General Education Maps and Markers (GEMs) Publications

Open and Integrative: Designing Liberal Education for the New Digital Ecosystem

The ongoing digital revolution has created a complex and interconnected ecosystem that is fundamentally reshaping how we learn and communicate. Yet, despite its transformative potential, this digital ecosystem has so far had less of an impact on formal education than on other sectors of our society. Authors Randy Bass and Bret Eynon explore the implications of emerging digital capacities and culture for higher education, arguing that any discussion to reinvent higher education that begins with technology is doomed to a diminished vision of learning. Bass and Eynon begin instead by reimagining the core purposes of liberal education in this new context and ask: What is the role of the digital ecosystem in making a quality liberal education available to all, equitably?

Going beyond “unbundling,” the authors propose that we use networked and adaptive systems to “re-bundle” higher education by connecting learning experiences that have typically been disconnected, opening the...

Assessment That Works: A National Call, A Twenty-First-Century Response
2015

This publication builds on the work of AAC&U’s VALUE project (Valid Assessment of Learning in Undergraduate Education)—a multi-tiered effort that, in its first stages, harnessed the expertise of hundreds of faculty and other education professionals across American higher education to identify the most commonly agreed upon criteria and standards of judgment to be used in assessing student work.  VALUE has since become a national movement to change the way we envision and approach the assessment of student learning gains and accomplishments in college.  Assessment That Works contextualizes this movement, describes several illuminating case studies of VALUE in action, and exhorts us to maintain the momentum and raise the visibility of this effort.

General Education Transformed: How We Can, Why We Must
2015

This publication calls for a re-envisioning of general education with clear, purposeful pathways for all students, allowing them to actively demonstrate their learning through high-impact practices and teaching strategies that are transferable across disciplines, departments, institutions, and even state systems. Reflecting the core vision articulated in General Education Maps and Markers, it addresses student success in terms of both college completion and achievement of essential twenty-first-century learning outcomes, including those articulated in LEAP and in Lumina Foundation's Degree Qualifications Profile. The publication also addresses how this general education framework helps to foster essential capacities for career, citizenship, and global engagement for today's diverse and mobile students. This is an excellent resource for general education reform and curriculum committees.

America's Unmet Promise: The Imperative for Equity in Higher Education
2015

This publication makes the case for the urgent need to expand access to and success in high-quality educational programs for students traditionally underserved in higher education.  The publication addresses students’ access and success in terms of traditional measures like college completion as well as important indicators of educational opportunity like participation in high-impact educational practices. The authors present an equity-minded guiding framework that can be used throughout higher education.  They suggest principles for evaluating equity and advancing institutional change, with a specific focus on improving outcomes for students affected by stratification in educational opportunity by race, ethnicity, and socioeconomic class status. Excellent resource for launching conversations among educational leaders and practitioners about diversity, equity, and institutional change.

General Education Maps and Markers: Designing Meaningful Pathways to Student Achievement
2015

Written for faculty members, academic leaders, and policy makers, General Education Maps and Markers: Designing Meaningful Pathways to Student Achievement provides clear principles and guidelines to ensure that general education fosters the LEAP Essential Learning Outcomes and key proficiencies important for long-term success and flourishing, enriches students' learning in the major, and prepares college students to successfully tackle the kinds of complex problems they will inevitably confront in work, civil society, and their own lives. General education, invented to help college students gain the knowledge and collaborative capacities they need to navigate a complex world, is today and should remain an essential part of a high-quality college education. And yet, in practice, general education programs too often underperform. The principles and guidelines presented in these pages directly address this long-...

The VALUE Breakthrough: Getting the Assessment of Student Learning in College Right
2015

Valid Assessment of Learning in Undergraduate Education—AAC&U's VALUE initiative—is a far-reaching effort to focus assessment on the work students produce in their progress toward a degree. By focusing on assignments produced for a degree program rather than on answers on time-limited standardized tests, VALUE has become a national movement to change the way we envision and approach the assessment of student learning gains and accomplishments in college. The VALUE Breakthrough explains succinctly and directly the progress and importance of this movement. Author Daniel Sullivan tells us how VALUE relates both to the larger aims of a quality liberal education, to the capabilities employers seek and reward, and to the public policy pressures of our current environment.