AAC&U News: January/February 2015
News & Events

January/February 2015

Meetings and Institutes

More than 2,000 Education Leaders Gather in Washington for AAC&U's Centennial Annual Meeting

Approximately 2,250 registrants gathered in Washington, DC, for AAC&U's 2015 Annual Meeting (January 21-24), with more than 600 academic and business leaders participating in the Centennial Symposium on “America’s Global Future: Are College Students Prepared.”  The Annual Meeting featured 100 presentations and more than 400 speakers representing 250 colleges, universities, and academic organizations.  A highlight of the meeting for many was the Centennial Celebration at the Smithsonian American Art Museum and National Portrait Gallery, where guests welcomed back past presidents John Chandler (1985-1990) and Paula Brownlee (1990-1998), toasting them and current president Carol Geary Schneider—and all AAC&U members—on 100 years of leadership for liberal education.

AAC&U Current and Former Presidents L-R: Carol Geary Schneider (1998-present), John Chandler (1985-1990), Paula Brownlee (1990-1998)
AAC&U Current and Former Presidents L-R: Carol Geary Schneider (1998-present), John Chandler (1985-1990), Paula Brownlee (1990-1998)

Podcasts of plenary and selected sessions are will be posted online throughout February 2015.  More information about the Annual Meeting can also be found online via the Twitter conversations and blog postings.

Register Now for General Education and Assessment Conference: From Mission to Action to Evidence

February 19–21, 2015—Kansas City, Missouri

General education remains a central element of the higher education landscape: it is the place where faculty members and student affairs educators have the primary opportunity to reach the largest number of students, engaging them with work to develop important skills and knowledge beyond their major.  AAC&U invites you to attend the conference From Mission to Action to Evidence: Empowering and Inclusive General Education Programs. Join with colleagues to discover the latest research and practices in general education and its assessment; digital and equity-minded innovations; effective methods of communicating the value and outcomes of general education; and new approaches to creating a campus culture of assessment, including the latest advances in authentic assessment and use of rubrics to assess students' best work. Registration is now open.

Register Now for Diversity, Learning, and Student Success: Assessing and Advancing Inclusive Excellence

March 26–28, 2015—San Diego, California

Making excellence truly inclusive requires a continuous pursuit of institutional excellence in order to ensure that all students enjoy the benefits of an engaged liberal education. In AAC&U’s 2015 Diversity, Learning, and Student Success conference, participants will explore critical questions and formulate action-oriented strategies to make excellence inclusive through sustainable and measurable campus practices. Faculty, administrators, student affairs educators, and students are invited to participate—both individually and as teams—to help design and promote educational strategies that ensure all students have access to high-quality learning throughout their varied educational journeys. Registration is now open.

Crossing Boundaries—Transforming STEM Education: Call for Proposals

November 12-14, 2015, Seattle, Washington

Proposals due March 18, 2015

Ensuring that we meet national needs for more liberally educated scientists and more scientifically literate citizens will require radically different approaches to STEM learning and teaching, deeper levels of intentionality, and a stronger willingness to embrace all disciplines, include all students, and engage all perspectives.  AAC&U and Project Kaleidoscope invite proposals for the Transforming STEM Education conference that showcase evidence-based practices that reflect any of the following themes: integrative undergraduate STEM teaching and learning; inclusive excellence/broadening participation in STEM higher education; supporting, rewarding, and building capacity of STEM faculty; or institutional transformation for undergraduate STEM education reform.

Send a Team to One of AAC&U's 2015 Summer Institutes

The Institute on General Education and Assessment will take place June 2–6, 2015, in Edmond, Oklahoma, 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 9–13, 2015, in Madison, Wisconsin, and helps campuses, higher education systems, and consortia to identify the assets students bring to college, make intentional and evidence-based use of Essential Learning Outcomes and high-impact practices, and devise integrative plans to advance high levels of learning for all students. The Institute on Integrative Learning and the Departments will take place July 14–18, 2015, at the University of Delaware in Newark, Delaware, and is intended for colleges and universities interested in developing faculty and departmental leadership for integrative learning. Complete information about these three institutes, including application materials, is now online.

Apply Now for New 2015 Institute on Project-Based Learning

AAC&U and Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) are pleased to announce a new Institute on Project-Based Learning, which will be held June 25–27, 2015, at WPI in Worcester, Massachusetts. This intensive workshop will bring together teams of five or more faculty and administrators from colleges and universities to gain knowledge about project-based learning and make tangible progress to integrate project-based learning into their own curricula. The institute curriculum will include a mix of interactive workshops, consultations with institute faculty, and collaborative teamwork. 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. The institute’s keynote speaker will be Randy Bass, vice provost for education and founding executive director of the Center for New Designs in Learning and Scholarship at Georgetown University. Applications are now being accepted.



