2013 Annual Meeting: Highlighted Sessions

The Digital Revolution: Online Innovations that Strengthen Completion and Quality
How do we evaluate choices in adopting educational technology so that we may not only improve efficiencies, but also increase or maintain the quality of student learning? What do we need to know about our diverse students and their varied cognitive experiences?  What do we gain online? What do we lose? And what do we have a hard time imagining?  Panelists will put potential technological transformations of higher education into a broader landscape of student learning.
Diana G. Oblinger, President and CEO, EDUCAUSE; Jack M. Wilson, President Emeritus, The University of Massachusetts and Distinguished Professor of Higher Education, Emerging Technologies, and Innovation, The University of Massachusetts Lowell; and Candace Thille, Director, Open Learning Initiative, Carnegie Mellon University
Moderator: Eduardo M. Ochoa, Interim President, California State University, Monterey Bay

College:  What It Was, Is, and Should Be
As the commercialization of American higher education accelerates, more and more students are coming to college with the narrow aim of obtaining a pre-professional credential. The traditional four-year college experience—an exploratory time for students to discover their passions and test ideas and values with the help of teachers and peers—is in danger of becoming a thing of the past.  Author Andrew Delbanco offers a trenchant defense of such an education, and warns that it is becoming a privilege reserved for the relatively rich. In arguing for what a true college education should be, he demonstrates why making it available to as many young people as possible remains central to America's democratic promise. 
Andrew Delbanco, Julian Clarence Levi Professor in the Humanities and Director of American Studies, Columbia University, and author of College:  What It Was, Is, and Should Be (Princeton University Press, 2012)
This session is presented in celebration of the 30th Anniversary of The Aspen’s Institute’s  Wye Seminars

2013 Ernest Boyer Award Presentation 

Give Students a Compass:  Liberal Learning, Educational Innovations, and the Global Commons
The New American Colleges & Universities has established a national award to honor the legacy of Ernest L. Boyer by recognizing an individual whose achievements in higher education exemplify Boyer’s quest for connecting theory to practice and thought to action, in and out of the classroom. As stated by Boyer: “We emphasize this commitment to community not out of a sentimental attachment to tradition, but because our democratic way of life and perhaps our survival as a people rest on whether we can move beyond self-interest and begin to understand better the realities of our dependence on each other." Carol Schneider, recipient of the 2013 Boyer Award, will speak about the priorities we need to set now, in an era of student swirl, disruptive innovations, and the urgent needs of the global commons. 
Carol Geary Schneider, President, AAC&U

Only in America:  U.S. Higher Education and the Global Knowledge Economy
American colleges and universities—past and present—have played critical roles in the world economy, not only via the production of STEM degrees and research commercialization but also through a distinctively American model of liberal education that teaches students to think critically and creatively. In an age of global competition, outsourcing, and teleconnectivity, American liberal education has remained the one building block of the knowledge economy that cannot be outsourced or placed entirely online.  This history and contemporary global context demonstrates the extraordinary, place-based advantages of American colleges and universities, and suggests what's needed to ensure future technological innovation, economic growth, and individual opportunity.
Margaret Pugh O’Mara, Associate Professor of History, University of Washington

Paths to Quality: Two-Year/Four-Year Collaboration for Engaging General Education

Whether they begin their paths to a degree at a two- or four-year institutions, students initially take general education classes which are usually isolated from each other, their major, and, too often, our complex and rapidly changing world.  California Community Colleges and the California State University are experimenting with ways to make general education more relevant and integrated, while assuring comparable quality regardless of where students begin.  Learn how one partnership is creating thematic “paths” with shared learning outcomes aligned with LEAP and the Degree Qualifications Profile.
Ken O’Donnell, Senior Director, Student Engagement and Academic Initiatives and Partnerships, and Debra David, Project Director, Give Students a Compass Project—both of the California State University System Office; Elizabeth Adams, Senior Director, Undergraduate Studies, California State University, Northridge; and Barbara Anderson, Dean of Academic Affairs, Pierce College

Liberal Education Emerging:  General Education and Curriculum Reform in Hong Kong
Hong Kong is a dynamic world class city, a gateway to China, one of the primary engines of economic growth in the world, and a crossroads of East and West. This year, all eight of its public universities have launched major new programs in general education designed to prepare all students to be world citizens. These changes are driven by a conviction that a broad general education is strategically important and will make Hong Kong more competitive in the global economy. This view stands in stark contrast to common concerns heard in the United States that study in the liberal arts is an irrelevant and impractical luxury, not worth the high cost of college. What are the implications—educational and economic—of divergent policy priorities in the US, China, and other fast-rising countries of Asia?

