For Immediate Release

Dawn Michele Whitehead
Interim Vice President of Communications
Carrie Johnson
Associate Director, Marketing and Media Relations
202.387.3760, ext. 811

AAC&U Centennial Symposium Addresses How We Can Prepare Today's College Students for America's Global Future

600 College Leaders Gather in Washington, DC for First in a Series of Planned AAC&U Centennial Year Forums; Explore Ways to Close Serious Gaps in Students' Achievement of Global Learning Outcomes
Jan 21, 2015

Washington, DC—The Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) will begin its Centennial year with a forum on “America’s Global Future: Are College Students Prepared?”  This first in a planned series of Centennial Symposia will bring 600 college leaders—including presidents, provosts, deans, trustees and board members, and employer partners—to Washington, DC.  At the event, AAC&U will preview new data about the increasingly globalized workplace and its implications for college learning, including new findings from recent surveys of employers and college students commissioned by AAC&U and conducted by Hart Research Associates.  The Symposium will explore the implications of our increasingly globally interconnected society and workplace for how we educate today's college students for success in the future.

The Centennial Symposium is being held immediately preceding AAC&U’s Centennial Annual Meeting, which opens officially on the evening of January 21, and extends through January 24, 2015. 

"We all know that the world is more interconnected than ever, but we also know that our societies and communities at home and abroad are riven with divisions and inequities," said AAC&U President Carol Geary Schneider.  "AAC&U is taking the lead to address the urgent challenge of preparing the next generation of college graduates, at once, to create solutions for our global future and to thrive in a turbulent global economy."

To launch the dialogue, AAC&U is previewing select findings from a forthcoming report, Are College Students Prepared for America’s Global Future? Perspectives of Employers and College Students.  AAC&U's commissioned surveys reveal that companies and organizations are placing more emphasis on hiring candidates who bring global knowledge and experience to the workplace.  However, employers and students surveyed all agree overwhelmingly that students are ill-prepared especially in the areas of global knowledge and acumen.  Both students and employers also agree that, no matter what their chosen field of study, all college students should gain intercultural skills and an understanding of societies and countries outside the U.S. as well as the capacity to solve problems with people whose views are different from their own.  Participants at the Centennial Symposium will explore the most promising campus practices to accomplish these goals.

The Symposium also will include presentations from business leaders about their search for talent to fuel innovation in the workplace, explorations of promising campus approaches to engaging all students in project-based learning, and sessions on how to use both digital and face-to-face engaged learning practices to cultivate more entrepreneurial mindsets and global flourishing in today’s students.

Speakers featured include:

  • Brandon Busteed, Executive Director, Gallup Education, Director of the Gallup-Purdue Index
  • Eboo Patel, President and Founder, Interfaith Youth Core
  • Kavita Ramdas, Representative—India, Nepal, and Sri Lanka—The Ford Foundation
  • Michael S. Roth, President, Wesleyan University
  • Eduardo J. Padrón, President, Miami Dade College
  • Timothy P. White, Chancellor, The California State University
  • Andrew Delbanco, Julian Clarence Levi Professor in the Humanities and Director of American Studies, Columbia University
  • Daniel Greenstein, Director of Postsecondary Success Strategy, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
  • Richard M. Freeland, Commissioner of Higher Education, Massachusetts Department of Higher Education
  • Dianne Harrison, President, California State University, Northridge
  • Jamie P. Merisotis, President, Lumina Foundation
  • Sally Pingree, President, S. Engelhard Foundation
  • Lynn Pasquerella, President, Mount Holyoke College
  • Frank Bruni, Op-Ed Columnist, The New York Times
  • Azar Nafisi, Director of Cultural Conversations, School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University
  • Brian Murphy, President, DeAnza College
  • Carly Fiorina, Former Chief Executive Officer of Hewlett-Packard, and Member, Board of Visitors, James Madison University

For more information, see:

See select findings from forthcoming survey report:

About AAC&U

AAC&U is the leading national association concerned with the quality, vitality, and public standing of undergraduate liberal education. Its members are committed to extending the advantages of a liberal education to all students, regardless of academic specialization or intended career. Founded in 1915, AAC&U now comprises more than 1,300 member institutions—including accredited public and private colleges, community colleges, research universities, and comprehensive universities of every type and size.

AAC&U functions as a catalyst and facilitator, forging links among presidents, administrators, and faculty members who are engaged in institutional and curricular planning. Its mission is to reinforce the collective commitment to liberal education and inclusive excellence at both the national and local levels, and to help individual institutions keep the quality of student learning at the core of their work as they evolve to meet new economic and social challenges.