AAC&U Issues the LEAP Challenge; Calls for All Students to Do Signature Work

Marking its one hundredth year of leadership for liberal education and ten years of the LEAP initiative, AAC&U has issued a national challenge to higher education to prepare all college students, including those at both two-year and four-year institutions, to produce “Signature Work”—work on a project related to a problem important to the student and to society.  The LEAP Challenge builds on educational scholarship and years of research on what employers say will best prepare students for the global economy.  To learn more about the LEAP Challenge and the portfolio of funded projects through which AAC&U is advancing this goal, see www.aacu.org/leap/theleapchallenge.

Employers Endorse Broad and Project-Based Learning as Best Preparation for Long-Term Career Success

AAC&U’s new report Falling Short? College Learning and Career Success summarizes selected findings from two different national surveys commissioned by AAC&U and conducted by Hart Research Associates—one of employers and another of college students.  Consistent with findings from five earlier surveys commissioned by AAC&U as part of its ongoing LEAP initiative, employers overwhelmingly endorse broad learning and cross-cutting skills as the best preparation for long-term career success. However, employers give weak grades to students on the outcomes they identify as most important for career success. See more coverage of the report, including a discussion about the findings with AAC&U Vice President Debra Humphreys and the editors of Inside Higher Ed.

AAC&U Releases Centennial LEAP Video at Annual Meeting

AAC&U’s 2015 Centennial LEAP Video features the power of an engaged, public-spirited liberal education to transform students’ lives and address the “big questions.” Featuring the voices of educators, business leaders, and students at AAC&U member institutions, the video includes students, faculty, and educational leaders at California State University–Fullerton, California State University–Northridge, The College of Wooster, La Guardia Community College, Michigan State University, and Worcester Polytechnic Institute and illustrates the kinds of high-impact educational practices that hundreds of campuses are trying to bring to scale.  The production was funded with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and was produced by Paul Stern at Vox, Television, Inc.  See this video and others at AAC&U’s YouTube page.

Introducing the LEAP Challenge Blog

As part of the LEAP Challenge, AAC&U’s initiative to make students’ Signature Work the expected standard of quality learning in college, AAC&U has a launched a new blog. The LEAP Challenge Blog features updates on AAC&U’s second century of work and highlight new developments in policy, campus practice, and research affecting our capacity to ensure the quality of student learning and extend the benefits of a liberal education to all students. The blog also features essays on the continued value of liberal learning by faculty, staff, and students from AAC&U’s member institutions.


PKAL – Undergraduate Science Education News

Upcoming Regional Network Meetings in North Carolina 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. PKAL North Carolina will host a meeting titled “Using Data to Design Products and Practices for a Sustainable World: Preparing Undergraduates for Research and Business Opportunities” on March 27, 2015, at Salem College in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. This PKAL-NC meeting will take place in conjunction with the 112th annual meeting of the North Carolina Academy of Science (NCAS). In addition, the Ohio PKAL Regional Network (Ohio-PKAL) will host its inaugural annual conference on “Increasing STEM Student Success in Higher Education” on May 16, 2015, at Otterbein University, in Westerville, Ohio.

PKAL Summer Leadership Institute for STEM Faculty

Institute I: July 14–July 19, 2015
Institute II: July 21–July 26, 2015
The Claggett Center, Adamstown, Maryland

Institute III: July 25–30, 2015
The Baca Campus of Colorado College, Crestone, Colorado

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 due February 10, 2015.


Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement Network News

Upcoming Conferences and Institutes on Civic Engagement

North Carolina Campus Compact will be hosting the Pathways to Achieving Civic Engagement (PACE) Conference at Elon College in North Carolina on February 18. Indiana Campus Compact is cosponsoring the 6th International Symposium on Service-Learning, May 28May 30, 2015, at the University of Indianapolis. Tufts University’s Tisch College will be hosting the seventh annual Institute of Civic Studies from June 15–27, 2015—apply by March 15 for this intensive two week seminar with faculty, advanced graduate students, and practitioners from many countries.

