Core Commitments: A Call to Action

Colleges and universities espouse the pursuit of excellence, integrity, and civic responsibility. Some have already taken active measures to put issues of personal and social responsibility at the center of their educational programs, but much more needs to be done to help students embrace and achieve these high ideals.

We invite all AAC&U member campuses to become partners in this call to action. Interested individuals can read our Call to Action brochure (pdf) for more information.

College and University Commitments

As members of the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U), we believe:

  • that the time is right for a far-reaching and shared commitment to reclaim and revitalize the academy’s role in fostering students’ development of personal and social responsibility.
  • that such an effort should be closely tied to an encompassing and substantive vision for students’ overall learning in the college years;
  • that students’ values and ethics should not be addressed in isolation from their basic responsibility as learners;
  • that values, ethics, and civic responsibility should be integrally woven into the educational goals that students embrace once they make the decision to become candidates for a college degree.

Liberal Education & Personal and Social Responsibility

It is crucial that we return to the core commitments of personal and social responsibility inherent in liberal education.

A true liberal education involves much more than academic growth:

  • It develops a student’s personal qualities by cultivating curiosity about new ideas and differing views, honing the discipline to follow intellectual methods to conclusions, strengthening the capacity to accept criticism, increasing tolerance for ambiguity, and fostering commitment to the imperative for honesty.
  • It also involves developing a student’s sense of collective responsibility by helping students learn how to understand the world from others’ perspectives—that fundamental capacity that can lead to the recognition and resolution of moral conflict and the resolve to work with others for a greater public good.