General Education Publications

Increasing Student Success in STEM: A Guide to Systemic Institutional Change

This publication is for faculty, administrators, and other academic leaders who are poised to mount comprehensive STEM reforms to improve student learning and success, particularly for students from underrepresented minority groups. Based on the experiences of eleven colleges and universities in the Keck/PKAL STEM Education Effectiveness Framework project, the Guide contains advice on getting started, team and leader development, project management, and sustaining change. It also includes benchmarks, key questions for analysis, timeline information, challenge alerts to help anticipate common roadblocks, and a rubric to help campus teams gauge their progress. Examples from case studies developed by campus teams who participated in the project provide real-world illustrations. Also available in eBook Version (PDF).

Open and Integrative: Designing Liberal Education for the New Digital Ecosystem

The ongoing digital revolution has created a complex and interconnected ecosystem that is fundamentally reshaping how we learn and communicate. Yet, despite its transformative potential, this digital ecosystem has so far had less of an impact on formal education than on other sectors of our society. Authors Randy Bass and Bret Eynon explore the implications of emerging digital capacities and culture for higher education, arguing that any discussion to reinvent higher education that begins with technology is doomed to a diminished vision of learning. Bass and Eynon begin instead by reimagining the core purposes of liberal education in this new context and ask: What is the role of the digital ecosystem in making a quality liberal education available to all, equitably?

Going beyond “unbundling,” the authors propose that we use networked and adaptive systems to “re-bundle” higher education by connecting learning experiences that have typically been disconnected, opening the...

Peer Review, Fall 2015
Peer Review, Fall 2015

Sponsored by The Kresge Foundation, this issue focuses on campus, state, regional, and national strategies for “Advancing Roadmaps for Community College Leadership to Improve Student Learning and Success.” Leaders from Jobs for the Future, Achieving the Dream, the John N. Gardner Institute for Excellence in Undergraduate Education,  the American Association of Community Colleges, and the Council on Undergraduate Research contributed to the issue and AAC&U Roadmap Project colleges collaborated across institutions to write articles that highlight emerging practices for improving student learning and success based on the LEAP framework.Read more

Recent Trends in General Education Design, Learning Outcomes, and Teaching Approaches
2016

This report summarizes key findings from a national survey among chief academic officers at AAC&U member institutions and explores how institutions are defining common learning outcomes, trends related to general education design and the use of emerging, evidence-based teach­ing and learning practices. This is the second report in a series featuring findings from the survey conducted by Hart Research Associates for AAC&U. (full reports and slides with findings are available free online at www.aacu.org/about/2015-membersurvey.)

This new report, "Recent Trends in General Education Design, Learning Outcomes, and Teaching Approaches," includes respondents from across the full spectrum of public, private, two-year, and four-year institutions.

The Quality of a College Degree
2015

This report examines the larger policy environment and how it is and isn’t aligned with current efforts to focus on assessment of key student learning outcomes, especially in the context of transfer. It builds on lessons learned in AAC&U's DQP Quality Collaboratives project.  Authors provide recommendations for framing policy debates about more efficient and effective transfer from two-year to four-year institutions that account for students’ achievement of key learning outcomes articulated in the Degree Qualifications Profile. The publication also provides a framework for better aligning state and campus policies with a twenty-first-century vision of quality learning and with current patterns of student attendance.  Ideal for campus discussions about improving transfer student success and collecting better data on student achievement, the publication also includes case studies from two-year/four-year Quality Collaboratives campus partners...

General Education Transformed: How We Can, Why We Must
2015

This publication calls for a re-envisioning of general education with clear, purposeful pathways for all students, allowing them to actively demonstrate their learning through high-impact practices and teaching strategies that are transferable across disciplines, departments, institutions, and even state systems. Reflecting the core vision articulated in General Education Maps and Markers, it addresses student success in terms of both college completion and achievement of essential twenty-first-century learning outcomes, including those articulated in LEAP and in Lumina Foundation's Degree Qualifications Profile. The publication also addresses how this general education framework helps to foster essential capacities for career, citizenship, and global engagement for today's diverse and mobile students. This is an excellent resource for general education reform and curriculum committees.

Giving California Students a Compass
2015

Final Report of "Give Students a Compass" in California, May, 2015

Too many students who begin college in the California State University (CSU) or California Community College (CCC) systems with the goal of earning a bachelor’s degree don’t make it. Of degree-seeking students who entered a CSU in 2007, just over half graduated six years later (California State University, 2013). Of students who entered a CCC the same year and demonstrated intent to transfer—that is, completed at least 12 units and attempted transfer-level math or English—just over one-third had transferred after six years (California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office, 2013).

In California and across the United States, there is growing interest in how colleges and universities can improve student success, not only by increasing rates of bachelor’s degree completion but also ensuring high-quality learning for all students. General Education (GE)—the part of the curriculum that all...

Liberal Education, Winter-Spring, 2015
Liberal Education, Winter/Spring 2015

This special double issue focuses on the LEAP Challenge, the next phase of AAC&U’s Liberal Education and America’s Promise (LEAP) initiative. Articles present the LEAP Challenge and, through exploration of a variety of campus exemplars, its central concept of Signature Work. Along with selected presentations from AAC&U’s 2015 annual meeting, the winter/spring issue also features a look at key moments in the association’s history—the first in a yearlong series of commissioned articles marking the AAC&U Centennial.

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The LEAP Challenge: Educating for a World of Unscripted Problems
2015

The LEAP Challenge builds on a decade of LEAP reform efforts on campus to advance Essential Learning Outcomes and high-impact educational practices for all students. The LEAP Challenge calls on colleges and universities to engage students in signature work that will prepare them to integrate and apply their learning to a significant project.

General Education Maps and Markers: Designing Meaningful Pathways to Student Achievement
2015

Written for faculty members, academic leaders, and policy makers, General Education Maps and Markers: Designing Meaningful Pathways to Student Achievement provides clear principles and guidelines to ensure that general education fosters the LEAP Essential Learning Outcomes and key proficiencies important for long-term success and flourishing, enriches students' learning in the major, and prepares college students to successfully tackle the kinds of complex problems they will inevitably confront in work, civil society, and their own lives. General education, invented to help college students gain the knowledge and collaborative capacities they need to navigate a complex world, is today and should remain an essential part of a high-quality college education. And yet, in practice, general education programs too often underperform. The principles and guidelines presented in these pages directly address this long-...

Diversity & Democracy, Summer 2014
Diversity & Democracy, Summer 2014

This issue of Diversity & Democracy features approaches to general education that help students develop the skills they need for participation in a diverse and globally connected democracy. Contributing authors also raise pertinent questions about opportunities for and barriers to faculty and students' democratic engagement in higher education itself.Read more

How Liberal Arts and Sciences Majors Fare in Employment
2014

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.

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