Association of Graduate Liberal Studies Programs



Report of the 2016 AGLSP Annual Conference and Business Meeting

October 31, 2016

Dear AGLSP Members,

As your incoming President, I am so pleased to report the successful completion of the Association’s annual fall conference, with the theme Tradition and Transformation:  Embracing the Future.  As your hosts for the event, we were honored to have almost 120 attendees and guests, participating in 40 concurrent sessions and three keynote addresses, and were especially pleased that the conferees were able to experience the beautiful fall weather we have in Oklahoma.

To summarize for those of you unable to attend, here are a few highlights:

  • We expressed appreciation to our outgoing President, Deborah Finkel (Indiana University Southeast).  Her guidance over these last two years has been invaluable in moving the organization forward and we are so grateful for the outstanding leadership she has provided.  We also recognized outgoing Board members Michelle Mrak (Southern Methodist University) and Martin Anderson (Dominican University) for their service to the Association.  Martin’s work in leading the Faculty Award process and Michelle’s contributions to the development of our student honor societies has been excellent, and their input very beneficial to the Board as we’ve faced a number of strategic decisions.  We also acknowledged John Logie in absentia, for his service as a member-at-large on the Board and regret that he was unable to complete his term due to the closing of the program at the University of Minnesota.  The Association voted to approve Michael Garval (North Carolina State University) as Vice-President and Chris Pastore (University of Pennsylvania) as Treasurer.  The Association also approved Millie Kidd (Mount Saint Mary’s University), Larry Knopp (University of Washington Tacoma), Jill LeRoy-Frazier (East Tennessee State University), and Jerry Van Hoy (University of Toledo) as new members-at-large to the Board.
  • Last year’s approval by the Association to institute a National Honor Society for students in AGLSP programs who met the criteria set by the member institution and the AGLSP has resulted in the formation of six honor society chapters to date: Southern Methodist University, Rice University, University of St. Thomas, University of Memphis, Indiana University Southeast, and our most recently approved chapter, Loyola University Maryland. Through these efforts, 46 students have been inducted.
  • As new graduate liberal studies programs have emerged around the nation over the last few years, the Board felt it important to adjust the AGLSP Constitution and By-laws to better reflect the scope of programs offered by our member institutions.  To accomplish that goal, the Association approved wording changes to the AGLSP Constitution, which better describes the range of program names utilized throughout the country.
  • We presented the 2016 Annual Faculty Award to Dr. John Freeman of Rice University.  Dr. Freeman is director emeritus of the Graduate Liberal Studies program at Rice and also served on the AGLSP Board from 2012 to 2015.  Although Dr. Freeman was unable to attend, we were pleased that one of his former students, Peggy Roe, was able to present his remarks on his behalf at the Friday night banquet. The 2017 Call for Nominations is now open and the deadline to nominate is March 31, 2017.
  • This past year, we were fortunate to secure the services of Dr. Steven Burr as our new editor-in-chief for Confluence.  His arrival has been marked by further enhancement of the journal’s online presence ( and through his guidance, we are seeing continued growth in the number and quality of submissions (AGLSP membership is required for submission), the addition of print-on-demand features, and a year-round publication schedule.  He has expanded the reviewer pool and is seeking additional Editorial Board members to help guide future developments.  Should you have an interest in either of those activities (serving as a reviewer or on the Editorial Board, please contact the AGLSP home office).
  • The 2016 Confluence writing awards, identified through a selection process involving Editorial Board members and journal reviewers, were presented to the following individuals:
  • Excellence in Interdisciplinary Writing:  Claire Schwartz, Dominican University of California, Saving a Bit of Beauty for the World:  Retelling the Story of Rose Valland.  Nominated by Dr. Joan Baranow.
  • Excellence in Creative Writing:  Molly Gamble, Dominican University of California, Going Gray. Nominated by Dr. Joan Baranow.The call for nominations for the 2017 Confluence Student Writing Awards is now open, and the deadline to nominate is February 28, 2017.  Click here for the 2017 Call for Nominations
  • For the second year, Student Presentation Awards were given, highlighting the students whose presentations at the fall conference were most highly ranked by the faculty raters.  These awards, which were presented at the Friday night banquet, were given to the following students:

    Lindsay Miller, University of Colorado Denver
    Seen But Not Heard: Foucault, Freire and the Construction of the Self in The Rules Dating Manual

    Rodrick Schubert, University of Colorado Denver
    Tradition and Transformation in Jane Addams’s New Federalism: Creating Community Sphere by Empowering Municipalities

    William Towey, University of Washington Tacoma
    Natural Economy in an Unnatural World

In closing, we want all our members to be aware that the AGLSP Board has been in considerable discussion regarding next year’s conference, currently scheduled for Raleigh, North Carolina.  As an organization, we are deeply committed to principles of inclusion, so we remain very concerned about these developments and are closely monitoring the situation.  We are in hopes that the upcoming election may resolve the dilemma and will be back in touch with a final decision as soon as we feasibly can after that time.  Until then, please know that we are working on your behalf to find as positive a resolution as we can.  If you have additional questions about this or any other issue, please feel free to contact me, any of our Board members, or the AGLSP office for more information.

Respectfully submitted,

Martha L. Banz, Ph.D.
President, AGLSP
Interim Dean, Liberal Studies & Associate Provost for Continuing Education
University of Oklahoma

AGLSP National Office