The Village Commons Initiative

Institutional Affiliations

Steven Wuhs, Associate Vice Provost for Academic Affairs

David Haney, President

Scott Steele, Provost

VCI Scholars and Innovators

Gregory Prince, President Emeritus
Hampshire College

Trygve Throntveit, Director of Strategic Partnerships

Minnesota Humanities Center

Christopher Malone, Associate Provost

Farmingdale State College, SUNY


Marie-Louise Ström, Co-Founder and 

Director of Education and Training

Institute for Public Life and Work

Noelle Cutter, Associate Professor of Biology

Molloy University


Harry Boyte, Co-Founder and
Senior Scholar of Public Work Philosophy
Institute for Public Life and Work

What is The Village Commons Initiative?

A growing network of liberal arts colleges and universities working to integrate mutually reinforcing reform ideas that lead to new enrollment streams and serve a broader range of students.


I. A series of monthly virtual discussions with executive and academic leaders at member institutions about how to implement the six mutually beneficial aspects of the Village Commons Initiative to their particular campuses:

    1. engage high school students early in their careers to reach those who would not otherwise consider a liberal arts college;
    2. increase retention and heighten graduation rates, especially for first generation, working-class, and minority students by creating self-help networks as part of a greater ‘sense of community’ among students and their instructors;
    3. strengthen college-community partnerships through being a regional village commons institution.
    4. engage leading area businesses and organizations to align the liberal arts with essential career skills;
    5. enhance student self-motivation, academic responsiveness, sense of community, and creativity through a coordinated sequence of first-and-second year seminars that produce high levels of critical inquiry;
    6. attract new teaching talent to these seminars, while honoring faculty contracts and prerogatives;
    7. co-create authentic assessment/portfolios to enhance potential career opportunities with regional employers.
    8. create pilot projects for 100-250 new students that will serve as a laboratory to revitalize Gen Ed curriculum.

II. Opportunity to engage with NAB as consultants to help with implementation with any or all of the aspects.

III. Work closely with your institution’s development office to attract both national and area funding for these efforts.

Curious to learn more? Check out our video series and subscribe to our YouTube channel to stay up to date with our work.