What's New


AAC&U Hosts LEAP Centennial Forum in Chicago on "Bringing Quality and Equity Together"

Friday, May 29, 2015 - 06:15

AAC&U hosted a forum on “Bringing Quality and Equity Together” in Chicago, IL, on May 29. The forum, the third  in a series of events AAC&U is sponsoring as part of its Centennial Year, brought together teams of educators, as well as policy, civic, and business leaders, to examine the learning all college students need to thrive in a knowledge economy and to participate actively and responsibly in a diverse and global society. Presentations at this third forum centered on emerging evidence of “what works” in supporting higher levels of underserved student success, in particular guided pathways through the curriculum, and discussed new evidence that quality learning is itself a catalyst to increased completion for underserved students.

Washington Announced As 11th LEAP State

Washington Announced As 11th LEAP State

Monday, May 18, 2015 - 14:45

AAC&U and the Washington Consortium for the Liberal Arts (WaCLA) announced that Washington is now a state partner in AAC&U’s initiative, Liberal Education and America’s Promise (LEAP).  AAC&U President Carol Geary Schneider notes that, “AAC&U and WaCLA educators share a passion for liberal education and a commitment to help all students achieve both broad learning about the world they will inherit—through studies in science, humanities, the arts, and the social sciences—and the critical skills they need to help create solutions for our future.  For more information about LEAP WaCLA, please refer to: www.aacu.org/leap/states/washington. Read more about this partnership in a HuffPost blog post from WaCLA’s Michael Zimmerman.


New Case Studies, Inquiry-Based Course Modules from STIRS Initiative Now Available

Thursday, May 7, 2015 - 08:45

AAC&U recently released sixteen peer-reviewed case studies as part of the Scientific Thinking and Integrative Reasoning Skills (STIRS) initiative. The STIRS initiative was launched in 2012 to develop curriculum resources to improve the capacity of undergraduate students to use evidence to solve problems and make decisions. The case studies—available at no cost—present adaptable assignments and modules that can be used in a range of undergraduate courses across the disciplines. Each case study includes a student case and a facilitator’s guide, which features suggestions for ways to assess student learning and linkage to AAC&U's VALUE rubrics and STIRS competencies.

Optimistic, but Are They Prepared? AAC&U Releases Findings from New Survey of College Students

Optimistic, But Are They Prepared? AAC&U Releases Findings from New Survey of College Students

Wednesday, April 29, 2015 - 10:30

AAC&U releases, Optimistic About the Future, But How Well Prepared? College Students’ Views on College Learning and Career Success,” a report summarizing findings from a national survey and three focus groups of college students commissioned by AAC&U and conducted by Hart Research Associates. The findings suggest that the majority of college students at both two-year and four-year institutions (63 percent) understand what employers have been saying for years--having both field-specific knowledge and a broad range of skills is important for recent college graduates to achieve long-term career success. Students also agree with employers on the most important cross-cutting learning outcomes key to career success.   For the full report and slides from this and other LEAP-sponsored surveys, see www.aacu.org/leap/public-opinion-research.

AAC&U President Comments on Senate Committee White Paper on Accreditation

Friday, April 24, 2015 - 13:00

AAC&U President Carol Geary Schneider urged in her comments to Senator Alexander and the HELP Committee that the Senate “prioritize first and foremost the goal of ensuring that all college students participate in high-quality programs that are well-designed to advance a set of essential learning outcomes…and that accredited institutions make visible their commitment to these learning outcomes and students’ demonstrated achievement of them.” In her comments, she stresses that “any reforms [of the accreditation process] should keep the role of quality assurance in the hands of institutions of higher education and their membership accrediting organizations” but she affirms the recommendations AAC&U has been making for many years—that institutions and regional accreditors “make good use of…consensus outcomes and…[develop] their own processes for ensuring that students in accredited institutions are provided with clear roadmaps to consensus learning outcomes; that curricula are mapped to a clear set of learning outcomes; and that multiple, proven assessment methods are used…to assess the degree to which students are achieving institutional and major-specific learning outcomes.” Read the Senate HELP Committee White Paper on “Higher Education Accreditation: Concepts and Proposals,” President Schneider’s entire comment, the press release about President Schneider's comment, and the earlier AAC&U Board Statement, “Our Students’ Best Work: A Framework for Accountability Worthy of Our Mission.”


