A pragmatic, intentional, and creative problem-solving ethos drives our approach to curricular reform. We aim to help students and educators alike make connections between experiences in the curriculum and students’ future selves in work, citizenship, and life.
Reimagining General Education
AAC&U works to create intentional and fully integrated general education programs that address contemporary challenges, assess current practices, and generate high-quality educational experiences for students across higher education institutions of all kinds.
Since the 1980s, AAC&U has taken the lead in creating a new vision of general education. We envision general education programs with clear, purposeful pathways that allow all students to demonstrate their learning through high-impact practices and teaching strategies that are transferable across disciplines, departments, institutions, and state systems. We work with campus leadership to strengthen their general education programs overall, embed high expectations for student learning assessments, and enhance their curricula and pedagogy.
In our view, general education should prepare students for lifelong learning and civic engagement. In an era of urgent social challenges, general education needs to help students find and create meaning in the face of active denigration of reason, evidence, and facts. General education must enable students to use critical thinking and reflection to combat a culture of division and distrust. Ultimately, a general education program should lead students to sustainably value differences and view diverse viewpoints as essential to a thriving democracy.
Integration is the key to our approach. Rather than delivering a set of unconnected introductory courses, institutions must aim for a central mechanism for incorporating knowledge and developing higher-order learning skills and abilities. Further, effective general education must link to the learning goals of a student’s major and cocurricular activities. General education should promote retention and degree completion and provide sustained professional development for the current and future workforce.