By KT Kelly /// Staff Writer
President Barry Glassner has already graced the Lewis & Clark community for Sunday brunches at the Bon, but with his election as a national delegate to the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, President Glassner is now addressing the nation.
According to their website, the NAICU “serves as the unified national voice of private nonprofit higher education and often deals with government [affairs].” It also represents colleges and universities in issues relating to higher education.
“NAICU definitely lobbies on behalf of nonprofit private institutions and independent colleges and universities, but its more than that,” Glassner said. “A big part of what NAICU does is inform the public and inform the media about what these institutions are doing and about how they contribute to the nation and the world and the challenges they face.”
Each year, regional delegates come together to elect four national delegates.
“The group elects the four of us each year,” Glassner said. “We don’t just represent our region, we represent the entire country.”
The NAICU deals with issues such as ensuring federal support for student financial aid and influencing the perception of higher education by the public and the media.. Both of these issues are priorities for Glassner.
“As far as I’m concerned, funding student opportunity to go to college and to be able to go where they want, meaning they can choose a private college or university like LC, is very important for students, their families, and the future of the country,” Glassner said.
Glassner explains that another issue NAICU is concerned with pertains to his own academic research: showing what actually goes on in colleges like LC.
“A second [issue that] NAICU is interested in, and that I will be involved with relates to a lot of what I have written about in my own research. My own advocacy is the public’s life: the media’s view of higher education, which can often be very distorted,” Glassner said. “Of course, politicians and advocacy groups and others like to use colleges and universities as a way of talking about other issues of their own. It’s very, very important that we get out the word about what our institutions really do and what is really going on at places like LC, as opposed to the stories that are told otherwise in Washington and elsewhere.”
The election of President Glassner as national delegate to the NAICU does not go unnoticed in the academic community.
“I think it will draw more favorable attention to the great things we are doing here because I will be able to talk about those,” Glassner said. “Just the fact that I was elected, I think, speaks well to how the college is seen. I take my election to be, in many ways, a vote of confidence about Lewis & Clark.”
By interacting with presidents of colleges and universities across the country, not only will Glassner be able to share his experiences at L&C, but he will also be able to see what other liberal arts colleges are doing.
“The range of independent colleges and universities in the U.S. is part of what I think is so inspiring about higher education in the United States,” Glassner said. “They range from really small very specialized schools to really large universities. The liberal arts schools are a big and really important part of that larger world, so I am proud to be partly representing that sector.”
Glassner’s first meeting with the Board of Directors is in April in San Antonio. In December, he will attend a much larger meeting in Washington D.C.