Faculty and Administrative Teams from 109 Institutions, 37 States, and 1 Country to Attend AAC&U 2015 Summer Institutes

Tuesday, May 5, 2015 - 07:00

AAC&U recently announced the colleges, universities, and state systems sending teams to its 2015 summer institutes. Teams of five or more participants from 109 institutions will attend these summer institutes: the Institute on General Education and Assessment at the University of Central Oklahoma in Edmond, Oklahoma (June 2-6, 2015); the Institute on High-Impact Practices and Student Success at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in Madison, Wisconsin (June 9-13, 2015); and the Institute on Integrative Learning and the Departments at the University of Delaware in Newark, Delaware (July 14-18, 2015). These three AAC&U institutes offer campus teams a time and place for sustained collaborative work on a project of importance to their campus; for a list of participating institutions, see this press release. AAC&U also will announce soon the faculty members participating in the Project Kaleidoscope Summer Leadership Institutes for STEM Faculty. The PKAL Institutes are designed to prepare early and mid-career STEM faculty for roles as effective agents of change in transforming undergraduate STEM education at the departmental, institutional, and/or national levels.

In Defense of a Liberal Education

Liberal Education in the News

Monday, March 30, 2015 - 10:15

The Case for Liberal Education made the news on a number of fronts recently, thanks largely to the publication of Fareed Zakaria’s new book, In Defense of a Liberal Education (WW Norton) and his two TV appearances—on ABC’sThis Week”; and on CNN’s “Global Public Square.”  See also: “Frederick Douglass, Defender of the Liberal Arts” in The Atlantic; The Washington Post’s Zakaria’s article, “Why America’s Obsession with STEM Education is Dangerous”; the Wall Street Journal editorial by Christopher J. Scalia on “Conservatives, Please Stop Trashing the Liberal Arts,”; and Michael S. Roth’s review of Zakaria’s book in The Daily Beast,  “Does College Have a Future After All?” Keep up with liberal education news stories—including at AAC&U's Liberal Education News Watch.

Advancing the LEAP Challenge: Students Take the Lead and Demonstrate the Power of Project-Based Learning

Advancing the LEAP Challenge: Students Take the Lead and Demonstrate the Power of Project-Based Learning

Monday, April 6, 2015 - 09:45

Students at Stanford University have shown that students can take the lead in advancing the LEAP Challenge to make Signature Work expected for all students. Students in the Stanford 2025 project created a web page and video, titled “Purpose Learning,” that imagines a time in the near future when students declare a “mission, not a major.”  Project-based learning is the default form of learning in this future, and students develop the skills to pursue their mission through interdisciplinary coursework and in “impact labs,” in which they collaborate with faculty members on real-world projects. The “history” of Purpose Learning cites AAC&U’s research on high-impact educational practices as one inspiration for the movement. View the Purpose Learning video, or view AAC&U’s Centennial Video highlighting real students pursuing Signature Work today.

AAC&U and LA Chamber of Commerce Host LEAP Centennial Symposium on Diversity, Equity, and Excellence

Wednesday, April 15, 2015 - 06:00

AAC&U and the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce are cosponsoring a forum, titled “Diversity, Equity, and Excellence: College Learning and America's Unmet Promise,” on April 15 at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles. This forum, the second in a series of events AAC&U is sponsoring as part of its Centennial Year, will bring together educational, policy, civic, and business leaders to examine the learning all college students need to thrive in a knowledge economy and participate actively and responsibly in a diverse and global society. Participants will examine economic trends both nationally and in the state of California and the implications of those trends for educational policy and practice. Central to the forum will be a searching dialogue on “the equity imperative”—the need for stronger leadership to ensure that all students, including those from groups traditionally underserved by our educational systems, receive the kinds of high-impact educational experiences that will position them for success.

AAC&U Remembers Margaret L. 'Peggy' Neal

Monday, April 13, 2015 - 12:30

AAC&U expresses sincere condolences to the family, friends, and colleagues of Margaret L. “Peggy” Neal, who passed away on March 8, 2015, after a long struggle with a serious illness.  A librarian by training, Neal worked at AAC&U from 1991 to 1998 serving as both assistant to the president and director of membership and external affairs.  During the presidency of Paula Brownlee, Peggy helped to strengthen AAC&U’s outreach to member institutions and was instrumental in setting up AAC&U’s first member database and in developing AAC&U’s early efforts to provide educational change resources to guide member reforms on the World Wide Web. See Paula Brownlee’s comments on Peggy Neal’s passing.


