What's New

New National Survey of AAC&U Member Chief Academic Officers

Tuesday, March 29, 2016 - 10:45

AAC&U surveyed Chief Academic Officers at member institutions from July-October 2015 concerning priorities related to learning outcomes, assessment, general education design, high-impact practices, and data tracking and goal setting around equity and quality learning. With support from USA Funds, AAC&U conducted structured interviews with 14 of the respondents focusing on minority serving and predominately white institutions and particularly on those who were tracking data in at least some disaggregated ways. Complete findings from the extensive survey were released in three separate reports.

AAC&U Board of Directors Establishes Lecture on Liberal Education and Inclusive Excellence in Honor of Carol Geary Schneider

Tuesday, March 1, 2016 - 08:00

AAC&U’s Board of Directors has announced the establishment of the “Carol Geary Schneider Lecture on Liberal Education and Inclusive Excellence.” This new lecture has been established to honor the legacy of AAC&U President Carol Geary Schneider, who will retire on June 30, 2016. The lecture is to be delivered by a high-profile thinker who is a leader in helping us understand and engage with issues fundamental to higher education and to our democratic society.  The lecture will be held biennially at AAC&U’s Annual Meeting when it is held in Washington, DC.  

'It Takes Much More Than a Major' to Succeed in This Economy, AAC&U President Tells LEAP State Convenings Across the Country

Wednesday, February 10, 2016 - 09:00

AAC&U President Carol Geary Schneider will keynote three LEAP State convenings in the next few weeks. Schneider spoke in Michigan, Texas, and Wisconsin on the LEAP Challenge and creating Guided Learning Pathways to increase student success. In Michigan, President Schneider and AAC&U Board Member Richard Guarasci presented on how community engagement can increase both persistence and success.  In Texas, Schneider focused on using the LEAP Challenge to map guided learning pathways that result in deep learning and long-term student success.  President Schneider presented at LEAP Wisconsin’s LEAP Day event on February 29.  Schneider will join colleagues in Wisconsin to celebrate a decade of LEAP WI and reflect on how the LEAP initiative has become a movement to help students blend liberal and pre-professional learning. In addition—in other LEAP States news—on February 26, AAC&U’s Debra Humphreys and Susan Albertine were keynote speakers at the “Supporting Faculty Innovation in the 21st-Century” conference in Indiana and on March 4, LEAP State partners in Massachusetts will sponsor the “Advancing Student Success” conference.

New Resource on "Preparing for Fisher II" from Education Counsel and College Board

Wednesday, March 2, 2016 - 12:00

The Education Counsel and College Board have released a report titled Preparing for Fisher II that outlines the issues at play in the Supreme Court case, previews possible outcomes, and provides recommendations for developing an institutional action plan. The report also includes an analysis of the amicus briefs filed in this round of Supreme Court litigation, and important insights from oral arguments and the parties' briefs that can help inform institutional dialogue and action.

Candace Thille

AAC&U Board Member Issues Cautionary Notes About Adaptive Learning Technologies

Tuesday, February 23, 2016 - 09:15

AAC&U Board Member Candace Thille, an education researcher at Stanford, expresses her concerns about adaptive learning technologies in an article in The Chronicle of Higher Education. Thille cautions against outsourcing to for-profit companies the work of developing learning analytics tools before the field has matured, concluding that, “If colleges themselves took up the learning-analytics challenge to ‘co-construct’ learning activities, institutions could both ‘support teaching and learning and help us understand better how learning happens.’" In addition to serving on AAC&U’s board of directors, Thille served on the Digital Working Group formed as part of AAC&U’s General Education Maps and Markers project.  Watch also for forthcoming GEMs report authored by Bret Eynon and Randy Bass and focused on liberal education in the new digital ecosystem of learning—due out this spring.

AAC&U President Calls on Accreditors to Offer Leadership on Quality Learning

Monday, February 22, 2016 - 07:45

AAC&U President Carol Geary Schneider has authored a blog post calling on regional accreditors to take a stronger role “in defining, clarifying, and advancing quality learning.” Noting that many colleges and universities have reached a consensus on the most important learning outcomes for all students, Schneider asks accreditors to “affirm the leadership that is already coming from their own member institutions” and “adopt and promulgate a shared framework for twenty-first-century learning.” Read the full post here.

