Shaping the Future of Higher Education: An Invitation to Lead
2020 Annual Meeting
Wednesday, January 22
Saturday, January 25
Forum on Digital Learning and ePortfolios
About the Meeting
Higher education currently faces several broadly negative fiscal trends—from rising tuition costs, soaring student debt loads, and unsustainable discounting, to falling enrollments, flat or decreasing levels of public funding, and a difficult philanthropic environment. The result for many students and families is that college education is increasingly out of reach; the result for a growing number of colleges and universities is chronic financial instability, merger, or even closure. Meanwhile, efforts to bring student enrollment patterns into alignment with shifting demographic trends are complicated by ongoing judicial challenges to college admissions practices and the fallout from high-profile admissions scandals. The result is a heightened risk that higher education will contribute to the reproduction, rather than help redress, endemic social and economic inequities.
In combination, these several challenges undermine the public trust in higher education, calling into question both its value and its contribution to the public good. Yet, on campuses across the country, administrators, faculty, staff, and students are rising to meet these challenges—redoubling their commitment to equity and inclusion, refusing to accept the notion that high quality must necessarily come at a high cost. At the AAC&U annual meeting, these leaders from across higher education will come together to ask a very different affordability question—not whether we, as a democratic society, can afford to provide a liberal education to all students, but whether we can afford not to.
The 2020 annual meeting will showcase equitable, innovative, and cost-effective models for providing today’s students with a strong, relevant, and inclusive liberal education. Meeting participants are invited to share their work on the development and implementation of the high-impact educational practices, inclusive pedagogies, authentic forms of assessment, and pathways to student success that are transforming student learning at two- and four-year institutions, across disciplines and majors, and across institutional types—and shaping the future of higher education.