What's New

AAC&U President on the Importance of a "Big-Picture Education"

Thursday, May 12, 2016 - 08:30

AAC&U President Carol Geary Schneider was interviewed by The Chronicle of Higher Education’s On Leadership video series on the value of college and her  long tenure as president of AAC&U. Schneider noted that, “It's never been more important that students have a big-picture education that prepares them to deal with complexity, and prepares them to take ethical responsibility and civic responsibility for what they're learning …People want today's new students to succeed in higher education. And they're trying everything they can to really help students get the benefit of a good education. So I take energy and confidence from all the commitment I see, across broad-access institutions and selective institutions as well, to try and make our programs work better for students.” See more perspectives from President Schneider at: www.aacu.org/about/cgs_perspectives.

New Statement on Assessing Student Learning

Thursday, May 5, 2016 - 10:15

The National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment (NILOA), an AAC&U partner organization, has released a new policy statement, Higher Education Quality: Why Documenting Learning Matters. In this new statement, NILOA argues that improving student and institutional performance must be a national priority. AAC&U President and NILOA Board Member Carol Geary Schneider has stated that “the assessment movement is poised to drive a sea change in what actually counts as meaningful, actionable evidence by putting students’ authentic work at the center of the assessment inquiry.” For more information about this new policy statement, visit the NILOA website,  www.learningoutcomesassessment.org.

Are Faculty Teaching the "Essential Learning Outcomes?"

Monday, April 4, 2016 - 07:15

AAC&U members overwhelmingly embrace the goal of teaching students what the LEAP initiative has termed “the Essential Learning Outcomes,” including the analytical and inquiry skills that are basic to evidence-based reasoning.  But how well are faculty members connecting these goals to student assignments and intellectual tasks?  With the recent AAC&U study of member goals for student learning as backdrop, The Chronicle of Higher Education writer Daniel Berrett explores what it takes to teach student how to generate and evaluate evidence and how to apply it to unscripted questions. AAC&U’s campus-based assessment initiative VALUE also provides answers to these issues, through a new pilot study and other rubrics. See also other perspectives on learning outcomes and their benefit—including a message from AAC&U President Carol Geary Schneider published in AAC&U’s periodical, Liberal Education, and Inside Higher Ed essays written by Century Foundation Senior Fellow Robert Shireman, and Peter Ewell, who is the President of the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems (NCHEMS).

Register Now for Liberal Arts Illuminated Conference in July

Wednesday, April 6, 2016 - 10:45

Liberal Arts Illuminated: Pathways, Possibilities, Partnerships,” will be held July 11–13 and is being hosted by the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University in Central Minnesota. The conference will bring together leadership, faculty, and trustees from liberal arts colleges, as well as public policymakers, for a substantive generative conversation about the future of liberal arts institutions. AAC&U is a sponsoring organization. Register here by June 1 to receive the early bird discount of $50.

Liberal Arts Education and Colleges in East Asia

AAC&U President Contributes Foreword, Afterword to New Book on Global Liberal Arts Education

Tuesday, March 29, 2016 - 11:45

AAC&U President Carol Geary Schneider has contributed the foreword and afterword to a new book, Liberal Arts Education and Colleges in East Asia: Possibilities and Challenges in the Global Age. The book shares unique case studies of liberal arts colleges both in and outside of East Asia; examines the differences and similarities between Eastern and Western liberal arts education; and offers practical and sustainable models and guidelines for liberal arts colleges in East Asia and beyond. Learn more online about AAC&U’s resources on liberal education and global learning.


New National Survey of AAC&U Member Chief Academic Officers

Tuesday, March 29, 2016 - 10:45

AAC&U surveyed Chief Academic Officers at member institutions from July-October 2015 concerning priorities related to learning outcomes, assessment, general education design, high-impact practices, and data tracking and goal setting around equity and quality learning. With support from USA Funds, AAC&U conducted structured interviews with 14 of the respondents focusing on minority serving and predominately white institutions and particularly on those who were tracking data in at least some disaggregated ways. Complete findings from the extensive survey were released in three separate reports.

AAC&U Board of Directors Establishes Lecture on Liberal Education and Inclusive Excellence in Honor of Carol Geary Schneider

Tuesday, March 1, 2016 - 08:00

AAC&U’s Board of Directors has announced the establishment of the “Carol Geary Schneider Lecture on Liberal Education and Inclusive Excellence.” This new lecture has been established to honor the legacy of AAC&U President Carol Geary Schneider, who will retire on June 30, 2016. The lecture is to be delivered by a high-profile thinker who is a leader in helping us understand and engage with issues fundamental to higher education and to our democratic society.  The lecture will be held biennially at AAC&U’s Annual Meeting when it is held in Washington, DC.  

'It Takes Much More Than a Major' to Succeed in This Economy, AAC&U President Tells LEAP State Convenings Across the Country

Wednesday, February 10, 2016 - 09:00

AAC&U President Carol Geary Schneider will keynote three LEAP State convenings in the next few weeks. Schneider spoke in Michigan, Texas, and Wisconsin on the LEAP Challenge and creating Guided Learning Pathways to increase student success. In Michigan, President Schneider and AAC&U Board Member Richard Guarasci presented on how community engagement can increase both persistence and success.  In Texas, Schneider focused on using the LEAP Challenge to map guided learning pathways that result in deep learning and long-term student success.  President Schneider presented at LEAP Wisconsin’s LEAP Day event on February 29.  Schneider will join colleagues in Wisconsin to celebrate a decade of LEAP WI and reflect on how the LEAP initiative has become a movement to help students blend liberal and pre-professional learning. In addition—in other LEAP States news—on February 26, AAC&U’s Debra Humphreys and Susan Albertine were keynote speakers at the “Supporting Faculty Innovation in the 21st-Century” conference in Indiana and on March 4, LEAP State partners in Massachusetts will sponsor the “Advancing Student Success” conference.

