May 2012
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Meetings and Institutes

Fall 2012 Network for Academic Renewal Conferences to Focus on Equity and Diversity, STEM Learning

Modeling Equity, Engaging Difference: New Frameworks for Diversity and Learning
October 18–20, 2012—Baltimore, Maryland
For more information, or to register, please visit:

Next Generation STEM Learning: Investigate, Innovate, Inspire
November 8–10, 2012—Kansas City, Missouri
For more information, or to register, please visit:


AAC&U’s 2013 Annual Meeting – Mark Your Calendars

The 2013 Annual Meeting will be held January 23-26, 2013, at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Atlanta, Georgia. The meeting will begin on Wednesday, January 23, with an all-day symposium on e-portfolios and the ACAD Deans’ Institute. Annual Meeting sessions will explore the principles and practices that are making quality of learning the guiding standard for innovation.  The Call for Proposals will be available June 1 with a deadline of mid-July. Please check AAC&U’s website throughout the spring for more information. We look forward to seeing you in January.



COPLAC Joins LEAP States Initiative

AAC&U and the Council of Public Liberal Arts Colleges (COPLAC) have announced that COPLAC is formally joining AAC&U’s signature national initiative, Liberal Education and America’s Promise (LEAP) as a partner organization. As part of the LEAP States initiative, COPLAC seeks to deepen its own collaborative efforts to improve and expand high-impact undergraduate research and the quality of undergraduate learning across its twenty-six member institutions. Several of its member institutions are also participating in other LEAP-sponsored projects. For more information, read the press release online.



Report from the January 2012 PKAL SoCal Regional Network Meeting Now Available

The PKAL Southern California (SoCal) Regional Network meeting on January 21, 2012, Engaged STEM Teaching—What Works?, was attended by over seventy individuals from twenty-three institutions in the Southern California region. Leading science, math, and engineering professors shared ideas about what works in their teaching and how they can take advantage of the latest research in STEM education. To learn more, read the report from this event or visit the PKAL website.


Project Highlights

Ten Institutions Chosen to Form Community College Network Focused on Civic Learning through the Humanities

AAC&U and The Democracy Commitment (TDC) recently announced the names of ten community colleges competitively chosen to take the lead in a new initiative funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities. Teams from each of these schools will participate in Bridging Cultures to Form a Nation, a three-year curriculum and faculty development project. “The community colleges in this NEH Bridging Cultures project are answering the national call to action embedded in the recently released national report A Crucible Moment: College Learning and Democracy’s Future,” said AAC&U Senior Vice President and NEH project codirector Caryn McTighe Musil. “They are targeting high-enrollment humanities courses and adopting proven civic pedagogies that together will offer more students opportunities to increase their knowledge, skills, and commitments to making our multicultural democracy in the US stronger and more effective.” For more information, read the press release online.


New Steering Committee Formed to Advance Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement, Recommendations from A Crucible Moment

AAC&U and twelve other national organizations have announced their participation in a new steering committee on Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement (CLDE) that will coordinate and expand the impact of civic learning initiatives around the country. This effort emerges from discussions among some 140 civic and educational leaders brought together during a year-long initiative sponsored by the Department of Education and coordinated by AAC&U and the Global Perspective Institute, Inc. (GPI). This initiative sponsored a series of roundtables throughout 2010–2011 and produced the report A Crucible Moment: College Learning and Democracy’s Future.


Students at Compass Project Institutions Share Their Experiences with High-Impact Practices

Susan Albertine, AAC&U vice president for engagement, inclusion, and success, AAC&U Senior Director of Assessment and Research Ashley Finley, and AAC&U Senior Director for Student Success Tia Brown McNair set off for a round of travels over two months to campuses in California, Oregon, and Wisconsin—all part of a project to conduct focus groups with students on the subject of their experiences with high-impact practices.  Supported by TG, the project builds on work of the original Give Students a Compass project. The three visited California State University campuses at Sacramento, Chico, and San Jose on March 5, 6, and 7.  They then visited Portland State University, Southern Oregon University, and Eastern Oregon University on March 12, 13, and 14.  From April 24-26, McNair and Finley visited University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee, University of Wisconsin–Oshkosh, and University of Wisconsin–Eau Claire.


