AAC&U News, July 2020
News & Events

Meetings, Projects, and Publications

Meetings and Institutes

Call for Proposals: AAC&U’s Annual Meeting

Revolutionizing Higher Education after COVID-19
January 20–23, 2021, Seattle, Washington
Proposals are due July 20, 2020

AAC&U is now accepting proposals for the 2021 Annual Meeting, which will bring together campus leaders at all levels and from institutions of all types to explore what undergraduate education will look like in a post-pandemic future.

Call for Proposals: Annual Forum on Digital Learning and ePortfolios

Digital Learning in a Time of Transformation
January 22–23, 2021, Seattle, Washington
Proposals are due July 20, 2020.

As new models for online education materialize in the wake of COVID-19, it is imperative that institutions keep quality and equity as their central goals. Held January 22–23 in conjunction with AAC&U’s 2021 Annual Meeting, the 12th Annual Forum on Digital Learning and ePortfolios will offer interactive sessions for participants to share emerging best practices and research.

Plenaries from Last Month’s Institute on Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation Campus Centers Available Online

Recordings of plenary sessions from the 2020 Institute on Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation Campus Centers are freely available online. Featuring higher education leaders from AAC&U, the Ntianu Garden: Center for Healing and Nature, the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change, and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, these conversations can help institutions prepare the next generation of strategic leaders and critical thinkers to promote racial healing and to catalyze efforts to address current inequities grounded in notions of a racial hierarchy.

On-Demand Webinar Series on “Quality, Equity, and Inclusion during the COVID Crisis”

As the higher education community responds to the COVID-19 pandemic, AAC&U is offering a series of webinars to support those at the forefront of efforts to maintain the commitment to quality, equity, and inclusion. Thanks to generous support from Microsoft, the webinars are available on demand at no cost.

Project News

New Publication on Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation Campus Centers

We Hold These Truths: Dismantling Racial Hierarchies, Building Equitable Communities, edited by Tia Brown McNair, describes the work of Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation (TRHT) Campus Centers at colleges and universities across the country to dismantle the tools that perpetuate oppression and entrenched racial hierarchies. By creating positive narratives about race, identifying and examining current realities of race relations in communities, pinpointing levers for change, and engaging key individuals, the narratives included in this volume illustrate the power of what can be accomplished when you have a vision for change.

AAC&U Launches New Blog on Liberal Education, Including a Series on “Next-Gen Assessment”

AAC&U has launched the Liberal Education Blog to highlight critical issues and vital work in higher education. Recent articles have explored how liberal education can help our institutions seek racial justice, improve affordability for students and institutions, and teach for liberal learning in a pandemic. The blog also launched a new “Next-Gen Assessment” multimedia series for educators transitioning online. We invite your participation! Join the conversation on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn, or by sending submissions to dedman@aacu.org.

New Issue of “Liberal Education” on “Democracy in Action”

When it comes to “Democracy in Action”—this issue's theme—the stakes have always been high. The COVID-19 pandemic is simply laying bare just how much was already at stake. This issue considers policies to make college more accessible and affordable and looks at the role of colleges and universities in furthering and protecting democratic participation. It is essential that educators ensure students are informed about the issues and that they get out to vote—even if it means ensuring they cast their ballots by mail this November.

AAC&U Receives New Grant to Help Faculty Improve Course Assignments

grant from the Arthur Vining Davis Foundations will extend AAC&U’s pilot faculty development programs designed to improve the effectiveness of course assignments. It will also support an examination of faculty expectations across student groups and the creation of a new tool for assessing the alignment between course assignments and expected learning outcomes.

PKAL–Undergraduate STEM Education News

Turning the Kaleidoscope: Eyes on Systems of Oppression in STEM Higher Ed

At such a turbulent time in our nation’s history, the need for effective leadership that is adept at recognizing and dismantling systems of oppression is strikingly apparent—particularly in STEM higher education. A multi-identity coalition of STEM academics and professionals issued a call for Black academics to participate in an “academic strike” named #shutdownSTEM on June 10 in order to create space for our non-Black colleagues to take actions that will materially change the systems and circumstances that negatively affect the lives and livelihoods of Black STEM academics. In response to this call, our Project Kaleidoscope community leaders let our executive director rest and stepped up to lead a live Twitter chat, “Turning the Kaleidoscope: Eyes on Systems of Oppression in STEM Higher Ed.” The chat featured raw, open, and honest discussions on reconciling our complicity with the oppressive systems and structures of the STEM academy, the power of self-reflection, the origins of courage, and the importance of authenticity in our leadership of STEM reform. To view and help us continue these important conversations, follow us @WeArePKAL.

Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement (CLDE) Action Network News

AAC&U Offers Online Resources for Education, Anti-Racism, and Assessment

AAC&U Civic Prompts: Learning in the Major offers online resources for members of higher education committed to engaged, participatory, and collective civic learning. This page offers resources in three areas: online civic engagement strategies during COVID-19, anti-racism resources, and ways to assess student civic learning.

Imagining America Hosts August Webinar and Releases New Issue of “Public”

Imagining America’s Teaching and Learning Circle is hosting an online webinar on August 12 for member campuses with Colette Cann and Eric DeMeulenaere, authors of the new book The Activist Academic: Engaged Scholarship for Resistance, Hope, and Social Change. Registration is coming in July. They also released a special issue of Public: A Journal of Imagining America on “Beyond Mass Incarceration: New Horizons of Liberation and Freedom.” This issue features a letter by editor Ofelia Ortiz Cuevas in which she tells a story about asking her race and prison class to reimagine reallocating funds from the California prison system to practices that would make communities feel safe and secure.

Kettering Foundation Offers a Look Back to 2017 Forums on National Issues

The Kettering Foundation has released a report in collaboration with the National Issues Forum Networks on “Safety, Justice, and Policing: Insights from 2017 Forums That Speak to Today.” The 2017 forums revealed profound and widespread concerns on the role of law enforcement.

Statements on Racial Justice from Interfaith Youth Core and IDHE

Interfaith Youth Core (IFYC) released a statement committing to interfaith leadership and racial equality. The statement includes actionable items IFYC is dedicated to completing in the coming year. The Institute for Democracy and Higher Education (IDHE) also released a statement on campus action and racial injustice. IDHE Director Nancy Thomas details campus actions, links to other resources, and pledges to help shape a more just and inclusive democracy.

Award and Fellowship Opportunities from Campus Compact and Imagining America

Campus Compact is now accepting applications for the 2020 Campus Compact Impact Awards. The Impact Awards recognize individuals and institutions for their achievement in advancing the public purposes of higher education through the Ernest A. Lynton Award for the Scholarship and Engagement for Early-Career Faculty and the Thomas Ehrlich Civically Engaged Faculty Award. Applications are being accepted through September 15, 2020. Imagining America’s Publicly Active Graduate Education (PAGE) Fellowship and the Joy of Giving Something (JGS) Fellows program are both currently accepting applications through Friday, July 17, 2020.

CIRCLE Joins Rock the Vote’s Democracy Summer

The Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE) has joined Rock the Vote in support of their virtual Democracy Summer. This initiative hopes to register more than 200,000 voters before the election by hosting digital campaigns, events, and trainings for young people. Democracy Summer aims to educate and mobilize youth voters through the use of social media and pop culture in a time when politics and celebrity are crossing paths more and more.

Campus Compact, CIRCLE, Imagining America, Interfaith Youth Core, Institute for Democracy and Higher Education, and the Kettering Foundation are members of the CLDE Action Network, an alliance of twelve 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.

Other News

Statement on Higher Education’s Role in Promoting Racial Healing

In a recent statement, AAC&U and the TRHT Campus Center at Hamline University call on higher education to play a leadership role in addressing racism and white supremacy, the issues at the center of protests across the country and around the world demanding justice for George Floyd. “Our individual and collective efforts as higher education leaders must include specific actions for eliminating racism,” the statement says. “We have a responsibility to speak the truth that racism exists at our institutions and in our communities. We have a responsibility to listen to our students, our colleagues, and our community partners when they are ready to share their truth. We have a responsibility to act and to not stand silent.”

New Publication: “Teaching for Liberal Learning in Higher Education”

By Mary Taylor Huber

Conversations about liberal education typically focus broadly on mission, goals, curricula, cocurricular educational opportunities, or overall student outcomes. Conversations about teaching and learning, by contrast, are more granular, focusing on what happens in the classroom, the teaching practices that faculty individually or collectively elect to use, or how a course or learning experience is designed, delivered, assessed, and improved. This ebook brings these discourses together to explore what is known about teaching practices that promote liberal learning in higher education.

AAC&U Advocates for DACA, International Students, and Additional Support during COVID-19

In June, AAC&U released a statement celebrating the US Supreme Court ruling that keeps in place the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. AAC&U also joined the American Council on Education and other higher education associations in writing to several federal departments in response to a recent executive order on immigration. The associations outlined the role international students play in the US economy, their contributions to education and research, and some of the issues these students and colleges and universities will likely face in the fall. Finally, AAC&U and other higher education associations wrote to Congress to ask for more assistance for colleges in the wake of COVID-19, including additional support packages and the expansion of emergency loan programs.

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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