CLS Hosts Graduate Liberal Studies Conference

Group poses at AGLSP

The College of Liberal Studies hosted the 2016 Annual Conference for the Association of Graduate Liberal Studies Programs (AGLSP) October 20 to 22. The conference was held at the Skirvin Hilton hotel in downtown Oklahoma City.

AGLSP is an international organization of more than 100 institutional members that share a common interest in graduate-level liberal education primarily serving adult, part-time students. Each year, the AGLSP conference serves as a forum for the exchange of information and ideas among graduate liberal studies administrators and faculty, their students, their alumni and other programs that provide an alternative approach to continued learning for nontraditional students. More than 150 participants from member schools attended the event in October.

This year’s conference focus was Tradition and Transformation, and the sessions explored the dynamic relationship between these two forces in the arts, the humanities, the sciences and the social sciences. As in most years, topics relevant to programs for adult students and questions of importance to the health of AGLSP member programs were explored. AGLSP also offered a pre-conference workshop on October 20 featuring topics such as institutional goals, intellectual entrepreneurship, internal and external marketing and recruiting and supporting students, among others.

Speakers included Dr. Kerry Magruder, associate professor of the history of science, John H. and Drusa B. Cable Chair of the History of Science Collections and chief curator of the Galileo’s World exhibition at the University of Oklahoma; Dr. James Pappas, vice president for Outreach and dean of the College of Liberal Studies; and Joshua Landis, associate professor of OU’s Department of International and Area Studies and director of OU’s Center for Middle East Studies.

In addition to formal sessions at the event, conference planners took full advantage of the diverse Oklahoma landscape and lively Oklahoma City downtown life for additional networking opportunities. Excursions included a trip to the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge, a tour of Oklahoma City museums, a tour of the University of Oklahoma museums and campus and a tour of the Chickasaw Cultural Center.

“The College of Liberal Studies is one of the founding members of AGLSP for good reason,” said CLS associate dean and AGLSP vice president Martha Banz. “We continue to evolve as a college and are constantly pursuing new solutions to provide the best graduate-level education possible for nontraditional students.”

CLS’s involvement marks a long line of participation in the conference for the college. Pappas previously served as AGLSP president in 2009-2010. In addition, from 2005 through 2010, the college and OU Outreach produced the association’s academic journal, Confluence.

Founded in 1975, AGLSP represents a broad cross-section of higher education—from small liberal arts colleges to large, research-oriented universities in the public and private sectors. The association promotes the concept and goals of graduate liberal studies, fosters high standards in GLS programs, provides guidance for institutions considering initiating and improving such programs and promotes public awareness of the programs. Visit for additional information about the organization.

Note: The College of Liberal Studies was renamed the College of Professional and Continuing Studies in 2017.

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Mary Hopper

Mary Hopper specializes in digital and content marketing at PACS. She is the project manager for the marketing department's team of writers, manages the college's digital advertising, and serves as editor and contributor for the PACS blog and social media efforts.