Assessment Focus More on Rubrics, Less on Testing, New National Survey Reveals

Assessment Focus More on Rubrics, Less on Testing, New National Survey Reveals

Wednesday, February 17, 2016 - 00:15

The final planned report on findings from a new survey of AAC&U member chief academic officers, “Trends in Learning Outcomes Assessment,” outlines the increasing focus on rubrics applied to student work products and on student engagement in research and hands-on projects. For more information, see the press release. Full findings from this and previous reports released in November and January can be found at www.aacu.org/about/2015-membersurvey. See press coverage in Inside Higher Ed and The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Send a Team to AAC&U's 2016 Summer Institutes to Accelerate Campus Change Efforts

Send a Team to AAC&U's 2016 Summer Institutes to Accelerate Campus Change Efforts

Tuesday, January 26, 2016 - 10:00

The Institute on General Education and Assessment will take place June 4–8, 2016, in Boston, MA, and provides campus teams with opportunities to refine and advance general education programs and their assessment. The Institute on High-Impact Practices and Student Success will take place June 21–25, 2016, in Los Angeles, CA, and helps campuses, higher education systems, and consortia identify the assets students bring to college, make intentional and evidence-based use of Essential Learning Outcomes and high-impact educational practices, close achievement gaps, and devise integrative plans to advance inclusion and high levels of learning for all students. The Institute on Integrative Learning and the Departments will take place July 12–15, 2016, in Chicago, IL, and is intended for faculty and administrative teams leading change to deepen students’ integrative learning over time—connecting general education with learning in the major, and curricular with cocurricular learning. Complete information about these three institutes, including application materials, is now online.

AAC&U President gives Obama administration a "D for Disappointment;" Praises Higher Education Progress on Civic Learning

AAC&U President gives Obama administration a "D for Disappointment;" Praises Higher Education Progress on Civic Learning

Friday, February 5, 2016 - 15:30

In an interview for The Atlantic Monthly, Carol Geary Schneider expressed deep disappointment that the Obama administration commissioned a major study of Civic Learning and Democracy’s Future and then dropped the topic entirely from future work, including the administration’s narrowly construed  work on “rating” the value of college.  In comments not quoted, she also warmly praised the proactive leadership from higher education itself to make civic learning at the college level not just optional but expected.  Thanks to education leaders, civic learning is now a  college learning outcome that many higher education institutions and some state systems are requiring, assessing and working to improve.  To learn more about the coalition of major organizations that are moving civic learning forward, see: Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement, Civic Prompts and updates on progress toward goals in A Crucible Moment.

AAC&U Annual Meeting Triumph of Commitment To Equity and Inclusive Excellence Over Climate

Monday, January 25, 2016 - 12:15

Despite the challenges of weather and travel, the AAC&U community came together last week to probe the most important issues of our time—overcoming inequities and linking college learning to the future of democracy, social justice, and the planet.  We thank all those who not only stayed through to Saturday but took part in wonderful sessions on e-portfolio and digital learning that day and even planned further discussions for Sunday.  As one participant wrote, the snow-bound Grand Hyatt became a site of “emergent happenings.”  We extend our deep gratitude to the many talented participants who pitched in to make the meeting a remarkable probing of the needed connections between equity and quality.  We also express our profound regret to all our colleagues, near and far, who were caught in the transportation crises and the myriad personal crises resulting from the blizzard.   Follow on Twitter with #aacu16 and watch for additional resources from the meeting to be posted soon. Staff will return to the office and will be available to assist with any questions when the federal government reopens on Wednesday, January 27.

Lynn Pasquerella

AAC&U President Elect Lynn Pasquerella Speaks Out on Liberal Education

Monday, January 4, 2016 - 11:00

Lynn Pasquerella wrote a piece for Inside Higher Ed about restoring America's trust in higher education through open access to a liberal education for all. Dr. Pasquerella will become AAC&U's 14th president in July, 2016. She has a background in higher education that spans both public and private institutions, and has served as president of Mount Holyoke College since 2010.  She has been an active member of the AAC&U LEAP Presidents’ Trust and is well known to the AAC&U community.  Members will have several opportunities to meet with her during AAC&U’s Annual Meeting, January 20-23, 2016.  See the news release and announcement to the membership from AAC&U’s board of directors.

