For Immediate Release

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

Association of American Colleges and Universities Announces Appointment of Caryn McTighe Musil as Senior Scholar and Director of Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement (CLDE) Initiatives

Musil to Leave Post as Senior Vice President After More than Twenty Years of Pace-Setting Leadership at AAC&U

May 21, 2012

Washington, DC—The Association of American Colleges and Universities formally announced today that Caryn McTighe Musil will assume a new role at AAC&U as Senior Scholar and Director of Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement (CLDE) Initiatives.  McTighe Musil will assume this new position on November 1, 2012 when she retires as AAC&U’s Senior Vice President for Diversity, Equity, and Global lnitiatives, a position she has held since 2004. McTighe Musil began working at AAC&U in 1991 assuming leadership of the Program on the Status and Education of Women and leading a series of far-reaching national initiatives focused on diversity, civic engagement, and learning in higher education. 

Musil began her involvement with AAC&U in the 1980’s when, as then-leader of the National Women’s Studies Association, she joined with 12 other learned societies in a major AAC&U initiative on re-forming the undergraduate major to make it a context for integrative liberal learning.  Since joining the AAC&U staff in 1991, she has led influential national initiatives on such issues as diversity and democracy, education for personal and social responsibility, global learning for shared futures, women in higher education, gender and science, equity and struggles for justice, and—most recently—civic learning and democratic engagement.   She has written extensively about all these issues and her national leadership has been widely celebrated. In 2005, she received the Donna Shavlik award from the American Council on Education. This award recognizes someone each year for “leadership and commitment to the advancement of women through actions or initiatives enhancing women's leadership development, career development, campus climate, and mentoring of and for women at both the state and national levels.”

Most recently, McTighe Musil’s work on civic learning and democratic engagement resulted in the development of a widely praised study, A Crucible Moment: College Learning & Democracy’s Future.  Commissioned by the U.S. Department of Education, A Crucible Moment was released at a White House convening in January of this year.  Working with a National Task Force on Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement, McTighe Musil served as the lead author for this comprehensive analysis of where higher education is now and where it needs to go in educating students for citizenship.

A Crucible Moment, developed through a broad dialogue with educational leaders across the country, calls on higher education to reclaim and redefine its role in educating students for democratic engagement and social responsibility, at home and abroad. In her new role at AAC&U, McTighe Musil now will coordinate efforts within AAC&U and across many cooperating organizations—the CLDE network—to make civic learning in college expected and pervasive rather than optional and peripheral. She also will help AAC&U and partner organizations in the CLDE network turn a spotlight on new models for students’ civic learning that already are being developed across higher education, in all kinds of institutions.  AAC&U is enlarging one of its journals, Diversity & Democracy, to provide a shared space to track higher education’s progress in achieving the goals set forth in A Crucible Moment.

“Caryn McTighe Musil has been both courageous and tireless in her long-term commitment to connect student learning in college with the needs of society, and especially of those who have been marginalized in society,” said AAC&U President Carol Geary Schneider. “AAC&U was very fortunate to enlist Caryn as a key leader in our long-term efforts to make engagement with diversity both as an expected component in a high quality liberal education and as an integral part of students’ education for democratic citizenship. As she now moves to a next phase of her career, I want to thank her for her leadership and welcome her into this new role with the CLDE network. Higher education’s efforts to revitalize civic learning have long needed intentional braiding. I am very pleased that Caryn—a talented weaver of wonderful tapestries—will now turn her time and energy to the making of much-needed new civic fabric for our diverse democracy.“

AAC&U has separately announced a search for a new vice president to be appointed next year.