Frederic W. Ness Book Award

The Award

Established in 1979 to honor AAC&U’s ninth president, the Frederic W. Ness Book Award recognizes outstanding contributions to the understanding and improvement of liberal education. A mark of distinction for both authors and publishers, the award, which includes an honorarium of $2,000, is presented at AAC&U's annual meeting.

To be eligible for the award, a book must focus on liberal education as an evolving tradition, on the role and value of liberal education in a particular context or setting, or on an issue or topic in postsecondary education that is discussed substantially in relation to liberal education. Nonfiction and fiction books by single or multiple authors in print or digital formats are all eligible for consideration.

2023 Frederic W. Ness Book Award Winner

The New College Classroom by Cathy N. Davidson and Christina Katopodis

The New College Classroom helps instructors in all disciplines create an environment that is truly conducive to learning. Davidson and Katopodis translate cutting-edge research in learning science and pedagogy into ready-to-use strategies to incorporate into any course. These empirically driven, classroom-tested techniques of active learning―from the participatory syllabus and ungrading to grab-and-go activities for every day of the term―have achieved impressive results at community colleges and research universities, on campus, online, and in hybrid settings.

Read the press release.

Previous Ness Book Award Winners

    • Fugitive Pedagogy: Carter G. Woodson and the Art of Black Teaching by Jarvis R. Givens (Harvard University Press, 2021)
    • The Campus Color Line: College Presidents and the Struggle for Black Freedom by Eddie R. Cole (Princeton University Press, 2020)
    • Moving Up Without Losing Your Way: The Ethical Cost of Upward Mobility by Jennifer M. Morton (Princeton University Press, 2019)
    • Jim Crow Campus: Higher Education and the Struggle for a New Southern Social Order by Joy Ann Williamson-Lott (Teachers College Press, 2018)
    • The New Education: How to Revolutionize the University to Prepare Students for a World in Flux by Cathy N. Davidson (Basic Books, 2017)
    • Beyond the Skills Gap: Preparing College Students for Life and Work by Matthew T. Hora with Ross J. Benbow and Amanda K. Oleson (Harvard Education Press, 2016)
    • The Aims of Higher Education: Problems of Morality and Justice, edited by Harry Brighouse and Michael McPherson (University of Chicago Press, 2015)
    • Beyond the University: Why Liberal Education Matters by Michael S. Roth (Yale University Press, 2014)
    • Teaching Naked: How Moving Technology Out of Your College Classroom Will Improve Student Learning by José Antonio Bowen (Jossey-Bass, 2012)
    • Rethinking Undergraduate Business Education: Liberal Learning for the Profession by Anne Colby, Thomas Ehrlich, William M. Sullivan, and Jonathan R. Dolle (Jossey-Bass, 2011
    • Why Choose the Liberal Arts? by Mark W. Roche (University of Notre Dame Press, 2010)
    • Tearing Down the Gates: Confronting the Class Divide in American Education by Peter Sacks (University of California Press, 2007)
    • Our Underachieving Colleges: A Candid Look at How Much Students Learn and Why They Should Be Learning More by Derek Bok (Princeton University Press, 2006)
    • Saving Higher Education in the Age of Money by James Engell and Anthony Dangerfield (University of Virginia Press, 2005)
    • Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books by Azar Nafisi (Random House, 2003)
    • Historical Thinking and Other Unnatural Acts: Charting the Future of Teaching the Past by Sam Wineburg (Temple University Press, 2001)
    • Cultivating Humanity: A Classical Defense of Reform in Liberal Education by Martha C. Nussbaum (Harvard University Press, 1997)
    • A Life in School: What the Teacher Learned by Jane Tompkins (Basic Books, 1996)
    • Idealism and Liberal Education by James O. Freedman (University of Michigan Press, 1996)
    • Beyond Utility: Liberal Education for a Technological Age by Athanasios Moulakis (University of Missouri Press, 1994)
    • Beyond the Culture Wars: How Teaching the Conflicts Can Revitalize American Education by Gerald Graff (W.W. Norton, 1992)
    • Undergraduate Education: Goals and Means by Rudolph H. Weingartner (ACE-Oryx Press, 1991)
    • Liberal Education: Critical Essays on Professions, Pedagogy and Structure by Frederick S. Weaver (Teachers College Press, 1991)
    • Transforming Knowledge by Elizabeth Kamarck Minnich (Temple University Press, 1990)