Publications

AAC&U publications are available for sale at https://secure.aacu.org/store/.

AAC&U's publications cover a range of topics and provide the latest research, analysis, and valuable starting points for campus practitioner and policy leader dialogues. AAC&U monographs, reports, and guides focus on teaching, learning, curriculum, and academic leadership, and shine a spotlight on promising practices at every kind of college and university. See below for all AAC&U publications. Click on titles to purchase or download copies.

AAC&U also publishes three periodicals, Liberal Education, Peer Review, and Diversity & Democracy, and a monthly online newsletter, AAC&U News, to advance the national dialogue about the quality of undergraduate education in the United States.

2012

Many institutions are working to create interdisciplinary learning environments and opportunities for students to organize their studies around societal and global challenges and problems. Leadership for Interdisciplinary Learning provides a framework for evaluating institutional progress in implementing interdisciplinary learning. It provides a roadmap for mobilizing, implementing, and sustaining interdisciplinary programs. Based on the experiences of twenty-eight colleges and universities in the Keck/PKAL facilitating Interdisciplinary Learning project, this guide is designed in a process flow from planning to institutionalization framed with key questions that should be asked during each phase of program development. A publication of Project Kaleidoscope (PKAL), this guide reflects efforts based within the STEM disciplines but is applicable to other disciplines as well, providing an organizational framework to help campus leaders anticipate and address the...

Newsletter: Ramping Up for STEM Success: Pathways for Student Transfer
2012

This culminating report provides an overview and lessons from the field from campuses in each state that participated in the project.

Making Progress? What We Know about the Achievement of Liberal Education Outcomes
2012

This new report provides an up-to-date overview of national data from a variety of studies of student learning, including the NSSE, Wabash National Study, CIRP, PSRI, and others. It presents comparative data on achievement over time across an array of liberal education outcomes—such as critical thinking, writing, civic engagement, global competence, and social responsibility.

The report contrasts the very positive evidence drawn from what students think they have learned with the much more sobering evidence from national tests about what students actually can do in such areas as critical thinking, writing, and quantitative reasoning. It also reflects the growing evidence that how we construct the learning environment, e.g., by emphasizing high-impact practices, is a crucial component both in assessing learning and in raising students' level of achievement. Making Progress also underscores the educational value of new assessment practices, such as e-...

Promising Practices for Personal and Social Responsibility: Findings from a National Research Collaborative
2012

Drawing on meetings of a distinguished group of educational researchers, Promising Practices for Personal and Social Responsibility highlights select national/multi-institutional data and major themes along five dimensions of personal and social responsibility. Importantly, the report also offers a set of evidence-based recommendations for improving campus practice in relation to educating students for personal and social responsibility.

Free Download Promising Practices for Personal and Social Responsibility: Findings from a National Research Collaborative (pdf copy).

Civic Provocations
2012

Recognizing the urgent need for colleges and universities to address their civic mission and that of higher education, Civic Provocations features accessible, brief essays that consider dimensions of what “centering attention to the civic” might mean and involve. Civic Provocations provokes deepened consideration and campus conversations—both needed for designing actions required to realize a civic mission. The provocations are written by leading civic scholars and practitioners; the topics range from civic learning to action research; from global civics to civility; from curricula to civic pedagogy; and from theory to practices.

Civic Provocations (pdf copy).

This is the first in the five volume Civic Series of monographs being published by the Bringing Theory to Practice Project between 2012 and 2014.

A Sea Change on Student Learning Assessment: An AAC&U Working Paper
2012

The Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) has been working for a decade to help colleges, universities and community colleges raise the level of student achievement on key capacities—what we call the Essential Learning Outcomes—that are relevant to work and life in the 21st century. These learning outcomes include, across and beyond content knowledge: inquiry and analysis; critical and creative thinking; integrative and reflective thinking; written and oral communication; quantitative literacy; information literacy; intercultural understanding; and teamwork and problem solving. Hundreds of institutions and their faculty now are using AAC&U’s quality frameworks to improve student learning.

Download a copy of the paper

Civic Learning and Democratic Engagements: A Review of the Literature on Civic Engagement in Post-Secondary Education
2012

Distributed at the Association of American Colleges & Universities 2012 Annual Meeting in conjunction with the release of A Crucible Moment: College Learning & Democracy's Future, this review includes six essential findings on students' civic learning and engagement:

  • More than 70 percent of all college students report participating in some form of volunteering, community service, or service learning during their time in college.
  • About one-half of college students report participating in credit-bearing service learning activities during their time in college.
  • Dozens of studies show that service learning is positively associated with a variety of civic learning outcomes.
  • Emerging evidence suggests that the more frequently students participate in a continuum of civic learning practices (e.g. service learning, meaningful cross-racial interactions on campus or in classrooms, or real-world problem-based
  • ...
A Crucible Moment: College Learning & Democracy's Future
2012

Download free PDF

This report from the National Task Force on Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement calls on the nation to reclaim higher education's civic mission. Commissioned by the Department of Education and released at a White House convening in January 2012, the report pushes back against a prevailing national dialogue that limits the mission of higher education to workforce preparation and training while marginalizing disciplines basic to democracy. The Task Force calls on educators and public leaders to advance a twenty-first-century vision of college learning for all students—a vision with civic learning and democratic engagement an expected part of every student's college education. The report documents the nation's anemic civic health and includes recommendations for action that address campus culture, general education, and civic inquiry as part of major and career...

The Drama of Diversity and Democracy (Second Edition 2011)
2011

In releasing this new edition of The Drama of Diversity and Democracy, the Association of American Colleges and Universities invites higher education to reengage with one of our most foundational questions: the role educators can and should play in building civic capacities—knowledge, skills, commitments, collaborations—for our diverse and globally connected democracy. This edition features a new foreword by Ramón A. Gutiérrez, and a new prefaculty by AAC&U President Carol Geary Schneider. The original version of this publication was released in 1995 as part of AAC&U's national initiative American Commitments: Diversity, Democracy, and Liberal Learning.

This is a free online publication. It is available as a PDF document.

Assessing College Student Learning: Evaluating Alternative Models, Using Multiple Methods
2011

Campus leaders face a bewildering array of different assessment methods-standardized or locally designed tests and inventories, indirect methods focusing on student self-reports of engagement or gains in learning, portfolios, and other performance-based methods. This publication will help readers make sense of the broad assessment landscape. Part 1, by assessment expert Robert Sternberg and his colleagues, examines the psychological theories of learning and achievement that underlie these diverse methods and offers practical guidance on how to select among them. Part 2—five case studies—presents profiles of how different institutions are implementing comprehensive approaches to assessing student learning and the benefits of using multiple methods in combination.

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