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A Voice and a Force for Liberal Education in the 21st Century

In the Spotlight

LEAP Initiative Featured in Chicago Sun-Times
The Chicago Sun-Times recently featured AAC&U's LEAP initiative in an article and described how it is influencing educational change in Illinois. Reporter Sandra Guy describes the LEAP Essential Learning Outcomes, the VALUE approach to assessment, and LEAP's focus on traditionally underserved students. Also featured is AAC&U member institution, Governors State University (GSU). GSU President and LEAP Presidents’ Trust member Elaine Maimon addresses ways that GSU is using LEAP to reform its general education program as it welcomes its inaugural first-year class. The article also cites AAC&U's President Carol Geary Schneider noting that, "‘We need history, English, and political science majors, of course, but to remain a global leader, the United States needs its engineers, business leaders, and health professionals to be liberally educated as well.”

More Commentary on Salary Data as a Measure of Value of Higher Education Institutions
As the US Department of Education works on a very quick timeline to develop a new system for “rating” colleges and universities that receive federal student aid, education leaders continue to seriously question the inclusion of salary data as part of any ratings system. AAC&U is on record strongly opposing the use of salary data in any rating or ranking system of colleges and universities, noting that, far beyond the data so far proposed for inclusion, “The United States needs a far more searching exploration of ‘value’ than the administration has proposed.” AAC&U has also noted that, “Using salary data in the proposed ratings system is bound to be misleading to students and, because of its complexity, a distraction from more basic questions of whether students are successfully completing college, transferring to other institutions, and managing the net costs of their enrollment. See a useful summary of responses provided by The Chronicle of Higher Education, AAC&U’s statements on the proposed ratings system, and this helpful article by AAC&U board member and Oregon State University President Ed Ray asking “Is College for Getting a Job or Finding One’s Passion?” See additional responses from a panel of experts, including AAC&U President Carol Geary Schneider, in the Wall Street Journal. See an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal about the value of the humanities. See also AAC&U’s recent report on How Liberal Arts Majors Fare in Employment.

Liberal Education and America's Promise

Philadelphia LEAP Forum Brings Together Nearly 200 Employers and Educators To Chart Action Agenda for High-Quality Learning
AAC&U is hosting a LEAP Employer-Educator Forum on “Making High-Quality Learning Our Priority as Americans Go to College” in Philadelphia on April 16. This forum is part of a series of similar programs being held across country in 2014 as a way for higher education institutions to engage in purposeful dialogue with local and regional employer representatives and policy leaders about creating more intentional partnerships that give college students hands-on learning experiences that will be useful for their careers. The event builds on the 2013 release of AAC&U’s Employer-Educator Compact and a national survey of employers. See also AAC&U’s recent report on How Liberal Arts Majors Fare in Employment. nation the LEAP blog

Responding to Critics in a Tough Economy

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Featured Events

GLOBAL LEARNING IN COLLEGE: Cross-Cutting Capacities for 21st-Century College Students in Minneapolis, Minnesota, October 16–18, 2014. Call for proposals due April 22, 2014

TRANSFORMING STEM HIGHER EDUCATION in Atlanta, Georgia, November 6-8, 2014.


Institute on General Education and Assessment, University of Vermont in Burlington, Vermont, June 3-7, 2014.

Institute on High-Impact Practices and Student Success, Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, June 17-21, 2014.  

Institute on Integrative Learning and the Departments, California State University, Fullerton in Fullerton, California, July 9-13, 2014.

PKAL Summer Leadership Institute for STEM Faculty, Institute I: Pendle Hill, Wallingford, Pennsylvania, July 18–23, 2014
Institute II: Baca Campus of Colorado College, Crestone, Colorado, July 25–30, 2014


Featured Member News and Resources

 AAC&U News

The April issue of AAC&U News features social entrepreneurship at Middlebury College, the failure of test-based accountability, and the latest news about AAC&U meetings, projects, and publications. Watch for our next issue of AAC&U News in May.

Featured Publications

How Liberal Arts and Sciences Majors Fare in Employment: A Report on Earnings and Long-Term Career Paths  

How Liberal Arts and Sciences Majors Fare in Employment: A Report on Earnings and Long-Term Career Paths

Students, parents, and policy makers interested in the "return on investment" of college education tend to place unwarranted emphasis on the choice of undergraduate major, often assuming that a major in a liberal arts field has a negative effect on employment prospects and earnings potential. This new report—which includes data on earnings, employment rates, graduate school earnings bumps, and commonly chosen professions—presents clear evidence to the contrary. It shows not only that the college degree remains a sound investment, especially in these difficult economic times, but also that—as compared to students who major in professional, preprofessional, or STEM fields—liberal arts majors fare very well in terms of both earnings and long-term career success. For more information, see: To purchase a copy, see:



Liberal Education, Winter 2014  

Liberal Education, Winter, 2014: Exploring Purpose and Vocation in College

This special issue presents an overview of the Lilly Endowment's Programs for the Theological Exploration of Vocation, findings from a national evaluation of the initiative, an examination of the core educational practices, and case studies of participating institutions. Also included are articles on the relation between higher education and national security, LEAP in Texas, hiring practices that are moving faculty off the tenure track, and the new common core at the University of La Verne.