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AAC&U Annual Meeting
January 25-28, 2012
Washington, DC

SHARED FUTURES / DIFFICULT CHOICES
Reclaiming a Democratic Vision for College Learning,
Global Engagement, and Success

January 25
Pre-Meeting Symposium on Democracy's Promise and Civic Learning

January 28
E-Portfolio Forum

In 1947, The Truman Commission on Higher Education “selected from among the principle goals for higher education, those which should come first in our time. They are to bring to all people of the Nation:

  • Education for a fuller realization of democracy in every phase of living.
  • Education directly and explicitly for international understanding and cooperation.
  • Education for the application of creative imagination and trained intelligence to the solution of social problems and to the administration of public affairs.”

Facing national and global challenges that demanded difficult choices, Commission members sought to reclaim a sense of shared future for a war-torn, nuclear age.

If we imagine the educational goals such a Commission might highlight today, we confront a dangerous and potentially disastrous public narrowing of vision. Higher education is currently valued more for its economic and individual benefits than for its contributions to the common good. The resulting focus on market priorities has crowded out long-established civic commitments. Yet, a 21st century liberal education cannot afford to be neutral about democratic knowledge and global engagement.

Are today’s global challenges less compelling or less urgent than those faced 65 years ago? Is the need to preserve and extend freedom less pressing today than it was then?

AAC&U’s 2012 Annual Meeting will explore these questions and showcase examples from institutions that are successfully building upon democratic visions and practices in complex global contexts—visions and practices that are shaping institutional missions, improving undergraduate education, and challenging  narrow definitions of success.

For more information, please contact meetings@aacu.org or call AAC&U at (202) 387-3760.

Can't make it to Washington for the AAC&U Annual Meeting? Five Annual Meeting attendees will blog about resources, sessions, and hot topics of discussion on liberal.education nation.

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