Graduate Students Honored with K. Patricia Cross Future Leaders Award

Wednesday, January 13, 2016 - 10:45

Ten graduate students will be honored as 2016 recipients of the annual K. Patricia Cross Future Leaders Award, a distinction given to graduate students who show exemplary promise as future leaders of higher education, who demonstrate a commitment to developing academic and civic responsibility in themselves and in others, and whose work reflects a strong emphasis on teaching and learning. Award recipients include: Claire Berezowitz, University of Wisconsin-Madison; Nusta Carranza Ko, Purdue University; Annemarie Galeucia, Louisiana State University; Uttam Gaulee, University of Florida; Brad Jacobson, University of Arizona; Jasmine Linabary, Purdue University; Breanne Przestrzelski, Clemson University; Roman Ruiz, University of Pennsylvania; Daniel Siakel, University of California, Irvine; and Desiree Weber, Northwestern University. For more details about the 2016 recipients, see the list of Cross Award winners online. The 2016 Cross Scholars will be introduced at AAC&U’s 2016 Annual Meeting in Washington, DC.

AAC&U Presents 2016 Frederic W. Ness Book Award to Beyond the University: Why Liberal Education Matters by Michael S. Roth

AAC&U Presents 2016 Frederic W. Ness Book Award to Beyond the University: Why Liberal Education Matters by Michael S. Roth

Thursday, January 21, 2016 - 00:00

AAC&U announces the winner of its Frederic W. Ness Book Award: Beyond the University: Why Liberal Education Matters published in 2014 by Yale University Press. The Ness award is given for the book that best illuminates the goals and practices of a contemporary liberal education, and will be formally presented to the author, Michael S. Roth, at AAC&U’s Annual Meeting, on January 21, 2016, in Washington, DC. Michael S. Roth is president of Wesleyan University. More information about the book can be found online

AAC&U President Urges Campus and Policy Focus on Consensus Priorities for Quality College Learning

Thursday, December 3, 2015 - 11:45

In a recent message to the accrediting community and in a keynote presentation to a National Academy of Sciences convening on college quality, AAC&U President Carol Geary Schneider urged more forceful and concerted action to “make visible the kind of learning students need for twenty-first-century challenges” and to position students’ demonstrated achievement of these essential learning outcomes at the center of educational policy and practice. Schneider noted that educators and employers alike have reached a clear consensus on the key components of quality college learning, but warns that educators’ and accreditors’ silence on the specific learning outcomes that are essential in the midst of shifting policy priorities could result in perverse incentives and the prioritizing of simplistic persistence and pocketbook data as the only outcome metrics that matter. Without strong leadership, Schneider says in releasing her message on accreditation, “the things that matter most in high-quality college learning—broad learning across multiple disciplines, cross-cutting capacities such as analytic inquiry or ethical reasoning, and students’ demonstrated ability to apply knowledge to complex questions—could disappear entirely…. We must not let that happen.” See the handouts from Schneider’s NAS keynote and read the full statement on accreditation from President Schneider, as well as her earlier comments to the US Senate HELP Committee in response to Senator Lamar Alexander’s call for feedback. For additional commentary, see Inside Higher Ed.

AAC&U Launches New Resource Hub on Transfer Student Success

AAC&U Launches New Resource Hub on Transfer Student Success

Monday, November 30, 2015 - 07:00

As it concludes its Quality Collaboratives initiative on advancing student learning and success in the context of transfer and continues to focus attention on equity and inclusive excellence as part of its Centennial Year, AAC&U has launched a new Transfer Student Success online resource hub. Campus models and tools highlight ways to forge 2-year/4-year partnerships and develop guided learning pathways that advance students’ achievement of key learning outcomes and their successful transfer and graduation with degrees of lasting value.  See: www.aacu.org/resources/transfer-student-success.

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