Other AAC&U News

AAC&U Website Survey

AAC&U is working on upgrades and changes to our website to improve its usability and make it as easy to navigate as possible for our core constituents—the faculty, staff, and administators dedicated to improving and advancing liberal education. We want to gather input from those who already have at least some experience with our web resources. If you are one of those people and can answer a few simple questions, we would be very grateful.


Campuses and State Systems from 102 Institutions, 38 States, and 3 Countries to Attend AAC&U 2012 Summer Institutes

AAC&U recently announced the colleges, universities, and state systems sending teams to its 2012 summer institutes. Teams of five or more from 102 institutions will attend these summer institutes: the Institute on General Education and Assessment at the Hotel at Turf Valley in Ellicott City, Maryland (June 2-6, 2012); the Institute on High-Impact Practices and Student Success at Portland State University in Portland, Oregon (June 19-23, 2012); and the Institute on Integrative Learning and the Departments at the University of Vermont in Burlington, Vermont (July 11-15, 2012). All AAC&U institutes offer campus teams a time and place for sustained collaborative work on a project of importance to their campus. For a complete list of participating campuses for each institute, see the press release.


AAC&U Announces Three New Senior Fellows

AAC&U welcome three new senior fellows who will help advance the organization’s work related to the STEM fields and strengthening connections across the liberal arts and sciences. The new fellows are Nat Frazer, professor of environment and society at Utah State University; Kelly Mack, professor of biology at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore; and Linda Slakey, former director of the Division of Undergraduate Education at the National Science Foundation.


New Issue of Planning in Higher Education Features Article by AAC&U’s Terrel Rhodes

AAC&U Vice President for Quality, Curriculum, and Assessment Terrel Rhodes has an article in the latest issue of the journal Planning in Higher Education. Rhodes’ article, “Show Me the Learning: Value, Accreditation, and the Quality of the Degree,” warns against policies that prioritize degree completion without attending to quality of learning, and recommends the use of  e-portfolios and rubrics, such as those developed in AAC&U’s VALUE project, to conduct meaningful assessment of the broad learning outcomes students work toward across the curriculum.


Senior Scholar Jerry Gaff Awarded Fulbright to Work on General Education in Hong Kong

Jerry Gaff, Senior Scholar at AAC&U, has been named a Fulbright Specialist to assist Hong Kong in a historic change in its baccalaureate degree requirements that adds a fourth year of general/liberal education to conform with the American model of higher education. He will be in the Special Administrative Region of China in May and June to consult with its eight universities in implementing their new curricula that take effect in fall 2012 and with its sub-university institutions in preparing students and facilitating transfer. Gaff, a former vice president of AAC&U, has consulted with leaders of the Hong Kong America Center, which administers the Fulbright program, to plan a major conference, cosponsored by AAC&U, on liberal education in Asia, June 12-14, 2012. AAC&U President Carol Geary Schneider will deliver the keynote address at the confernece.


Assessing College Student Learning: Evaluating Alternative Models, Using Multiple Methods
Assessing College Student Learning: Evaluating Alternative Models, Using Multiple Methods
Liberal Education: The Completion Agenda
Liberal Education: The Completion Agenda

Modeling Equity, Engaging Difference: New Frameworks for Diversity and Learning
October 18–20, 2012
Baltimore, Maryland

Next Generation STEM Learning: Investigate, Innovate, Inspire
November 8–10, 2012
Kansas City, Missouri


2012 AAC&U Summer Institutes

Institute on General Education and Assessment
The Hotel at Turf Valley, Ellicott City, Maryland, June 2–6, 2012

Institute on High-Impact Practices and Student Success
Portland State University, Portland, Oregon, June 19–23, 2012

Institute on Integrative Learning and the Departments
The University of Vermont, Burlington, Vermont, July 11–15, 2012

PKAL Summer Leadership Institutes for STEM Faculty
The Baca Campus of Colorado College in Crestone, CO
Institute I: July 17–22, 2012
Institute II: July 31–August 5, 2012


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