AAC&U News: December 2015
News & Events

December 2015

Meetings and Institutes

Reserve Your Seat Now for AAC&U’s 2016 Annual Meeting: Early Registration Ends December 16

AAC&U’s 2016 Annual Meeting, “How Higher Education Can Lead—On Equity, Inclusive Excellence, and Democratic Renewal,” will be held at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Washington, DC, January 20–23, 2016. Cathy N. Davidson, distinguished professor and director of the Futures Initiative at the City University of New York Graduate Center, will present the Boyer Award Lecture—“Educating Higher: Toward an Equitable, Innovative Future for Higher Education”—at Wednesday’s Opening Night Forum. The Opening Plenary on Thursday morning, “Making Excellence Inclusive: What It Means—and How We Can,” will be presented by Freeman A. Hrabowski, president of the University of Maryland Baltimore County. Edward L. Ayers, Tucker-Boatwright Professor of the Humanities and president emeritus of the University of Richmond, will deliver the Final Plenary on Saturday morning—“What is College, Anyway?”   The Annual Meeting will include a Pre-Meeting Symposium on January 20—“The LEAP Challenge and the Equity Imperative”; and the 7th Annual E-Portfolio Forum on Saturday, January 23. Featured sessions, pre-meeting workshops, the ACAD program of events, and other presentations are also online. Full information can be found online.

Special Plenary Event on the Equity Imperative and Reception Planned for Annual Meeting

We are pleased to offer a special plenary on Thursday afternoon—“The Equity Imperative in Practice: Presidential Perspectives”—featuring Ronald A. Crutcher, president of the University of Richmond; Mildred García, president of California State University-Fullerton; William E. (Brit) Kirwan, chancellor emeritus of the University System of Maryland; and Gail O. Mellow, president of LaGuardia Community College. They will make the case for expanding access to quality, equitable liberal education and describe ways their campuses have intentionally expanded access and addressed systemic barriers to educational success that hinder many new majority students.  We warmly welcome these academic leaders—friends and colleagues all—who have provided widely respected leadership for their campuses, for higher education, and for AAC&U.

Following the Plenary will be a reception to honor and celebrate Carol Geary Schneider.

From AAC&U’s Board of Directors (April 2015):

… Carol Geary Schneider’s decision to step down as AAC&U’s president at the end of June 2016 offers the Board of Directors an occasion to commemorate her remarkable achievements. For the last fifteen years as president of AAC&U, and in the ten years prior to that as a vice president, Carol has compiled a significant record of advancing liberal education, its quality, and its inclusiveness. …

We call upon the membership to pause and reflect upon this historic moment for AAC&U. Carol Geary Schneider’s presidency has been a remarkable one.  We have been fortunate—and, more importantly, higher education in this country has been fortunate—to have benefited from her creative and inspired leadership.

We invite the AAC&U community to join AAC&U’s Board and members of the staff in recognizing and celebrating Carol’s achievements and leadership.

General Education and Assessment Conference in New Orleans: Registration Now Open

February 18–20, 2016, New Orleans, Louisiana

AAC&U invites you to attend the conference General Education and Assessment: From My Work to Our Work. Developing high-quality general education pathways that are effective for all students—especially for those students from traditionally underserved groups—requires building, enriching, and supporting collaboration among all educators. Join with colleagues to rethink general education designs and outcomes, connect curricular and cocurricular pathways, and re-envision the nature of faculty and all campus educators’ roles to move from “my work” to “our work.” The conference will examine campus models that advance inclusive approaches to connecting general education to real-world problems. Four pathways will organize the working conference:  integrative conceptual frameworks; equity, empowerment, and agency; assessment and transparency; and pedagogies and practices. Registration is now open.

Diversity, Learning, and Student Success Conference in Philadelphia: Registration Now Open

March 17–19, 2016, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

AAC&U invites you to attend the conference Diversity, Learning and Student Success: Shifting Paradigms and Challenging Mindsets. The complexities of our history with diversity—in both the distant past and more recently—compel us as educators to engage in difficult, but essential dialogues to identify both institutional and individual barriers that stand in the way of our reaching full and meaningful inclusion for all students in higher education. Join with colleagues to explore the kinds of entrenched attitudes and policies that rest on deficit-minded assumptions about diversity, student learning, and success; and engage in “courageous conversations” that are problem-oriented and solution-driven, designed to expand our abilities to fully serve and prepare all students for lifelong success and engaged citizenship. Registration opens this month.

