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AAC&U's publications cover a range of topics and provide the latest research, analysis, and valuable starting points for campus practitioner and policy leader dialogues. AAC&U monographs, reports, and guides focus on teaching, learning, curriculum, and academic leadership, and shine a spotlight on promising practices at every kind of college and university. See below for all AAC&U publications. Click on titles to purchase or download copies.

AAC&U also publishes three periodicals, Liberal Education, Peer Review, and Diversity & Democracy, and a monthly online newsletter, AAC&U News, to advance the national dialogue about the quality of undergraduate education in the United States.

Using the VALUE Rubrics for Improvement of Learning and Authentic Assessment

This publication addresses key elements of, and questions frequently raised about, the development and use of the VALUE rubrics for assessment of student learning. It provides information about rubric-based assessment approaches—including validity, reliability, and rubric modification—and faculty training in the use of rubrics. Specific examples of how campuses are using the VALUE rubrics to improve student learning are also provided. Full case studies from twelve campuses are available online at

Ensuring Quality & Taking High-Impact Practices to Scale

Building on previous AAC&U reports, this publication presents research on specific educational practices correlated with higher levels of academic challenge, student engagement, and achievement. The publication features the relationship between these practices and improvements in retention and graduation rates and advice on how to ensure that all students experience multiple high-impact practices. Detailed case studies show how five campuses are providing high-impact practices more pervasively and systematically.

The Lumina Degree Qualifications Profile (DQP): Implications for Assessment

Originally published by the National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment, this publication provides an in-depth exploration of the latest models for assessing the advanced college-level learning outcomes articulated in the Degree Qualifications Profile (DQP). Developed by the Lumina Foundation and released in “beta” form in 2011, the DQP describes the knowledge, skills, and applications that prepare graduates to succeed in the economy, civil society, and their own lives. Featuring reflections from two of the primary authors of the DQP, this publication offers guidance to stakeholders on how best to assess learning in relation to the competencies articulated in the DQP. NILOA's original publication is available online at:


Many institutions are working to create interdisciplinary learning environments and opportunities for students to organize their studies around societal and global challenges and problems. Leadership for Interdisciplinary Learning provides a framework for evaluating institutional progress in implementing interdisciplinary learning. It provides a roadmap for mobilizing, implementing, and sustaining interdisciplinary programs. Based on the experiences of twenty-eight colleges and universities in the Keck/PKAL facilitating Interdisciplinary Learning project, this guide is designed in a process flow from planning to institutionalization framed with key questions that should be asked during each phase of program development. A publication of Project Kaleidoscope (PKAL), this guide reflects efforts based within the STEM disciplines but is applicable to other disciplines as well, providing an organizational framework to help campus leaders anticipate and address the...

Newsletter: Ramping Up for STEM Success: Pathways for Student Transfer

This culminating report provides an overview and lessons from the field from campuses in each state that participated in the project.

Making Progress? What We Know about the Achievement of Liberal Education Outcomes

This new report provides an up-to-date overview of national data from a variety of studies of student learning, including the NSSE, Wabash National Study, CIRP, PSRI, and others. It presents comparative data on achievement over time across an array of liberal education outcomes—such as critical thinking, writing, civic engagement, global competence, and social responsibility.

The report contrasts the very positive evidence drawn from what students think they have learned with the much more sobering evidence from national tests about what students actually can do in such areas as critical thinking, writing, and quantitative reasoning. It also reflects the growing evidence that how we construct the learning environment, e.g., by emphasizing high-impact practices, is a crucial component both in assessing learning and in raising students' level of achievement. Making Progress also underscores the educational value of new assessment practices, such as e-...

Promising Practices for Personal and Social Responsibility: Findings from a National Research Collaborative

Drawing on meetings of a distinguished group of educational researchers, Promising Practices for Personal and Social Responsibility highlights select national/multi-institutional data and major themes along five dimensions of personal and social responsibility. Importantly, the report also offers a set of evidence-based recommendations for improving campus practice in relation to educating students for personal and social responsibility.

Free Download Promising Practices for Personal and Social Responsibility: Findings from a National Research Collaborative (pdf copy).

Civic Provocations

Recognizing the urgent need for colleges and universities to address their civic mission and that of higher education, Civic Provocations features accessible, brief essays that consider dimensions of what “centering attention to the civic” might mean and involve. Civic Provocations provokes deepened consideration and campus conversations—both needed for designing actions required to realize a civic mission. The provocations are written by leading civic scholars and practitioners; the topics range from civic learning to action research; from global civics to civility; from curricula to civic pedagogy; and from theory to practices.

Civic Provocations (pdf copy).

This is the first in the five volume Civic Series of monographs being published by the Bringing Theory to Practice Project between 2012 and 2014.

A Sea Change on Student Learning Assessment: An AAC&U Working Paper

The Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) has been working for a decade to help colleges, universities and community colleges raise the level of student achievement on key capacities—what we call the Essential Learning Outcomes—that are relevant to work and life in the 21st century. These learning outcomes include, across and beyond content knowledge: inquiry and analysis; critical and creative thinking; integrative and reflective thinking; written and oral communication; quantitative literacy; information literacy; intercultural understanding; and teamwork and problem solving. Hundreds of institutions and their faculty now are using AAC&U’s quality frameworks to improve student learning.

Download a copy of the paper

Civic Learning and Democratic Engagements: A Review of the Literature on Civic Engagement in Post-Secondary Education

Distributed at the Association of American Colleges & Universities 2012 Annual Meeting in conjunction with the release of A Crucible Moment: College Learning & Democracy's Future, this review includes six essential findings on students' civic learning and engagement:

  • More than 70 percent of all college students report participating in some form of volunteering, community service, or service learning during their time in college.
  • About one-half of college students report participating in credit-bearing service learning activities during their time in college.
  • Dozens of studies show that service learning is positively associated with a variety of civic learning outcomes.
  • Emerging evidence suggests that the more frequently students participate in a continuum of civic learning practices (e.g. service learning, meaningful cross-racial interactions on campus or in classrooms, or real-world problem-based
  • ...