Category Archives: Within ECOLAS

Advisory Board formed at ECOLAS

ECOLAS is pleased to announce the formation of a new Board of Advisors that will assist the Executive Board in executing the role of ECOLAS in the advancement of the Liberal Arts and Sciences in Europe. The members of the Board will serve as a critical resource by contributing their expertise and professional standing to the projects undertaken by the organisation. The five members appointed to the Board bring a diversity and wealth of experience within the context of higher education reform. ECOLAS is privileged to welcome them and looks forward to working with them to implement the aims of our consortium:


Hans Adriaansens (chair)

Hans Adriaansens is a sociologist and the founder of the first Dutch honors college, University College Utrecht. He later founded and served as dean of Roosevelt Academy (now UC Roosevelt).  He is also a co-founder of the European Consortium for Liberal Arts and Sciences (ECOLAS) and served as an Executive Director until his recent retirement.  Hans has long championed the advancement of the Liberal Arts and Sciences in Europe and is widely recognized as one of the most innovative thinkers about the future of European higher education.  While formally retired, he continues to work tirelessly for the cause of LAS both in and beyond Europe, concentrating much of his effort recently on fostering new LAS initiatives in Asia.


Bert van den Brink (University College Roosevelt)

Prof. Bert van den Brink has been Dean of University College Roosevelt in Middelburg, the Netherlands, since 2016. He is a professor of political and social philosophy at Utrecht University, of which UCR’s Liberal Arts Curriculum is part. His main expertise and interest in Liberal Arts and Sciences and Higher Education is in linking up LAS education with societal challenges, students’ personal development, engaged world citizenship, and interdisciplinary cooperation between the natural, the social, and the human sciences. Before he came to UCR he was head of the Graduate School of the Humanities at Utrecht University. Prof Van den Brink has much experience in structures of quality assurance and accreditation of academic programs at all levels of higher education. In philosophy, his work is on the normative foundations of liberalism, social justice, democracy and pluralism, and the normative grammar of social relations. Next to many articles in journals he published several books and collections, which include Recognition and Power (ed. with David Owen, OUP 2007 / 2010) and The Tragedy of Liberalism (SUNY, 2000).


Helen Brookman (King’s College London)

Dr. Brookman is currently the Director of Liberal Arts and Pro-Vice-Dean (Innovation in Education) at King’s College, London, where she has taught since 2015. She completed her academic studies at Wadham College, Oxford, and Corpus Christi College, Cambridge where she worked within the interdisciplinary Victorian Studies Group. Her research interests include medievalism and feminist histories of the Humanities; she is currently Deputy Director of the Centre for Late Antique and Medieval Studies at King’s.

Her professional career has been education-focused.  She taught medieval English literature at both Oxford and Cambridge and was the recipient of a Teaching Excellence Award from the Humanities Division of the University of Oxford in 2013; she was also a recipient of a King’s College London Teaching Excellence Award for Innovation in 2019. She also publishes in the field of educational enquiry, with interests in (co)creativity and interdisciplinarity in Arts and Humanities Higher Education. She is currently chair of the UK Liberal Arts+ Network.


Carl Gombrich (London Interdisciplinary School)

Carl Gombrich has joined the London Interdisciplinary School team from University College London to lead on curriculum design, teaching and learning. Carl has degrees in Maths, Physics and Philosophy and was a professional opera singer before joining UCL in 2002. In 2010, he was appointed Programme Director of the interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences (BASc) programmes and led the design, development, launch and implementation of the degree, from a first cohort of 84 students in 2012 to a steady state of over 450 students in 2018.

Carl is a regular speaker at events on interdisciplinarity and liberal arts and sciences both in the UK and abroad. He researches and writes about many themes related to contemporary interdisciplinary education, including the future of work, notions of expertise and the history of education. He was a member of the British Academy Working Group on Interdisciplinarity and a core member of the NVAO accreditation panel for the Liberal Arts and Sciences Colleges of the Netherlands. 

Carl is a Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and a Professorial Teaching Fellow of Interdisciplinary Education.


