Press Release

New Report on Practices that Shape Student Learning and Success Reveals Disconnects Among Key Campus Stakeholder Groups

Washington, DC—The American Association of Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) today released On the Same Page? Administrator and Faculty Views on What Shapes College Learning and Student Success, a new report that examines how undergraduate learning and student success are affected by an institution’s common learning outcomes and commitment to equity as well as by specific educational experiences and assessment practices. The findings indicate divergences in views among campus stakeholder groups and striking levels of uncertainty among faculty members, in particular. The report also demonstrates a consensus across all stakeholder groups on the importance of certain mindsets, aptitudes, and dispositions as essential outcomes of college, in addition to a dearth of goal-setting to close equity gaps.

The report presents findings from a national survey of more than seven hundred higher education professionals across a range of campus roles and institutional types. The survey was conducted in fall 2020.

Key Findings:

  • As compared with other campus stakeholder groups, faculty report higher levels of uncertainty with regard to a range of campus emphases and practices that support student learning and success.
  • Though the vast majority of stakeholders report disaggregating data, far fewer report setting equity goals.
  • Outcomes related to mindsets, aptitudes, and dispositions are widely valued, but their development is largely relegated to the cocurriculum.
  • Civic skills rank low among campus priorities for undergraduate learning.

“There is much in this wide-ranging report that can inform campus practices in support of student learning and success,” said Ashley Finley, AAC&U Vice President of Research and coauthor of the report, “but the need for better and broader communication is at the heart of so many of the findings. Overall, this report points to an urgency for getting those conversations going sooner rather than later and for making them inclusive of multiple stakeholders.”

In light of the survey findings, the report authors offer a set of recommendations for campus action:

  1. Elevate the importance of civic skills and global learning.
  2. Focus curricula more intentionally on the development of student mindsets, aptitudes, and dispositions.
  3. Establish equity goals.
  4. Increase transparency for all stakeholders, not just students.

The full report is available for download here.

About AAC&U

The American Association of Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) is a global membership organization dedicated to advancing the vitality and democratic purposes of undergraduate liberal education. Through our programs and events, publications and research, public advocacy and campus-based projects, AAC&U serves as a catalyst and facilitator for innovations that improve educational quality and equity and that support the success of all students. In addition to accredited public and private, two-year and four-year colleges and universities and state higher education systems and agencies throughout the United States, our membership includes degree-granting higher education institutions in more than twenty-five countries as well as other organizations and individuals. To learn more, visit