Send a Team to AAC&U's 2016 Summer Institutes to Accelerate Campus Change Efforts

The Institute on General Education and Assessment will take place June 4–8, 2016, in Boston, MA, and provides campus teams with opportunities to refine and advance general education programs and their assessment. The Institute on High-Impact Practices and Student Success will take place June 21–25, 2016, in Los Angeles, CA, and helps campuses, higher education systems, and consortia identify the assets students bring to college, make intentional and evidence-based use of Essential Learning Outcomes and high-impact educational practices, close achievement gaps, and devise integrative plans to advance inclusion and high levels of learning for all students. The Institute on Integrative Learning and the Departments will take place July 12–15, 2016, in Chicago, IL, and is intended for faculty and administrative teams leading change to deepen students’ integrative learning over time—connecting general education with learning in the major, and curricular with cocurricular learning. Complete information about these three institutes, including application materials, is now online.

Apply Now for 2016 Institute on Project-Based Learning

AAC&U and Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) are pleased to announce that the application process is now open for the 2016 Institute on Project-Based Learning, to be held June 22-25, 2016, at WPI in Worcester, Massachusetts. The institute will bring together teams of faculty and administrators from colleges and universities for interactive workshops, consultations with Institute faculty, and collaborative teamwork sessions focused on project-based learning. Participants will come to the institute with a proposal outlining a specific goal or project they would like to advance and will leave the Institute with an enhanced understanding of project-based learning and a tailored plan to advance work on their own campuses. Randy Bass, vice provost for education at Georgetown University, will be returning as keynote speaker. Applications are open through February 15, 2016. Learn what participants had to say about the 2015 Institute on Project-Based Learning.

Save the Date: Fourth Annual Network Conference on Global Learning in College

October 6–8, 2016, Denver, Colorado—Call for Proposals available in January

Global learning has the potential to provide all students with opportunities to engage in crucial real-world learning about both local and global issues. Sessions at this conference will examine and discuss how institutions are integrating and assessing global learning across the curriculum; creating, implementing, and assessing globally-focused courses and programs; developing and implementing global civic engagement experiences at home and abroad; integrating international students in meaningful ways; providing global learning experiences for new majority students; and examining global sustainability issues. The Call for Proposals for this conference will be available in January. For more information, contact Karen Kalla at kalla@aacu.org or visit www.aacu.org/meetings/global.


Meeting the LEAP Challenge

Michigan Announced as Twelfth LEAP State

AAC&U and the Michigan Association of State Universities have announced that Michigan is now a state partner in AAC&U’s LEAP initiative. AAC&U President Carol Geary Schneider notes that “AAC&U and the Michigan Association of State Universities share a passion for advocating for liberal education for all students—through studies in science, humanities, the arts, and the social sciences. We are delighted to work with Michigan to ensure that college students throughout the state receive the best possible preparation for purposeful work and citizenship, and flourishing lives.”


PKAL – Undergraduate STEM Education News

Upcoming Regional Network Meetings in Southern California and Ohio

Project Kaleidoscope (PKAL), AAC&U’s center of STEM higher education reform, invites the entire PKAL/AAC&U community to participate in our upcoming Regional Network meetings. The PKAL Southern California (SoCAL) meeting, “Integrating Teaching, Assessment, and Education Research to Enhance Student Learning in STEM,” will be held at the University of California–Irvine on February 27, 2016. The deadline for proposals for this meeting is November 6, 2015.  The PKAL Ohio regional meeting, “Evidence-Based Practices in Undergraduate STEM Education,” will be held at Capital University in Columbus, OH, on May 21, 2016. The deadline for proposals for this meeting is December 15, 2015.

PKAL Summer Leadership Institute for STEM Faculty

Institute I: July 12–July 17, 2016
Institute II: July 19–July 24, 2016
Institute III: July 26–July 31, 2016
The Claggett Center, Adamstown, Maryland

The PKAL Summer Leadership Institute is designed for both early- and mid-career STEM faculty engaged in leading projects aimed at transforming undergraduate STEM education in their classrooms, departments, and institutions. Over 40 percent of institute alumni currently hold positions of leadership on their home campuses. Applications are now open.


Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement Network News

January and February Proposal Deadlines for 2016 Conferences and Meetings on Civic and Service Learning

Proposals are now being accepted for the 2016 Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement Meeting organized by the American Democracy Project, The Democracy Commitment, and NASPA: Student Affairs Professionals in Higher Education. Submit a proposal before February 1, 2016. Proposals also are being accepted for two Campus Compact events. The 2016 Tennessee Conference on Volunteerism and Service-Learning will accept Workshop Proposals and Showcase Proposals until January 4, 2016. The 2016 Upper Midwest Civic Engagement Summit will accept proposals for the conference Beyond Service: Education, Research, and Work for a Just World until February 12, 2016.

