March 2009
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Meetings and Institutes:

AAC&U Meeting in San Diego to Consider Faculty Roles and Future of Professoriate

What should faculty priorities be in the twenty-first century, especially as related to undergraduate education? AAC&U’s Network for Academic Renewal meeting Shaping Faculty Roles in a Time of Change: Leadership for Student Learning will explore this question in San Diego, California, on April 2-4, 2009. Participants will consider what is at stake for the future of undergraduate education and its faculty in a time of increasingly splintered roles and rising workloads. Graduate students, early career faculty, and later career faculty, both part time and full time, are urged to join with other campus leaders in articulating a new and more inclusive vision of the faculty that connects individuals across a range of institutions and professional situations. Register online.

Greater Expectations Institute Adds Theme on Advancing Change in the Context of Declining Budgets

The Greater Expectations Institute: Leadership to Make Excellence Inclusive, to be held June 17-21, 2009, at the University of Vermont in Burlington, Vermont, is designed for campuses working to build their own institutional capacity and campus leadership—in a time of shrinking resources—and to increase the engagement, inclusion, and success of all their students. The institute curriculum grows out of AAC&U's long-standing work in diversity and educational quality, most recently brought together under a major initiative, Making Excellence Inclusive. AAC&U and the Bringing Theory to Practice Project are pleased to continue their partnership by providing travel and fee subsidies for up to thirty campuses to attend the institute; a total of $1,300 is available per five-person team. Complete information about the subsidies is available here. Applications will be accepted through March 13, 2009.

New Engaging Departments Institute to Focus on Building Synergy Across Departmental Borders

The Engaging Departments Institute, scheduled for July 8-12, 2009, on the campus of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, will provide campus teams of academic administrators, department chairs, and faculty with intensive, structured time to advance plans to foster, assess, and improve student learning within departments and across the institution.  Topics will include leadership for learning within and among departments; assessments for achieving and improving essential outcomes; and preparing for educational effectiveness by identifying and then replacing barriers with aligned effective practices. The Teagle Foundation will underwrite each accepted team’s travel and preparation expenses in the amount of $300 per team member ($1,500 for a typical five-member team). Applications for the Engaging Departments Institute must received by March 20, 2009.  Apply online. 

AAC&U and Portland State Cosponsor “Reciprocal Partnerships: Transforming Higher Education and Community for the Future”

 AAC&U and Portland State University will jointly present a conference on community-university partnerships on May 18-19, 2009, in Portland, Oregon. The first International Partnership Institute will convene faculty, students, community partners and administrators interested in advancing effective community-higher education partnerships. The institute is organized around two goals: building a knowledge base about these partnerships and creating an international network to improve partnership development in higher education. Featured institute presenters will include Harry Boyte of the Center for Democracy and Citizenship at the University of Minnesota; Nadinne Cruz, former director of the Haas Center at Stanford University; and Amy Driscoll of the Carnegie Foundation for Teaching and Learning. For more information and to register, visit the institute Web site.

Elon University and AAC&U Partner for Research Seminar on Engaged Undergraduate Learning

AAC&U and Elon University are cosponsoring a national, two-year multidisciplinary seminar for college faculty and staff. Elizabeth Minnich, AAC&U senior scholar, will serve as the intellectual leader for the seminar, which is designed to facilitate the development of innovative research and pedagogy on issues central to engaged undergraduate learning. The inaugural seminar will focus on teaching democratic thinking. Space is limited to twenty participants. Applications from individuals and small institutional teams may be submitted online. Application deadline is April 1, 2009.

ACAD and Phi Beta Kappa Invite Conference Proposals

The American Conference of Academic Deans and the Phi Beta Kappa Society announce a conference, "Sweet Are the Uses of Adversity: Leading the Liberal Arts Through Hard Times," November 5-7, 2009, in Alexandria, Virginia, and invite proposals for contributed presentations. This is the fourth biennial collaboration of the two organizations. Full conference information, including a complete call for proposals, can be found online. Proposals will be accepted through March 31, 2009.

LEAP News:

Public Forum to Focus on Liberal Education and Effective Practice

AAC&U and Clark University will cosponsor a forum titled Liberal Education and Effective Practice, March 12-13, 2009, at Clark’s campus in Worcester, Massachusetts. The forum will bring together higher education leaders to discuss how undergraduate education can help students become both sophisticated thinkers and also effective doers. A series of commissioned papers from noted thinkers in higher education will frame the discussion. Results from the forum will be published in the summer 2009 issue of Liberal Education.

AAC&U, Many Others Weigh in on New York Times Article on Humanities Justifying Their Worth

In a recent article in the New York Times, reporter Patricia Cohen cites the AAC&U LEAP report and highlights the upcoming LEAP Public Forum cosponsored by Clark University. Cohen notes that the humanities “are prerequisites for personal growth and participation in a free democracy, regardless of  career choice." See a letter to the editor sent by AAC&U president Carol Geary Schneider pointing out that in its LEAP initiative, AAC&U “emphasizes the need to help students learn how to connect their college learning with real-world problems, examined choices, and responsible action both in their personal lives and in their working lives.” Many readers weighed in, commenting online or with printed letters to the editor.