Iris van der Tuin (Utrecht University)

Iris van der Tuin is professor in Theory of Cultural Inquiry at Utrecht University, The Netherlands. She is also director of the School of Liberal Arts and program director of the interdisciplinary bachelor’s programme Liberal Arts and Sciences. Trained as a feminist epistemologist and working as an interdisciplinarian, she works on the intersection of philosophies of science and the humanities, cultural theory, and cultural inquiry (especially pertaining to humanities scholarship that traverses ‘the two cultures’ and reaches beyond the boundaries of academia). Iris is a keen networker within the interdisciplinary and new humanities, as well as she is interested research-informed interdisciplinary (and) liberal arts curricula. As such, the Scholarship of Interdisciplinary Teaching and Learning is of great importance to her.

Renewal at ECOLAS

After many years of service, Prof. Dr. Hans Adriaansens, co-founder of ECOLAS and one of the pioneers of liberal education in Europe, has stepped down from the ECOLAS Executive Board. He is succeeded by Teun Dekker, Professor of Liberal Arts and Sciences Education. Teun Dekker has extensive experience with liberal education, first as a student at University College Utrecht, and later as a teacher, administrator and researcher at University College Maastricht. He conducts theoretical and philosophical research concerning the nature of liberal education, as well as its social, political, and educational significance, and is an evangelist for liberal education in Maastricht, the Netherlands and Europe.

Hans Adriaansens will continue to support ECOLAS’ work, as chair of its newly created Advisory Board. The Advisory Board will provide input to the Executive Committee, but also actively participate in the advancement of the Liberal Arts and Sciences, by contributing its expertise and professional standing to a range of projects, including fundraising, consulting, and lobbying work.

Call for applications: J.J.Kidd Travel Research Fellowship – 5th round (2019)

ECOLAS has launched the fifth call for applications (2019) for Julie Johnson Kidd Travel Research Fellowship. The fellowships aim to assist faculty in the liberal arts and sciences in research projects. Next to focusing on Teacher Training and Professional Development, Undergraduate Research and, Quality Standards for Liberal Arts and Sciences programmes, this year we also encourage proposals that include collaborative efforts in curriculum development.

Here you can find information about the programme and application procedure. We are pleased to receive applications until 15 December, 2019.

Call for applications: J.J.Kidd Travel Research Fellowship – 4th round (2018)

ECOLAS is pleased to announce that it has launched the fourth call for applications (2018) for Julie Johnson Kidd Travel Research Fellowship.The fellowships were developed to assist faculty in the liberal arts and sciences in research projects. Thirty fellowships were awarded throughout the first three programme’s years. Here you can see the profiles of last year’s successful fellows. Here you can find information about the programme and application procedure. We are pleased to receive applications until 26 November, 2018.

New ECOLAS Partner – University College London

Partnership in ECOLAS network, which lists 24 liberal arts and sciences programmes and colleges from 7 European countries, now welcomes Arts and Sciences BASc programme at University College London. Existing only for six years, they have marked down remarkable success. Almost half of their graduates continue studies in a very wide range of master’s programmes, often at elite universities (Oxford, Cambridge, UCL, Imperial College, LSE, NYU, Johns Hopkins, Sciences Po etc.).


Within the UK’s specific flexible labour market and progressive recruitment programmes, the second half of alumni who seek employment right after graduation, enter a very wide range of sectors of work from investment banking and consultancy work, to government and NGOs, to marketing, branding and PR, to heritage, cultural and educational sectors.


Dr. Carl Gombrich, the programme’s director who is nominated as a primary contact person for ECOLAS partnership, says that the range of master’s and PhD studies is extremely broad, from business and economics, through humanities and law, to sciences and engineering. The school is also proud on its graduates who do exciting things in journalism, education, arts, start-ups etc. For more information about Arts and Sciences programmes at UCL, visit their website.

