Announcement to AAC&U Membership

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Dear Colleagues,

AAC&U is an extraordinary community. Our members are drawn together by a shared commitment to the enduring value of liberal education and by a restless quest to adapt the practices of liberal education to the challenges of an interconnected world and for the benefit of contemporary college students, in all their diversity. The AAC&U staff also are incredible colleagues, and our community is enriched by their dedication. 

I am incredibly grateful to have had the opportunity to work with and learn from the AAC&U community since I first came to the association, initially as a vice president, and, since 1998, as president. But I am also well aware that every leader must choose the right time for his or her transition. In this spirit, I have been thinking hard, in close consultation with the board, about the right time to conclude my service as leader for this community.

At the board’s request, I agreed to shepherd AAC&U through its Centennial Year in 2015. I also agreed to work with the board, staff, and community to frame and help launch AAC&U’s “second century.” The result of this planning is the LEAP Challenge, the next phase of AAC&U’s work on Liberal Education and America’s Promise. The LEAP Challenge represents our shared view of the best way to make liberal education both empowering for every student and renewing for our society at large. The LEAP Challenge invites students to articulate and embrace their own driving questions, and it asks higher education to ensure that students develop the knowledge, skills, experiences, and ethical responsibility to do sustained, significant “signature work”—with faculty and other mentors—related to those questions.

I believe deeply in this kind of purpose-driven direction for integrative liberal learning. I believe it is a crucial innovation to help anchor student learning as we move into a digital age. 

But, in the coming years, I will champion this important direction for liberal education and inclusive excellence as the past president of AAC&U.

June 30, 2016, will mark the end of my term as president. I know that, with an extraordinary board and staff fully engaged in work that serves our members and our students, AAC&U is well poised for its next era of leadership and service within higher education. 

In the meantime, our Centennial Year is still in full gear. I hope you will plan to take part in at least one of the special Centennial events that are still to come in this calendar year. Some address the LEAP Challenge as students themselves embrace it; others explore what we are learning about bringing “quality and equity together” as shared priorities for both practice and policy in US higher education. 

And, I hope I will see many of you in January 2016 at what will be my final AAC&U Annual Meeting as president. 

With sincere thanks for your good work and constant support,

Carol Geary Schneider

Carol Geary Schneider