For Immediate Release

David Tritelli
Vice President for Communications and Public Affairs
202-884-0812 (office)

Forum Will Address Bringing Together a Focus on Quality Learning Practices with Equity-Minded Approaches to Advance Underserved Student Success

More Than 300 Educational Leaders and Practitioners Will Attend November 17th Forum Sponsored as Part of AAC&U's Centennial Year

Nov 6, 2015

Event:   LEAP Centennial Forum—Bringing Quality and Equity Together: Mapping Guided Pathways for First Generation Student Success”

When:  November 17, 2015

Where: Wyndham New Yorker Hotel, New York City, NY

Washington, DC—On November 17th, the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) is sponsoring in New York City its final LEAP (Liberal Education and America’s Promise) Centennial Forum, “Bringing Quality and Equity Together: Mapping Guided Pathways for First Generation Student Success." The event is open to the media and will be held at the Wyndham New Yorker Hotel in New York City. This Forum is the fourth in a series of events that AAC&U is sponsoring as part of its Centennial Year.  Discussions will be informed by research on equity in higher education and new findings from a national survey of college and university Chief Academic Officers conducted by AAC&U.  Selected findings from the survey will be released on November 16th.

This Centennial Forum will bring together educational, policy, and foundation leaders to examine the learning all college students need to thrive in a knowledge economy and to participate actively and responsibly in a diverse and global society. Participants also will examine the sobering evidence that both completion levels and access to quality learning remain highly stratified across income and race/ethnicity. You can find a program for the event online.

Central to the Forum will be emerging evidence on "what works" in supporting higher levels of underserved student success, and especially the evidence that quality learning pathways that are rich in relevant, inquiry-based, engaged practices are themselves a catalyst to increased completion for underserved students. With new research on the value of guided pathways now in hand, the Forum will feature ways, in both broad access and selective institutions, that those guided pathways can contribute to the hallmark outcomes of a strong liberal—and liberating—education.

Selected Speakers include:

David Asai, Undergraduate Science Program Director, Howard Hughes Medical Institute
Scott Evenbeck, President, City University of New York Stella and Charles Guttman Community College
Martha Kanter, Distinguished Visiting Professor, New York University
Paul Markham, Senior Program Officer, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Lily D. McNair, Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs, Wagner College
Tia Brown McNair, Associate Vice President, Office of Diversity, Equity, and Student Success, AAC&U
Michael McPherson, President, The Spencer Foundation
Gail O. Mellow, President, LaGuardia Community College/City University of New York
Anny Morrobel-Sosa, Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs, City University of New York Herbert H. Lehman College
Elsa Núñez, President, Eastern Connecticut State University
Carol Geary Schneider, President, AAC&U
Judith Shapiro, President, The Teagle Foundation
David Soo, Senior Policy Advisor, U.S. Department of Education
Terrell Strayhorn, Director, Center for Higher Education Enterprise, The Ohio State University
Rebecca Thomas, Dean of the College, Bard College

AAC&U’s Centennial Year is supported by Carnegie Corporation of New York, Endeavor Foundation, the Charles Engelhard Foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Kresge Foundation, Lumina Foundation, Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, The Teagle Foundation, and USA Funds.

Media are welcome to attend the Forum, but press passes are required and must be obtained in advance. Please contact Carrie Johnson at by Friday, November 13, 2015, to receive press passes to the Forum. Media may also receive advance copies of the findings released in AAC&U’s survey of college and university Chief Academic Officers by emailing Carrie Johnson at

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.

Information about AAC&U membership, programs, and publications can be found at