Two events hosted by BLASTER project this September

After the successful Teachers’ Training Workshop in Bratislava this May, ECOLAS takes part in two more events that are part of BLASTER project open to audience interested in liberal education:
Free symposium: Undergraduate Research in the Liberal Arts, 24–25 September, University of Warwick, UK
The event will celebrate the launch of Companion to Undergraduate Research in the Liberal Arts. It is aimed to attract teachers and leaders at academia who are interested in enhancing research profile of students at bachelor level of studies.
Introduction to Quality Standards in the Liberal Arts and Sciences (LAS) in Europe, Modernizing undergraduate education in Europe through LAS. 28–29 September, Leuphana University Lüneburg, Germany
The event will introduce a new Guide to Emerging Liberal Arts and Sciences Practices in Europe. It hopes to attract leaders of Liberal Arts programs and leaders in higher education who are considering implementation of Liberal Arts features at their institutions. All information regarding conference programme and registration can be found on the event’s website.

ECOLAS Welcomes New Partner

ECOLAS is pleased to welcome the new BA degree programme in Global Governance at the University of Rome Tor Vergata to its newest partner.  The programme is an interdisciplinary degree option that combines Arts and Humanities, Economics, Engineering, Law, Medicine and the Sciences to help prepare professionals for the challenges of the 21st century.  Limited to 40 students, 20 Italian and 20 international, the programme is taught in English and, in addition to its small class sizes, features special seminars on globalization and governance using the vast resources of the Italian capital to invite prominent professionals to lead discussions.   Professor Gustavo Piga will serve as the campus liaison to ECOLAS.  For additional information see the programme’s website.

ECOLAS at the Global Liberal Arts Alliance Meeting

Samuel Abraham and Laurent Boetsch were recently invited to a meeting of the Global Liberal Arts Alliance at Denison University (USA) to introduce ECOLAS and its objectives to senior administrators from among the 29 institutions worldwide that make up the GLAA. Their presentation focused on the history of ECOLAS and its activities with a special section devoted to the current Erasmus+ Strategic Partnership initiative, BLASTER. The lively discussion that followed the presentation examined short-, medium-, and long-range opportunities for collaboration between ECOLAS and its affiliated institutions and the schools associated with the GLAA including issues regarding student access, mutual communication and funding strategies and faculty networking. Both consortia agreed to continue discussing possibilities of mutual collaboration.

You can read a summary of ECOLAS presentation here.

Project BLASTER at Its Halfway

BLASTER project’s Steering Committee has gathered at Leuphana University Lüneburg, 20 October, for its midterm meeting. The project partners have made progress in all three project “pillars”: Quality Standards in Liberal Arts, Teacher Training and Professional Development and, Undergraduate Research. A short report from the meeting and summary of activities up to now can be found here.

ECOLAS offers a scholarship for the advancement of teachers in liberal arts and sciences

We are pleased to announce that we have started a new initiative called ECOLAS Scholarship for the Advancement of Collaborative Teaching to help teachers with the development of their professional skills. The focus of the program is to promote innovative projects in collaborative undergraduate teaching for the improvement of student learning. Click here for more information.

Julie Johnson Kidd Fellowships Awarded

The call for proposals for the first Julie Kidd Johnson Fellowships to be administered by ECOLAS yielded twenty-two strong applications from thirteen separate  institutions.  A broad range of topics related to liberal arts and sciences learning was represented and included projects are dedicated to teaching, research and curricular development. Ten grantees from this first round of fellowships have been awarded (see the list) and a call for new proposals will be forthcoming in early 2016.

ECOLAS Activities Will Be Coordinated and Spread By Institutional Liaisons

Owing to the increasing number of activities open to interested liberal arts and sciences colleges and programs through ECOLAS, we have recently created a network of campus liaisons to serve as the principal points of contact between their institutions and ECOLAS. Approximately 20 schools have agreed to join the liaison program which aims to improve communication within the network, increase participation among all members and provide a means of collecting and sharing important data for the three projects to be realized through BLASTER, funded by a 275,000 euros Erasmus + grant. For a full list of campus liaisons and their institutions, click here.

