Project DAVID: Collective Vision and Action for Liberal Arts Colleges

2:00pm - 3:00pm EDT April 16, 2014

How might colleges and universities use the themes of distinction, analytics, value, innovation, and digital opportunities (thus, DAVID) as a means to consider how they might reinvent themselves? As they focus on attending to the challenges and opportunities their institutions face, what are they learning that informs how the sector might envision its future? (Times EDT)

As liberal arts colleges and universities consider their missions and contemplate the future, significant challenges lie ahead—financial sustainability, increased competition and public perception of value to name a few. Yet many opportunities lie waiting, too—new technologies and digital tools enable faculty and students to traverse many boundaries, increasing access and furthering support of scholarship and learning. Project DAVID uses a set of themes—distinction, analytics, value, innovation, and digital opportunities—to guide leadership through the various factors, forces, and challenges they face and consider how they might reinvent themselves. Join Ann Hill Duin, professor at the University of Minnesota and founder of Project DAVID, and contributors to the Project DAVID eBook as they outline how they are using these themes to examine current challenges and opportunities and to design their futures.

Recommended Reading

Please review and explore these resources to prepare for active engagement with your fellow seminar participants.

  • Duin, A. H. & Childers, E. (Eds.) (2014). Project DAVID: Vocation and reinvention in liberal arts colleges. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota. Retrieved from

This new collection of 27 chapters showcases strategic reinvention underway across a set of liberal arts colleges. Using a set of themes—Distinction, Analytics, Value, Innovation, and Digital opportunities (thus, DAVID)—presidents, provosts, CIOs, and faculty share how they are positioning their institutions for future success.

“[The Project David e-book is] an excellent resource for everyone involved with shaping the future of liberal education. Ann Hill Duin and Eric Childers have done a masterful job of bringing forth a framework to understand the opportunities and the challenges facing traditional small residential liberal arts colleges in the 21st century…The work of Duin and Childers reveals a palpable energy, an enthusiasm for the hard work of visionary leadership eager to be released to a wider audience. There is much to take in here, much to assess and integrate into your own institutional review.”

– Michael Nanfito, Executive Director, NITLE

Seminar Leader

Ann Hill Duin, professor at the University of Minnesota, has served in higher education administrative roles including vice provost and associate vice president for information technology. She is internationally respected for her scholarship on the impact of emerging technologies on the future of communication and higher education, and her commitment to shared leadership results in collective vision and action.

Joining Dr. Duin are the following contributors to Project DAVID:

  • Autumm Caines and Wen-Li Feng, instructional technologists at Capital University, will share about how their campus has created open collaborative structures for conversations that encourage meaningful discussion of Digital Opportunities for growth and expansion.
  • Ty Buckman, associate provost at Wittenberg University, will share about how their Innovation Task Force used the DAVID themes as a way to look at improvements to the university’s core enterprise of educating undergraduates, identify more compelling ways of presenting the Distinctiveness of that education, and employ Innovation as a means of generating new revenue and expanding the university’s reach into new markets.
  • Elizabeth Brennan, professor at California Lutheran University, will share about the importance of continuous reinvention and how the DAVID themes provided a framework for examining strategic planning and efforts toward sustainability within a graduate program that is embedded in a Lutheran university.
Event Hashtag

Participants are encouraged to share their thoughts on Twitter via this event’s hashtag: #nitle.


Institutional leaders interested in stimulating conversations around strategic direction and collaboration should attend this seminar. Attendance by institutional teams is encouraged; individuals are also welcome to participate.

Please register online by Monday, April 14. Participation in NITLE Shared Academics is open to all active member institutions of the NITLE Network as a benefit of membership and as space allows. No additional registration fee applies.


For more information about this event, please contact Georgianne Hewett at

NITLE Shared AcademicsTM models a new approach to liberal education – made possible through strategic collaboration, driven by shared knowledge, and supported by emerging technologies. Campuses learn how inter-institutional academic exchange works by actively participating in it, building the knowledge and experience to re-architect liberal education.