NEW PALTZ – Dr. Donald P. Christian, president of the State University of New York at New Paltz, has accepted an invitation to join the Presidents’ Trust, a leadership group within the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) that advocates for liberal education as the best preparation for students entering the workforce and becoming engaged citizens.
The Presidents’ Trust is a select network of about 100 AAC&U-member college presidents who support the organization’s Liberal Education and America’s Promise (LEAP) initiative. According to the AAC&U website, “The Presidents’ Trust consists of people who believe in liberal education as an American asset, who are reinvigorating liberal education on their own campuses and who are willing to work to shape public opinion and priorities in their respective spheres of influence.”
Christian was first introduced to the LEAP campaign while serving as the dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Wisconsin of Eau Claire. Wisconsin had been selected by the AAC&U to be one of three initial pilot states for the LEAP campaign, which began in 2005. Christian was a member of a system-wide advisory group on the liberal arts from 2004-2009, a group that he chaired from 2007-09. During this time he worked closely with AAC&U on the campaign and spoke often about the value of liberal education in a knowledge-driven, 21st-century society and economy.
Through LEAP, hundreds of colleges and universities are making significant changes to help their students, across the spectrum of major fields of study, achieve higher levels of learning as well as strong intellectual and practical skills. Presidents’ Trust members will participate in the AAC&U’s new Employer-Educator Compact, which emphasizes hands-on learning through integrated internships, community-based research, and other partnership experiences.
In his role as president of New Paltz, Christian is committed to continuing the tradition of liberal education on the campus. Membership in the Presidents’ Trust will serve to further his engagement with individuals and institutions who share his passion for advancing these learning practices. “It’s a remarkable honor for me to join my colleagues as a member of the Presidents’ Trust,” said Christian. “I look forward to engaging in this new level of support and collaboration with like-minded leaders to advance student learning practices and attainment of measureable achievements for SUNY New Paltz graduates.”
AAC&U is the leading national association concerned with the quality, vitality, and public standing of undergraduate liberal education. Its members are committed to extending the advantages of a liberal education to all students, regardless of academic specialization or intended career. Founded in 1915, AAC&U now comprises 1,200 member institutions, including accredited public and private colleges and universities of every type and size.