When the College of Charleston joined the Colonial Athletic Association in 2013, it got more than a place in a premier NCAA Division I mid-major college athletic conference; it gained access to the league’s Colonial Academic Alliance as well.

The College was selected to host the Alliance’s inaugural Scholar-Exchange Series, with noted presidential elections scholar and Northeastern University Professor William Mayer visiting campus in September 2015 to deliver a keynote address and speak to political science and communication classes.

“The alliance, both academically and athletically, has been a really great fit for the College,” said Vince Benigni, faculty athletic representative and professor of Communication at the College. “This alliance opens so many doors for our students and faculty.”

Dozens of representatives from the College have attended several conferences, including signature Alliance events such as the Undergraduate Research Conference and the Pedagogy Summit.

“The Research Conference provides an excellent opportunity for us to showcase the different types of research and creative projects on which our students and faculty collaborate,” said Trisha Folds-Bennett, dean of the Honors College.  “I am so proud of our students – they all have done an excellent job talking about their research. I was also glad to see them meeting students from other schools and sharing experiences.”

Faculty and staff members from the College attended the inaugural Pedagogy Summit, which took place in February 2015 at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington and focused on best practices and emerging technologies in the field of teaching.

Additionally, professors Beth Sundstrom and Andrea DeMaria and longtime administrator Jeri Cabot became involved with the Alliance through the Bystander Intervention program in 2014; it has since become one of the Alliance’s official communities of practice. The three launched a campaign called “It’s Your Place: A Bystander Intervention at the College of Charleston.”

Through the campaign, the College shared “a roadmap for other campuses to conduct systematic theory-based formative research, including focus groups, in order to develop and implement a health communication campaign to increase bystander intervention and prevent sexual assault,” Sundstrom said.

The faculty members also worked with undergraduate and graduate students from the Women’s Health Research Team at the College. The group presented their work on the campaign at the 2015 Undergraduate Research Conference held at Drexel University in Philadelphia.

Current Colonial Academic Alliance member institutions include: College of Charleston, University of Delaware, Drexel University, Elon University, Hofstra University, James Madison University, University of North Carolina at Wilmington, Northeastern University, Towson University, and College of William & Mary.