What's New

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Announcement of New Office of Outreach and Member Engagement

Monday, November 14, 2016 - 15:30

AAC&U announces a new integration of departments within the Association to provide strategic direction for service to our members, engagement with the larger higher education community, and enhanced infrastructure.

The newly configured Office of Outreach and Member Engagement will provide this integration of the Communications, Membership, and Development Departments, as well as Information Systems and Database Services.  The Association’s Annual Meeting will also be connected within the Office of Outreach and Member Engagement.  Through the alignment of these departments, we hope to facilitate:

  • Enhanced communications with members and other key constituencies, as well as new opportunities for public engagement with AAC&U;
  • Expanded member engagement and new funding opportunities, both for the Association and for our members;
  • Opportunities for new connections among our grant-funded initiatives, educational programs, Annual Meeting, conferences, and institutes;
  • More flexible responses on the part of the Association to the changing higher education landscape;
  • Increased efficacy and efficiency in our service to our members and to the larger higher education community.

Chief of Staff and Senior Advisor to the President, Bethany Zecher Sutton, will provide leadership for the Office of Outreach and Member Engagement.

“As AAC&U engages in strategic planning to advance our mission of making liberal education and inclusive excellence the foundation for institutional purpose and educational practice, I am confident that the alignment of the divisions within Outreach and Member Engagement will enhance service to our members and the broader higher education community,” said AAC&U President Lynn Pasquerella. “I am extremely pleased and gratified that Bethany Zecher Sutton will be leading the office. Her vision and experience lend invaluable creative energy to this new enterprise.”

Bethany Sutton joined the AAC&U staff in 2001 and, as Chief of Staff, she manages the agenda of the Association’s president and helps guide the full range of AAC&U’s work to advance quality and inclusive excellence in undergraduate education. In her new role, she will lead the strategic integration of departments to enhance member engagement and AAC&U’s broader service to the higher education community.

Tia Brown McNair

AAC&U’s Tia McNair to Lead Twitter Chat on Student-Ready Colleges

Wednesday, November 9, 2016 - 12:45

Tia Brown McNair, AAC&U vice president for diversity, equity, and student success, will participate in a Twitter chat hosted by the Council for Opportunity in Education (COE) on Thursday, November 17 at 12 p.m. (EST). The chat is a follow-up to the closing plenary session of COE's 2016 Annual Conference in San Diego, which also featured McNair. During that session, McNair highlighted strategies outlined in the new book Becoming a Student-Ready College, which she coauthored with Susan Albertine, Michelle Asha Cooper, Nicole McDonald, and Thomas Major, Jr. In the book, the authors reframe the college success conversation with an investigation into how institutions must change their policies, practices, and culture to ensure student success. To participate in the chat and explore the book’s themes, follow COE at @coetalk and use the hashtag #studentready.

LEAP Connections Resource Hub Launched

LEAP Connections Resource Hub Launched

Monday, October 31, 2016 - 14:00

AAC&U has launched the LEAP Connections Resource Hub—a new online resource hub for community college educators. The hub offers a collaborative space for institutions to connect, discuss, share, and advance evidence-based practices, based on the LEAP framework, that support educational quality and student learning and success. The site is designed for community college faculty as well as other educators, academic administrators, and student affairs professionals, and was developed with support from the Kresge Foundation as part of AAC&U’s Advancing Roadmaps for Community College Leadership to Improve Student Learning and Success initiative. Through Advancing Roadmaps, AAC&U is supporting community college leaders and educators as they work to increase student success and achievement of learning outcomes. 

AAC&U President Lynn Pasquerella Publishes Op-Ed in Washington Post

Thursday, October 20, 2016 - 16:30

AAC&U president Lynn Pasquerella has published an op-ed in the Washington Post titled “Higher Education Should be a Public Good, Not a Private Commodity.” In it, Pasquerella advocates for a national re-envisioning of the purpose of higher education, moving away from the dominant model of a college or university education as a purely private benefit and toward seeing higher education as “a means of strengthening our democracy as well as bolstering our nation’s economy.” Pasquerella also suggests that the next president should devote his or her attention to this issue, working with leaders in higher education to change national thinking about higher education as well as to “pinpoint the costly factors that are driving up prices and crowding out under-served student populations.”

AAC&U STEM Networks Participate in White House Active Learning Day

Wednesday, October 26, 2016 - 15:30

October 25 was declared Active Learning Day by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. On Active Learning Day, the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) and its Project Kaleidoscope (PKAL) – along with over four hundred STEM faculty and administrators from institutions of higher education and STEM professional societies – pledged to support the kinds of active teaching and learning strategies in STEM classrooms that are culturally responsive to today’s undergraduate population. Throughout Active Learning Day, STEM faculty and administrators spent at least ten minutes implementing active teaching and learning strategies, identifying innovative ways to deepen and extend institutional commitments to active teaching and learning, sharing best practices with colleagues, and producing videos of active teaching strategies in practice.

