January/February 2008
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Register Now for Spring Meeting on Effective Educational Practices that Promote Integration, Application, and Innovation

AAC&U’s Network for Academic Renewal will sponsor a spring conference in Austin, Texas, April 10-12, 2008, titled “Discovering, Integrating and Applying Knowledge: Effective Educational Practices for Today’s Students and Tomorrow’s Innovation.” The conference will explore the emerging research on practices that raise student achievement—such as learning communities, first year seminars, undergraduate research, and infusing society’s big questions into the curriculum. The conference will highlight, in particular, new research from George Kuh on differential effects of various forms of engaged learning on particular groups of students. As he notes in a forthcoming LEAP publication, “historically underserved students tend to benefit more from engagement in certain practices, but these very same students are less likely to participate in high impact activities.” Conference participants will consider specific ways to help more students reap the full benefits of college, and will take a hard look at the institutional barriers that often make it difficult to establish and sustain these practices. For more information and to register, visit the Effective Educational Practices Web page.

AAC&U Annual Meeting Sets New Record with 1,600 Participants

AAC&U held its 2008 Annual Meeting, “Intentional Learning, Unscripted Challenges: Knowledge and Imagination for an Interdependent World,” from January 23-26, 2008, in Washington, DC, and brought together a record 1,600 educational leaders. Speakers at the meeting included Martha Nussbaum and Natalie Angier, with the closing plenary featuring Derek Bok, Azar Nafisi, and George Kuh speaking on “Intentional Learning Requires Intentional Leadership: What Will It Take to Move to the Next Level?” Podcasts of selected presentations will be available online in mid-February, and resources from selected individual sessions will be available for downloading later this month.

AAC&U-TV Provides Conference Coverage

AAC&U’s Annual Meeting included a new feature this year: a daily television news program called AAC&U-TV that was broadcast each evening during the meeting. AAC&U-TV was developed to help champion the value of a liberal education, shine a spotlight on how AAC&U members are advancing liberal education in local contexts, and provide a wider forum for the work featured at the Annual Meeting. Each daily program included interviews with some of the key speakers and educational leaders at the meeting, as well as news and views from the conference floor. Also included were brief segments that explore innovative educational practices providing today's students with the essential outcomes of a liberal education, which can be viewed on AAC&U-TV's Web page.

Employers Dismiss Multiple-Choice Tests in Favor of Qualitative Assessment of Applied Learning, New LEAP Research Shows

AAC&U recently released the results of a national survey of employers as part of its Liberal Education and America’s Promise (LEAP) initiative. The survey reveals that employers see a need for significant improvement in the skills and knowledge recent college graduates are bringing to today’s workplace. Employers especially seek improved skills in the areas of global knowledge, self-direction, writing, and critical thinking. Employers surveyed also find college transcripts unhelpful and reject multiple-choice tests and institutional assessments in favor of qualitative evaluations of internships, senior projects, and the results of individual essay tests that measure students’ abilities to write, solve problems, and think analytically. See the full report of the poll, “How Should Colleges Assess and Improve Student Learning? Employers’ Views on the Accountability Challenge” and other public opinion research sponsored by LEAP. See also how USA Today covered the results and how its readers responded.

Core Commitments Sponsors Symposium, Draws More Than 400 Participants

“No Longer Optional: Educating for Personal and Social Responsibility,” the 2008 Annual Meeting preconference symposium held on January 23, 2008, brought two complimentary initiatives—AAC&U’s Core Commitments and Bringing Theory to Practice—into conversation, while highlighting promising practices from both. More than four hundred participants from more than 230 institutions gathered for a wide array of sessions, including the keynote, “Moral Development in College (Theirs & Ours)” by Agnes Scott College president Elizabeth Kiss, and a session highlighting new findings from AAC&U’s Personal and Social Responsibility Institutional Inventory. The Core Commitments Institutional Matrix was used throughout the day to as a tool to map opportunities at participants’ institutions for students to learn about and practice ethical responsibility to self and others.

