AAC&U News: May 2015
News & Events

May 2015

Special Announcement to AAC&U Members

AAC&U President Carol Geary Schneider has announced that she will retire on June 30, 2016. “I am incredibly grateful to have had the opportunity to work with and learn from the AAC&U community since I first came to the association,” Schneider says. “But I am also well aware that every leader must choose the right time for his or her transition.” Schneider will continue to lead AAC&U through its Centennial year as the association launches its second century of work, with a renewed focus on equity and the launch of the LEAP Challenge, which invites students to articulate and embrace their own driving questions and asks higher education to ensure that students develop the skills necessary to do sustained Signature Work related to those questions. “I believe deeply in this kind of purpose-driven direction for integrative liberal learning,” Schneider says. “But, in the coming years, I will champion this important direction for liberal education and inclusive excellence as the past president of AAC&U.” Information about AAC&U’s leadership transition is available at AAC&U’s website.


Meetings and Institutes

AAC&U’s 2016 Annual Meeting—Mark Your Calendars

AAC&U’s 2016 Annual Meeting will be held January 20–23, 2016, at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Washington, DC.  The call for proposals will be available online at the end of May, with a deadline of July 17, 2015.  We invite you to check the Annual Meeting website later this month for more information.


Save the Dates: Network for Academic Renewal Conferences on Global Learning in College and STEM Education

Global Learning in College: October 8-10, 2015, Fort Lauderdale, Florida

As diverse peoples, cultures, religions, and ideas move around the world, how are educators collaborating across disciplines, campuses, and communities to advance global learning in ways that more effectively prepare students to address real-world issues and make the world a better place for all? AAC&U’s conference Global Learning in College: Defining, Developing, and Assessing Institutional Roadmaps will examine how faculty and administrators are defining, developing, and assessing global learning programs and practices that prepare students to explore issues from multiple perspectives and across disciplines—and to apply what they learn to real-world situations. Complete registration information will be available June 1.

Transforming STEM Education: November 12–14, 2015, Seattle, Washington

Crossing Boundaries: Transforming STEM Education will address the national imperative to produce more competitively trained and liberally educated STEM graduates.  It is designed to assist colleges and universities as they work to make inclusive excellence the foundation for institutional purpose and educational practice. This conference will focus on the inextricable link between increasing STEM baccalaureate degree earners and ensuring a scientifically literate citizenry. Issues to be addressed will include integrative, cross-disciplinary STEM teaching and learning; inclusive excellence and broadening participation in STEM; STEM faculty support and reward systems; and institutional transformation to advance hands-on learning and to increase all students’ achievement of key STEM learning outcomes. Complete registration information will be available August 1.


Faculty and Administrative Teams from 109 Institutions and 37 States to Attend AAC&U 2015 Summer Institutes

AAC&U recently announced the colleges, universities, and state systems sending teams to its 2015 summer institutes. Teams of five or more participants from 109 institutions will attend these summer institutes: the Institute on General Education and Assessment at the University of Central Oklahoma in Edmond, OK (June 2-6, 2015); the Institute on High-Impact Practices and Student Success at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in Madison, WI (June 9-13, 2015); and the Institute on Integrative Learning and the Departments at the University of Delaware in Newark, DE (July 14-18, 2015). These three AAC&U institutes offer campus teams a time and place for sustained collaborative work on a project of importance to their campus; for a list of participating institutions, see this press release. AAC&U also will announce soon the faculty members participating in the Project Kaleidoscope Summer Leadership Institutes for STEM Faculty. The PKAL Institutes are designed to prepare early and mid-career STEM faculty for roles as effective agents of change in transforming undergraduate STEM education at the departmental, institutional, and national levels.


Meeting the LEAP Challenge

Bring the AAC&U Centennial to Your Campus

As part of its Centennial year, AAC&U is intensifying its focus on the connections between high-quality liberal learning and Americans' global future and the changes needed to drive equitable access to high-quality learning for the millions of students who remain underserved at all levels of our educational system. We invite and encourage our members to join with us in advancing campus-based dialogue and action related to equity and inclusive excellence. For additional information about bringing AAC&U’s Centennial to your campus—including discussion prompts, resources, and a listserv for sharing ideas and results—at our website.

New Tools for Campus Work on Equity and Inclusive Excellence

As part of its Centennial year, AAC&U has developed a set of resources to advance the “equity imperative” throughout 2015 and beyond. America’s Unmet Promise: The Imperative for Equity in Higher Education is a deep dive into the research on student success, including college completion and educational opportunity. It also provides frameworks and principles for evaluating equity and advancing institutional change. Step Up and Lead for Equity presents, in a simple, straightforward flow, data about the societal imperative for equity, economic divides, attainment and achievement gaps, and access to quality learning. Alongside Committing to Equity and Inclusive Excellence, a companion guide for self-study and planning, Step Up and Lead can help campuses develop action plans to advance inclusive excellence and bring together work for advancing equity and high-quality learning.

Single and bulk copies of Step Up and Committing to Equity are available at no cost; individuals are requested to pay the cost of shipping only.

