AAC&U Publications Available for Free Download

AAC&U offers the following publications as free PDF downloads or free print copies.

Civic Responsibility: What Is the Campus Climate for Learning?

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How well is the academy meeting its civic purpose today? Our nation's shared future depends on an educated and engaged citizenry, and civic engagement should be a learning goal for all college students. Civic Responsibility: What Is the Campus Climate for Learning?, the first of three reports from AAC&U's Core Commitments initiative, provides insights about the civic commitments and practices of today's colleges and universities. It presents findings from a unique campus climate assessment tool—administered in 2007 to 24,000 students and 9,000 academic administrators, faculty, and student affairs professionals at twenty-three colleges and universities—and assesses the perceptions of these four constituent groups regarding campus opportunities for contributing to a larger community. The survey includes questions about the importance...

Trends and Emerging Practices in General Education

This report is the second of two reports summarizing findings from a survey conducted in late 2008 and early 2009 of chief academic officers at AAC&U member institutions. Institutions that are placing a higher priority on general education today compared with five years ago are placing more emphasis on many engaged learning practices than are those whose focus on general education has not increased.

Learning and Assessment: Trends in Undergraduate Education

This report is the first of two reports summarizing findings from a survey conducted in late 2008 and early 2009 of chief academic officers at AAC&U member institutions. From November 19, 2008, to February 16, 2009, Hart Research 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. A large majority of AAC&U member institutions (78%) say they have a common set of intended learning outcomes for all their undergraduate students, and these outcomes address a wide variety of skills and knowledge areas. The skills most widely addressed are writing, critical thinking, quantitative reasoning, and oral communication skills, and the knowledge areas most often incorporated are humanities, sciences, social...


This signature national report from the National Leadership Council guiding the LEAP initiative clarifies the aims and outcomes of a twenty-first-century college education . It is also a report about the promises we need to make--and keep--to all students who aspire to a college education, especially to those for whom college is a route, perhaps the only possible route, to a better future. This report, based on extensive input both from educators and employers, responds to the new global challenges today's students faculty. It describes the learning contemporary students need from college, and what it will take to help them achieve it.

Making the Case for Liberal Education: Responding to Challenges

This publication in the Liberal Education and America's Promise series draws on findings from AAC&U-sponsored public opinion research conducted in 2005 and 2006. It presents a set of common challenges to the argument for liberal education's value in today's world and a set of responses that have proven effective with different constituents--including with students, prospective students, and business leaders. Ideal for campuses or individuals who want to become better advocates for liberal education.

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Communicating Commitment to Liberal Education: A Self-Study Guide for Institutions

This publication in the Liberal Education and America's Promise series includes a set of questions designed for campus dialogues that cut across campus divisions and departments. It is designed to help institutions become more intentional about aligning programs and practices with professed goals for liberal education learning outcomes.

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Assessing Global Learning: Matching Good Intentions with Good Practice

Assessing Global Learning is designed to help colleges and universities construct and assess the impact of multiple, well-defined, developmental pathways through which students can acquire global learning. Specific program examples demonstrate how and where curricular and co-curricular learning can be embedded at various levels from individual courses to institutional mission. The publication argues for establishing clear global learning goals that inform departments, divisions, and campus life and suggests assessment frameworks. Includes a sample quantitative assessment survey and several assessment templates.

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Academic Freedom and Educational Responsibility

AAC&U's board of directors issued this statement to help faculty address recent debates on bias and intellectual diversity in the classroom. The statement argues that debates about the personal political views of faculty members distract attention from the far more urgent challenge of providing a quality education that prepares all college students to succeed and make a difference in today's complex world. It discusses the need to teach students to make informed judgments in the face of conflicting views and reaffirms the importance of protecting the academic freedom of faculty members to make judgments about curricula. 

Making Diversity Work on Campus: A Research-Based Perspective

The authors discuss recent empirical evidence, gathered on behalf of the University of Michigan Supreme Court defense, demonstrating the educational benefits of diverse learning environments. These are environments that must be intentionally planned and nurtured, where diversity is conceived of as a process toward better learning and not merely an outcome that one can check off a list. Included are numerous suggestions for how to engage diversity in the service of learning, ranging from recruiting a compositionally diverse student body, faculty, and staff to transforming curriculum, co-curriculum, and pedagogy to reflect and support goals for inclusion and excellence.

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Greater Expectations: A New Vision for Learning as a Nation Goes to College

This report of the Greater Expectations National Panel calls for a new focus on excellence to better prepare students for the 21st century world. The report recommends the creation of a New Academy characterized by high expectations, a focus on learning, commitment to demonstrated achievement, intentional practices, and an engaged, practical liberal education for all students.

About the Initiative

Greater Expectations, a major initiative of AAC&U from 2000-2006, articulated the aims and purposes of a twenty-first century liberal education, identified innovative models that improve campus practices and learning for all undergraduate students, and advocated for a comprehensive approach to reform. The work of the Greater Expectations initiative laid the foundation for AAC&U's current initiative Liberal Education and America's Promise.

The work was supported by The Pew Charitable Trusts, Carnegie Corporation of New...