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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.

AAC&U also publishes three periodicals, Liberal Education, Peer Review, and Diversity & Democracy, and a monthly online newsletter, AAC&U News, to advance the national dialogue about the quality of undergraduate education in the United States.

A Sea Change on Student Learning Assessment: An AAC&U Working Paper

The Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) has been working for a decade to help colleges, universities and community colleges raise the level of student achievement on key capacities—what we call the Essential Learning Outcomes—that are relevant to work and life in the 21st century. These learning outcomes include, across and beyond content knowledge: inquiry and analysis; critical and creative thinking; integrative and reflective thinking; written and oral communication; quantitative literacy; information literacy; intercultural understanding; and teamwork and problem solving. Hundreds of institutions and their faculty now are using AAC&U’s quality frameworks to improve student learning.

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Civic Learning and Democratic Engagements: A Review of the Literature on Civic Engagement in Post-Secondary Education

Distributed at the Association of American Colleges & Universities 2012 Annual Meeting in conjunction with the release of A Crucible Moment: College Learning & Democracy's Future, this review includes six essential findings on students' civic learning and engagement:

  • More than 70 percent of all college students report participating in some form of volunteering, community service, or service learning during their time in college.
  • About one-half of college students report participating in credit-bearing service learning activities during their time in college.
  • Dozens of studies show that service learning is positively associated with a variety of civic learning outcomes.
  • Emerging evidence suggests that the more frequently students participate in a continuum of civic learning practices (e.g. service learning, meaningful cross-racial interactions on campus or in classrooms, or real-world problem-based
  • ...
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...

The Drama of Diversity and Democracy (Second Edition 2011)

In releasing this new edition of The Drama of Diversity and Democracy, the Association of American Colleges and Universities invites higher education to reengage with one of our most foundational questions: the role educators can and should play in building civic capacities—knowledge, skills, commitments, collaborations—for our diverse and globally connected democracy. This edition features a new foreword by Ramón A. Gutiérrez, and a new prefaculty by AAC&U President Carol Geary Schneider. The original version of this publication was released in 1995 as part of AAC&U's national initiative American Commitments: Diversity, Democracy, and Liberal Learning.

This is a free online publication. It is available as a PDF document.

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.

Civic Learning and Democratic Engagements: A Review of the Literature on Civic Engagement in Post‐Secondary Education

What civic engagement is, how students should go about it, and what it should do for them after the fact is both a philosophical debate and a research divide. Even a cursory review of the literature would demonstrate that we know the most about the empirical effects of civic engagement through the lens of service‐learning. Moreover, this research has produced a convincing amount of evidence on the positive effects of service‐learning across a range of student‐centered outcomes, including gains in learning, and aspects of personal and social development. But is service‐learning really civic engagement? A number of scholars have argued that most forms of service‐learning (or other forms of apolitical community engagement) fail to intentionally engage students in the activities and processes central to democratic‐building (i.e. deliberative dialogue, collaborative work, problem‐solving within diverse groups). In essence, these scholars argue it is not enough for students to engage in...

What Works in Facilitating Interdisciplinary Learning in Science and Mathematics

This executive summary outlines the results from the KECK/PKAL Facilitating Interdisciplinary Learning project. The publication features how twenty-eight participating campuses developed new ways to create, implement, measure, and sustain effective interdisciplinary STEM learning environments. The summary includes key recommendations supplemented by strategies and practical advice.

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.

Engaging Diverse Viewpoints: What Is the Campus Climate for Perspective-Taking?

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Engaging Diverse Viewpoints focuses on whether—and which—environments promote students' abilities to understand and be informed by perspectives that differ from their own. The report presents findings from a unique campus climate assessment tool—administered in 2007 to 24,000 students and 9,000 academic administrators, faculty, and student affairs professionals at twenty-three colleges and universities—that illuminate how these groups believe their campuses promote the importance of taking seriously the perspectives of others. This publication also addresses what aspects of the college experience promote engaging difference and appreciation for multiple perspectives. Ideal for on-campus and campus-community discussions about perspective-taking. Engaging Diverse Viewpoints is the third report from the Core Commitments initiative. The first...