“These pledges extend beyond mere symbolism of a shared interest in active learning in STEM, and reveal a deeper commitment to the systematic and systemic reform changes in undergraduate STEM education that must take place if we are ever to overcome institutional barriers, expand beyond localized classroom successes, and achieve universal understanding and adoption of active teaching strategies across all of US STEM higher education,” says Kelly Mack, vice president for undergraduate STEM education at AAC&U. Over the next few weeks, AAC&U will use its STEM Central web platform as a vehicle for launching an online video library of Active Learning Day activities that occurred. This library will provide STEM faculty with necessary resources for more effectively implementing active teaching and learning methods with fidelity.


Register Now for Transforming Undergraduate STEM Education

Register Now for Transforming Undergraduate STEM Education

Thursday, October 20, 2016 - 10:00

AAC&U and Project Kaleidoscope invite you to join with colleagues at the conference “Transforming Undergraduate STEM Education: Implications for 21st-Century Society” to share and examine evidence-based models, practices, and strategies to provide high-quality undergraduate STEM teaching and learning and increase the number of students majoring, completing baccalaureate degrees, and pursuing careers in STEM fields. This year’s conference will deepen our understanding of “what works” in STEM higher education reform and provide attendees with the opportunity to rethink curricular designs and teaching approaches in ways that will maximize learning. Plenary speakers include Eric Mazur of Harvard University and Tyrone B. Hayes of the University of California, Berkeley. Learn more about this conference here.

Grant Cornwell Becomes Chair of LEAP Presidents' Trust

Grant Cornwell Becomes Chair of LEAP Presidents' Trust

Wednesday, October 19, 2016 - 08:00

Grant Cornwell, president of Rollins College and a member of AAC&U’s board of directors, is the new chair of the LEAP Presidents’ Trust. The Trust, a leadership group of select presidents from all sectors of higher education who are committed to advocating for the vision, values, and practices of liberal education in the twenty-first century, was founded as part of AAC&U’s LEAP (Liberal Education and America’s Promise) initiative in 2008. A philosopher by training and nationally recognized for his work in defining liberal learning in a global environment, Cornwell is an accomplished leader who, prior to coming to Rollins in 2015, served as president of The College of Wooster. Cornwell presently serves on the Council on Foreign Relations' Global Literacy Advisory Board, has chaired the Great Lakes Colleges Association's board of directors, and has served on the American Council on Education’s Commission on International Initiatives and the National Advisory Panel for the Association of Governing Boards’ project on Faculty and Institutional Governance. He is a coauthor of “An Education for the Twenty-First Century: Stewardship of the Global Commons” and has written extensively on multiculturalism, freedom, diversity, and global citizenship. Cornwell succeeds Daniel Sullivan, president emeritus of St. Lawrence University, who helped found the Presidents’ Trust and served as its chair for eight years.

Multi-State Collaborative Garners National Attention

Multi-State Collaborative Garners National Attention

Monday, October 17, 2016 - 08:15

An October 16 story in the Chronicle of Higher Education explores the potential of the Multi-State Collaborate to Advance Quality Student Learning, a project of AAC&U and the State Higher Education Executive Officers Association, to have a significant impact on assessment and improvement of student learning outcomes across higher education. Focusing on efforts at Central Connecticut State University, one of eighty public two- and four-year institutions participating in the collaborative, writer Dan Berrett describes how faculty are using AAC&U’s VALUE rubrics to assess students’ learning as demonstrated through authentic student work, and how assessment results can be used to improve teaching and learning. AAC&U and SHEEO are collecting data from faculty at participating colleges and universities to create a national picture of learning in higher education. Read the story here, and learn more about the project on AAC&U’s website.

Sign the Pledge: Improve Undergraduate STEM Education on Active Learning Day

Thursday, September 29, 2016 - 09:45

Project Kaleidoscope of AAC&U encourages its national community of STEM faculty to take part in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy Active Learning Day on Tuesday, October 25, 2016. By making a pledge, STEM faculty will agree to incorporate teaching strategies that equally promote active learning and integrate cultural responsiveness in their classrooms. Click here to sign on.

Register Now for "The Liberal Arts Imperative in the Digital Age" Summit

Tuesday, September 27, 2016 - 11:15

Northeastern University, in partnership with AAC&U, invites you to attend “The Liberal Arts Imperative in the Digital Age: A Higher Education Summit,” held October 20–21, to explore the proposition that the liberal arts matter more than ever in the twenty-first century—and they matter for everyone. The critical and creative capacities that the liberal arts teach are crucial to addressing the complex challenges of today’s world—from managing increased automation to building resilient communities. The opening forum and reception will feature AAC&U President Lynn Pasquerella and Northeastern President Joseph Aoun. On Friday, college presidents and other institutional leaders will discuss innovative educational models that integrate experiential learning; meaningfully interact with STEM and professional education; engage with big data and computational thinking; and measure the liberal arts’ impact. Learn more about the summit and register now.

