General Education and Assessment 3.0: Next-Level Practices Now
Network for Academic Renewal Conference
March 3-5, 2011
About the Conference
Even in challenging financial times, colleges and universities must continue to help students develop the kind of innovative, “big-picture” thinking and creative problem-solving skills that excellent general education programs foster. AAC&U’s 2011 conference, General Education and Assessment 3.0: Next-Level Practices Now will help campus leaders do this, focusing on innovative and purposeful approaches to designing and financing general education and assessment.
Colleges and universities of all sizes and types are facing increasing pressure—from legislators, trustees, and the broader public—to reduce spending and curb tuition increases while also improving graduation rates and “time to degree.” Most recently, these demands have coalesced into calls to shorten the educational experience for students, by combining high school and college study or by reducing time spent in college. Not surprisingly, most calls for ‘shrinkage’ focus on the early part of college, traditionally the purview of general education.
At the same time, employers are calling on colleges and universities to help students excel in areas of innovation, creativity, and technology. Civic leaders are looking to colleges and universities to help educate students for active participation in a diverse democracy. Both groups are seeking graduates who are ethically astute, morally grounded, collaborative problem-solvers open to learning new perspectives. Students themselves express keen interest in solving some of the world’s thorniest problems, from poverty to pollution to pandemics.
In the face of pressure to do things “faster and cheaper,” colleges and universities will need similar big-picture thinking and problem-solving to address real concerns about cost and completion without sacrificing the broader learning that, combined with students’ chosen majors, form a robust, integrative liberal education.
Proposals are invited for conference sessions highlighting “next-level” models and practices in general education and assessment that strengthen student learning of essential outcomes.
The conference will feature a special forum, Pushing Back on the Push to Downsize College, which will engage representatives from key external “publics”—including legislators, funders, and policy experts—about the critical issues of college cost and completion rates and the concomitant drive to downsize college. At a time when more and more students, including large numbers of historically underserved students, are enrolling in college, it is worth examining the push to shrink the college experience and frame these strategies in a larger conversation about educational quality and meaningful access to opportunity.
The audience for the 2011 conference includes newcomers to, and veterans of, innovative general education reform and assessments that deepen learning. Faculty, student affairs educators, administrators, students, and others are invited to shape a national dialogue about the value of general education and to demonstrate its impact on student learning in the college years.
Please contact the Development Office at (202) 884-7421 or e-mail Development@aacu.org for information about sponsorship opportunities for this conference.