AAC&U News, October 2020
News & Events

Meetings, Projects, and Publications

Meetings and Events

Register Now: Virtual Conference on Transforming STEM Higher Education

This Changes Everything
November 5–7, 2020

This conference from AAC&U and its Project Kaleidoscope will examine the entire range of contemporary challenges to—and opportunities for—STEM higher education reform. The conference will convene STEM faculty, national experts, and thought leaders; share effective STEM teaching and learning strategies; reveal the latest in STEM education research; and deeply engage in topics that are critical to the reform of STEM higher education.

Register Now: AAC&U’s Virtual Annual Meeting

Revolutionizing Higher Education after Covid-19
January 20–23, 2021

The 2021 AAC&U Annual Meeting will be an entirely virtual event to ensure the health and safety of meeting participants, our staff, and the public. In addition to the full program, the virtual meeting experience will be designed to provide opportunities for the engagement and interaction that the AAC&U community has come to expect from our annual meetings. In this moment of unprecedented transformation and uncertainty, and in the broader context of an urgent need to educate students for democracy, can higher education harness the resilience, creativity, and innovation that have been unleashed by the COVID-19 crisis and emerge from it strengthened? Will the inevitable restructuring and reorganization intentionally prioritize quality, equity, and inclusion? The 2021 annual meeting will explore these urgent questions now facing colleges and universities. Sharing effective educational practices and exploring new financial models, campus leaders at all levels and from institutions of all types will together begin to work out what undergraduate education will look like in a post-pandemic future.

Call for Proposals: Virtual Conference on General Education, Pedagogy, and Assessment

Embracing the Best Emerging Practices for Quality and Equity
February 1113, 2021
Proposals are due November 16, 2020.

While higher education was already experiencing significant change and turbulence before 2020, few of us would have imagined the upheaval colleges and universities experienced from spring break through today. AAC&U’s 2021 Conference on General Education, Pedagogy, and Assessment invites colleagues from all areas of the higher education landscape to join us in sharing efforts to create intentional and integrated general education programs that grapple with contemporary challenges, assess our current practices, and generate high-quality educational experiences for all students.

Webinar: “Fostering Student Success through Equity-Minded Peer Tutoring”

November 2, 2020, 2:00–3:00 p.m. (ET)

Do peer tutoring and other educationally purposeful peer interactions, or EPPIs, (a term coined by George Kuh) have the same benefits for students as more widely recognized high-impact practices? This webinar will introduce the EPPI concept, and panelists will discuss ongoing research on the potential of EPPIs to promote equity and student success, especially in a virtual world.

Webinar: “Closing the Perceptions Gap Among Stakeholders on the Work Readiness of College Graduates”

October 28, 2020, 2:00 p.m. (ET)

Small percentages of US adults, C-level business executives, and university trustees believe college grads are well-prepared for the workplace, while the vast majority of college provosts are confident their schools are doing a job preparing students for their careers. Clearly, we are not all on the same page. How much of it is a perceived gap versus a real gap? This webinar is in partnership with Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges (AGB) and Kaplan.

Project News

Registration Opening Soon for AAC&U’s 2020–21 VALUE Institute

AAC&U’s VALUE Institute enables any higher education institution, department, program, state, consortium, or provider to utilize the VALUE rubrics approach to assessment by collecting and uploading samples of student work to a digital repository and have the work scored by certified VALUE Institute faculty and other educator scorers for external validation of institutional learning assessment. If your institution, program, state system, or consortium—national or international—has an interest in participating in the VALUE Institute, please review the “Interest in VALUE Institute Participation“ page, discuss the contents with colleagues, and send an email to valueinstitute@aacu.org to schedule an initial consultation. Registration will be opening on October 28, 2020. More details can also be found here.

Voter Participation Resources

While every election is an opportunity to highlight AAC&U’s longstanding commitment to democratic and civic engagement as a vital component of a liberal education, that commitment means more than ever at this time of national reckoning with racial injustice. In the words of Bernard Lafayette, veteran civil rights leader and advisor to AAC&U’s Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation Campus Centers effort, “You can’t deal with all of the problems at once. Right now, I would urge a focus on voter registration and voter participation. This is an opportunity that we might not have again in our immediate future.” In that spirit, AAC&U has created a collection of voter engagement resources, including a new video discussion with Dr. Lafayette.

Call for Papers: “International Journal of ePortfolio”

The International Journal of ePortfolio (IJeP), a peer-reviewed journal, is now accepting manuscripts for consideration in its spring 2021 issue. The mission of IJeP is to encourage the study of practices and pedagogies associated with ePortfolios in educational settings. The journal’s focus includes the explanation, interpretation, application, and dissemination of researcher, practitioner, and developer experiences. AAC&U publishes IJeP twice a year, employing a rolling submission process. Those wishing to be considered for the spring 2021 issue should use December 1, 2020, as a submission deadline. The review process generally takes less than ninety days.

PKAL–Undergraduate STEM Education News

Register Now for AAC&U STEM Conference Pre-Conference Workshops

Pre-conference workshops for AAC&U’s Virtual Conference on Transforming STEM Higher Education are now available as singular, sequential events from November 2 to 4—not the usual concurrent strategy used in the past. This allows participants a rare opportunity to attend as many as you’d like. AAC&U is also offering a discounted rate on the pre-conference workshops if you choose to attend more than one. If you register for two, the third one is free! For more information on the 2020 AAC&U Transforming STEM Higher Education Conference (November 5–7) and to register for the Pre-Conference Workshops, click here.

Plenary Speakers Announced for the 2020 AAC&U STEM Conference

We are excited to announce the plenary speakers for AAC&U’s Virtual Conference on Transforming STEM Higher Education, which will be held November 5–7. On November 5, Dr. David Asai, Senior Director for Science Education at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, will share his thoughts on the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead for STEM reformers, especially as the political climate in our nation shifts away from justice and equity. November 7 will feature Dr. Joan Gallos, Professor Emerita and Former Vice President for Academic Affairs at Wheelock College. The conference will conclude with a closing plenary by Dr. Sharon Fries Britt, Professor of Higher Education at the University of Maryland, College Park in the Department of Counseling, Higher Education, and Special Education (CHSE).

Call for Proposals: 2020 Massachusetts PKAL Winter Meeting

We are now accepting proposals for the 2021 Massachusetts PKAL Winter Meeting, “STEM Ed in the Time of COVID-19.” Worchester Polytechnic Institute will host this meeting virtually on January 7, 2021. Proposals are welcomed that explore key lessons learned during the pandemic, including efforts to engage students in online hybrid formats, employing COVID-19 as subject matter, transitioning hands-on learning to online platforms, and other changes necessitated by the pandemic. The submission deadline is December 14, 2020. For more information and to submit a proposal, click here.

Other News

The National Academies Call for College and University to Share Experiences with COVID-19 Testing Strategies

Please join the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine for a series of public information gathering sessions to understand the experiences of colleges and universities in implementing COVID-19 testing strategies. 

  • Session 1: Wednesday, October 28: 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. (ET)
  • Session 2: Wednesday, October 28: 2:30–4:30 p.m. (ET)
  • Session 3: Thursday, October 29: 12:00–2:00 p.m. (ET)
  • Session 4: Thursday. October 29: 3:00–5:00 p.m. (ET)

In addition, the National Academies is seeking input from colleges and universities to inform a forthcoming rapid report on the various COVID-19 testing strategies that are being employed or planned. If your institution is interested in contributing, please fill out this questionnaire by October 29.

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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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