General Education and Assessment: From My Work to Our Work
"Drawing on the notion of shared experience, the critical trait that defines communities of color and other marginalized populations, it is imperative that we cultivate an ethos of "us" rather than "me" in educating our students for an increasingly diverse democracy."
Jesús Treviño, Associate Vice President for Diversity—University of South Dakota
In order to develop high-quality general education pathways that are effective for all students—especially for those students from traditionally underserved groups—we need to build, enrich, and support greater collaboration among educators of all sorts. AAC&U's 2016 conference on General Education and Assessment—"From My Work to Our Work"—is designed to examine research, evidence, and models for effective general education programs and courses that work for all students. With focused attention on equity, the meeting will examine effective general education teaching and learning methods, campus cultures that value and support general education, integrative general education frameworks, and transparent approaches to assessment.
A change in perspective from "my work" to "our work" requires rethinking the curriculum and cocurriculum and re-envisioning the nature of faculty roles. Participants will consider how communities of practice, and other forms of inclusion and collaboration, can support the development and sustaining of effective general education programs. They will learn how to redesign general education programs to extend from cornerstone to capstone and how to scaffold high-impact practices and—through connections among general education, majors, and co-curricular programs—empower all students with the knowledge and skills required for their professional, personal, and social lives in a pluralistic democracy. Participants will also have an opportunity to learn about how AAC&U's new phase of work in its Liberal Education and America's Promise initiative—the LEAP Challenge–can support general education redesign efforts.
Essential to any effective general education program in the twenty-first century will be opportunities for students and educators alike to work intentionally and collaboratively with and from diverse peers. This is essential to AAC&U's commitment to "making excellence inclusive." As AAC&U's Board of Directors' Statement on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusive Excellence observes, "Making excellence inclusive is a fundamentally democratic ideal. It expresses our confidence in the liberating power of education. Without inclusion, there is no true excellence." Join us at this year's meeting to explore how general education and more effective forms of assessment can help us truly make excellence inclusive and empower all our students for future success and well-being.
We invite you to review the Call for Proposals and to join us next February in New Orleans to lend your expertise and voice to these most important conversations.