New Resource on "Preparing for Fisher II" from Education Counsel and College Board

Wednesday, March 2, 2016 - 12:00

The Education Counsel and College Board have released a report titled Preparing for Fisher II that outlines the issues at play in the Supreme Court case, previews possible outcomes, and provides recommendations for developing an institutional action plan. The report also includes an analysis of the amicus briefs filed in this round of Supreme Court litigation, and important insights from oral arguments and the parties' briefs that can help inform institutional dialogue and action.

Candace Thille

AAC&U Board Member Issues Cautionary Notes About Adaptive Learning Technologies

Tuesday, February 23, 2016 - 09:15

AAC&U Board Member Candace Thille, an education researcher at Stanford, expresses her concerns about adaptive learning technologies in an article in The Chronicle of Higher Education. Thille cautions against outsourcing to for-profit companies the work of developing learning analytics tools before the field has matured, concluding that, “If colleges themselves took up the learning-analytics challenge to ‘co-construct’ learning activities, institutions could both ‘support teaching and learning and help us understand better how learning happens.’" In addition to serving on AAC&U’s board of directors, Thille served on the Digital Working Group formed as part of AAC&U’s General Education Maps and Markers project.  Watch also for forthcoming GEMs report authored by Bret Eynon and Randy Bass and focused on liberal education in the new digital ecosystem of learning—due out this spring.

AAC&U President Calls on Accreditors to Offer Leadership on Quality Learning

Monday, February 22, 2016 - 07:45

AAC&U President Carol Geary Schneider has authored a blog post calling on regional accreditors to take a stronger role “in defining, clarifying, and advancing quality learning.” Noting that many colleges and universities have reached a consensus on the most important learning outcomes for all students, Schneider asks accreditors to “affirm the leadership that is already coming from their own member institutions” and “adopt and promulgate a shared framework for twenty-first-century learning.” Read the full post here.

Assessment Focus More on Rubrics, Less on Testing, New National Survey Reveals

Assessment Focus More on Rubrics, Less on Testing, New National Survey Reveals

Wednesday, February 17, 2016 - 00:15

The final planned report on findings from a new survey of AAC&U member chief academic officers, “Trends in Learning Outcomes Assessment,” outlines the increasing focus on rubrics applied to student work products and on student engagement in research and hands-on projects. For more information, see the press release. Full findings from this and previous reports released in November and January can be found at www.aacu.org/about/2015-membersurvey. See press coverage in Inside Higher Ed and The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Send a Team to AAC&U's 2016 Summer Institutes to Accelerate Campus Change Efforts

Send a Team to AAC&U's 2016 Summer Institutes to Accelerate Campus Change Efforts

Tuesday, January 26, 2016 - 10:00

The Institute on General Education and Assessment will take place June 4–8, 2016, in Boston, MA, and provides campus teams with opportunities to refine and advance general education programs and their assessment. The Institute on High-Impact Practices and Student Success will take place June 21–25, 2016, in Los Angeles, CA, and helps campuses, higher education systems, and consortia identify the assets students bring to college, make intentional and evidence-based use of Essential Learning Outcomes and high-impact educational practices, close achievement gaps, and devise integrative plans to advance inclusion and high levels of learning for all students. The Institute on Integrative Learning and the Departments will take place July 12–15, 2016, in Chicago, IL, and is intended for faculty and administrative teams leading change to deepen students’ integrative learning over time—connecting general education with learning in the major, and curricular with cocurricular learning. Complete information about these three institutes, including application materials, is now online.

AAC&U President gives Obama administration a "D for Disappointment;" Praises Higher Education Progress on Civic Learning

AAC&U President gives Obama administration a "D for Disappointment;" Praises Higher Education Progress on Civic Learning

Friday, February 5, 2016 - 15:30

In an interview for The Atlantic Monthly, Carol Geary Schneider expressed deep disappointment that the Obama administration commissioned a major study of Civic Learning and Democracy’s Future and then dropped the topic entirely from future work, including the administration’s narrowly construed  work on “rating” the value of college.  In comments not quoted, she also warmly praised the proactive leadership from higher education itself to make civic learning at the college level not just optional but expected.  Thanks to education leaders, civic learning is now a  college learning outcome that many higher education institutions and some state systems are requiring, assessing and working to improve.  To learn more about the coalition of major organizations that are moving civic learning forward, see: Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement, Civic Prompts and updates on progress toward goals in A Crucible Moment.

AAC&U Annual Meeting Triumph of Commitment To Equity and Inclusive Excellence Over Climate

Monday, January 25, 2016 - 12:15

Despite the challenges of weather and travel, the AAC&U community came together last week to probe the most important issues of our time—overcoming inequities and linking college learning to the future of democracy, social justice, and the planet.  We thank all those who not only stayed through to Saturday but took part in wonderful sessions on e-portfolio and digital learning that day and even planned further discussions for Sunday.  As one participant wrote, the snow-bound Grand Hyatt became a site of “emergent happenings.”  We extend our deep gratitude to the many talented participants who pitched in to make the meeting a remarkable probing of the needed connections between equity and quality.  We also express our profound regret to all our colleagues, near and far, who were caught in the transportation crises and the myriad personal crises resulting from the blizzard.   Follow on Twitter with #aacu16 and watch for additional resources from the meeting to be posted soon. Staff will return to the office and will be available to assist with any questions when the federal government reopens on Wednesday, January 27.