The Higher Education Consortium for Urban Affairs (HECUA) is a consortium of colleges and universities that share a commitment to authentic and reciprocal academic-community partnerships for social change. Some member schools have been part of the consortium for over 40 years, while others have recently joined. Each member institution has its own distinct identity and story, but all share in creating and sustaining HECUA learning communities in the United States and around the world.
Through the years, HECUA member institutions have been leaders in experiential education, innovative study abroad, community-academic internships, transformative teaching and learning models, and civic and global engagement.
Virjinija Wilcox, Associate Dean of International and Off-Campus Programs
Bethel University is a founding member of HECUA and had an active role in shaping the consortium’s priorities and mission from 1969 to 1974. Three Bethel students were awarded paid summer internships through HECUA’s grant-funded Partners Internship Program between 2001 and 2010, and Bethel students have participated in HECUA’s academic programs since the early days of the Crisis Colony. Bethel mission is aligned with HECUA’s work, particularly in the field of peace and reconciliation.
Sinda Nichols, Director of Civic and Community Engagement
Carleton College strives to be a collaborative community that encourages intellectual curiosity and learning of the highest quality. The college works to develop qualities of mind and character that prepare students to be citizens and leaders capable of finding solutions to local and global challenges. Over the decades, Carleton and HECUA have worked in tandem to challenge students to embrace and enter the world that surrounds them, participate in meaningful community building, and collaborate with peers, faculty, and practitioners to be thoughtful and fully engaged learners and citizens.
College of St. Scholastica
David Schuettler, Assistant Professor of Spanish
Shaped by the Catholic Benedictine heritage, which values community, hospitality, respect, stewardship, and love of learning, the College of St. Scholastica provides intellectual and moral preparation for responsible living and meaningful work. St. Scholastica emphasizes the civic mission of higher education and seeks to foster intentional learning and collaborative action so that its graduates may better serve and lead their communities. Through HECUA, St. Scholastica students have opportunities to practice and live out service and leadership for their communities and the world.
Heather Powell Browne, Assistant Director of Off-Campus Programs
At Colorado College the goal is to provide students with the finest liberal arts education in the country. Drawing upon the adventurous spirit of the Rocky Mountain West, Colorado College challenges students to develop habits of intellect and imagination that will prepare them for learning and leadership throughout their lives. Through HECUA, Colorado College students are able to explore different ways of learning and developing leadership skills by connecting with faculty and prominent community members in an educational and hands-on setting.
Katy Crossley-Frick, Director, Center for Global Programs
Denison University seeks to inspire and educate its students to become autonomous thinkers, discerning moral agents, and active citizens of a democratic society. As a community of learners, Denison emphasizes active learning and seeks to fully engage students in their liberal arts education. Denison University and HECUA are partners in encouraging students to have compassion that is unlimited by cultural, racial, sexual, religious or economic barriers and be effective agents of change.
Mandy Brookins, Associate Dean of Experiential Learning
DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana, is a private liberal arts college. DePauw’s commitment to developing leaders the world needs and their commitment to providing experiential learning for students aligns with HECUA’s vision. DePauw joined the consortium in the 2019-2020 academic year. DePauw University develops leaders the world needs through an uncommon commitment to the liberal arts.
Gustavus Adolphus College
Bryan Messerly, Director, Center for International and Cultural Education
The purpose of a Gustavus Adolphus education is to help students attain their full potential as persons, to develop in them a capacity and passion for lifelong learning, and to prepare them for fulfilling lives of leadership and service in society. The Gustavus community is made up of students, faculty and staff from diverse backgrounds who respect the dignity of all people. Just as HECUA brings together higher education and community for social change, Gustavus fosters learning and experiences that allow students to work towards a just and peaceful world.
Kate Bjork, Professor of History
Hamline University was a founding member of HECUA in 1971 and has been a leader throughout the consortium’s history, maintaining steady enrollments in programs, active participation on the board of directors, and faculty involvement in committees and collaborative initiatives. HECUA offices were located on the Hamline campus from 1985-2001, and Hamline has been integral to the administrative work of the consortium by providing transcripts for program participants who are enrolled at non-consortium schools.
