For Immediate Release

David Tritelli
Vice President for Communications and Public Affairs
202-888-0811 (office)

AAC&U Receives $1.7M Grant from Lumina Foundation to Support the Launch of the VALUE Institute

The VALUE Institute will meet the critical, unmet need for direct evidence of student learning across postsecondary learning

Dec 20, 2017

Washington, DC—The Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) announced today that it has received $1,725,000 from Lumina Foundation to support the creation of the VALUE Institute, which enables postsecondary institutions to leverage learning outcomes evidence to improve student success and ensure quality and equity in student learning. The grant will support the development of a systems-level approach to assessing and improving student learning across a range of competencies important for all disciplines, students, and employers.

The VALUE Institute will provide a nationwide landscape of learning across the LEAP Essential Learning Outcomes and Degree Qualifications Profile (DQP) frameworks reflective of the proficiencies demonstrated by learners across higher education. To provide nationwide support across the diverse postsecondary education landscape, AAC&U has partnered with the Indiana Center for Postsecondary Research (IU CPR) to establish the most comprehensive resource for direct and indirect evidence of learning beyond high school in the US. 

“We are grateful to Lumina Foundation for supporting the partnership between AAC&U and IU CPR,” said AAC&U President Lynn Pasquerella. “Comprehensive assessment promoting equity and student success is central to AAC&U's mission, and we look forward to collaborating with institutions across the country in advancing excellence in higher education.”

The grant will support the implementation and development of the VALUE Institute over the first three years with the goal of establishing a self-sustaining entity. Maintained and administered by AAC&U and IU CPR, the VALUE Institute will enable participating institutions to collect and upload samples of student work into a digital repository and have the work scored by certified VALUE Institute faculty scorers. Data and reporting will provide evidence to support a range of activities to improve student outcomes such as nationwide benchmarking, capacity building, effective pedagogy, professional development, policy making and external validation of quality.

“Lumina Foundation has long supported efforts by institutions, organizations, and states to improve the quality of learning and transparency behind credentials. At the end of the day, a learners progression towards attainment of a credential is dependent upon clear, transparent pathways built on learning outcomes. The VALUE Institute represents a major step forward to provide credible, transparent, and up-to-date evidence about the quality of learning in different type of credential pathways, and identify inequities, that will enable systems change improvements,” said Amber Garrison Duncan, strategy director at Lumina Foundation.

“Higher education providers will now have broad-based, faculty-actionable results to address fairness and equity gaps in learning for all types of students and their access to quality educational experiences that can be addressed through cost-effective changes in what we are already doing, such as assignment design,” said Terrel Rhodes, AAC&U’s Executive Director of VALUE. 

This effort will leverage and build upon the research and work of the VALUE initiative, AAC&U’s other campus-based projects on student learning assessment and faculty development, the work of the National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment (NILOA), and a three-year pilot spearheaded by the State Higher Education Executive Officers association’s Multi-State Collaborative, the Minnesota Collaborative, and the Great Lakes Colleges Association. VALUE aims to demonstrate student achievement of learning outcomes necessary for success in school, employment, and life; to empower faculty to assess student learning based on broadly shared expectations for quality; and to produce actionable evidence to improve teaching and enhance student success.

For more information about the VALUE Institute, visit

For more information about AAC&U’s VALUE approach to assessment, visit

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 nearly 1,400 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 national, local, and global 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.