2014 Annual Meeting: Highlighted Sessions

Accreditation:  Riding the Wave of Innovation—or Going Under?
Higher Education Accreditation
In the face of increasing demands and criticisms, regional accreditation continues to evolve. Increasingly accreditors are emphasizing the value of accreditation for institutions and programs, entertaining emerging forms of course delivery and competency evaluation, promising broader disclosure of results, and implementing less intrusive, more efficient protocols. But critics complain that accreditation inhibits innovation, drives up costs, and fails to protect the public interest.  In the face of demands for radical change, will accreditation continue to affirm the benefits of a liberal education or yield to an increasingly pragmatic and vocational vision of higher education?  Is there more that regional accreditation might do to discourage the prospect of greater state and federal intrusiveness ? How can those committed to the values of liberal education make common cause with accreditors? And will accreditation as we know it survive the scrutiny it is experiencing and ride the wave of innovation—or wipe out? 
Paul L. Gaston, Trustees Professor of English, Kent State University, and author,Higher Education Accreditation: How It's Changing, Why It Must (Stylus Publishing, 2013); Judith Eaton, President, Council for Higher Education Accreditation; and Sylvia Manning, President, Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association


The Degree Qualifications Profile: Updates From the Field and DQP 2.0
The Degree Qualifications Profile (DQP) is a postsecondary learning outcomes framework that specifies what students should be expected to know and be able to do at the associates, bachelor’s and master’s level.  Since it was introduced at AAC&U’s 2011 Annual Meeting, nearly 300 colleges and universities have used the framework to guide curricular revisions, retool assessment approaches, support student success, and organize quality improvements in line with accreditation standards. Based on data and feedback from campuses and national associations, Lumina Foundation will release DQP 2.0 later this year. Authors of the DQP and others will summarize what has been learned from the field and preview the new edition. The DQP’s role in ensuring high quality degrees will be discussed. 
Moderator: Holly McKiernan, Chief of Staff and General Counsel, Lumina Foundation
Panelists: Peter T. Ewell, Vice President, National Center for Higher Education Management Systems; George D. Kuh, Director and Co-Principal Investigator, National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment;Clifford Adelman, Senior Associate, Institute for Higher Education Policy


Liberal Arts and Science Majors: Prospects for Long-Term Career Success
This session will highlight key findings from a forthcoming report from AAC&U and the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems documenting with data from the American Community Survey the continuing value of a college degree in preparing graduates for long-term career success regardless of undergraduate major. Presenters will provide data on the career trajectories (including graduate study) of college students majoring in different fields (e.g., humanities/social sciences, science and math, engineering, and professional/pre-professional) and examine the implications of this data for campus practice, including career and academic advising, and advocacy efforts to demonstrate the value of college degrees in terms of outcomes related to work and citizenship.
Debra Humphreys, Vice President for Policy and Public Engagement, AAC&U; Patrick Kelly, Senior Associate, National Center for Higher Education Management Systems


Connecting Quality Initiatives:
Implications and Intersections of LEAP, DQP, and Tuning
Many institutions are involved in multiple initiatives designed to address one or more issues related to the quality of undergraduate student learning. This session will explore how an array of campuses are using different initiatives—including the AAC&U LEAP and VALUE initiatives as well as Lumina DQP and Tuning initiatives—to address different challenges related to defining, assessing, and improving levels of student achievement of important learning outcomes.
James Grossman, Executive Director, American Historical Association;Elizabeth H. Tobin, Dean of the College and Vice President for Academic Affairs, Illinois College; Daniel McInerney, Professor of History, Associate Department Head, Utah State University; Paul L. Gaston, Trustees Professor of English, Kent State University; and moderated by Debra Humphreys, Vice President for Communications & Public Affairs, AAC&U


Ensuring Quality in Undergraduate STEM Programs: 
New Frameworks for Transforming STEM Teaching and Learning

This session will report on two national projects designed to significantly increase the implementation of student-centered learning environments and comprehensive programs that promote a higher quality undergraduate STEM experience. The AAC&U/Project Kaleidoscope project, funded by the W.M. Keck Foundation, has developed a framework that focuses campus efforts to develop evidence-based strategies that will lead to program, departmental, and institutional transformation.  The Association of American Universities (AAU) initiative was designed to influence the culture of STEM departments to encourage and support faculty members who use teaching practices that more actively engage students in STEM education and which are proven to be more effective in helping students learn. Participants will learn about the frameworks, gain practical knowledge about implementation of institution-wide STEM reform efforts, and leave with tools to improve student learning and success in STEM courses and programs on their campuses.
Sue Elrod, Dean of the College of Science and Mathematics, California State University–Fresno; Geoffrey Chase, Dean of Undergraduate Studies, San Diego State University; Adrianna Kezar, Professor of Higher Education, University of Southern California; Linda Slakey, Senior Fellow, Project Kaleidoscope, AAC&U/PKAL; Emily Miller, Project Manager, Undergraduate STEM Education Initiative, Association of American Universities


Preparing for Apocalypse?
The Liberal Arts in the Era of “Higher Education Reform”