Project Highlights:

AAC&U to Form Global Learning Leadership Consortium at Upcoming Philadelphia Forum

AAC&U’s Shared Futures Initiative is sponsoring an invitational Global Learning Forum in Philadelphia, March 19-21, 2009. More than three hundred participants from eighty colleges and universities are expected to attend the event, at which AAC&U will launch a new Global Learning Leadership Consortium. The forum is a culminating event for the Shared Futures project, supported by the Luce Foundation and the Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education. It will feature an opening address by Caryn McTighe Musil, AAC&U senior vice president, and Kevin Hovland, director of global learning and curriculum change, called “The Global Leadership Consortium: An Intellectual Stimulus Package.” Musil and Hovland will explore how to use global learning in all its multiplicity and complexity to set educational priorities, construct more forward-looking curricula, and build a faculty development agenda for liberal education and global learning. For more information, see the forum program.

VALUE Initiative Seeks Campuses to Test Rubrics

AAC&U's VALUE Initiative (Valid Assessment of Learning in Undergraduate Education) has developed rubrics for most of the “Essential Learning Outcomes” highlighted in AAC&U’s LEAP initiative. We are seeking campuses or departments who are interested in testing one of the following rubrics on samples of their students’ work:

  • Inquiry and analysis
  • Creative thinking
  • Oral communication
  • Quantitative literacy
  • Information literacy
  • Teamwork
  • Problem solving
  • Ethical reasoning and action
  • Foundations and skills for lifelong learning
  • Civic engagement
  • Intercultural knowledge and competence

If you would like to have your faculty give us feedback on one of these rubrics before June 1, 2009, please send an e-mail to VALUE Initiative Manager Wende Morgaine at

Other AAC&U News:

AAC&U Invites Nominations for Board of Directors

Nominations for the AAC&U Board of Directors for terms beginning in 2010 are now being accepted. Any individual from an AAC&U member campus is eligible to serve on the AAC&U Board of Directors. The current board members are listed online. To nominate an individual, please send a letter to Bethany Zecher Sutton, secretary to the board, 1818 R Street NW, Washington, DC 20009, or send an e-mail to

Nominations for Ness Book Award Now Being Accepted

AAC&U invites nominations for the 2010 Frederic W. Ness Book Award. This award is given annually to recognize a book that contributes to the understanding and improvement of liberal education. The award, which includes a prize of $2,000, is a mark of distinction for both authors and publishers and is presented at AAC&U's annual meeting. For information on eligibility, please visit AAC&U's Ness Book Award page. Nominations are due by May 1, 2009.

New Online and Print Resources:

Podcasts from AAC&U Annual Meeting Now Available

AAC&U is pleased to offer podcasts of selected sessions from our 2009 Annual Meeting, Ready or Not: Global Challenges, College Learning, and America's Promise, held January 21-24, 2009, in Seattle. Featured speakers included Melissa Harris-Lacewell, associate professor of politics and African American studies, Princeton University, and Eric Liu, fellow, the New America Foundation. Their plenary, “Grass Roots and Patriotism: Re-Centering Student Civic Engagement in Higher Education,” examines civic engagement and their views on student political thought and action during the 2008 election cycle—and the implications for higher education. Other podcasts include Peter Sacks’ discussion of his award-winning book Tearing Down the Gates and Mimi Gardner Gates’ presentation about civic engagement and the arts.

AAC&U’s DiversityWeb Features Resources for Understanding Benefits of Diversity

This month’s DiversityWeb features research results, books, and program summaries that help quantify the benefits of a diverse educational environment to students, institutions, and communities. Also included is information about diversity fellowships for doctoral and post-doctoral-level study.



Revising General Education and Avoiding the Potholes Cover  
Revising General Education—And Avoiding the Potholes: A Guide for Curricular Change
By Paul L. Gaston and Jerry G. Gaff
A Measure of Equity Cover  
A Measure of Equity: Women's Progress in Higher Education
By Judy Touchton with Caryn McTighe Musil and Kathryn Peltier Campbell
Our Students' Best Work Cover  
Our Students' Best Work: A Framework for Accountability Worthy of Our Mission
AAC&U Board of Directors Statement

Network for Academic Renewal Conferences:

Shaping Faculty Roles in a Time of Change: Leadership for Student Learning,
April 2-4, 2009
San Diego, California

Summer Institutes

Institute on General Education
May 29 - June 3, 2009
Minneapolis, Minnesota

Greater Expectations Institute
June 17-21, 2009
Burlington, Vermont

Engaging Departments Institute
July 8-12, 2009
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

For more information on meetings, visit