President's Message

Dear AILACTE Friends,

It was wonderful seeing AILACTE members at the Annual Conference in Baltimore. After several years of participation, I have come to believe AILACTE provides opportunities unlike many other professional organizations.  It is more personal and focused, there are many opportunities to participate, and members have many things in common.  We share research interests, we share challenges, and perhaps most importantly, we share collective commitment to preparing exceptional educators in the tradition of liberal arts.  Once each year, at the Annual Conference, we come together to reaffirm individuals, community, democratic principles, and equity.  While each of these principles has equal share as part of AILACTE’s identity, the Annual Conference most exemplifies member commitment to community.  It is a special feature of the organization that shows itself best at the Conference.

Similar to past years, participation in the Annual Conference was representative of membership, with members such as Albion College, Berea College, to Trinity Christian College and Wheaton College.  The Conference theme for 2018 was Renewing Our Commitment to Principles of Independent Liberal Arts Preparation.  By the end of the Conference, it seemed we had lived up to the theme.  In different ways, we had renewed our commitment to our institutions, to our colleagues, and even to one another and to the important principles that guide liberal arts education.  Along with general attendance, members renewed their commitment by leading presentations and roundtable discussions.  Topics ranged from Liberal Arts Makeover, to Teaching Science as Inquiry, to The Power of Mentoring Groups.  We renewed our commitment by holding an un-conference to discuss impromptu areas of interest, including developing leaders, establishing research agendas, and forming partnerships.  We renewed our commitment by celebrating individual achievements.  Trish Harvey from Hamline University was recognized as AILACTE Scholar and Kirsten Koetje from Seattle Pacific University was recognized as AILACTE Graduate Scholar.

We also demonstrated our commitment through the many volunteers that keep AILACTE moving forward.  They contribute numerous hours to ensure AILACTE is achieving its mission.  They support the organization by serving as AILACTE Journal Editors; they review applications for Scholar and Graduate Awards; they review proposals for the Annual Conference; they serve as AACTE Affiliate Representatives, AACTE Standing Committee Representatives, AILACTE State Representatives; and they serve as AILACTE Executive Board members.  The list of service venues is long, unsurprisingly, since AILACTE is truly an organization guided by members.  Indeed, opportunity to serve and be involved is one of the benefits of AILACTE.

As in past years, the Conference included an address by the AACTE President.  This year’s address was memorable, for its substance and optimistic tone.  We were fortunate to hear from Dr. Lynn Gangone who has firsthand experience with private independent institutions.  Before Dr. Gangone was selected as AACTE President, she served as Dean of Colorado Women’s College at the University of Denver, a private institution.  She also worked as vice president of the Maryland Independent College and University Association, where she led academic policy and lobbying efforts, specific to teacher education in the independent institution sector.  It was easy to tell from Dr. Gangone’s talk that she has deep admiration for AILACTE members.  She is thinking strategically about the future and about AILACTE.  She recognizes the important role of private independent liberal arts institutions in the work of preparing exceptional educators.  While AILACTE members renewed their commitments, Dr. Gangone reaffirmed the contribution of AILACTE institutions to achieving the vision and mission of AACTE. 

The year is coming to a close, and reflecting back shows there are many successes worth celebrating.  Perhaps the greatest success, however, is feeling a sense of inspiration for the coming year.  AILACTE Executive Committee is inspired.  The Executive Committee reconvenes in June to begin planning for the coming year.  There is a good deal of work ahead and we are thankful to partner with you in getting it done.  We are thankful for you individually and for your institutions.  We are thankful because you have contributed to the success and flourishing of the organization.  We look forward to your ongoing partnership and to a bright future for AILACTE. 

Wishing you all the best,
David W. Denton, Ed.D.
AILACTE President