In an age of reform and disruptive innovation, will innovation make or break the university?  There has been a recent onslaught of economic, political, cultural, and technological changes, resulting in a sense that the future of higher education is going to be very different, very soon. This session will address many of the assumptions and anxieties behind such discussions that can animate the opposition to reform, give pause to even the most ardent reformists, and emerge as unacknowledged by-products of corporate educational enterprises. Can higher education survive this revolution? What will remain of the academic mission of colleges and universities in a future marked by “reform” and technological revolution?  Is it possible to strike a balance in the face of well-financed forces that proclaim the inevitability of change?
Scott Cohen, Associate Professor of English, Stonehill College; Johann Neem, Associate Professor of History, Western Washington University; Benjamin Ginsberg, David Bernstein Professor and Director, Washington Center for the Study of American Government, The Johns Hopkins University; Goldie Blumenstyk, Senior Writer, The Chronicle of Higher Education


High-Impact Practices and the Equity Effect:
Maximizing Learning for Underserved Students 

How are campuses assessing the impact of underserved students’ engagement in high-impact practices?  In what ways can campuses more thoughtfully disaggregate data in order to explore the varied pathways toward student success?  Facilitators will guide participants through a replicable, inquiry-based model for examining how to best maximize current campus practices to foster learning among underserved students.  Campus case studies for maximizing high-impact practices will be shared, including models from five Hispanic serving institutions.  This project is funded by TG.
Tia Brown McNair, Senior Director for Student Success and Ashley Finley,Senior Director of Assessment and Research — both of AAC&U


Civic Learning at the Intersections:
Liberal Education, Work, and the Civic Arts of Collective Action

Taking on one of the challenges named in A Crucible Moment: College Learning and Democracy’s Future, The Kettering Foundation and AAC&U are collaborating in a joint project to explore what the world of work asks of education in the liberal and civic arts as well as what civic arts education brings to liberal education and education for work. Without resorting either to the tired opposition of work vs. liberal education or to conflating the important distinctions between them, how can we think freshly about the mutual implications of civic life with work and with learning?  How can we be more explicit about the work and career benefits of good rich civic experiences?  Is there a way to design work as civic practice?  How does the most transformative understanding of civic work lead to rethinking liberal learning?  Derek Barker, Program Officer, The Kettering Foundation; Charles Kolb, Executive Director, The French-American Foundation; Elizabeth Minnich, Senior Fellow, and Caryn McTighe Musil, Senior Scholar and Director of Civic Learning and Democracy Initiatives—both of AAC&U


Creating Innovative Institutions to Meet Underserved Students' Needs
Students and founders will share stories and strategies about the opening years of institutions that were each founded to create innovative ways to support a changing higher education's student body's needs.  But while thinking through new solutions to address issues of equity, access, practicability, and affordability for students, these models each exist within larger institutions—CUNY houses the Guttman Community College; Southern New Hampshire University houses the College for America; and College Unbound is a degree delivery model housed at Charter Oak State College and SNHU)—and have to navigate institutional politics and accreditation challenges.   The panelists will present a template of change and innovation in higher education that other campuses can use to think through the present moment.
Scott Evenbeck, President, Stella and Charles Guttman Community College;Patricia Lynott, Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of Faculty, Southern New Hampshire University; Adam Bush, Co-Founder, and Dennis Kittky, Co-Founder—both of College Unbound.  Closing Remarks by  David Scobey, Executive Dean, The New School for Public Engagement


Addressing the Adverse Impact of Non-Tenure-Track Faculty Working Conditions on Student Learning: 
Practical Approaches and Resources for Facilitating Change

Numerous studies have found that the negative working conditions of non-tenure-track faculty (NTTF) affect student learning and success and have an adverse impact on student retention, transfer from two- to four-year institutions, and graduation or completion rates.  Campus leaders who understand the issue, want to support NTTP, and initiate change, however, find few examples and little guidance.  The Delphi Project on the Changing Faculty and Student Success has created an extensive collection of materials designed to help campuses engage academic leaders in dialogue about these issues. Participants will explore these resources, gain practical knowledge on approaches to better support faculty, and learn strategies for funding to support such changes.
Daniel Maxey, Dean's Fellow in Urban Education Policy, and Adrianna Kezar, Professor of Higher Education—both of the University of Southern California;Susan Albertine, Vice President, Office of Diversity, Equity, and Student Success, AAC&U 
This session is presented by the Delphi Project on the Changing Faculty and Student Success


Democratic Engagement and Academic Integrity:
From the Core to the Community

Higher education teaches students to value the concept of "integrity," a term that connotes both ethical behavior and wholeness. Democratic engagement is key to teaching and practicing academic integrity. Yet the working conditions of the majority of the faculty, who serve off the tenure track, belie the commitment to democratic principles and practices that colleges and universities espouse. This "elephant in the room" of higher education, as AAC&U has called it, has jeopardized student success and compromised the future of the profession of college teaching. Insofar as college campuses are de facto classrooms, they are teaching inequity by example. Panelists will discuss how principles and practice can be reconnected to make campus communities whole again.
Daniel Maxey, Dean's Fellow in Urban Education Policy, and Adrianna Kezar, Professor of Higher Education—both of the University of Southern California;Maria Maisto, President, New Faculty Majority
This session is presented by the New Faculty Majority