New Assessment Instruments on Advancing Interfaith Cooperation

The Interfaith Youth Core (IFYC) has developed two new assessment resources to increase understanding about religious cooperation in a pluralistic world. The first, the Campus Religious and Spiritual Climate Survey (CRSCS), focuses on student experiences on a single campus and how students perceive acceptance, inclusivity, or coercion.  The second instrument, Interfaith Diverse Experiences and Attitudes Longitudinal Survey, examines the impact of college on student knowledge of and appreciation of other religious, spiritual, or nonreligious world views while also investigating the impact of interfaith cooperation on students.

Campus Compact, CIRCLE, and IFYC are members of the CLDE Action Network, an alliance of thirteen leading civic learning organizations that is convened by AAC&U. Responding to the ambitious goals set forth in A Crucible Moment: College Learning and Democracy's Future, the CLDE Action Network coordinates, constructs, and supports efforts to prepare college students for informed and responsible citizenship and make civic inquiry and engagement expected rather than elective in college.



Other News

AAC&U Announces Six New Directors and New Slate of Officers for Board of Directors

At its recent Annual Meeting in Washington, DC, AAC&U named six new directors and elected a slate of new officers. Edward J. Ray, president of Oregon State University, became Chair of the Board, taking over from Kenneth P. Ruscio, president of Washington and Lee University. Ruscio will continue to serve on AAC&U’s Board Executive Committee as Past Chair.  AAC&U members also voted to appoint James P. Collins, Virginia M. Ullman Professor of Natural History and Environment at Arizona State University, as Vice Chair of the Board. Sean Decatur, president of Kenyon College, will continue in his three-year term as Treasurer of the Board. “Those who serve on AAC&U’s board are strongly committed to a high-quality liberal education for all college students,” said AAC&U President Carol Geary Schneider. “AAC&U is very fortunate to be led by such a talented and dedicated group as we advance our Centennial Year agenda of engaging our members and key educational stakeholders in an exploration of the connections between high-quality liberal learning, Americans’ global future, and the equity imperative.” For a complete listing of members of AAC&U’s board of directors, see www.aacu.org/about/board.

Invitation to Participate in Delphi Project Survey on Future Faculty Attributes and Roles

One area in higher education where little research exists pertains to different stakeholders’ views on emerging and alternative faculty workforce models.  Adrianna Kezar and Daniel Maxey of the Delphi Project on the Changing Faculty and Student Success are conducting a study that aims to better understand views on characteristics of faculty work roles and emerging and alternative workforce models. AAC&U members who serve as presidents, provosts, deans, department chairs, faculty, or staff in centers for teaching and learning are invited to participate in a fifteen- to twenty-minute online survey on views about potential attributes of future faculty models and roles.  Your participation will contribute important perspectives about the future of the faculty in postsecondary education, contributing insights to inform discussions about the future of the academic profession.

Graduate Students Honored with K. Patricia Cross Future Leaders Award

Ten graduate students were honored as 2015 recipients of the annual K. Patricia Cross Future Leaders Award, a distinction given to graduate students who show exemplary promise as future leaders of higher education, who demonstrate a commitment to developing academic and civic responsibility in themselves and in others, and whose work reflects a strong emphasis on teaching and learning. The award is named in honor of K. Patricia Cross, professor of higher education, emerita, at the University of California, Berkeley. For more details about the 2015 recipients, see the list of Cross Award winners online. The 2015 Cross Scholars were introduced last month at AAC&U’s 2015 Annual Meeting, “Liberal Education, Global Flourishing, and the Equity Imperative,” in Washington, DC.

AAC&U Cross Scholar Kyle Whyte Named Inaugural Timnick Chair in the Humanities at Michigan State

Kyle Whyte, a 2009 AAC&U K. Patricia Cross Scholar, was recently appointed as the inaugural Timnick Chair in the Humanities in the College of Arts and Letters at Michigan State University (MSU). MSU alumnus Henry Timnick endowed the position with a $2 million gift in honor of his mother, Ottilie Schroeter Timnick, “to reflect a family belief that a well-balanced liberal education is the best foundation for any career and for a fulfilling life,” according to MSU Today. A philosopher focused on the ethical and political issues surrounding climate policy and indigenous peoples, Whyte received the K. Patricia Cross Future Leaders Award in 2009 (along with 9 other individuals), selected from more than 250 nominations. He received his PhD in Philosophy and American Indian Studies from Stony Brook University in 2009 and has taught at MSU since then.

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.


Join AAC&U's Associates Program
Please contact Dennis Renner at memberservices@aacu.org for questions about AAC&U membership.