House Holds Hearings on Impact of ACA on Education: Discusses Larger Issue of Part-Time Faculty Working Conditions
The U.S. House of Representatives recently held a hearing about the impact of the Affordable Care Act on higher education institutions. Among other issues discussed was the ongoing challenges faced by part-time and/or contingent faculty. Maria Maisto, president of the New Faculty Majority, referenced AAC&U’s new strategic plan in her testimony and noted her ongoing concern which AAC&U shares, “that the quality of the education students receive is being eroded by the working conditions of the majority of faculty who teach them.” For further information and research on the issue of faculty work, see The Delphi Project on the Changing Faculty and Student Success, a partnership between AAC&U and the University of Southern California’s Rossier School of Education.
AAC&U Launches Initiatives to Advance Transformative Change in General Education and Student Learning Assessment AAC&U announced that the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has awarded the organization a $2,305,000 grant to support initial work on two initiatives designed to significantly improve the quality of undergraduate education and increase student success. With support from the Gates Foundation, AAC&U will launch on December 1, 2013 two far-reaching educational change efforts—GEMs (General Education Maps and Markers) and VALUE (Valid Assessment of Learning in Undergraduate Education). The new projects will lay the groundwork for a cornerstone to capstone “remapping” of general education, and for a new approach to quality assurance that moves students’ own work to the center of educational assessment and accountability. Both projects are part of AAC&U’s ongoing LEAP initiative (Liberal Education and America’s Promise), which works to make the most powerful forms of learning a resource for all college students and which challenges the trend toward broad learning for some students and narrower learning for many others.
LEAP Presidents' Trust Member Blogs About Priorities in Higher Education
John Petillo, president, Sacred Heart University, wrote a blog post for the Huffington Post College Blog (November 20, 2013) where he notes that, "We've entered a new and perilous era when the schools that try to
inspire students to a higher calling will be penalized by federal aid
distribution. The government's formula discounts the personal
development of the individual and the need for social consciousness. It
insults the liberal arts and rewards trade schools where richness of
cultures, literature and creativity are virtually ignored. The addendum
is there will be increasing pressure on colleges to scrap liberal arts
programs and eviscerate the curriculum in favor of skills-based study.
Equally frightening, some small independent colleges that produce
teachers, clergy and social workers will face the prospect of having to
The December issue of AAC&U News features a new approach to integrative learning at Santa Clara University, research on high-impact practices in community colleges, and the latest news about AAC&U meetings, projects, and publications. Watch for our next issue of AAC&U News in February.
publication presents findings from a national study conducted by
AAC&U researchers to investigate the impact of engagement in
high-impact practices on traditionally underserved populations (defined
here as first-generation, minority, transfer, and low-income
students).The mixed-method analysis includes student-level data on
engaged learning at thirty-eight participating institutions-from the
state higher education systems in California, Oregon, and
Wisconsin-drawn from the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE),
as well as qualitative data obtained through student focus groups held
at nine selected campuses.
The authors of this issue’s featured articles take a hard look at the phenomenon of the MOOC, the hype surrounding it, and its relation to the aims and purposes of both liberal learning and democratic education. Other authors provide a critique of competency-based education, take stock of the achievements and shortcomings of European educational reform fifteen years into the Bologna Process, propose a new field of interfaith studies, call for educators to promote civil discourse, and reflect on the "liberating" aspects of a liberal education.
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