Upcoming Deadlines for BTtoP Well-Being Grants, and Call for Participation in ADP Research Study

Bringing Theory to Practice (BTtoP) has Well-Being Seminar Grant funding available to support campus-wide planning discussions (seminars) that give focused attention to a particular dimension of the well-being of those involved (students, faculty, or other leaders) in creating and maintaining an engaged culture for learning. The proposal deadline is January 15, 2016. The American Democracy Project (ADP) is looking for participants engaged for a research project focused on Millennial Generation Faculty Members and Civic Engagement. For more details, please review the Call for Participation: Research Study on Millennial Faculty & Civic Engagement. Interviews will begin in December 2015 and will continue through early February 2016

The American Association of State Colleges and Universities’ American Democracy Project, The Democracy Commitment, NASPA: Student Affairs Professionals in Higher Education, and Bringing Theory to Practice are members of the CLDE Action Network, an alliance of thirteen leading civic learning organizations convened by AAC&U. Responding to the ambitious goals set forth in A Crucible Moment: College Learning & Democracy's Future, the CLDE Action Network coordinates, constructs, and advances efforts to prepare college students for informed and responsible citizenship and make civic inquiry and engagement expected rather than elective in college. See the CLDE events calendar for upcoming civic conferences and webinars.


Other News

AAC&U Releases Findings from National Survey of Chief Academic Officers on Assessing and Addressing Equity Gaps

AAC&U has released the first of three planned reports highlighting findings from a national survey of the chief academic officers (CAOs) of member institutions, conducted by Hart Research Associates. The initial report, “Bringing Equity and Quality Learning Together: Institutional Priorities for Tracking and Advancing Underserved Students’ Success,” highlights findings from both the national survey and from structured interviews related to goal-setting and priorities for diversity, equity, and student success in both completing degrees and achieving key learning outcomes. See select findings in the press release, or read the full report.

AAC&U Launches New Resource Hub on Transfer Student Success

As it concludes its Quality Collaboratives initiative, focused on advancing student learning and success in the context of transfer, and continues to focus attention on equity and inclusive excellence as part of its Centennial Year, AAC&U has launched a new Transfer Student Success online resource hub. Campus models and tools highlight ways to forge two-year/four-year institutional partnerships and develop guided learning pathways that advance students’ achievement of key learning outcomes and their successful transfer and graduation with degrees of lasting value.  See www.aacu.org/resources/transfer-student-success.

AAC&U President Issues Call for Proactive Leadership on Student Learning Outcomes in Wake of Accreditation Proposals

AAC&U President Carol Geary Schneider has issued a message to the accrediting community and to policy and higher education leaders urging more forceful and concerted action to “make visible the kind of learning students need for twenty-first-century challenges” and to make students’ demonstrated achievement of learning outcomes a visible part of the accreditation process. Schneider notes that educators and employers alike have reached a clear consensus on the key components of quality college learning, but warns that educators’ and accreditors’ silence on the specific learning outcomes that are essential in the midst of shifting policy priorities could result in perverse incentives and the prioritizing of simplistic “return-on-investment” data as the only outcome metrics that matter. Without strong leadership, Schneider says in releasing the message, “the things that matter most in high-quality college learning—broad learning across multiple disciplines, cross-cutting capacities such as analytic inquiry or ethical reasoning, and students’ demonstrated ability to apply knowledge to complex questions—could disappear entirely…. We must not let that happen.” Read the full statement from President Schneider, as well as her earlier comments to the US Senate HELP Committee in response to Senator Lamar Alexander’s call for feedback.

AAC&U Endorses AAUP Statement Opposing ‘Campus Carry’ Laws

AAC&U’s Board of Directors has joined with AAUP and two other organizations in issuing a Joint Statement Opposing “Campus Carry” Laws. The statement, in part, notes that “colleges and universities closely control firearms and prohibit concealed guns on their campuses because they regard the presence of weapons as incompatible with their educational missions. College campuses are marketplaces of ideas, and a rigorous academic exchange of ideas may be chilled by the presence of weapons.” This statement is wholly consistent with AAC&U’s earlier Board of Directors statement on “Academic Freedom and Educational Responsibility,” which notes further that “the clash of competing ideas is an important catalyst, not only for the expansion of knowledge but also in students’ development of independent critical judgment….[this] require[s] a safe environment [so that students and faculty] feel free to express their own views.” 

Join AAC&U Member Associates Program

If your institution is a member of AAC&U, you are eligible to become an AAC&U Associate. Associates Program dues are just $70 per calendar year. Associates receive all the benefits enjoyed by their AAC&U Campus Representatives, including subscriptions to all AAC&U's print and online periodicals (Liberal Education, Peer Review, Diversity & Democracy, and AAC&U News), notice of calls for proposals for institutes and meetings, and invitations to apply for grant-funded projects and to participate in special AAC&U events. Associates also receive an additional 20 percent discount on the purchase of one to ten copies of a single publication purchased via AAC&U's online shopping cart. Learn more about this discount online. For more information, please contact Renee Gamache, membership coordinator, at (202) 884-0809 or memberservices@aacu.org.

About AAC&U News

AAC&U News is written and edited by Ben Dedman. If you have questions or comments about the newsletter's contents, please e-mail dedman@aacu.org.


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