Luther College selected for the Council of Independent Colleges’s Diversity, Civility and the Liberal Arts Institute

March 28, 2019

Luther College has been selected as a one of 25 participants in The Council of Independent Colleges’ second Diversity, Civility and the Liberal Arts Institute, which will be held June 2-5, 2019, in Atlanta, Georgia.

The Institute is directed by Beverly Daniel Tatum, president emerita of Spelman College and a leading scholar of race and higher education. During the Institute, prominent humanities and social science scholars will present key research and recent developments in their fields and apply these concepts to understanding student concerns and deepening the educational experience. The goal is to encourage thoughtful campus discussions that engage students’ minds as well as their emotions.

Participation in the Institute comes at an opportune time. The Luther faculty are in the midst of a comprehensive curriculum review, including the general education requirements. There is recognition of student demand for a curriculum grounded in racial and ethnic awareness and the pending launch of Luther’s new Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching provides an opportunity to respond to classroom dialogue related to issues of equity, social justice, politics and inclusion.

“Next year, various departments will continue the collaborative work of strengthening the capacity of students, faculty and staff to intentionally engage in difficult dialogue both inside and outside classroom,” says Lisa Scott, vice president for institutional equity, inclusion and student success.” Additionally, we will seek to find ways to continue our work with the Sustained Dialogue model beginning with first-year student orientation and beyond.”

As part of the program, Luther will send a team of two faculty leaders and two senior administrators: Scott will attend along with colleagues Sean Burke, associate professor of religion; Novian Whitsitt, professor of Africana studies and English; and Brad Chamberlain, interim dean for institutional planning and mission. The Institute is designed to help faculty and administration to address issues of diversity, civility, inclusion and student unrest on campus more effectively. Each participating college will develop plans to incorporate the Institute content into specific courses, advising and counseling services, and co-curricular activities at their institutions.

Participants in the 2019 Institute were selected through a highly competitive application process. According to CIC president Richard Elkman, “The volume, quality and urgency of the proposals reflect the commitment of independent colleges and universities to promoting diversity and civility, not just on their campuses but across the nation.”

The Institute is supported by a generous grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. For more information, visit

The Council of Independent Colleges is an association of 768 nonprofit independent colleges and universities, state-based councils of independent colleges and other higher education affiliates, that works to support college and university leadership, advance institutional excellence and enhance public understanding of independent higher education’s contributions to society. CIC is the major national organization that focuses on services to leaders of independent colleges and universities and state-based councils. CIC offers conferences, seminars, publications and other programs and services that help institutions improve educational quality, administrative and financial performance, student outcomes and institutional visibility. It conducts the largest annual conferences of college and university presidents and of chief academic officers in the United States. Founded in 1956, CIC is headquartered at One Dupont Circle in Washington, DC.

A national liberal arts college with an enrollment of 2,005, Luther offers an academic curriculum that leads to the Bachelor of Arts degree in more than 60 majors and pre-professional programs. For more information about Luther visit the college’s website: