AAC&U 2013 Annual Meeting
The Quality of U.S. Degrees Innovations, Inefficiencies, and Disruptions—To What Ends?
About the Annual Meeting
Individuals and institutions are negotiating the complex, interconnected challenges of globalization, demographic change, rapid technological advancement, and renegotiated political and economic relationships. Pressures within higher education are encouraging transition and transformation, while external forces are demanding greater accountability and affordability. In such a shifting landscape, there are abundant opportunities to refocus, reinvent, reimagine—or stumble.
The calls for innovation are pervasive—but are we losing our focus? Where are questions of quality being addressed in the higher education landscape?
Is the sense of urgency that accompanies widespread change clouding our ability to distinguish innovation that is bold from that which is misguided . . . or truly dangerous? Is progress toward improved quality in higher education being undermined by perverse incentive systems that reward bad practice? Do we share a vision of our destinations and the paths to get us there? Do we know how to productively navigate competing pressures for change? What leverage points have the greatest potential to move higher education toward desired outcomes?
Participants at the 2013 meeting will explore a wide range of new approaches to quality learning. We will address important efforts to increase completion rates and access to higher education, alongside comprehensive efforts to ensure the integrity of college degrees. If we hope to continue to provide intellectual, economic, and democratic leadership, the academy needs to be able to describe, implement, and measure the kinds and levels of learning a degree represents. New frameworks that define degrees are important, but should not be judged by their elegant designs and theoretical alignments alone. We must make sure that all degrees offer students pathways along which they will creatively engage complex, real-world challenges. We must also ensure that these experiences produce assessable evidence of authentic student work and achievement.
Student learning, in other words, must become the criteria by which we judge innovation.
For More Information about the Annual Meeting
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