Erasmus+ Application by ECOLAS, University College Roosevelt and Four Other Partners Successful

ECOLAS is pleased to announce that the recent Erasmus+ grant proposal BLASTER (The Best Liberal Arts and Science Teaching Expanded and Reinforced) prepared by ECOLAS and five strategic partners – University College Roosevelt (NL), Leiden University College The Hague (NL), Warwick University (UK), Leuphana University Lüneburg (Germany) and Vytautas Magnus University (Lithuania) – has been accepted and approved for funding in the amount of 275,500 euro by the Dutch National Agency Nuffic. The funds will be applied over the next two years to three project areas critical to the success and development of liberal arts and sciences programmes: 1) Quality Standards and Assessment; 2) Professional Development and Teacher Training, and; 3) Undergraduate Research. More information on the project proposal is available here.


While the strategic partnership will be responsible for the realization, dissemination and sustainability of each of the projects, we will be seeking the assistance of the entire ECOLAS network in the process of gathering ideas, data and suggestions to feed into each area. Additionally, over the two-year period of the grant there will be a number of transnational events that will be open for participation from schools outside the strategic partnership.

ECOLAS Scholarship For Teachers With Liberal Arts And Sciences Affiliation

ECOLAS is delighted to announce a new opportunity for faculty of liberal arts and sciences programmes throughout Europe.


The Julie Johnson Kidd Travel Research Fellowships aim to assist faculty in the liberal arts and sciences to carry out travel and/or research projects that will help inform their classroom teaching.  Up to ten awards of 1500€ each will be administered for the 2015-16 academic year.


The deadline for submitting the application is July 31, 2015.


More information about the fellowship is available here. The information includes application materials, a brief description of the programme as well as a few words about Julie Johnson Kidd in whose name the fellowship is awarded.

ECOLAS cooperated on a conference hosted by Academic Cooperation Association (ACA) on liberal arts colleges

Annual ACA European Policy Seminar in 2014 was dedicated to Liberal Arts (and Sciences) education in Europe. It took place in Brussels on October 9. The conference offered five presentations on issues related to emerging liberal arts programs in the EU as well as three workshops in which students and alumni of the liberal arts shared their experience with regard to the international aspects of the liberal arts, careers available to liberal arts graduates and an examination of the liberal arts format for education.
The conference programme was made in cooperation with ECOLAS.

ECOLAS hosted a faculty development seminar

In collaboration with the Global Alliance consortium, ECOLAS has sponsored a faculty development seminar devoted to teaching practices and methods in the liberal arts including innovative and interactive approaches to classroom teaching.  The seminar took place on March 4-6, 2010, the workshops were facilitated by faculty representing the Global Alliance and was hosted by the Bratislava International School of Liberal Arts (BISLA).


For more information, see this website’s Events section or contact us.

ECOLAS Conference Attracts European Educators and Students

The Czech Senate in the famous Wallenstein Palace in Prague was the site of the recent European conference on liberal arts education organized by the European Consortium of Liberal Arts and Sciences (ECOLAS) and hosted by the Faculty of Humanities of Charles University in Prague, 8-9 June 2009. University educators from fifteen countries representing twenty-one liberal arts colleges and programmes as well as students from Charles University, Roosevelt Academy,  and the Bratislava International School of Liberal Arts gathered to discuss the issues provoked by the conference theme, “Liberal Arts and Sciences in Europe: Bringing Bildung Back In”.


This conference represents the culmination of two years of organizing work on the part of ECOLAS which remains dedicated to the cultivation of liberal arts and sciences education throughout the European Higher Education Area. Summaries of the panel presentations will be available soon on this website. Additional information can be found in this website’s section Events.

ECOLAS Conference Features European Higher Education Policy Update

ECOLAS and Amsterdam University College hosted a two-day conference on October 30-31 for seventeen leaders from European liberal arts and sciences colleges and programs. Discussion sessions included: an introduction of ECOLAS as a consortium dedicated to the cultivation of the liberal arts and sciences within the European Higher Education Area; the role of liberal arts and sciences within the Bachelors degree cycle of the Bologna framework; a report on the recent position paper, “College Learning for the New Global Century”, produced by the American Association of Colleges and Universities; strategies for the next stage of evolution for ECOLAS including a general conference on the liberal arts and sciences to be held in April, 2009, and future funding opportunities. More information can be found among Events.