New Higher Ed Collaboration to Advance STEM Leadership

Thursday, September 22, 2016 - 14:45

AAC&U has joined with the University of the Virgin Islands, Fielding Graduate University, and North Carolina A&T State University to launch the Center for Advancing STEM Leadership, with the generous support of a grant from the National Science Foundation. The center will study the historical and contemporary strategies used by leaders of historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) in producing disproportionately high levels of underrepresented minority STEM graduates. The research will test the hypothesis that the success of HBCUs in broadening STEM participation has been due, in large measure, to an identifiable set of leadership styles and strategies that may be transferable to other institution types. The center will also translate the evidence into institutional practices. “This is critically important to developing a new generation of higher education leaders, reflective of a collective commitment to equity as the foundation for inclusive excellence,” says Lynn Pasquerella, president of AAC&U. Read more about the partnership here.

Rebecca Dolinsky Graham Appointed Director for Student Success

Rebecca Dolinsky Graham Appointed Director for Student Success

Monday, October 3, 2016 - 04:45

AAC&U is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Rebecca Dolinsky Graham as director for student success in AAC&U’s Office of Diversity, Equity, and Student Success (DESS). Most recently, Graham served as research analyst and program manager in AAC&U’s Office of Quality, Curriculum, and Assessment, where she contributed research expertise and high-level coordination to a variety of AAC&U projects, including the Quality Collaboratives, Valid Assessment of Learning in Undergraduate Education (VALUE), General Education Maps and Markers (GEMs), and Faculty Collaboratives. Graham has broad and deep experience with diversity and equity issues in higher education and specific expertise in advancing LGBTQ student success. She is currently cofacilitating a national research study on campus practitioner engagement in retention efforts for LGBTQ students, within the curriculum and cocurriculum and across students’ various intersecting identities. She has authored and coauthored articles on LGBTQ student success, contingent faculty issues, and sustainable campus change efforts for Diversity and Democracy, Peer Review, and Diverse: Issues in Higher Education and has cofacilitated workshops on LGBTQ student success. In her new role, Graham will direct qualitative and quantitative research efforts; provide support for new and continuing initiatives, including by codirecting AAC&U’s Summer Institute on High-Impact Practices and Student Success; and conceptualize, generate, and direct sponsored projects related to change efforts at the state and campus levels. 

Third LEAP States Summit Held, Resources Online

Friday, September 16, 2016 - 14:30

Teams of educators and leaders from twenty states, state systems, and consortia gathered for the third LEAP States Summit, held Sept. 13–15, 2016, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The summit invited participants to connect quality of student learning with equity in student learning outcomes and to grapple with challenges to liberal education and inclusive excellence at the systems level. AAC&U President Lynn Pasquerella delivered opening remarks offering historical perspective on education as a public good and emphasizing the importance of developing educational systems that advance the pursuit of that good. Resources from the summit are available here, and more information on the LEAP States Initiative is available here.

New Publication on the Digital Learning Ecosystem

Thursday, September 15, 2016 - 12:30

Despite the transformative potential of the ongoing digital revolution, the digital ecosystem has so far had less of an impact on formal education than on other sectors of our society. In Open and Integrative: Designing Liberal Education for the New Digital Ecosystem, authors Randy Bass and Bret Eynon explore the implications of emerging digital capacities and culture for higher education, arguing that any discussion to reinvent higher education that begins with technology is doomed to a diminished vision of learning. Bass and Eynon begin instead by asking: What is the role of the digital ecosystem in making a quality liberal education available to all, equitably? This publication includes examples of digital innovations that advance liberal education outcomes and is ideal for campus discussions on using digital technology to improve undergraduate teaching and learning. Open and Integrative is available for purchase here

Registration for AAC&U Annual Meeting Now Open

Thursday, September 15, 2016 - 12:30

AAC&U’s 2017 Annual Meeting—“Building Public Trust in the Promise of Liberal Education and Inclusive Excellence”—will be held January 25–28 in San Francisco, California. The opening plenary will be an open discussion moderated by AAC&U President Lynn Pasquerella on the challenges and realities of advocating for liberal education and inclusive excellence in our current political, economic, and social environment. Speaking at the opening plenary are Sara Goldrick-Rab, author of Paying the Price: College Costs, Financial Aid, and the Betrayal of the American Dream; Michael Roth, author of Beyond the University: Why Liberal Education Matters; Jeff Selingo, author of There is Life After College: What Parents and Students Should Know About Navigating School to Prepare for the Jobs of Tomorrow; and Beverly Daniel Tatum, author of “Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?" and Other Conversations About Race. At the final plenary on Saturday, Jelani Cobb of the New Yorker will speak on “The Half-Life of Freedom: Race and Justice in America Today.” The ACAD Luncheon speaker will be Jaime Casap, Chief Education Evangelist at Google, Inc., on “Iteration and Innovation in Education.” The Annual Meeting will also feature a premeeting symposium on Wednesday, January 25, “Student Activism and Liberal Education: Faculty Engagement in Turbulent Times,” and the Eighth Annual Forum on Digital Learning and ePortfolios on Saturday, January 28. Register for the Annual Meeting here.