Optimistic, but Are They Prepared? AAC&U Releases Findings from New Survey of College Students

AAC&U has released “Optimistic About the Future, But How Well Prepared? College Students’ Views on College Learning and Career Success,” a report summarizing findings from a national survey and three focus groups of college students commissioned by AAC&U and conducted by Hart Research Associates. The findings suggest that the majority of college students (63 percent) at both two-year and four-year institutions understand what employers have been saying for years—having both field-specific knowledge and a broad range of skills is important for recent college graduates to achieve long-term career success.  Students also agree with employers on the most important cross-cutting learning outcomes key to career success.  For the full report and slides from this and other LEAP-sponsored surveys, see AAC&U's public opinion research page.

Student Advisory Group at Indiana University Takes the Lead on High-Impact Practices

Using their own analysis and resources from AAC&U’s LEAP initiative, a student advisory board, known as the Board of Aeons, is asking the administration of Indiana University Bloomington to implement high-impact educational practices (HIPs) more widely at the university and encourage greater student participation in these practices. After analyzing results from the National Survey of Student Engagement and conducting surveys with students, faculty, and advisors, the student board recommended that the university require earlier participation in HIPs for all students; provide training for faculty and advisors to help them guide students toward appropriate HIPs; collect more and better data on students’ participation; and focus university messaging “to reflect a higher standard for student success.” 


Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement Network News

Funding from BTtoP Available for Well-Being Seminars and Research Grants

Bringing Theory to Practice (BTtoP) is requesting proposals for its 2015-2017 funding cycle. Current grant opportunities emphasize “the connections of learning opportunities (both inside and outside the classroom, including civic experiences) to the well-being of students, particularly those historically underserved by higher education.”  Seminars grants are for $1,000, with a September 15, 2015, deadline; research grants are for $10,000, with an August 1, 2015, deadline.

Civic Engagement Conferences and Institutes this June

Campus Compact will host the 2015 Upper Midwest Civic Engagement Summit, “The Global Is Local: Civic Engagement across Cultures, Communities, and Nations,” at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, MN, June 9-10. Meanwhile, the Bonner Program is celebrating its twenty-fifth anniversary, beginning first with a symposium with presidents and board of trustee members and followed by its annual Student Leadership Institute, to be held June 10–13 at Davidson College in Davidson, NC.  Imagining America is also hosting its 3rd Annual Organizing Institute in Baltimore, MD, June 12-14, 2015. This event will be hosted by the Maryland Institute College of Art’s (MICA’s) Office of Community Engagement and MICA Place in partnership with the University of Maryland Baltimore County and Alternate ROOTS.

Bringing Theory to Practice, Campus Compact, the Bonner Foundation, and Imagining America 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 and 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.


Project News

New Publication on General Education Transformation

AAC&U announces the publication of General Education Transformed: How We Can, Why We Must, by Paul L. Gaston. This publication calls for a re-envisioning of general education with clear, purposeful pathways for all students, allowing them to actively demonstrate their learning through high-impact practices and teaching strategies that are transferable across disciplines, departments, institutions, and even state systems. Reflecting the core vision articulated in General Education Maps and Markers: Designing Meaningful Pathways to Student Achievement, it addresses student success in terms of both college completion and achievement of essential twenty-first-century learning outcomes. General Education Transformed is the third monograph to be published as part of AAC&U’s initiative General Education Maps and Markers.

New Case Studies, Inquiry-Based Course Modules from STIRS Initiative Now Available

AAC&U recently released sixteen peer-reviewed case studies as part of the Scientific Thinking and Integrative Reasoning Skills (STIRS) initiative. The STIRS initiative was launched in 2012 to develop curriculum resources to improve the capacity of undergraduate students to use evidence to solve problems and make decisions. The case studies—available at no cost—present adaptable assignments and modules that can be used in a range of undergraduate courses across the disciplines. Each case study includes a student case and a facilitator’s guide, which features suggestions for ways to assess student learning and linkage to AAC&U's VALUE rubrics and STIRS competencies.


Other News

AAC&U President Comments on Senate Committee White Paper on Accreditation

Responding to a call for comments, AAC&U President Carol Geary Schneider sent a statement to Senator Lamar Alexander and the Senate HELP Committee urging policy makers, as they consider changes to the accreditation process, to “prioritize first and foremost the goal of ensuring that all college students participate in high-quality programs that are well-designed to advance a set of essential learning outcomes … and that accredited institutions make visible their commitment to these learning outcomes and students’ demonstrated achievement of them.”  Read the Senate HELP Committee White Paper on “Higher Education Accreditation: Concepts and Proposals,” President Schneider’s entire statement, and the earlier AAC&U Board Statement, “Our Students’ Best Work: A Framework for Accountability Worthy of Our Mission.”

AAC&U Remembers Margaret L. “Peggy” Neal

AAC&U expresses sincere condolences to the family, friends, and colleagues of Margaret L. “Peggy” Neal, who passed away on March 8, 2015, after a long struggle with a serious illness.  A librarian by training, Neal worked at AAC&U from 1991 to 1998 serving as both assistant to the president and director of membership and external affairs.  During the presidency of Paula Brownlee, Peggy helped to strengthen AAC&U’s outreach to member institutions and was instrumental in setting up AAC&U’s first member database and in developing AAC&U’s early efforts to provide educational change resources to guide member reforms on the World Wide Web. See Paula Brownlee’s comments on Peggy Neal’s passing.

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 $60 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 now 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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