For Immediate Release

David Tritelli
Vice President for Communications and Public Affairs
202-884-0812 (office)
Carrie Johnson
Associate Director of Marketing and Media Relations
202.387.3760, ext. 811

Humphreys, McNair, Albertine, and Rhodes to Take on New Roles and Responsibilities at the Association of American Colleges and Universities

Jan 12, 2016

Washington, DC—The Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) today announced new assignments for four key senior staff members.

As of January 1, 2016, Debra Humphreys has assumed a new position as Senior Vice President for Academic Planning and Public Engagement.  As of February 1, Tia Brown McNair will succeed Susan Albertine as Vice President for Diversity, Equity, and Student Success. Susan Albertine will begin a phased retirement transition into a new role as a part-time Senior Scholar overseeing the LEAP States initiative and AAC&U’s Faculty Collaboratives project. In addition to his role as Vice President for Quality, Curriculum, and Assessment, Terrel Rhodes also will now serve as Executive Director of VALUE (Valid Assessment of Learning in Undergraduate Education). 

“Individually and collectively, these AAC&U leaders have played major roles in advancing key objectives of AAC&U’s signature initiative, Liberal Education and America’s Promise,” said AAC&U President Carol Geary Schneider.  “In particular, they have been especially effective in advancing AAC&U’s commitment to making excellence inclusive, creating clear connections between college learning and life beyond college, and advancing forms of assessment that both deepen and document learning.  As AAC&U looks to a new era of leadership under president-elect Lynn Pasquerella, our community is fortunate to have talented and committed leaders who will work with her to advance AAC&U’s mission and to provide far-reaching leadership for positive educational change.”

In her new role as Senior Vice President, Humphreys will oversee public outreach efforts and coordination of funded projects and continuing programs in support of AAC&U’s ongoing strategic plan.  She will work to ensure clear planning, coordination, and communication across AAC&U’s many lines of grant-funded and ongoing educational work.  Humphreys has served on the leadership team for Liberal Education and America’s Promise (LEAP) from its launch in 2005 and has led AAC&U’s national and state-level advocacy and policy efforts related to issues of student success and the quality of student learning.  In addition to this leadership role in LEAP, Humphreys has more than twenty years of experience at AAC&U in programmatic positions both in the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Global Initiatives and the Office of Communications, Policy, and Public Engagement.  She has led campus-based projects on diversity in higher education and developed influential resources to educate the public about the value of an engaged liberal education to prepare for the changing global economy and for leadership in a diverse democracy.  She launched AAC&U’s series of national employer surveys, helped develop the LEAP Employer-Educator Compact, and also recently led the policy strand of AAC&U's Lumina Foundation supported initiative, Quality Collaboratives, working in nine states to advance transfer and assessment policies that better account for students' demonstrated accomplishment of learning.

In her new role as AAC&U’s Vice President for Diversity, Equity, and Student Success, Tia Brown McNair will oversee both funded projects and AAC&U’s continuing programs on equity, inclusive excellence, high-impact educational practices, and student success, including AAC&U’s Network for Academic Renewal series of yearly working conferences.  Among other responsibilities, she will direct AAC&U’s Summer Institute on High-Impact Educational Practices and Student Success.  McNair has led numerous projects in AAC&U’s Office of Diversity, Equity, and Student Success including the “Roadmap” family of projects working to advance student success in community colleges.  She is currently leading two major funded campus-based initiatives, Transparency and Problem-Centered Learning and Committing to Equity and Inclusive Excellence.  McNair also served as chair of the Equity Working Group of AAC&U’s initiative, General Education Maps and Markers and helped develop important resources guiding campus action steps on equity and inclusive excellence as part of AAC&U Centennial-Year focus on these issues.

Susan Albertine is transitioning from her role as Vice President to a new position as a Senior Scholar in AAC&U’s Office of Integrative Liberal Learning and the Global Commons.  She will continue to serve as the director of the Lumina Foundation-funded national initiative, Faculty Collaboratives, and will continue to lead AAC&U’s LEAP States initiative.  Albertine led the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Student Success for more than five years during which she oversaw multiple projects and ongoing AAC&U programs designed to support equity and student success with an emphasis on broad access institutions.   She expanded the LEAP States initiative, which now comprises networks of institutions in 12 states, with hundreds of faculty and academic leaders working together to advance the LEAP vision for quality learning and inclusive excellence.  Albertine also led the faculty leadership strand of AAC&U’s Quality Collaboratives project and developed and launched the new Faculty Collaboratives project.  Prior to assuming her role as Vice President she came to AAC&U to direct the LEAP project, Give Students a Compass which allowed AAC&U to expand and formalize LEAP States as an ongoing program of the association.

Terrel Rhodes continues in his role as Vice President for Quality, Curriculum, and Assessment and will assume a new role as Executive Director of VALUE.  VALUE, an acronym for Valid Assessment of Learning in Undergraduate Education, is AAC&U’s signature model for assessing whether students are achieving key learning outcomes.  It advances the use of a set of rubrics that were developed by faculty teams for 16 learning outcomes that AAC&U regards as “essential.”  As Executive Director for VALUE, Rhodes will play a lead role, with the president, board of directors, staff, and national partners, in helping VALUE transition from its current standing as a grant-supported initiative to an ongoing “platform” that higher education institutions and faculty members can use to make student work the primary evidence of student accomplishment and learning gains in college.  Rhodes will work with national experts, including partners at research universities and in SHEEO (State Higher Education Executive Officers Association), to advance the VALUE assessment strategy and to help faculty members use VALUE findings to ensure that their curriculum pathways provide guided practice for student achievement of expected learning.   In his tenure at AAC&U, Rhodes has directed many ongoing and funded initiatives at AAC&U, including the long-standing AAC&U Summer Institute on General Education and Assessment.  He developed the initial project that created VALUE and leads several ongoing initiatives through which cohorts of private and public institutions are already using the VALUE approach to assessment to document and improve student learning outcomes. 

AAC&U’s senior leadership team also includes Michelle Hannahs, Vice President, Finance and Administration, Kelly Mack, Vice President for Undergraduate STEM Education and Executive Director of Project Kaleidoscope, Bethany Zecher Sutton, Chief of Staff and Coordinating Director for the LEAP Initiative, and Kathy Wolfe, Vice President for Integrative Liberal Learning and the Global Commons.

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 1,350 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.