Liberal Education

From the Editor

Being part of the quasi-community that for a time formed around the talks and sessions, luncheons, and receptions of AAC&U's 2003 Annual Meeting generated energy and involvement for the ideas circulating through halls and meeting rooms. Simply reading the program for the meeting opens up a window on what's happening in higher education, from preparation of future faculty, through innovative teaching and learning strategies, to institutional reform. Much more, the conversations, speakers, and sessions gave a broad view of the educational horizon.

I was asked how that energy could be communicated. Knowing that the spring issue of Liberal Education covers the Annual Meeting, I wondered whether we could identify the source of the meeting's esprit. I'll hazard a guess. From my listening to what participants were saying and among other contributing factors, my take on it is the meeting's theme. Clearly, along with the flow of ideas and the pleasure of meeting with colleagues, the Greater Expectations report was unifying and generative. What emerged was that the recurring citation or allusion to Greater Expectations provided a naming and recognizing.

The report gives expression to the programs and projects that have been taking place on individual campuses. These discrete initiatives are named and recognized as part of a whole, a bigger picture of contemporary undergraduate education. One's campus innovations can be set against the general picture for productive comparison and, possibly, direction. In this context, the very recognition of the part one has in the broader perspective is an affirmation of the work and striving that in the normal course of the academic year, faculty and administrators like those at the meeting do, day by day.

While that enthusiasm can't be bottled and released on paper, a sample of the talks that added to the conversations is presented in this issue. Both the photographs and the articles are only a sample, captured to fit within the covers of the journal.

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