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Press Room

Press Release

Contact: Debra Humphreys
Vice President for Communications and Public Affairs
202-387-3760
Humphreys@aacu.org

Institute for Faculty and Department Chairs on Advancing and Assessing Learning Outcomes to Be Supported by The Teagle Foundation

The Association of American Colleges and Universities Receives Planning Grant for Development of Institute to Build Faculty Leadership on Assessing Learning Outcomes Across Departments and Programs

Washington, DC -- November 29, 2007 -- The Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) announced today that it has received a planning grant from The Teagle Foundation to develop a summer institute for campus faculty and department chairs. The purpose of the summer institute will be to support the development of leadership within and across departments for strengthening and assessing students’ achievement of essential liberal education outcomes within both the major and general education.

This initiative is part of AAC&U’s ongoing national campaign, Liberal Education and America’s Promise (LEAP): Excellence for Everyone as a Nation Goes to College, and builds on AAC&U’s earlier Teagle-supported initiative, Engaging Faculty with Assessing Liberal Education Outcomes.

“We are very pleased that this grant will allow us to open a new frontier of work with our members to ensure that all students achieve the essential outcomes provided by a liberal education,” said AAC&U President Carol Geary Schneider. “This project will help us develop a rich summer institute that will support faculty and academic administrators as they take the lead to advance important outcomes across the curriculum and develop assessment approaches that are faculty-driven, curriculum-embedded, and focused on documenting high levels of achievement of these outcomes.”

The focus of the proposed summer institute will be disciplinary departments and students’ work in their major fields, but it will also support faculty and academic leaders’ efforts to assess how well students achieve outcomes across their educational careers and integrate and apply what they are learning in new settings.

“It is clear that, to be effective, educational change and assessment must reach the heart of the educational enterprise: the intellectual work that is organized and supported through departments and their faculty,” said project director and AAC&U Vice President Terry Rhodes. “This project responds to the needs of faculty and departments to organize their curricula and assessment efforts to address essential outcomes and do so in ways that are appropriate for accreditation, program improvement, and students’ life-long success. We are pleased to have Teagle’s support in creating a valuable on-going resource institute that will help faculty and departments meet these challenges in ways directly affecting their local campus."

The planning grant will support several activities in 2008 and 2009. AAC&U will sponsor and coordinate four regional meetings on the needs of faculty and departments for strengthening student learning and sustaining effective assessment within a cycle of improvement. AAC&U will also convene a meeting of regional and professional accreditors on these issues in conjunction with AAC&U’s VALUE—Valid Assessments of Learning in Undergraduate Education initiative. Building on the regional meetings, AAC&U will convene a “design charette” through which a summer institute framework will be developed and tested. The initial summer institute for campus teams will begin in summer of 2009.

For information on the program and other AAC&U assessment initiatives and resources, see: http://www.aacu.org/resources/assessment.



AAC&U is the leading national association concerned with the quality, vitality, and public standing of undergraduate liberal education. Its members are committed to extending the advantages of a liberal education to all students, regardless of academic specialization or intended career. Founded in 1915, AAC&U now comprises nearly 1,300 member institutions—including accredited public and private colleges, community colleges, research universities, and comprehensive universities of every type and size.

AAC&U functions as a catalyst and facilitator, forging links among presidents, administrators, and faculty members who are engaged in institutional and curricular planning. Its mission is to reinforce the collective commitment to liberal education and inclusive excellence at both the national and local levels, and to help individual institutions keep the quality of student learning at the core of their work as they evolve to meet new economic and social challenges.

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