Surveys of College and University Presidents

Conducted in March and July 2020, these surveys explore the anticipated impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and how college and university presidents planned to respond to the financial fallout. The July survey also explored presidents’ planning in response to calls for racial justice and to address anti-Black racism within their institutions and on their campuses.

Employer Surveys and Economic Trend Research

AAC&U periodically commissions national surveys and/or conducts focus groups to examine trends related to college graduates and the most important learning experiences and outcomes they need to successfully  navigate the global economy.

"Fulfilling the American Dream: Liberal Education and the Future of Work" (2018)

"Falling Short? College Learning and Career Success" (2015)

"It Takes More Than a Major: Employer Priorities for College Learning and Student Success" (2013)

"Raising the Bar: Employers' Views on College Learning in the Wake of the Economic Downturn" (2010)

"How Should Colleges Assess And Improve Student Learning? Employers' Views on the Accountability Challenge" (2008)

"How Should Colleges Prepare Students To Succeed in Today's Global Economy?" (2007)

“The Economic Case for Liberal Education”

"How Liberal Arts and Sciences Majors Fare in Employment: A Report on Earnings and Long-Term Career Paths"

Findings from Focus Groups with Private Employers

Other Public Opinion Research

National Survey of AAC&U Member Chief Academic Officers (2015)

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. The findings were released in three separate reports.

Report #1: Bringing Equity and Quality Learning Together: Institutional Priorities for Tracking and Advancing Underserved Students' Success (pdf)

Report #2: Recent Trends in General Education Design, Learning Outcomes, and Teaching Approaches (pdf)

Report #3: Trends in Learning Outcomes Assessment: Key Findings from a Survey among Administrators at AAC&U Member Institutions (pdf)

National Survey of AAC&U Members (2009)

From November 19, 2008, to February 16, 2009, Hart Research Associates conducted an online survey among 433 Chief Academic Officers or designated representatives at AAC&U member institutions to measure the prevalence of specified learning outcomes in higher education institutions today and to document recent trends in curricular change, specifically in the areas of general education and assessment. The margin of error is ±4.7 percentage points for the entire sample, and it is larger for subgroups. The total population for the survey included 906 AAC&U member institutions that were invited to complete the survey, and thus the response rate for the survey is 48%.

The sample for this survey is representative of AAC&U’s total membership and includes chief academic officers at public and private institutions, 2-year and 4-year institutions, and small and large institutions. Forty-four percent of those surveyed were at public institutions and 55 percent were at private institutions (including independent and religious institutions). The findings were released in two separate reports.

Report #1: Learning and Assessment: Trends in Undergraduate Education (pdf)

Report #2: Trends and Emerging Practices in General Education (pdf)

Talking Points on national trends in undergraduate learning outcomes, assessment, and general education reform

Powerpoint slides on 2009 AAC&U member survey results