Liberal Education

From its founding in 1915, AAC&U has focused on advancing and strengthening liberal education for all college students, regardless of their intended careers. While the term is used in multiple ways, AAC&U sees liberal education as a philosophy of education that empowers individuals with broad knowledge and transferable skills, and a strong sense of values, ethics, and civic engagement. Characterized by challenging encounters with important issues, and more a way of studying than a specific course or field of study, a liberal education can be achieved at all types of colleges and universities. All AAC&U projects, publications, meetings, and resources reflect this broad understanding of liberal education and a vision of excellence that includes a practical and engaged liberal education for all students. AAC&U works with faculty and campus leaders to make excellence in liberal education an equal opportunity commitment—to every student and to our diverse democracy. For more information on the meanings of liberal education, read What is Liberal Education?

Campus Models and Case Studies

Wellesley College

Integrative Learning from First to Final Year at Wellesley College

When Wellesley College joined AAC&U’s project on Faculty Leadership for Integrative Liberal Learning, the faculty and administrators started out by conducting an inventory of the college’s... Read More
A Roadmap for Student Success at Manchester Community College

A Roadmap for Student Success at Manchester Community College

Hiring new faculty members is hard enough in a time of fiscal austerity, but getting the funds to hire more student support personnel can be even harder. “Our support staff is way out of proportion... Read More
Mount Holyoke College students use a campus lake as their laboratory in a Restoration Ecology course, one of many that connects classroom learning with real-life applications.

Mapping a Path from Curriculum to Career: The Lynk Initiative at Mount Holyoke College

With the value of college increasingly being questioned as tuition continues to rise and the job market remains weak, how, asks Mount Holyoke College President Lynn Pasquerella, “do we articulate the... Read More
Students who have Iowa GROW conversations with their supervisors are more likely to report that they find connections between their work and their academics and that they are developing broadly applicable skills like written and oral communication.

Connecting Work and Learning at the University of Iowa

The Division of Student Affairs is the largest employer of undergraduate students at the University of Iowa. The division’s employment network—which includes dining services, residence halls, and a... Read More
The new Pathways requirement at SCU extends general education into the junior and senior years and asks students to think reflectively about their education.

Encouraging Integrative Learning through Pathways and E-Portfolios at Santa Clara University

When Santa Clara University (SCU) began revising its core curriculum in 2005, it identified integrative learning as a crucial element of the university’s identity and mission. It’s not an uncommon... Read More
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