AAC&U News, February 2021
News & Events

Meetings, Projects, and Publications

Meetings and Events

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.

Register Now: Virtual Conference on Diversity, Equity, and Student Success

Upholding These Truths: Equity, Diversity, and Democracy
March 24–26, 2021

What is the role of higher education in upholding the values of equity and diversity, and in sustaining democracy? Where are we falling short—and for whom? To explore these and related questions, the AAC&U Conference on Diversity, Equity, and Student Success will focus on a critical examination of both the perceptions and the realities of equity and diversity, and what it means to educate for democracy in a constantly changing educational and societal landscape. Such an examination is central to the cultural and mindset shifts needed not only to identify inequities and biases within our institutions and our communities but also to operationalize the values and set the goals that will lead to institutional change and higher levels of accountability.

Applications Open for AAC&U’s 2021 Virtual Summer Institutes

AAC&U’s Summer Institutes offer virtual opportunities for teams and individuals to develop and exchange best practices in support of advancing campus change initiatives. Five institutes will offer opportunities and guidance for campus teams to collaborate on a sustained project, while a sixth institute will provide professional development for early- and mid-career faculty leading projects to transform undergraduate STEM education.

Register Now for Upcoming Webinars

AAC&U webinars highlight the work being done at colleges and universities around the country to address challenges and identify best practices for enhancing the teaching and learning experience, demonstrating the value of liberal education, and preparing students to contribute to a diverse democracy and global citizenship. Join us for an array of free webinars this spring:  

Project News

Twelve Institutions Participate in the 2021 Institute on ePortfolios

Fifteen teams representing twelve institutions are participating in AAC&U’s inaugural Institute on ePortfolios. This institute provides a year-long engagement opportunity for campuses and teams seeking to actualize an ambitious strategy to broaden student and faculty/staff engagement with ePortfolios. One team from each of the eleven institutions is participating in the institute, along with four disciplinary teams from Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis. The ePortfolio Institute directly engages with campuses throughout the 2021 calendar year as participants’ ePortfolio implementation plans are put into practice. In collaboration with the Association for Authentic, Experiential, and Evidence-Based Learning (AAEEBL) and the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA), AAC&U launched the Institute on ePortfolios on January 22–23 during the 2021 Forum on Digital Learning and ePortfolios.

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.

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.

Tell Us Your Story: How Have You or Your Students Brought Racial Justice into the Classroom?

We want to hear from you! Send AAC&U a story about how you or your students brought racial justice issues into your class over the past year. What’s one way that efforts for racial justice are affecting you, your students, or your curriculum? We'll feature some of your stories in an upcoming magazine column. Send responses of less than one hundred words to Ben Dedman at dedman@aacu.org.

Higher Education Organizations Recommend Urgent Policy Changes from Biden Administration

AAC&U signed onto several letters sent on behalf of the higher education community by the American Council on Education. One letter offered for higher education institutions and associations to act as a valuable resource to contribute to a national strategy for responding to and recovering from the pandemic. Others urged the Biden Administration to restore the status of the United States as the destination of choice for global students and scholars by extending protections for DACA recipients; revising limits on immigration and visa requirements to allow international students to enter the United States; clarifying how federal funds can be allocated for undocumented students, DACA recipients, and international students; and granting conditional approval for international student graduates of STEM programs to seek employment after graduation through Optional Practical Training Extensions.

PKAL–Undergraduate STEM Education News

Apply Today: PKAL STEM Leadership Institute

Institute I: July 13-16, 2021
Institute II: July 20-23, 2021

The PKAL STEM Leadership Institute is uniquely designed for early- and mid-career STEM faculty, principal investigators, and administrators who engage in leading initiatives and interventions aimed at transforming undergraduate STEM education in their classrooms, departments, and institutions. Experiential learning is a hallmark of the PKAL STEM Leadership Institute and will remain so in its virtual form. All institute activities have been completely redesigned to offer our virtual participants the same life-changing experience, including the My Tenure Trek® simulation offered exclusively at the PKAL STEM Leadership Institute. The deadline to apply is March 16, 2021. For more information on the institute and application process, please click here.

Registration Now Open: AAC&U’s Teaching to Increase Diversity and Equity in STEM Institute

Institute I: June 7–10, 2021
Institute II: June 27–30, 2021

Registration is now open for AAC&U’s Teaching to Increase Diversity and Equity in STEM (TIDES) Virtual 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. Due to popular demand, we are excited to offer two cohorts of the TIDES Institute this year. The deadline to register is March 15, 2021. Please register early as space is limited. For more information on the institute and registration, please click here

North Carolina PKAL Regional Network Winter Meeting

February 19, 2021
Virtual Event hosted by University of North Carolina at Greensboro

Project Kaleidoscope (PKAL) and the University of North Carolina at Greensboro are pleased to announce the 2021 meeting of the North Carolina PKAL Regional Network, “Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion in STEM: Opportunities to Level the Playing Field.” This event will have two featured workshops by Dr. Jerrod Henderson on “Motivating Factors for Underrepresented Students to Stay in STEM Disciplines” and Dr. Ayesha Boyce on “Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Considerations among STEM Faculty.” The deadline to register is February 12, 2021. For more information and to register, please click here

Capital PKAL Regional Network Spring Conference

Friday, March 19, 2021
A Virtual Event hosted by University of Maryland, Baltimore County

Project Kaleidoscope and the University of Maryland, Baltimore County are pleased to announce the 2021 meeting of the Capital PKAL Regional Network, “Diverse Tools for Diverse Students: Interdisciplinary STEM Education to Increase Accessibility, Inclusion, and Success.” The deadline to register is March 12, 2021. For more information and to register, please click here.

Keystroke Institute: A CASL Leadership Development Opportunity

While the digital well of online posts, articles, op-eds, and announcements of seminal articles rarely runs dry, the value of HBCU STEM leaders and scholars remain stubbornly absent in bylines. The Center for the Advancement of STEM Leadership (CASL) Keystroke Institute seeks to redress this trend by combining monthly interactive online webinars and a four-day, virtual writing institute aimed at ensuring the narratives, perspectives, and worldviews of successful HBCU STEM leaders, from all levels of the professoriate, are captured in peer-reviewed and non-peer reviewed outlets. For more information on the CASL Keystroke Institute, check out the CASL website and follow CASL on Twitter at @weareCASL.

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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