Message from ACM President Sonya Malunda
Our Collective Beauty
Dear Colleagues,
This is a different kind of spring than what we are accustomed to – and a difficult and uncertain time for all of us as we navigate the global pandemic and what that means for our campuses and ourselves.
For now, we are obligated to let go of many of the customs and traditions we are used to. Still, as the Midwestern winter reliably turns to spring, many of us are finding new ways to interact, engage, work, study, and play, taking in the beauty around us: in our families and loved ones, in the landscape and environment, and in our communities.
We may be physically distant, but we are socially connected. Our campuses are quieter than usual, but the distinctive beauty of our small liberal arts community is still thriving. We’re able to be nimble in responding to the crisis while staying committed to academic excellence. The ACM is moving ahead, adapting our programs and plans to serve you in this new environment, recognizing that the timing could change as the pandemic evolves.
Below, you’ll read about how we pivoted our Graduate School Exploration Fellowship to provide a robust remote summer experience, as well as our new and ongoing Strategic Partnerships and the unique programs that we continue to build with them. We’re also celebrating the finalists from our Nick Adams Short Story Contest and share some of their pieces for you to enjoy. And we’re closing this newsletter with a new series called ACM Collective Strength, highlighting how ACM colleges, students, faculty, and staff have responded to COVID-19.
It will take brave minds and hearts from across the liberal arts to address all the challenges that COVID-19 presents, and our consortium is uniquely positioned to respond. Our will, our skills, and our resolve all contribute to our collective strength – our collective beauty.
Just as we have been for over 60 years, the ACM will be in service to you as a partner, collaborator, and convener – now and for many years to come.
Warm regards,

Sonya Malunda, President

Reimagining an On-Campus Research Experience During COVID-19
The ACM and the Big Ten Academic Alliance provide underrepresented aspiring graduate students with a robust, remote summer program.

Campus closures presented a challenge for the
 ACM's Graduate School Exploration Fellowship (GSEF), a program funded by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to help underrepresented students in the humanities and social sciences learn about and prepare for graduate study. A key feature of the fellowship is a summer research experience at a university in the Big Ten Academic Alliance, designed to offer a realistic sense of life as a graduate student.

In the reimagined program, GSEF fellows will each work remotely with one or more faculty members from a Big Ten or ACM school, either on the student’s own research or as a research assistant. Big Ten Academic Alliance universities will provide weekly webinars to the cohort on topics related to attending graduate school, and the ACM has added a three-week virtual writing seminar that will provide each student with one-on-one coaching.
Strategic Partnerships and Programs

Even as we face the global pandemic, ACM is forging new strategic partnerships with major academic and cultural institutions and creating opportunities for our members to advance their academic and professional success. We are excited to launch a new partnership with the Field Museum of Natural History, which will welcome its first students in Fall 2021.

For 2020 programs that may need to be rescheduled, alternative dates are listed in parentheses. A decision on Fall programs will be determined in July. Please visit the ACM website for the most up-to-date information.

Nick Adams Short Story Contest Winner and Finalists Announced

Ruby Elliot Zuckerman (pictured), a Macalester College student, has been named the winner of the 48th annual ACM Nick Adams Short Story Contest. Her story “scott disick sucks” was selected from the 37 stories submitted by students from ACM colleges. An honorable mention was awarded to Bea Chihak from Macalester College for “Las Hermanas Grimm.”

Author and lawyer Scott Turow served as the final judge for this year’s contest. Joshua Corey, Associate Professor of English at Lake Forest College, and Natanya Pulley, Assistant Professor of English at Colorado College, served as initial faculty readers for the contest, selecting six finalists. The Nick Adams Contest carries with it a first prize of $1,000 and is made possible through a generous gift from an anonymous donor.

2020 Finalists

ACM Collective Strength
In Response to COVID-19, College Communities Show #ACMStrength
Below are a few highlights of how ACM community members are responding with creativity, generosity, and strength to COVID-19. For more stories, follow ACM and the hashtag #ACMStrength on Facebook and Twitter.

SUBMISSIONS: Got a great story showing ACM Collective Strength? Send the link to the published story to

ACM Institutions
Beloit College • Carleton College • Coe College • Colorado College • Cornell College • Grinnell College • Knox College • Lake Forest College • Lawrence University • Luther College • Macalester College • Monmouth College • Ripon College • St. Olaf College