Jerry G. Gaff Faculty Award Books by Jerry G. Gaff

A Biography of JERRY G. GAFF, PH.D.

Jerry G. Gaff is Senior Scholar at the Association of American Colleges and Universities, an educational association whose mission is to foster high quality liberal education for all students. He is a vigorous and articulate spokesman for strong, distinctive institutions and has helped academic leaders develop vital academic programs through such activities as demonstration projects, conferences, publications, and consultations. He has directed national projects to strengthen undergraduate general education programs, to establish programs that support the professional development of faculty, and-most recently-- to develop new models for the graduate preparation of future faculty members. He also is the founding director of AAC&U's Network for Academic Renewal that assists faculty members and administrators to improve their academic programs in such ways as internationalizing the curriculum, using diversity and technology to aid learning, and developing more quality and coherence in general education curricula.

From 1983-89 he was Dean of the College of Liberal Arts, Interim President, and Vice President at Hamline University, St. Paul, Minnesota. Previously he directed projects on faculty and curriculum development for the Society for Values in Higher Education. He has been on faculties at Sonoma State University, University of Leyden in the Netherlands, University of the Pacific, and Hobart and William Smith Colleges. He conducted research at the Center for Research and Development in Higher Education at the University of California, Berkeley.

Dr. Gaff received a Bachelor of Arts degree from DePauw University in 1958 and a Ph.D. in psychology from Syracuse University in 1965. Through his studies, projects, and related professional activities, he contributed to four different efforts to improve undergraduate education. During the 1960s, while a teacher at Raymond College, an innovative college at the University of the Pacific, he studied experimental colleges. He wrote and edited The Cluster College (1970), the first systematic analysis and assessment of these colleges and consulted with institutions about creating alternative institutions.

During the 1970s Dr. Gaff helped to define the new terms of faculty development to include growth as a teacher and as a member of the academic community with his Toward Faculty Renewal (1975). Through directing the Project on Institutional Renewal Through the Improvement of Teaching, writing, speaking, and consulting, he helped to establish centers for faculty development or teaching excellence at dozens of institutions. During the 1980s he worked on curriculum issues and assisted scores of institutions to strengthen their core curricula. He published General Education Today (1983), New Life for the College Curriculum (1991), and Strong Foundations: Twelve Principles of Effective General Education Programs (1994). Beginning in 1993, he has directed the Preparing Future Faculty program, which has awarded grants to research universities and disciplinary societies to develop model programs that prepare graduate students for research, teaching, and service roles in a diversity of colleges and universities. He is co-author of Building the Faculty We Need: Colleges and Universities Working Together (2000), Preparing Future Faculty in the Sciences and Mathematics: A Guide for Change (2002), and Preparing Future Faculty in the Humanities and Social Sciences: A Guide for Change (2003) that describe these new faculty preparation programs.

Dr. Gaff has served as a frequent speaker at conferences and special events, such as the Alexander Meikeljohn Lecture at the University of Wisconsin; consultant to all kinds of colleges and universities; consultant to foundations and other funding agencies; staff for such professional development activities as the Lilly Endowment Workshop on the Liberal Arts; and member of editorial boards such as Innovative Higher Education and the Journal of General Education. Among his 21 books, he has co-edited the Handbook of the Undergraduate Curriculum: A Comprehensive Guide to Purposes, Structures, Practices, and Change (1997) sponsored by AAC&U.  He received the Academic Leadership Award from the Council of Independent Colleges (1989), the Joseph Katz Award for Distinguished Contributions to the Practice and Discourse of General and Liberal Education from the Association for General and Liberal Studies (1992), the Kenneth Boulding Award for contributions to interdisciplinary studies from the Association for Integrative Studies (1993), and the Friend of Graduate Students Award from the National Association of Graduate and Professional Students (2000).  The Association for General and Liberal Studies established the annual Jerry G. Gaff Award to faculty members for campus contributions to general and liberal studies.  He has received honorary doctorate degrees from St. Joseph's College (IN) in 2002 and the University of the Pacific in 2007.


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