CHEA and AAC&U Release Leadership Statement on Accountability and Assessment

Major educational associations, including the American Council on Education and the Association of American Universities, joined The Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) and AAC&U at the formal release of New Leadership for Student Learning and Accountability: A Statement of Principles, Commitments to Action at CHEA’s annual conference on January 30, 2008, in Washington, DC. The release followed a plenary address from Senator Lamar Alexander, who also issued a press release endorsing the statement. At the release event, CHEA president Judith Eaton noted that the statement provides a platform through which institutions of higher education can strengthen their leadership role while addressing important public accountability and transparency expectations. See the CHEA/AAC&U press release (pdf) and download the text of the statement (pdf).

Apply Now for 2008 Institute on General Education

Each year in early summer, AAC&U holds its annual Institute on General Education. The institute is an opportunity for campus teams to come together to work with consultants and each other on reforming their general education programs. The 2008 Institute on General Education will be held May 30-June 4, 2008 on the campus of the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. More details can be found in the brochure (pdf), and an online application is now available. Applications for the 2008 Institute will by due by February 22, 2008.

Applications Being Accepted for 2008 Greater Expectations Institute

AAC&U invites campuses to apply to send teams to AAC&U’s 8th annual Greater Expectations Institute: Campus Leadership for Student Engagement, Inclusion, and Achievement, to be held June 18-22, 2008, in Snowbird, Utah. The Institute is a five-day intensive program designed for campuses working on ways to increase student engagement, inclusion, and high achievement. While in Snowbird, teams will confer with expert faculty; learn from other teams engaged in a rich variety of educational change efforts; and develop a concrete plan for departmental, divisional, or campus-wide action. Applications are due March 14, 2008. For more information about the Institute and detailed application instructions, please visit the Greater Expectations Institute page.

New Resources Online from Fall 2007 Network Conferences on Civic Learning and Essential Learning Outcomes

Resources—including podcasts, session notes and presentation slides—are now available from the Network for Academic Renewal fall conferences, Civic Learning at the Intersections and Sharing Responsibility for Essential Learning Outcomes. For information about upcoming Network meetings, please visit the Network for Academic Renewal Web page.

Submit Proposals Now for Diversity, Learning, and Inclusive Excellence Conference

AAC&U is seeking proposals for sessions at its October 2008 Network for Academic Renewal meeting, Diversity, Learning, and Inclusive Excellence: Accelerating and Assessing Progress. Strong proposals will highlight models that help colleges and universities fully integrate their diversity and educational quality efforts and embed them into the core of academic mission and institutional functioning. For detailed information about submitting a session proposal, visit the call for proposals Web page. Proposals are due March 13, 2008. 

Deadline Approaching for Public Health Institute Applications
Don’t forget—applications for faculty teams to participate in The Educated Citizen and Public Health: An Undergraduate Curriculum Development Institute, to be held July 14-15, 2008, in Crystal City, Virginia, are due February 27. To learn more about the program and how your institution can participate, visit the call for participation Web page.

Ten Graduate Students Honored with K. Patricia Cross Award

The K. Patricia Cross Future Leaders Award is given annually by AAC&U to graduate students who are committed to developing academic and civic responsibility in themselves and others, and who show exemplary promise as future leaders of higher education. Ten students received the 2008 award, chosen from a pool of more than 150 nominations. The winners were honored at the AAC&U annual meeting Opening Plenary, and presented at the “Faculty of the Future: Voices from the Next Generation” session. The 2008 Cross Award winners are:

Thomas Eatmon, Jr., Southern University
Andrew Farke, Stony Brook University
Kyle Gobrogge, Florida State University
Frances Gratacos, UMDNJ/Rutgers
Jennifer Lavy, University of Washington
Christine Reiser, Brown University
Paul Rogers, University of California, Santa Barbara
Cindy Spurlock, University of North Carolina
Kimberly Van Orman, University at Albany, SUNY
Dumaine Williams, Stony Brook University

For more information, please see the Cross Award press release.


Liberal Education Winter 2008 Cover  

Liberal Education
The Future of Interdisciplinary Studies



Peer Review Fall 2007 Cover  

Peer Review
Faculty Development: Finding Balance in Changing Roles


Diversity and Democracy Cover  

Diversity and Democracy
Religious Diversity



Network for Academic Renewal Conferences:

Integrative Designs for General Education and Assessment February 21-23 2008
Boston, Massachusetts

Discovering, Integrating and Applying Knowledge: Effective Educational Practices for Today's Students and Tomorrow's Innovation
April 10-12, 2008
Austin, Texas

For more information on meetings, visit www.aacu.org/meetings/index.cfm