NACU — or The New American Colleges & Universities if we’re being formal — is a group of colleges and universities across the United States that are known for the integration of liberal arts, professional preparation, and civic engagement.

Here at NACU our motto is “Connect, Collaborate, Champion!” because our mission is to connect our campuses to collaborate in the delivery of innovative ideas and to champion the belief that an integrated liberal, professional, and civic education is essential to the future of our world. We love what we do so much we named our podcast “Connect, Collaborate, Champion!”

NACU’s learning communities provide opportunities for administrators, faculty, and staff to share best practices and consult with one another to enhance institutional effectiveness through improved curriculum, pedagogy, research, and systems.

Who are we? And where are we?

President Sean Creighton and the main office are located in Dayton, Ohio, and Michelle Apuzzio, senior director of programs and communications, is based in Dedham, Massachusetts. They frequently commiserate about lousy winter weather as they scroll social media channels of NACU campuses in better climates.

Most importantly, who are our campuses?

NACU campuses are small to medium-sized comprehensive institutions that collectively serve more than 100,000 undergraduate and graduate students. They’re located in cities, suburbs, and rural areas in nearly 20 different states. We’re also proud to have two Historically Black Colleges & Universities and four Hispanic-Serving Institutions.

What does NACU do?




How did NACU get its start?

In 1990, Frank Wong, then vice president for academic affairs at the University of Redlands, wrote an essay titled “The Ugly Duckling of Higher Education” which explored the characteristics of comprehensive institutions. A few years later Ernest L. Boyer, then president of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, called for a “New American College” that would renew the tradition of higher education as service to society. In 1995, several comprehensive institutions that embrace Boyer’s ideas of higher education by intentionally integrating liberal arts, professional programs, and civic engagement formed the Associated New American Colleges, now known as the New American Colleges and Universities. Each year we honor Boyer’s legacy through the Ernest L. Boyer Award.

Let’s stay connected!

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