Vision, Value, Valor: Presidential Leadership for Equity and Excellence in an Era of Concerns and Constraints

Forum for Presidents and Foundation Leaders

Facilitated Discussion
Thursday January 22, 2015 10:45am to 5:30pm


10:45-11:30 AM:  Plenary Session

The New Evidence on Student Success and The Value of College

Nationally and internationally, AAC&U presidents have been leaders in advancing a robust vision of the true “value” of a college education and in promoting engaged, problem-based, and high-impact learning practices as our best investment to improve the quality of college learning and completion rates.  New evidence shows that engaged learning pays off in both careers and life, and that employers in particular value high-impact practices in preparing for career success.  In this session, participants will explore new findings about who benefits—and who does not—from engaged or high-impact learning, and explore ways to use this research to advance inclusive excellence and a broader vision and new metrics for the value of college.  Participants also will hear a current perspective on the emerging framework for rating higher education institutions developed by the US Department of Education.

Chair:  Kenneth Ruscio, President, Washington and Lee University and Chair, AAC&U Board of Directors

Discussants: Brandon Busteed, Executive Director, Gallup Education; Debra Humphreys, Vice President for Policy and Public Engagement, AAC&U


11:30 AM-12:15 PM Plenary  Session

The Obama Administration’s Proposed Ratings Framework

Jamienne Studley, Deputy Under Secretary of Education, US Department of Education


Roundtable Discussions by Sector
From Ratings and Rankings to Demonstrated Student Accomplishment: A Presidential Action Agenda

Presidents will explore ways that higher education can productively respond both to the administration’s proposals and to the longer-term project of showing the true educational value added by college.   


12:30 PM:  Luncheon for Presidents and Foundation Leaders

1:15–2:30 PM:  Luncheon Plenary

Higher Learning is Now Essential, But to What Ends?

What Leaders Can Learn from National and State Advocacy Efforts for Liberal Education, the Liberal Arts, and Educational Quality

As the national discourse about the liberal arts and sciences turned from negative to toxic, major foundations and associations took action to provide visible public advocacy for liberal education, the liberal arts and sciences, the humanities, and the liberal arts college.  Leaders from these initiatives will talk with presidents about what we are learning from these efforts and how we can best use them across public and private higher education.

DiscussantsRonald Crutcher, President Emeritus, Wheaton College and Chair, LEAP National Leadership Council; John Churchill, President, The Phi Beta Kappa Society; Richard Ekman, President, Council of Independent Colleges; Michael Roth, President, Wesleyan University

Respondent:  Goldie Blumenstyk, Senior Writer, The Chronicle of Higher Education and Author:  Higher Education in Crisis?  What Everyone Needs to Know


2:45–4:00 PM Plenary Session

What Stakeholders Need to Hear: 
How Leaders Are Tackling the Cost/Value/Debt Consternation

As Americans struggle too slowly out of the Great Recession, the anxieties about money threaten to trump the needed emphasis on raising quality and making powerful learning equitably inclusive.  How can we respond to this very real set of concerns?

Discussants:  Edward Ray, President, Oregon State University; William (Brit) Kirwan, Chancellor, University of Maryland System; Sandy Baum, Professor of Higher Education, George Washington University

Session notes available here

4:15–5:30 PMPlenary Session

A National Debate in the Making: 
The Stratifications Within—and the Equity Work to Come

With support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, AAC&U will release in 2015 a sobering picture of the deepening divides across all educational levels, including higher education, and will begin a year of concerted work on “the equity imperative.”  In this session, we will review highlights from the report and discuss the next steps in higher education’s long and unfinished struggle to advance access to excellence. 

Chair:  Carol Geary Schneider, President, AAC&U

DiscussantsEstela Bensimon, Professor of Higher Education and Co-Director of the Center for Urban Education, University of Southern California; Charlene Dukes, President, Prince George’s Community College; William “Bro” Adams, Chairman, National Endowment for the Humanities