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Press Room

Contact: Debra Humphreys, VP for Communications and Public Affairs
202-387-3760 (ext. 422)
Humphreys@aacu.org

New Summer Institute for Deans, Department Chairs and Faculty Will Assist Campuses In Connecting Departmental Goals with Campus-Wide Learning Outcomes for All Students

Teagle Foundation Grant Will Support July 2009 Institute And Subsidize Campus Team Participation

Washington, DC - December 3, 2008 - The Association of American Colleges and Universities announced today receipt of a new grant from The Teagle Foundation to support a 2009 Summer Institute, "Engaging Departments."  This institute is designed for campus teams of deans, department chairs, and faculty members and will be offered as part of AAC&U's signature initiative, Liberal Education and America's Promise (LEAP).  The institute will build leadership within and across departments to connect learning and assessments in specific academic fields with the overarching aims and outcomes of a contemporary liberal education. 

The "Engaging Departments" summer institute will focus attention on the role of the academic major as the place where students achieve their highest levels of cognitive sophistication, integrative learning, and demonstrated accomplishment in both disciplinary and broader liberal education outcomes.

"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 Institute 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 institute as a resource that will help faculty and departments meet these challenges in ways directly affecting their local campus."

The Institute will be held on the campus of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, July 8 - 12, 2009.  Applications to participate will be accepted online starting in February 2009 (see: www.aacu.org/meetings/engaging -departments).

The Institute will focus on:

1) leadership for learning within and among departments

2) assessments for achieving and improving essential outcomes, and

3)   preparation for educational effectiveness through identification of barriers and aligning goals with effective practices.

Campus teams attending the Institute will have extensive opportunities to work as a group, with other teams, and with experienced faculty/consultants available throughout the Institute. The schedule of topical presentations, team time, and expert individual consultation with the resident faculty experts creates a supportive, stimulating environment, allowing teams to make substantial progress in addressing their specific campus goals.

"Many college departments and divisions have already articulated learning goals for their students," said AAC&U President Carol Geary Schneider.  "This institute will help institutions connect these goals with the broad outcomes of a twenty-first century liberal education - those outcomes that all students need to succeed in today's dynamic global environment.  It will allow campuses to develop coherent frameworks to guide changes in curricula, educational practices and requirements, and assessment approaches."

"Engaging Departments" is part of AAC&U's ongoing LEAP initiative.  LEAP is an initiative that champions the value of a liberal education - for individual students and for a nation dependent on economic creativity and democratic vitality. The initiative focuses campus practice on fostering essential learning outcomes for all students, whatever their chosen field of study.


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 more than 1,150 accredited public and private colleges and 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 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.

Information about AAC&U membership, programs, and publications can be found at www.aacu.org.

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