Molly Olsen, Professor of Spanish and Portugese
Macalester College is recognized for its special emphasis on internationalism, multiculturalism, and service to society. Macalester strives for excellence and opportunity in educating students and fosters student engagement in the diverse and vibrant urban communities that surround the college. As a founding member of HECUA, Macalester has helped shape the consortium’s mission of social justice and focus on community-based learning in local, national, and international contexts.
St. Catherine University
Daniel Williams, Assistant Professor of Sociology
Since its foundation, St. Catherine University has sought to educate women to be courageous and transformational leaders in their communities. Grounded in the Catholic tradition of intellectual inquiry and social teaching, St. Catherine challenges and supports students of diverse backgrounds to be reflective thinkers and to search out and participate in efforts that advance social justice. As a founding member of HECUA, St. Catherine University has been a long and trusted partner in equipping students with the knowledge and skills to create just communities and societies at home and abroad.
St. Olaf College
Heather Campbell, Associate Professor of Education
St. Olaf College, a college of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), seeks to provide an education committed to the liberal arts, rooted in the Christian Gospel, and reflective of diverse and global perspectives. St. Olaf focuses on critical inquiry and expression, offering a distinctive environment that integrates teaching, scholarship, and creative action. As partners in learning, St. Olaf and HECUA collaborate on challenging students to be responsible and knowledgeable citizens of the world, and creating higher education institutions that foster community building and social justice. St. Olaf is a founding member of HECUA.
Lezlie Weber, Director, Off-Campus Programs
Lawrence University is a residential liberal arts college and conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It is a supportive and welcoming academic community of 1,500 intellectually curious, diverse, multi-interested students from nearly every state and 50 countries—all committed to a rigorous and challenging educational experience.
Todd Heidt, Director, Eleanor Stellyes Center for Global Studies & Associate Professor in Modern Languages – German
Knox College joined HECUA as a consortium member in 2016. Knox College is committed to providing “an environment where students and faculty work closely together and where teaching is characterized by inviting and expecting students to pursue fundamental questions in order to reach their own reflective but independent judgments.” This approach to teaching and learning complements HECUA’s commitment to pedagogy that speaks openly of values of justice in classrooms and communities, and creates a space for students to see that they are capable of change. Additionally, Knox is the first college or university in the country to have an official Peace Corps Preparatory Program, a program aligned with the goals of the Peace Corps under its charter. This program and Knox College’s mission demonstrate a clear commitment to preparing students for lives of ongoing intercultural exchange and service. HECUA is proud to play a role in this work by offering Knox students the opportunity to thoughtfully engage the role of US citizens abroad through semester-long program in Northern Ireland, Italy, and Norway.
Lotte Buiting, Associate Director, Off Campus Study Office
Pat Martin, Director, Off Campus Study Office
Swarthmore College, founded by the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), holds strong to a special set of unique values in higher education: to find nonviolent solutions to conflicts and differences, to help others through service, to promote social and economic justice, to have kindness in daily living, and to support of each other’s search for that of God within. Moreover, Friends/Quakers have long recognized the equality of women and men. HECUA’s mission aligns with these lived values in the area of education for equity and justice.
University of Minnesota (Twin Cities, Duluth, Morris, Crookston, Rochester)
Laurel Hirt, Director, Center for Community-Engaged Learning
The University of Minnesota, founded in the belief that all people are enriched by understanding, is dedicated to the advancement of learning, effective citizenship, and pursuit of the common good. As a land grant institution, the university has a calling to open its doors as widely as possible. As a research institution, it has a special responsibility to address the economic, cultural, political, and environmental challenges that face the nation and the world. Since the beginning of HECUA, the university has played a central role in assisting the consortium in reaching students who might not otherwise be enrolled in higher education or participating in off campus programs. The University of Minnesota is a founding member institution.
University of St. Thomas
Justin Kader, Study Abroad Advisor
Rooted in the Catholic tradition, the University of St. Thomas seeks to prepare students to be morally responsible leaders, who think critically, act wisely, and work skillfully to advance the common good. A founding member and continuing leader of HECUA, the university has worked together with HECUA to embody the civic mission of higher education and foster intentional learning and collaborative action, an education that helps students build the skills to become active and responsible citizens.