Building Public Trust in the Promise of Liberal Education and Inclusive Excellence
2017 Annual Meeting
AAC&U thanks Taskstream—our Featured Sponsor for the 2017 Annual Meeting
Student Activism and Liberal Education: Faculty Engagement in Turbulent Times
Wednesday, January 25, 2017
8th Annual Forum on Digital Learning and ePortfolios
Saturday, January 28, 2017
About the Annual Meeting
The AAC&U 2017 Annual Meeting will respond to the urgent need—expressed by educators from campuses across the country—for more effective approaches to restoring public trust in higher education and improving public understanding of how liberal education and inclusive excellence are valuable “public” and “private” goods. Rebuilding the public’s trust in higher and liberal education requires educators and leaders from across sectors to paint a more compelling and vivid picture of how colleges and universities are improving student learning and reinventing liberal education to serve today’s students and to solve today’s challenges.
Sessions and speakers will move beyond familiar dichotomous arguments that describe the purpose of higher education as either preparation for work or broad learning for life and citizenship. Rather than positioning liberal education as a contested alternative to pure vocationalism, AAC&U member institutions are offering students a liberal education that is engaged with the world—and preparing them for their futures as workers, citizens, and community members.
Front and center will be how today’s liberal education must serve the cause of equity in American society—educating and graduating students from all backgrounds equipped to lead and contribute to our diverse democracy.
Participants at the Annual Meeting will learn from one another and from the latest research and will develop together more effective approaches to deepening the impact of liberal learning and more effectively demonstrating its value to skeptics. With interactive sessions that engage participants in discussion, learning and action, the meeting will highlight the ways in which AAC&U members are advancing inclusive excellence—ensuring that all students achieve the most important outcomes and gain the benefits of a public-spirited liberal education.
The 2016 presidential race has underscored how fractured American society remains—and how important American higher education is in building students’ capacity for democratic discourse and action. Only through a liberal education enacted with a firm commitment to inclusive excellence will students gain the broad knowledge and transferable skills they need to connect knowledge with responsible problem solving and engagement with urgent challenges at home and abroad. Particularly highlighted in the 2017 Annual Meeting will be forms of liberal education that equip students for full participation in a diverse democracy through their active engagement with perspectives that differ from their own.
Participants will share transformative approaches to the design of curricular pathways from public, private, two-year, and four-year institutions. These approaches will form the basis for more compelling advocacy and communication about liberal education and inclusive excellence. Participants will return home well positioned with strong models and effective arguments to counter misleading narratives questioning the value of liberal and higher education.
The 2017 Annual Meeting will provide an opportunity for the entire AAC&U community to come together, commit to enacting our principle of inclusive excellence, and leave with clear plans of action. Sessions will focus on moving from intention to public commitment to practice—putting equity-minded policies into effect and shaping transformative learning experiences for students across majors and disciplines. The meeting will demonstrate how liberal education and inclusive excellence can be embraced by everyone on campus—administrators, faculty, staff, and students—and become the linchpins for effective institutional change and for compelling public narratives.