AAC&U News, December 2020
News & Events

Meetings, Projects, and Publications

Meetings and Events

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.

Register Now: Annual Meeting Pre-Meeting Symposium

Higher Education’s Response to This Moment of Racial Reckoning
January 20–23, 2021, 1:00–4:00 p.m. (ET)

As individuals around the world were adjusting to the uncertainty and transformation that has resulted from the COVID-19 crisis, longstanding inequities prompted a global outcry against racial injustice. People rose up in protest in every US state and in more than sixty countries. The symposium will provide opportunities for all campus stakeholders to come together for sustained discussion of how higher education is—or ought to be—responding to this moment of racial reckoning. Symposium participants will consider relevant research, promising practices, and new strategies for meeting the moment. 

Register Now: Virtual Conference on General Education, Pedagogy, and Assessment

Embracing the Best Emerging Practices for Quality and Equity
February 11–13, 2021

After moving beyond the emergency remote teaching of spring 2020 and a summer of largely remote instruction, colleges and universities are exercising instructional agility in a range of new models and approaches. As we look to the future, this moment provides an excellent opportunity to reflect upon our practices, to determine which were effective and which require revision, and to ask ourselves whether these practices serve quality learning and further our equity goals or whether they serve to erode those aspirations. Conference sessions will highlight new approaches to general education, pedagogy, and assessment that  (1) promote the integration of knowledge and the development of higher-order learning, skills, and abilities;  (2) connect with the learning goals of the major; (3) serve as the foundation for equity in preparing current and future civic leaders;  (4) act as potentially powerful tools for retention, completion, and proficiency; (5) and provide valuable and enduring professional development for the current and future workforce.

Apply Now: 2021 Institute on General Education and Assessment

June 8–11, 2021
Virtual Learning Experience
Applications due February 26, 2021

The Institute on General Education and Assessment (IGEA) provides campus teams with opportunities to refine and advance general education programs and their assessment. The institute conveys a deep and abiding commitment to ensuring that access to excellence in higher education is available to all students, striving towards a vision of education that is energized by students’ multiple and intersecting identities. During the institute, campus teams will design equity-minded approaches to integrating general education with the major, demonstrating the centrality of general education in connecting student learning with critical social issues that matter to students and society and that are intentionally aligned with the learning outcomes identified as essential for student success in students’ lives, their communities, and the workplace.

Project News

Graduate Students Honored with K. Patricia Cross Future Leaders Award

AAC&U has announced the nine recipients of the annual K. Patricia Cross Future Leaders Award. This award recognizes graduate students who show exemplary promise as future leaders of higher education and who are committed to academic innovation in the areas of equity, community engagement, and teaching and learning. The awards honor the work of K. Patricia Cross, professor of higher education, emerita, at the University of California, Berkeley. The 2021 recipients are Terri Dunbar, Engineering Psychology, Georgia Institute of Technology; Eliaquin Gonell, Education Leadership and Policy Studies, University of Vermont; Devon Isaacs, Clinical/Counseling Psychology, Utah State University; Megan Massa, Neuroscience, University of California–Los Angeles; Kristen Nelson, Sociology, University of California–Berkeley; Rachel Perez-Udell, Plant Biology, University of Georgia; Tatiane Russo-Tait, STEM Education, University of Texas at Austin; Meshell Sturgis, Communication, University of Washington; and Ashleen Williams, History, University of Mississippi.

AAC&U Announces Winner of the 2020 Ness Book Award

Moving Up Without Losing Your Way: The Ethical Cost of Upward Mobility is the winner of the 2020 Frederic W. Ness Book Award. The annual award, which recognizes the book that best contributes to the understanding and improvement of liberal education, will be presented to author Jennifer M. Morton during AAC&U’s 2021 Virtual Annual Meeting.

New Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation Campus Center at Jacksonville State University (AL)

AAC&U’s office of Diversity, Equity, and Student Success (DESS) is pleased to introduce Jacksonville State University in Jacksonville, Alabama, as the newest addition to the cohort of colleges and universities currently hosting Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation (TRHT) Campus Centers. As a learning-centered community, Jacksonville State University’s mission is to “provide distinctive educational, cultural, and social experiences to prepare students to be competent, ethical professionals and engaged, responsible, global citizens.” We welcome Jacksonville State University as the twenty-sixth TRHT Campus Center and thank them for their important efforts in promoting Truth, Racial Healing, & Transformation on their campus and within their community.

Registration Open 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. More details can also be found here.

New Issue of the “International Journal of ePortfolio”

The International Journal of ePortfolio encourages the study of practices and pedagogies associated with ePortfolios in educational settings. Highlights from the latest issue include examining ePortfolio persistence beyond the program of study; ePortfolios as a high- impact practice in general education; and leveraging ePortfolios to foster civic and scientific literacy.

Enroll Your Campus in the National COVID-19 Higher Education Student Impact Study

AAC&U is partnering with Columbia University’s Global Psychiatric Epidemiology Group (GPEG) research team to support the federally funded National COVID-19 Higher Ed Student Impact Study examining the effects of COVID-19 on student well-being, decision-making, and academic and life outcomes. The longitudinal cohort study aims to help colleges and universities better support students’ learning, whether on campus or online, by understanding how the pandemic has shaped their lives and choices. Participating campuses will receive a summary data report that can be used to facilitate campus action strategies for addressing students’ college engagement, socio-emotional needs, and career development. Additionally, student and campus participants will receive access to services for any students whose responses indicate imminent suicidal behavior. If you would like to enroll your campus in study, please indicate your interest on the School Participation Form. Questions about the study can be directed to the lead researcher, Larkin S. McReynolds.

PKAL–Undergraduate STEM Education News

Save the Date: 2021 Virtual PKAL STEM Leadership Institute

Institute I: July 13–18, 2021
Institute II: July 20–25, 2021

Register now for the 2021 PKAL STEM Leadership Institute. This institute—uniquely designed for early- to mid-career faculty, principal investigators, and administrators—awakens and sensitizes its participants to the systems, structures, and influences of power and privilege within higher education, equipping them with the tools and skills needed to bring about social change in STEM. Application information is coming soon.

Register Now: 2021 AAC&U TIDES Institute

Institute I: June 7–11, 2021
Institute II: June 27–July 1, 2021
Register now for the 2021 AAC&U Teaching to Increase Diversity and Equity in STEM (TIDES) Institute. The AAC&U TIDES Institute derived from our evidence-based professional development model, offers a unique opportunity for STEM faculty to build capacity and self-efficacy in understanding the root causes of minority group underrepresentation in STEM and their unique role in addressing them. Through uniquely designed presentations and experiential activities, as well as expert-guided discussions with institution transformation coaches, this institute overcomes the limitations of the one-size-fits-all approach to STEM faculty professional development for improved undergraduate STEM teaching. For more information in the TIDES institute and to register, click here.

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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