The AAC&U Inclusive Excellence Commission was established in 2016 to complement Inclusive Excellence: Engaging All Students in Science, an initiative of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) that challenges US colleges and universities to substantially and sustainably increase their capacity for inclusion of all students, especially those from groups underrepresented in science. The commission evaluates campus interventions implemented through the initiative by HHMI grantees.
The Center for the Advancement of STEM Leadership (CASL) seeks to reposition historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) from the margins to the center of research, practice, and discourse in STEM higher education and to broaden substantially the participation of marginalized students. Founded in 2016 as a joint enterprise of AAC&U, the University of the Virgin Islands, Fielding Graduate University, and North Carolina A&T State University, CASL now includes thirty affiliated HBCUs.
The Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement (CLDE) Action Network advances the recommendations made in A Crucible Moment: College Learning and Democracy’s Future, the 2012 report of the National Task Force on Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement. Participating organizations promote civic learning through coordinated strategies and aim to keep the national civic engagement agenda visible through events, publications, research, and joint projects. The CLDE Action Network currently comprises twelve organizations.
ePortfolios are electronic repositories of student work that has been collected over time, enabling students to reflect on their personal and academic growth and to demonstrate their knowledge, skills, and abilities for purposes such as graduate school and job applications. ePortfolios can also be used for direct assessment of student work drawn from the curriculum, cocurriculum, and beyond the campus. To support this high-impact practice, AAC&U makes available several resources for practitioners and researchers.
The Interfaith Leadership in Higher Education initiative, a partnership between AAC&U and Interfaith Youth Core, is focused on making interfaith cooperation an institutional priority and establishing models for curricular and cocurricular experiences that enable students to navigate across deep differences in religious belief and worldview. Through the development of a series of institutes, workshops, and other resources, the initiative seeks to enhance institutional efforts to broaden, deepen, and strengthen commitments to interfaith teaching and learning.
The Knowledge Exchange is a multifaceted initiative that leverages the national convening power of AAC&U and its STEM Central web platform to provide professional development opportunities for disciplinary STEM faculty, higher education theorists, and STEM education researchers. Through a highly integrated hybrid of virtual and face-to-face interactions, the Knowledge Exchange seeks to build momentum for reform of the systems and structures of privilege within STEM higher education.
Through the LEAP States Initiative, educators in state systems and consortia work together in support of transformational change and educational alignment in order to raise the quality of college learning within and across individual states. LEAP States are structured as formal collaboratives and designated as LEAP States through an application process. AAC&U encourages all LEAP States to form partnerships across educational sectors and to engage P–16, civic, and business leaders.
Liberal Education and America’s Promise (LEAP) is a national public advocacy and campus action initiative that champions the economic and civic value of a liberal education. The initiative promotes essential learning outcomes of a liberal education, principles of excellence to guide educational reform and renewal, high-impact practices that engage and challenge students, authentic assessments that use students’ own work and faculty-validated rubrics, and signature work as part of the expected pathway to a degree.
Project Kaleidoscope (PKAL) Regional Networks provide STEM faculty with professional networking opportunities that support faculty development, enhance undergraduate STEM student learning and content mastery, and facilitate institutional change. Each network conducts up to two regional meetings per academic year, focusing on topics of interest to the STEM higher education community. The networks also serve to disseminate best practices within and across various institutional settings.
The Purposeful Pathways project supports faculty-led efforts at participating institutions to enhance curricular coherence and intentionality by creating new guided learning pathways. As they move through these newly designed curricular pathways, students will engage in high-quality learning experiences and develop the intellectual skills and practical knowledge they need for life, work, and citizenship.
STEM Central is an online networking platform that serves as a resource for STEM faculty who are working to improve and transform undergraduate STEM education in the United States through the study and practice of broadening participation. Since its launch in 2011, the STEM Central community of practice has grown to include more than three thousand STEM faculty and administrators from colleges and universities across the country, including minority serving institutions and community colleges.
The Guided Pathways project supports the efforts of institutional participants to strengthen project-based and applied learning experiences and to assess student achievement of learning outcomes. The project framework is composed of four main practice areas: (1) mapping pathways to student end goals; (2) helping students choose and enter a program pathway; (3) keeping students on path; and (4) ensuring that students are learning.
Teaching to Increase Diversity and Equity in STEM (TIDES) is an initiative to improve learning outcomes and retention for students historically underrepresented in the computer/information sciences and related STEM disciplines. The goals are to develop and implement new curricula and to empower STEM faculty to adopt culturally sensitive pedagogies and sustain the changes in practice required to make STEM teaching both relevant and inclusive.
In partnership with the W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation (TRHT) enterprise, AAC&U works with higher education institutions across the country to develop self-sustaining, community-integrated TRHT Campus Centers. Organized around the five pillars of the TRHT framework—narrative change, racial healing and relationship building, separation, law, and economy—the centers seek to prepare the next generation of leaders to confront racism and to dismantle the belief in a hierarchy of human value.
Valid Assessment of Learning in Undergraduate Education (VALUE) is a campus-based, faculty-driven approach to the assessment of student learning outcomes that are considered essential by educators and employers alike. Through this approach, authentic student work—that is, the work students already produce across their various learning pathways and fields of study—is assessed using rubrics developed by teams of faculty and other educational professionals from institutions of all types and sizes.