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History and Purpose

The Associated Colleges of the Chicago Area (ACCA) is a consortium of 15 private liberal arts colleges that was formed in 1966. Dr. Mark Trumbo, Dean of Aurora College, was the first chairperson, and Dr. Jerry Baird of Argonne National Laboratory brought much of the energy and vision to the consortium until his retirement in the early 1990's.

ACCA's primary objective is to promote collegiate education in biology, chemistry, computer science, mathematics, physics, psychology, sociology/anthropology, and business/economics by stimulating and regularizing cooperative arrangements between the member colleges and universities and government laboratories and other educational institutions in the use of staff and facilities.

The first divisions to take advantage of the ACCA consortium were biology, chemistry, computer science, mathematics, and physics. The social science divisions of psychology and sociology/anthropology became part of ACCA in 1986. The business/economics division was added in 1990.

The consortium is governed by a Board of Directors composed of the academic deans and/or chief academic officers of the member institutions. The activities for faculty and students are arranged by the faculty members in their respective divisions. Each division elects a chairperson to take the lead in planning seminars and other activities for that discipline.

Among these activities are seminar series, cooperative courses with the Morton Arboretum and the Shedd Aquarium, an annual Student Scholarship Symposium, and a newly added Pedagogy Symposium. These cooperative activities between faculty members of the various colleges and universities reach beyond the capabilities of any individual campus to enhance education in the natural and social sciences.