sneezeweeds,” what fun!) and new dangers (fire in the farmhouse crawlspace).  Language is itself an occasion for many of the poems in Eggtooth and the work almost resists the reader’s ability to keep up, since his poems induce a strong temptation to stop, re-read, wonder over the latticework of each stanza, each carefully lathed line, each rhyme, and even each word: “caruncle,” “catenary,” “hackberry.” His bold yet disciplined experiment with form in this book is deeply motivated, giving these exquisitely made poems a compelling urgency and depth.  As the poems’ speaker emerges into adulthood, changed by experience, the language and lines shape-shift, yet never forget where they began.  We found joy in these poems. 

Judges of the Poetry Award were:

Christopher Bakken, Allegheny College
Derek Mong, Wabash College
Lynn Powell, Oberlin College

The 2024 winner for Fiction is D.K. Nnuro’s What Napoleon Could Not Do, published by Riverhead Books.  Our GLCA judges note:

This work had us immersed from start to finish, truly a delight to read. Bold in its scope, Nnuro’s debut novel wrestles with the complexity of the American Dream and the fleeting nature of what it means to succeed.  This epic takes readers across oceans and decades in its quest for a sense of home and belonging as it weaves contrasting experiences of America.  A tale about the personal, socio-economic and identity struggles of two Ghanian siblings — one brother, who has no luck, can’t get out of Ghana, and this comes to represent his failures. The sister, imbued with luck, gets to America, but is unable to get a Green Card.  It is a searing and honest indictment of the American Dream.  Here we see Nnuro wield various point-of-view characters as he brings a rich assortment of subjects to the table — from early friendships and coming-of-age cares to PTSD as regarding a minority American veteran, to the age-old multifaceted frictions to be found in relationships between Africans and African Americans. Unlike most traditional novels about emigration, this becomes a novel of return and paints a vivid picture of what it means to leave one’s country and what it could mean to return, especially when the American Dream is given up.

Judges of the Fiction Award were:

Michael Brooks, Hope College
Onyinye Ihezukwu, Earlham College
Ivelisse Rodriguez, DePauw University

The 2024 winner for Creative Non-Fiction is Roger Reeves, Dark Days:  Fugitive Essays, published by Graywolf Press.  Our GLCA judges note:   

Dark Days, poet Roger Reeves’ first collection of nonfiction, is a lyrical, erudite, and impassioned collection of essays that probe the intersection of aesthetics and ongoing racist history. Reeves looks to poetry, music, film, and digital media for both precedents of, and resistances to, the inescapable violence of our pandemic era. He dares us to imagine modes of Black sociality beyond suffering. If we think differently, he suggests, if we are attentive and make space for silence and unknowing, perhaps we could discover new forms of Black ecstasy and self-knowledge, even when everything about our current moment mitigates against it.  His urgent and supple essays challenge and provoke.  In asking, “What is the necessity of singing during catastrophe?” he brings together T. S. Eliot and Pharoah Sanders, Zora Neale Hurston and OutKast, Michael Williams and the Pentecostal church of his own upbringing, Toni Morrison and the 1619 Project, and his experiences as a poet and teacher. Indeed, one of this inventive collection’s hallmarks is its rigor, its constantly asking us to read more flexibly and fugitively, to embrace joy and beauty and love, to understand that “[t]o survive requires a lyric, ironic, improvisational sensibility” and to recognize that sensibility’s manifold presences in Black life and culture and its necessity for any kind of livable American future.  These essays offer a meditation on race through a juxtaposition of powerful literary, political, artistic, linguistic images that speaks to the cacophony of this cultural moment. Driven by a desire for freedom, community, and ecstasy, it brilliantly theorizes through the personal as well as the historical and cultural, showing how inextricable they are, and comes out the other side with the deep wisdom earned through listening and silence.            

Judges of the Creative Non-Fiction Award were:     

Sarah Heidt, Kenyon College
Marin Heinritz, Kalamazoo College
Michael Weinstein, Earlham College

For more information on the New Writers Award, please contact Colleen Monahan Smith ([email protected]) at the GLCA.  Additional information is available on the GLCA web site: GLCA New Writers Award

Six institutions within the Great Lakes College Association have inked a partnership with the company Possible to launch an experiential learning program designed to help students learn about, identify, and attain a career in the tech industry that aligns with their goals.

Ann Arbor, November 13, 2023 — Kenyon College, Wabash College, Oberlin College, Denison University, Allegheny College, and Earlham College have announced a new collaborative program designed to help students explore multiple disciplines in the tech industry, from marketing to operations to product management, all taught by professionals in those careers.

Possible, a career exploration company, will partner with the six participating institutions in crafting a program that supplements the job resources provided by their career centers. With a scaffolded curriculum on in-demand career paths, the interactive program has students interact with industry professionals every weekday for five weeks. Students’ career education will occur through a mix of intimate networking sessions, hands-on projects, workshops, panels, and events.

Uniquely, the sessions are all taught by top working industry professionals via 100% live, virtual instruction. Students will be learning from recruiters, hiring managers, founders, and individual contributors from companies such as Microsoft, Meta, Square, Etsy, and Modern Treasury. The Possible program will be launching in the summer of 2024.

“Preparing our students for a successful career launch is an essential part of what all our GLCA institutions do,” said Mickey McDonald, President of GLCA. “This collaboration to create a cohort of 50 student participants across several of our institutions is a prime example of how a consortium can support the success of our members and their students.”

“It is an honor for us to be able to partner with these 6 prestigious liberal arts institutions,” said David Chase, CEO of Possible. “Not only will their students get an opportunity to network and gain insight from top industry professionals, but they will also be networking with peers at other GLCA schools. “It is an honor for us to be able to partner with these 6 prestigious liberal arts institutions,” said David Chase, CEO of Possible. “Not only will their students get an opportunity to network and gain insight from top industry professionals, but they will also be networking with peers at other GLCA schools. “It is an honor for us to be able to partner with these 6 prestigious liberal arts institutions,” said David Chase, CEO of Possible. “Not only will their students get an opportunity to network and gain insight from top industry professionals, but they will also be networking with peers at other GLCA schools. I see this cross-institution partnership as a great example of the way that associations can support their institutions and set students up for long-term success in the job market and their careers.”

About the Great Lakes College Association
Founded in 1962, the Great Lakes Colleges Association (GLCA) is a consortium of thirteen selective liberal arts institutions in the Midwest: Albion, Allegheny, Antioch, Denison, DePauw, Earlham, Hope, Kalamazoo, Kenyon, Oberlin, Ohio Wesleyan, Wabash, and Wooster. Throughout its history, the GLCA has acted to strengthen member institutions and exemplify the power of education in the tradition of the liberal arts. For more information see

About Possible
Possible helps students bridge the gap between university and the workforce through experiential learning programs that educate them about core career paths in technology. Possible is part career education, part networking, and part career prep, and graduates see dramatic growth in career confidence, role clarity, and their professional networks. 98% of program graduates believe that Possible is a signature experience of their time in college. Students have landed job offers at companies like Amazon, Google, Oracle, J&J, and Grammarly. For more information, visit

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.