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 Lumina Degree Qualifications Profile (DQP): Implications for Assessment

Originally published by the National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment, this publication provides an in-depth exploration of the latest models for assessing the advanced college-level learning outcomes articulated in the Degree Qualifications Profile (DQP). Developed by the Lumina Foundation and released in “beta” form in 2011, the DQP describes the knowledge, skills, and applications that prepare graduates to succeed in the economy, civil society, and their own lives. Featuring reflections from two of the primary authors of the DQP, this publication offers guidance to stakeholders on how best to assess learning in relation to the competencies articulated in the DQP. NILOA's original publication is available online at: learningoutcomesassessment.org/documents/EwellDQPop1.pdf.

Making Progress? What We Know about the Achievement of Liberal Education Outcomes

This new report provides an up-to-date overview of national data from a variety of studies of student learning, including the NSSE, Wabash National Study, CIRP, PSRI, and others. It presents comparative data on achievement over time across an array of liberal education outcomes—such as critical thinking, writing, civic engagement, global competence, and social responsibility.

The report contrasts the very positive evidence drawn from what students think they have learned with the much more sobering evidence from national tests about what students actually can do in such areas as critical thinking, writing, and quantitative reasoning. It also reflects the growing evidence that how we construct the learning environment, e.g., by emphasizing high-impact practices, is a crucial component both in assessing learning and in raising students' level of achievement. Making Progress also underscores the educational value of new assessment practices, such as e-...

Civic Provocations

Recognizing the urgent need for colleges and universities to address their civic mission and that of higher education, Civic Provocations features accessible, brief essays that consider dimensions of what “centering attention to the civic” might mean and involve. Civic Provocations provokes deepened consideration and campus conversations—both needed for designing actions required to realize a civic mission. The provocations are written by leading civic scholars and practitioners; the topics range from civic learning to action research; from global civics to civility; from curricula to civic pedagogy; and from theory to practices.

Civic Provocations (pdf copy).

This is the first in the five volume Civic Series of monographs being published by the Bringing Theory to Practice Project between 2012 and 2014.

A Crucible Moment: College Learning & Democracy's Future

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This report from the National Task Force on Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement calls on the nation to reclaim higher education's civic mission. Commissioned by the Department of Education and released at a White House convening in January 2012, the report pushes back against a prevailing national dialogue that limits the mission of higher education to workforce preparation and training while marginalizing disciplines basic to democracy. The Task Force calls on educators and public leaders to advance a twenty-first-century vision of college learning for all students—a vision with civic learning and democratic engagement an expected part of every student's college education. The report documents the nation's anemic civic health and includes recommendations for action that address campus culture, general education, and civic inquiry as part of major and career fields...

Assessing College Student Learning: Evaluating Alternative Models, Using Multiple Methods

Campus leaders face a bewildering array of different assessment methods-standardized or locally designed tests and inventories, indirect methods focusing on student self-reports of engagement or gains in learning, portfolios, and other performance-based methods. This publication will help readers make sense of the broad assessment landscape. Part 1, by assessment expert Robert Sternberg and his colleagues, examines the psychological theories of learning and achievement that underlie these diverse methods and offers practical guidance on how to select among them. Part 2—five case studies—presents profiles of how different institutions are implementing comprehensive approaches to assessing student learning and the benefits of using multiple methods in combination.

The LEAP Vision for Learning: Outcomes, Practices, Impact, and Employers' Views

This new publication outlines the LEAP vision for learning, bringing together multiple strands of LEAP work. It includes an executive summary of College Learning for the New Global Century; summaries of research about high-impact educational practices and learning outcomes; summaries of trends in curricular, assessment, and general education reform; and data about the outcomes that employers value in the college graduates they hire and promote. This summary is ideal as an introduction to AAC&U's LEAP (Liberal Education and America's Promise) initiative and its research for use with internal and external advocates of educational reform, including with curricular and student success committees, boards of trustees, and regents.

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Five High-Impact Practices: Research on Learning Outcomes, Completion, and Quality

This monograph examines what educational research reveals about five educational practices: first-year seminars, learning communities, service learning, undergraduate research, and capstone experiences. The authors explore questions such as: What is the impact on students who participate in these practices? Is the impact the same for both traditional students and those who come from historically underserved student populations? The monograph includes a foreword by George D. Kuh, "High-Impact Practices: Retrospective and Prospective," and recommendations for how to improve the quality of high-impact practices.

General Education & Liberal Learning: Principles of Effective Practice

General Education and Liberal Learning: Principles of Effective Practice explores elements common to strong general education programs and examines how strong programs support liberal learning outcomes essential to success in the twenty-first century. The publication surveys the changes that have occurred in general education programs—and more broadly in higher education—since AAC&U's Strong Foundations: Twelve Principles for Effective General Education Programs was published in 1994. The publication discusses how institutions may improve their general education practices and provides numerous examples of successful practices. Chapters include, "Imperatives for and Drivers of Change," "Principles of Strong General Education Programs," "Intentionality," "Alignment with the Majors," "Effective Pedagogy," "Assessment," and "Institutional Commitment." This publication is ideal for use by curriculum committees and groups working on reviewing, revising, or assessing...

Electronic Portfolios and Student Success: Effectiveness, Efficiency, and Learning

This publication presents an overview of electronic portfolios and ways individuals and campuses can implement e-portfolios to enhance and assess student learning, recognizing that learning occurs in many places, takes many forms, and is exhibited through many modes of representation. It is organized around eight issues central to implementing an e-portfolio approach: defining learning outcomes; understanding your learners; identifying stakeholders; designing learning activities; including multiple forms of evidence; using rubrics to evaluate e-portfolios; anticipating external uses of evidence; and evaluating the impact of e-portfolios. This work is illustrated through multiple campus case study examples.

Assessing Outcomes and Improving Achievement: Tips and Tools for Using Rubrics

This publication provides practical advice on the development and effective use of rubrics to evaluate college student achievement at various levels. Rubrics for fifteen liberal learning outcomes are included, and can be readily adapted to reflect the missions, cultures, and practices of individual institutions and programs. Developed by faculty members and other academic professionals, and tested on a variety of campuses, the rubrics establish measurable criteria for assessing each outcome at beginning, intermediate, and advanced levels of accomplishment.

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