AAC&U President Featured in "The Presidency" with article on "Reshaping the Conversation About the Liberal Arts"

AAC&U President Featured in "The Presidency" with article on "Reshaping the Conversation About the Liberal Arts"

Friday, March 20, 2015 - 06:15

In an article in the spring issue of The Presidency, AAC&U President Carol Geary Schneider notes that “America’s historic strength in higher education has come from its distinctive investment in the combination of both broad and specialized learning.  Yet policymakers…assume that specialized study in a major is the only part of a higher education that really matters.  As a result they see the broad learning component of college as an area ripe for cost savings.” She warns about the dangers of this trend and notes that “Our society needs the full array of liberal arts, sciences, and professional majors…we must ensure that students in every major, whatever its subject matter, finish their degrees with those liberal learning outcomes that best prepare our graduates for career success and democratic responsibility.” See the article here and more on AAC&U’s research on employer views and data on career trajectories for liberal arts majors.

AAC&U President Praises Boren’s Leadership; Urges Higher Education to Engage Hard Questions About Racial/Ethnic Disparities

Thursday, March 12, 2015 - 15:00

AAC&U President Carol Geary Schneider issued a statement praising University of Oklahoma President David Boren for his moral leadership in responding in the wake of the recent posting of a racist video produced by Sigma Alpha Epsilon members from his campus.  In addition, President Schneider urged all of higher education to advance campus dialogue and learning “exploring where we are in our long history of multiple struggles for full inclusion in U.S. democracy, and, even more important, where we want to go.”  See full statement including resources that can support campus dialogues and learning on diversity, equity, and inclusive excellence.

More Than 600 Gather in San Diego to Explore Ways to Advance Equity and Inclusive Excellence

More Than 600 Gather in San Diego to Explore Ways to Advance Equity and Inclusive Excellence

Thursday, March 26, 2015 - 05:15

Conference attendees in San Diego for AAC&U's Diversity, Learning, and Student Success meeting are exploring issues of equity and inclusive excellence, and developing strategies to advance AAC&U’s Centennial goal to "to provide the most empowering forms of learning to all who enroll in college.” Program highlights include sessions on advancing student empowerment and agency and ensuring all students have the opportunity to engage in high-impact practices and pursue signature work.  The meeting is part of a year-long Centennial effort in which AAC&U will be "highlight[ing] the many institutions and educators that already are working inventively to ensure equitable access to quality liberal learning for the extraordinarily diverse students we now serve in higher education.” See information about Centennial year events and resources, including the publication America’s Unmet Promise: The Imperative for Equity in Higher Education, released in January 2015.  

Awards for AAC&U Member Institution, Governors State University and in Honor of AAC&U Senior Fellow, Orlando Taylor

Monday, March 16, 2015 - 06:15

On March 15, Governors State University (GSU) President Elaine Maimon accepted the American Council on Education’s ACE/Fidelity Investments Award for Institutional Transformation. The award honors GSU for its transformation through innovation and its sound business plan.  AAC&U President Carol Geary Schneider noted that, “This richly deserved award for Governors State recognizes the university’s pace-setting success in creating an educationally meaningful pathway to student success connects 17 two-year institutions with the university. But this award also honors the unswerving commitment and amazing talent of President Elaine Maimon.  Many people contributed to this success.  But President Maimon is the visionary who pointed the way, mobilized resources, and made the hard work of inter-institutional collaboration worth the effort.” In other news, the National Communication Association (NCA) announced the establishment of the Orlando L. Taylor Distinguished Scholarship Award in Africana Communication, named for the association’s 85th president, and the first African American to serve in that role. The award will honor a scholar whose body of work demonstrates a sustained commitment to the study of African American and/or the African Diaspora communication and culture. AAC&U Senior Fellow Orlando Taylor is Vice President for Strategic Initiatives and Research/Director of the Institute for Social Innovation at Fielding Graduate University.  While at Howard University. he was a leader in AAC&U’s long-standing Preparing Future Faculty initiative.

Kelly Mack

AAC&U Vice President for Undergraduate STEM Education Kelly Mack Honored by Diverse: Issues in Higher Education

Monday, March 16, 2015 - 08:45

AAC&U VP for Undergraduate STEM Education and Executive Director of Project Kaleidoscope Kelly Mack has been recognized as one of the "Top 25 Women in Higher Education" selected from across the nation by Diverse: Issues in Higher Education.  AAC&U’s Board of Directors and Staff congratulate Kelly on this honor. We thank Kelly for her leadership and commitment to advancing STEM learning, liberal education, and inclusive excellence in American higher education.