What's New

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.

AAC&U Sponsors New York Forum on Equity and Inclusive Excellence, Releases Findings from National Survey of Chief Academic Officers on Assessing and Addressing Equity Gaps

Friday, November 13, 2015 - 10:00

AAC&U announces the release of the first of three planned reports highlighting findings from a national survey of AAC&U member chief academic officers (CAOs) conducted by Hart Research Associates. The initial report, “Bringing Equity and Quality Learning Together: Institutional Priorities for Tracking and Advancing Underserved Students’ Success,” highlights findings from both the national survey and from structured interviews related to goal-setting and priorities for diversity, equity, and student success in both completing degrees and achieving key learning outcomes. See select findings in the press release and the full report here: http://www.aacu.org/about/2015-membersurvey.

AAC&U President Affirms Commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusive Excellence

Thursday, November 12, 2015 - 10:45

Taking note of the spreading protests on campus, AAC&U President Carol Geary Schneider has issued a message to our members that affirms AAC&U’s mission-level commitment to making excellence inclusive and points to resources institutions can use in advancing educational change. Schneider notes in her statement that, “With a mission to advance liberal education and inclusive excellence, AAC&U is strongly committed to helping its members succeed in the long-term work of educating and graduating students—from all backgrounds—who will be both prepared and inspired to work for a more just and equitable democracy in the United States and for the expansion of human dignity and opportunity around the world.“

AAC&U Refutes the Myth of the Unemployed Humanities Major

Wednesday, November 11, 2015 - 10:00

The newest LEAP Challenge blog post refutes the myth of the unemployed humanities major. LEAP Challenge Blog Editor Wilson Peden notes that, “We need people studying the humanities, just like we need people studying every other discipline. It’s up to individual students to choose their own educational pathways and majors according to their interests, abilities, and yes, their employment prospects. But they should do so based on accurate information, not myths….We need more and better-educated college graduates in every discipline, and we need all those graduates to be equipped with a broad base of knowledge and intellectual skills that cut across disciplines.”  Follow The LEAP Challenge blog at http://www.aacu.org/blog.

AAC&U Endorses AAUP Statement Opposing 'Campus Carry' Laws

Friday, November 13, 2015 - 07:00

AAC&U’s Board of Directors has joined with AAUP and two other organizations in issuing a strong “Joint Statement Opposing ‘Campus Carry’ Laws.”  The statement, in part, notes that “colleges and universities closely control firearms and prohibit concealed guns on their campuses because they regard the presence of weapons as incompatible with their educational missions.  College campuses are marketplaces of ideas, and a rigorous academic exchange of ideas may be chilled by the presence of weapons.”  This statement is wholly consistent with AAC&U’s earlier Board of Directors statement on “Academic Freedom and Educational Responsibility” which notes further that, “the clash of competing ideas is an important catalyst, not only for the expansion of knowledge but also in students’ development of independent critical judgment….[this] require[s] a safe environment [so that students and faculty] feel free to express their own views.”  The presence of concealed weapons in a college classroom would significantly harm the educationally productive and safe environment necessary to the very mission of higher education.  “There have been unprecedented attacks from many sectors in recent years on higher education institutions and on their authority to create and shape healthy and diverse learning environments, but none is as dangerously destructive than the recent calls to allow concealed firearms on college campuses,” said AAC&U President Carol Geary Schneider.  “We are proud to endorse the AAUP statement since it is wholly counter to the advancement of liberal learning to legitimate the presence of concealed or visible guns in any educational setting, and especially in settings devoted to the free exchange of ideas, the reasoned debate of contested and controversial issues, and  the larger pursuit of truth.”

Michigan Announced as Twelfth LEAP State

Thursday, November 12, 2015 - 07:15

AAC&U and the Michigan Association of State Universities have announced that Michigan is now a state partner in AAC&U’s LEAP initiative.  AAC&U President Carol Geary Schneider notes that “AAC&U and the Michigan Association of State Universities share a passion for advocating for liberal education for all students—through studies in science, humanities, the arts, and the social sciences. We are delighted to work with Michigan to ensure that college students throughout the state receive the best possible preparation for purposeful work and citizenship, and flourishing lives.” For information about LEAP Michigan, see: www.aacu.org/leap/states/michigan.

AAC&U Launches New Project to Advance The LEAP Challenge at New England Institutions

Tuesday, November 3, 2015 - 06:45

AAC&U is pleased to announce a new cohort of eight New England institutions joining The LEAP Challenge initiative. The new cohort will work together to remap curricular pathways and design Signature Work projects to simultaneously support (1) deeper student engagement in learning, (2) higher levels of student persistence and accomplishment, and (3) fuller ways to make students’ accomplishments both visible and valued. For more information, see the press release.

AAC&U Joins with 37 Associations in Support of UT-Austin Before Supreme Court

Monday, November 2, 2015 - 10:30

AAC&U has submitted an amicus brief to the US Supreme Court supporting the University of Texas in the case, Fisher v University of Texas at Austin, which the court will hear on December 9th.  The brief argues for the continuing compelling interest in colleges and universities considering race as part of holistic reviews in admissions.  AAC&U has consistently affirmed the educational value of diversity as a key component of a high-quality liberal education, noting in its 2013 Board Statement on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusive Excellence that, "In embracing a diversity of ideas and experiences, liberal education likewise embraces a diversity of people, for the opportunity to learn with and from diverse peers is also a critical element of educational excellence. This commitment to diversity and equity in all their forms is what we mean by inclusive excellence."

Excellence in Assessment

AAC&U Joins with Other Higher Ed Organizations to Sponsor Excellence in Assessment Designation

Tuesday, October 27, 2015 - 08:00

A group of higher education organizations, including AAC&U, has developed new national designation program for colleges and universities that demonstrate excellence at self-assessment to drive internal improvement and advance student success.  The Excellence in Assessment (EIA) program recognizes institutions that successfully integrate assessment practices across campus, provide evidence of student learning outcomes, and use assessment results to guide institutional decision making and improve student performance. Institutions working to implement and sustain comprehensive use of assessment of student learning outcomes in written communication and critical thinking are eligible to receive the designations, which will be awarded in two tiers—Excellence Designees or Sustained Excellence Designees—depending on the phase of development. The designations were developed in partnership by the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities, the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, the National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment, and AAC&U.  AAC&U also offers a range of assessment resources and tools for colleges and universities, including the VALUE rubrics.

Singapore Embraces Liberal Education

Singapore Embraces Liberal Education

Thursday, October 22, 2015 - 15:30

Yale-NUS College, a new liberal arts college in Singapore, hosted a Symposium on International Liberal Education on October 11 to mark the inauguration of the college. The symposium was attended by leaders in higher education from around the world, including AAC&U president Carol Geary Schneider. Read more about the new college and the growth of liberal education in Asia, with perspectives from President Schneider and others, including National University of Singapore President Tan Chorh Chuan.

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