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Press Room

Media Alert

Debra Humphreys, Vice President for Communications and Public Affairs
202-387-3760, ext. 422

Employers Need More College Educated Workers and Demand Higher Levels of Learning, New Survey Reveals

AAC&U Board of Directors To Issue Statement on "The Quality Imperative" — Board Will Call For Nation To Match Ambitious Goals for Completion with Ambitious Vision for College-Level Learning


Press Briefing on Findings From New National Survey, "Raising the Bar: Employers' Views on College Learning in the Wake of the Economic Downturn" and AAC&U Board Statement on Access and Completion


Wednesday, January 20, 2010, 2:00-3:00 p.m.


Grand Hyatt Hotel
Burnham Room, Level 3B
1000 H Street NW, Washington, DC 20001

Washington, DC—January 5, 2010—On January 20, 2010, the Association of American Colleges and Universities will release new findings from a national survey of employers conducted by Hart Research Associates. This survey builds on earlier research commissioned as part of AAC&U’s Liberal Education and America’s Promise (LEAP) initiative.

In conjunction with the release of new polling data, AAC&U’s board of directors will also release a formal statement, “The Quality Imperative,” calling for greater attention to what students are actually learning in college and efforts to significantly raise levels of achievement even as the nation focuses on increasing access and completion rates. The statement notes that “both employers and educators know that the quality shortfall is just as urgent as the attainment shortfall.”

Speakers Include:

Carol Geary Schneider, president, Association of American Colleges and Universities

Eduardo J. Padrón, president, Miami Dade College and Chair, AAC&U Board of Directors

Abigail Davenport, senior vice president, Hart Research Associates

Anthony Carnevale, research professor and director, Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce

Survey findings will include new data on such issues as employers’ plans for hiring college graduates in the coming years; how the workplace is changing; what employers think about new educational practices and their potential to increase achievement levels; and what learning outcomes are most important to today’s employers.  In October and November 2009, Hart Research Associates interviewed 302 employers whose organizations report that 25 percent or more of their new hires hold either an associate’s degree or a bachelor’s degree. 

The AAC&U board of directors’ statement, The Quality Imperative, will “urge a far-reaching and unprecedented effort to ensure that all the nation’s college students receive the finest possible preparation for the demands and challenges of this global century.”  In particular, the AAC&U board of directors will suggest that “narrow training—the kind currently offered in far too many degree and certificate programs—will actually limit human talent and opportunity for better jobs in today’s knowledge economy.”

The full survey report will be embargoed until 2 p.m. on January 20th, but will be available for review on January 19, 2010 upon request.  To receive an advance copy and/or to RSVP for the briefing, contact Debra Humphreys at  If you are unable to attend the briefing, but would like to arrange interviews, please e-mail Debra Humphreys for further information.

About LEAP

Liberal Education and America’s Promise (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.

LEAP is AAC&U’s primary vehicle for advancing and communicating about the importance of undergraduate liberal education for all students. LEAP seeks to engage the public with core questions about what really matters in college, to give students a compass to guide their learning, and to make a set of essential learning outcomes the preferred framework for educational excellence, assessment of learning, and new alignments between school and college.

About AAC&U

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 1,200 member institutions—including 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