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Carol Geary Schneider

Carol Geary Schneider

Carol Geary Schneider


Carol Geary Schneider has been president of the Association of American Colleges and Universities since 1998. With a membership of nearly 1,300 institutions, half public and half private, with members drawn from the entire higher education community, large, small, two-year, four-year, selective and open admissions, AAC&U is the leading national organization devoted to advancing and strengthening undergraduate liberal education.

In 2005, Dr. Schneider initiated Liberal Education and America’s Promise (LEAP), a campus action and public advocacy campaign design to engage students and the public with what really matters in college. Through the LEAP campaign, AAC&U champions the value of a liberal education for individual students and for a nation dependent on economic creativity and democratic vitality.

LEAP builds on the work of AAC&U’s multi-faceted project, Greater Expectations: A New Vision for Learning as a Nation Goes to College, a major effort to rethink the broad aims of a 21st century college education so that liberal learning becomes a framework for the entire educational experience, whatever a student's choice of major and career. Through the initiative, higher education leaders are developing a deeper understanding of ways to help students develop the intellectual capacities, knowledge, and sense of responsibility needed to deal with the complex questions that confront our fast-paced and globally connected society.

Named executive vice president of AAC&U in 1988, Dr. Schneider developed and led a series of grant-funded national initiatives–directly involving faculty and academic leaders at many colleges and universities–on general education reform, and on the purposes and organizing principles of arts and sciences majors. She also led AAC&U's national initiative on higher education and pluralism, American Commitments: Diversity, Democracy and Liberal Learning. Through American Commitments, hundreds of institutions have revised their graduation requirements and curricula to address societal diversity and worked to make their institutions more effectively inclusive.

Under her leadership, AAC&U has become widely recognized as both a voice and force for strengthening the quality of student learning in college for all students and especially those historically underserved in U.S. higher education. AAC&U is working with hundreds of colleges and universities and numerous state systems to expand the benefits of liberal education across the entire curriculum, through new integration between the core outlines of liberal education and student learning in their major fields.

Prior to her appointments at AAC&U, Dr. Schneider spent ten years at the University of Chicago, where she directed the Midwest Faculty Seminar–a scholarly and educational collaboration between the University of Chicago and fifty Midwest colleges. She was a founding director of The University of Chicago Institutes on Teaching and Learning and also helped establish the Chicago Teaching Program, a pioneering effort to deepen graduate students' preparation for college teaching. She has taught at Boston University, Chicago State University, The University of Chicago, and DePaul University. In 1982, she was named a Mina Shaughnessy Fellow of the U.S. Department of Education and she has been a distinguished Visiting Scholar at The American University in Cairo, 1997 and a Getty Center Visiting Scholar for the Seminar on Public Culture in 1998.

Dr. Schneider has published extensively on all the major areas of her educational work. Some of her recent articles include: "Liberal Education Takes a New Turn" in The NEA 2008 Almanac of Higher Education, Washington, DC: The National Education Association, 2008, 29-40; "Putting Liberal Education on the Radar Screen" (registration required) in The Chronicle of Higher Education, September 23, 2005; "Liberal Education and the Civic Engagement Gap" in Higher Education for the Public Good (2005), Andrianna J. Kezar, Tony C. Chambers, John C. Burkhardt, and Associates, eds., San Francisco: Jossey-Bass; "Liberal Education: Slip-Sliding Away?" in Declining by Degrees: Higher Education at Risk (2005), Richard H. Hersh and John Merrow, eds., New York: Palgrave Macmilla; "Changing Practices in Liberal Education: What Future Faculty Need to Know, " in Peer Review, Vol. 6, No. 3, Spring 2004; "Setting Greater Expectations for the College Curriculum," in Journal for Higher Education Strategists, Vol I, No 1, 2003 (Peterson's); "Can Value Added Assessment Raise the Level of Student Accomplishment?" in Peer Review, Vol. 4, No. 2/3, Winter/Spring 2002; "Core Missions and Civic Responsibility: Toward the Engaged Academy," in Civic Responsibility and Higher Education, Thomas Ehrlich, ed., American Council on Education/Oryx Press Series on Higher Education, 2000; "From Diversity to Engaging Difference," in Knowledge, Identity and Curriculum Transformation in Africa, ed. Nico Cloete, Mashew Miller Longman, South Africa, 1997; and, with Lee Knefelkamp, "Education for a World Lived in Common With Others," in Education and Democracy: Re-Imagining Liberal Learning in America, New York: The College Board, 1997. She wrote, with Robert Shoenberg, the 1998 anchor study in AAC&U's series The Academy in Transition, titled, "Contemporary Understandings of Liberal Education." She has also edited, with William Scott Green, an edition of the series New Directions for Higher Education, titled, "Strengthening the College Major," San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publisher, 1993.

Dr. Schneider is a magna cum laude graduate and past member of the Board of Trustees of Mount Holyoke College where she received the bachelor's degree in history and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. She studied at the University of London's Institute for Historical Research and earned the Ph.D. in early modern history from Harvard University, where she held a Woodrow Wilson Fellowship, a Harvard Prize Fellowship, and a Kent Fellowship from the Danforth Foundation. She also has received eleven honorary degrees, was the 2011 recipient of the ACPA's Contribution to Higher Education Award and the 2013 recipient of the NAC&U Ernest L. Boyer Award, and was honored in 2013 as one of Diverse Magazine’s “25 Leading Women in Higher Education.”