Kentucky State University to become only Kentucky and first HBCU member of the Council of Public Liberal Arts Colleges (COPLAC)

Kentucky State University to become only Kentucky and first HBCU member of the Council of Public Liberal Arts Colleges (COPLAC)

Kentucky State University is the newest member to join the Council of Public Liberal Arts Colleges (COPLAC).  

The first HBCU and only university in Kentucky to be nominated and awarded membership, University officials are honored and excited to become part of COPLAC. The COPLAC board voted unanimously to admit Kentucky State University at its Oct. 15  meeting.

“This is an outstanding opportunity for Kentucky State University to benchmark itself with like-minded peer institutions nationwide and in Canada,” Kentucky State University President, M. Christopher Brown II said. “We have the opportunity to share our experiences in liberal learning as practiced here and to benefit from the multiple enrichment pathways afforded to us as members of the COPLAC consortium.”

Founded in 1987, COPLAC is composed of 28 current members. Kentucky State University becomes its 29th member.  Membership is limited to public universities and colleges that demonstrate a dedication to liberal arts education as the best and most comprehensive preparation for a life of purpose and meaning within society.  

At present, only one university or college is considered for inclusion by the COPLAC Board of Directors, making Kentucky State University’s membership all the more notable as the designated liberal arts university within Kentucky higher education.

Housed at the University of North Carolina in Asheville, COPLAC member schools participate in conferences and leadership training for students, faculty summer institutes on enhancing teaching and learning within the liberal arts tradition, an annual meeting, and scholarships and publications for students to support and celebrate their achievements.  

In 2020, COPLAC launched a new collaborative learning opportunity with an online course exchange consortium designed to allow students to enroll in courses at other COPLAC campuses to increase their curriculum.

The process to become a COPLAC member is rigorous. Kentucky State began its application in 2019 with an in-person meeting, which led to the submission of a formal application outlining the commitment to the liberal arts and the pervasive influence of the rich tradition of the liberal arts in all its degree and certificate programs. The written application was then advanced with an initial on-site visit from COPLAC leadership in the fall 2019 and a formal, virtual site visit completed in fall 2020.  

Kentucky State University’s QEP, Learning that Works, garnered particular interest with the COPLAC Executive Committee, as did the enthusiasm and interest in membership expressed by students, faculty and staff during the on-site visits.