Liberal Arts Colleges, Organization of

The organization of liberal arts colleges (LACs) concerns how these higher education institutions are structured to divide their work effectively, make decisions, and fulfill their distinctive mission. This entry provides an overview of the organization of LACs, including their mission, the structure and key organizational players, the tradition of shared governance, and the evolving mission and configuration of these institutions.


LACs have historically maintained a mission focused primarily on providing undergraduate education in arts and science fields such as history, literature, or chemistry. Most LACs are residential, encouraging students to live on campus for a major portion of their college years. Unlike universities, which are typically a collection of separate colleges with different missions and areas of specialization, the LAC traditionally has been a single academic ...

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