Publications

AAC&U's publications cover a range of topics and provide the latest research, analysis, and valuable starting points for campus practitioner and policy leader dialogues. AAC&U monographs, reports, and guides focus on teaching, learning, curriculum, and academic leadership, and shine a spotlight on promising practices at every kind of college and university. See below for all AAC&U publications. Click on titles to purchase or download copies.


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The VALUE Breakthrough: Getting the Assessment of Student Learning in College Right

Valid Assessment of Learning in Undergraduate Education—AAC&U's VALUE initiative—is a far-reaching effort to focus assessment on the work students produce in their progress toward a degree. By focusing on assignments produced for a degree program rather than on answers on time-limited standardized tests, VALUE has become a national movement to change the way we envision and approach the assessment of student learning gains and accomplishments in college. The VALUE Breakthrough explains succinctly and directly the progress and importance of this movement. Author Daniel Sullivan tells us how VALUE relates both to the larger aims of a quality liberal education, to the capabilities employers seek and reward, and to the public policy pressures of our current environment.

How Liberal Arts and Sciences Majors Fare in Employment

Students, parents, and policy makers interested in the "return on investment" of college education tend to place unwarranted emphasis on the choice of undergraduate major, often assuming that a major in a liberal arts field has a negative effect on employment prospects and earnings potential. This new report—which includes data on earnings, employment rates, graduate school earnings bumps, and commonly chosen professions— presents clear evidence to the contrary. It shows not only that the college degree remains a sound investment, especially in these difficult economic times, but also that— as compared to students who major in professional, preprofessional, or STEM fields— liberal arts majors fare very well in terms of both earnings and long-term career success.

 Civic Engagement, Civic Development, and Higher Education

What is, or can be, achieved by using the civic as an agent for change? Civic Engagement, Civic Development, and Higher Education, the fourth monograph in The Civic Series, is composed of fourteen essays written by college and university leaders and practitioners that consider engaging the community to be an intimate and necessary component of learning and knowledge creation for students, faculty and staff, and the community itself.

Global Learning: Defining, Designing, Demonstrating

Global Learning: Defining, Designing, Demonstrating is a joint publication of NAFSA: Association of International Educators and the Association of American Colleges and Universities.

The goal of this publication is to provide a definition and rationale for “global learning,” which is a term widely used across higher education, although faculty, staff, and practitioners do not always agree about what it means.  By exploring how the term and the ideas behind it are evolving, global learning is placed in the context of several important overlapping higher education change efforts.  

A shared vocabulary of global learning outcomes can help campus practitioners build valuable alliances that extend beyond those offices, departments, and individuals typically assumed to hold primary responsibility for the global mission of an institution. These expanded alliances...

Civic Studies

Civic Studies, the third monograph in The Civic Series, is composed of nine scholarly but accessible essays written by scholars from diverse disciplines and nationalities who address such questions as, "What should good citizens know and do? What scholarly knowledge is useful to citizens?" Civic Studies is available as a PDF.

Investing in Success: Cost-Effective Strategies to Increase Student Success

This publication provides advice and planning tools to help educational leaders invest in high-impact practices, despite budget constraints. It presents ways to evaluate both the benefits and costs of high-impact practices, and strategies for investing in innovations. Building on research from the Access to Success initiative and the Delta Cost Project, the authors provide examples of campuses that have made wise investments developing or scaling particular practices, with positive results for student learning, graduation rates, and the bottom line.

Assessing Underserved Students' Engagement in High-Impact Practices

This publication presents findings from a national study conducted by AAC&U researchers to investigate the impact of engagement in high-impact practices on traditionally underserved populations (defined here as first-generation, minority, transfer, and low-income students).The mixed-method analysis includes student-level data on engaged learning at thirty-eight participating institutions-from the state higher education systems in California, Oregon, and Wisconsin-drawn from the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE), as well as qualitative data obtained through student focus groups held at nine selected campuses. This report serves as a guide for campus-based inquiry to further our understanding of underserved student engagement with high-impact practices. The publication also includes a toolkit on assessing equity in high-impact practices developed by the Center for Urban Education at the University of Southern California. This project is funded by TG Philanthropy. ...

Civic Values, Civic Practices

Fourteen accessible essays written by national, international, disciplinary, and interdisciplinary scholars address the nature of civic values and their complex connections to profound learning practices that, within an open society, often involve taking risks and challenging conventions. This is the second monograph in The Civic Series, which was published by Bringing Theory to Practice between 2012 and 2014. 

Download a free copy (pdf)

Using the VALUE Rubrics for Improvement of Learning and Authentic Assessment

This publication addresses key elements of, and questions frequently raised about, the development and use of the VALUE rubrics for assessment of student learning. It provides information about rubric-based assessment approaches—including validity, reliability, and rubric modification—and faculty training in the use of rubrics. Specific examples of how campuses are using the VALUE rubrics to improve student learning are also provided. Full case studies from twelve campuses are available online at www.aacu.org/value/casestudies.

Ensuring Quality & Taking High-Impact Practices to Scale

Building on previous AAC&U reports, this publication presents research on specific educational practices correlated with higher levels of academic challenge, student engagement, and achievement. The publication features the relationship between these practices and improvements in retention and graduation rates and advice on how to ensure that all students experience multiple high-impact practices. Detailed case studies show how five campuses are providing high-impact practices more pervasively and systematically.

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