Jerry G. Gaff, Senior Scholar, AAC&U, and Fulbright Senior Specialist; andNancy E. Chapman, President, United Board for Christian Higher Education in AsiaMei Yee Leung, Director, Office of Univeristy General Education, The Chinese University of Hong Kong

The Economic Future of Liberal Arts Colleges
Although the affordability crisis in higher education has received widespread attention, liberal arts colleges have been largely silent bystanders to these conversations.  This session will examine the economic factors that are at work among the broad range of liberal arts colleges.  The speakers will use data from the Delta Cost Project and the Wabash National Study to analyze the economic context of liberal arts colleges, examine the link between educational expenditures and student learning, and consider ways that liberal arts colleges could collaborate to address affordability issues.
Charles Blaich, Director, Center of Inquiry and the Higher Education Data Sharing Consortium, and Kathy Wise, Associate Director, Center of Inquiry—both of Wabash College; David Schodt, Professor of Economics, St. Olaf College; Christopher Welna, President, Associated Colleges of the Midwest

Generation on a Tightrope:  A Portrait of Today’s College Student
An understanding of today’s undergraduate college students is vital to the effectiveness of our nation’s colleges and universities.  As described by the authors’ of Generation on a Tightrope, today’s students need a very different education than the undergraduates who came before them—an  education for the 21st Century, which colleges and universities are so far ill-equipped to offer and which will require major changes of them to provide.  Based on new research of 5,000 college students and student affairs practitioners from 270 college campuses, Arthur Levine and Diane Dean examine college student expectations, aspirations, academics, attitudes, values, beliefs, social life, and politics, painting an accurate portrait of today’s students.
Arthur Levine, President, Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation, andDiane R. Dean, Professor of Higher Education Policy and Administration, Illinois State University—authors of Generation on a Tightrope: A Portrait of Today’s College Student (Jossey-Bass, 2012)

Informing The Public Discussion On Higher Education:  The Inside View
Today, there are two parallel conversations about higher education—a public conversation and an insider conversation—and keeping these conversations separate risks a public policy debate without the benefits of insider expertise.   At stake is the future of quality in American colleges and universities.  As we look to innovate and achieve efficiencies, what do actual cost structures suggest about the art of the possible, if we are to sustain core strengths of higher education?  This session brings together leaders in higher education who speak to meaningful, appropriate, and effective reforms, based on actual, on-campus financial and budgetary landscapes.
Saul Fisher, Executive Director for Grants and Academic Initiatives, Mercy College; David W. Breneman, Newton and Rita Meyers Professor in Economics of Education, University of Virginia; Scott L. Waugh, Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost, UCLA; Jonathan Levin, Dean of the College of Liberal Arts, Drew University; Robert Archibald, Chancellor Professor of Economics, College of William and Mary

More Degrees, Higher Quality Learning:  How Do We Get Both? 
As states face increased public skepticism about the value of higher education along with pressures to increase completion rates while also reducing costs, how can state policy leaders ensure continued commitment to equity, inclusion, quality, and the integrity of college degrees?  This session will explore the challenges and competing priorities faced by state policy leaders and new policy approaches that facilitate the goal of more college graduates and higher quality learning outcomes.
Debra Humphreys, Vice President for Policy and Public Engagement, AAC&U;Mark Nook, Senior Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs, University of Wisconsin System; Ken O’Donnell, Senior Director, Student Engagement and Academic Initiatives and Partnerships, California State University System;Richard M. Freeland, Commissioner, Massachusetts Department of Higher Education

How Do We Build an Improved and Successful Business Model in Support of Campus-Based Undergraduate Education?
This session is an open conversation with audience participation around the critical issues of learning, value, and cost embedded in building an effective and sustainable business model for campus based undergraduate education.   Topics to be discussed include affordability, access, productivity, cost sharing, collaboration, learning outcomes, faculty and staff roles, pedagogy of social media, online learning including MOOC’s, and the explicit, measurable outcomes from campus and cocurricular learning.
Richard Guarasci, President, Wagner College; Bobby Fong, President, Ursinus College; Mark Heckler, President, Valparaiso University; Devorah Lieberman, President, University of La Verne; Timothy White, Chancellor, University of California, Riverside

High-Impact Practices and the New Majority Student:  Findings, Strategies, and Reflection
Over the past year, AAC&U has conducted a research project to investigate the engagement of traditionally underrepresented populations, specifically low-income, first-generation, and minority students, with high-impact practices. AAC&U researchers will present findings and recommendations from this mixed-method analysis that consists of data gathered from 38 universities across three state systems and fifteen student focus groups. Participants will join in a discussion about the findings, view video clips of the students sharing their lived experiences, and discuss strategies for educating the new majority student.  This project is funded by TG. 
Ashley Finley, Senior Director of Assessment and Research, and Tia Brown McNair, Senior Director for Student Success—both of AAC&U

A Crucible Moment: Not Just a Report but a Change Agenda
This session will focus on some of the specific initiatives national organizations have launched to make AAC&U’s report, A Crucible Moment: Civic Learning and Democracy’s Future, a lever for change. Members of the Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement Steering Committee, representing groups committed to implementing the report’s ambitious civic agenda which they helped shape,  will highlight the strategies, focus, and insights thus far of their organizations’ efforts to make a difference at the ground level so civic learning becomes an expected outcome of every college graduate.
Moderator: Caryn McTighe Musil, Senior Vice President, AAC&U
Presenters: Gwendolyn J. Dungy, Executive Director Emeritus, NASPA; Ariane Hoy, Senior Program Officer, The Bonner Foundation; and Brian Murphy, President, De Anza College, and Co-Founder,  The Democracy Commitment