More Commentary on Salary Data as a Measure of Value of Higher Education Institutions As the US Department of Education works on a very quick timeline to develop a new system for “rating” colleges and universities that receive federal student aid, education leaders continue to seriously question the inclusion of salary data as part of any ratings system. AAC&U is on record strongly opposing the use of salary data in any rating or ranking system of colleges and universities, noting that, far beyond the data so far proposed for inclusion, “The United States needs a far more searching exploration of ‘value’ than the administration has proposed.” AAC&U has also noted that, “Using salary data in the proposed ratings system is bound to be misleading to students and, because of its complexity, a distraction from more basic questions of whether students are successfully completing college, transferring to other institutions, and managing the net costs of their enrollment. See a useful summary of responses provided by The Chronicle of Higher Education, AAC&U’s statements on the proposed ratings system, and this helpful commentary by member President Thomas Kazee, president, University of Evansville. See also AAC&U’s recent report on How Liberal Arts Majors Fare in Employment.
GEMs Project Launched at Washington, DC Meeting: Working Groups Convene to Map Next Generation General Education Pathways Three working groups and a newly formed Quality Assurance Group began charting a twenty-first century course for general education and its assessment at a meeting in Washington, DC on February 10-11, 2014. The Working and Quality Assurance Groups appointed by AAC&U are collaborating as part of an initiative called GEMs (General Education Maps and Markers) launched with initial funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. GEMs Working Groups include leading researchers and educators who will lay the groundwork for a cornerstone to capstone “remapping” of general education. In addition, a new Quality Assurance Group will provide guidance both to the GEMs initiative and to AAC&U’s ongoing VALUE (Valid Assessment of Learning in Undergraduate Education) family of projects. See the news release about the launch meeting for GEMs.
LEAP Texas Becomes Tenth Official LEAP Partner State AAC&U and LEAP Texas announced that Texas has become a consortial partner in AAC&U’s signature national initiative, Liberal Education and America’s Promise (LEAP). LEAP Texas is a collation of more than sixty institutions spanning different state offices and systems, united by common issues and shared purpose. Moving forward, LEAP Texas has three main goals: leveraging the newly redesigned State Core Curriculum (largely informed by the Essential Learning Outcomes) to improve undergraduate education; creating a capacity for large-scale, inter‐institutional collaboration on assessment; and embedding high‐impact practices throughout the undergraduate curriculum. See www.aacu.org/leap/texas.cfm for more details.
The March issue of AAC&U News features guided reflection on work at the University of Iowa, competing defenses of the humanities, and the latest news about AAC&U meetings, projects, and publications. Watch for our next issue of AAC&U News in April.
Students, parents, and policy makers interested in the "return on investment" of college education tend to place unwarranted emphasis on the choice of undergraduate major, often assuming that a major in a liberal arts field has a negative effect on employment prospects and earnings potential. This new report—which includes data on earnings, employment rates, graduate school earnings bumps, and commonly chosen professions—presents clear evidence to the contrary. It shows not only that the college degree remains a sound investment, especially in these difficult economic times, but also that—as compared to students who major in professional, preprofessional, or STEM fields—liberal arts majors fare very well in terms of both earnings and long-term career success. For more information, see: http://www.aacu.org/leap/nchems/index.cfm. To purchase a copy, see: http://secure2.aacu.org/store/detail.aspx?id=LASCIEMPL
This publication provides advice and planning tools to help educational leaders invest in high-impact practices, despite budget constraints. It presents ways to evaluate both the benefits and costs of high-impact practices, and strategies for investing in innovations. Building on research from the Access to Success initiative and the Delta Cost Project, the authors provide examples of campuses that have made wise investments developing or scaling particular practices, with positive results for student learning, graduation rates, and the bottom line.
AAC&U | 1818 R Street NW, Washington, DC 20009 | (202) 387-3760