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Inside Higher Ed

AAC&U Leaders Respond to US Department of Education Ratings Framework

Friday, December 19, 2014 - 06:15

AAC&U President Carol Geary Schneider and Daniel F. Sullivan, President Emeritus, St. Lawrence University, and Chair of AAC&U’s LEAP Presidents’ Trust, have coauthored an op-ed commenting on what the US Department of Education’s recently released ratings system framework omits. Schneider and Sullivan point out that the ratings system—while called a system that will rate colleges and universities on their “real value”—is silent on student learning outcomes. Schneider and Sullivan note that, while we definitely do not need “a national, federally devised and controlled system that would specify what the learning goals of college should be,” we do need to recognize in discussing accountability in higher education that “the most important outcome of higher education [is] the impact a college or university has on student learning outcomes.” Read the op-ed published by Inside Higher Ed to learn more about educators’ progress—led from campus and not from the federal government-- in developing a VALUE framework that uses students’ authentic work to show their achievement of key capabilities that both faculty and employers consider essential.

AAC&U Marks Transition at The New Republic as Potential Loss for Liberal Arts

AAC&U Marks Transition at The New Republic as Potential Loss for Liberal Arts

Tuesday, December 9, 2014 - 08:00

With the recent and abrupt resignation of most of the editorial leadership of the renowned publication, The New Republic, AAC&U notes and honors the special role that this publication has played, not just in policy discourse, but in exploring, analyzing, and debating issues informed by and central to the liberal arts.  As Ross Douthat pointed out in his December 7th New York Times column, “The New Republic as-it-was, the magazine I and others grew up reading, was emphatically not just a “policy magazine.” It was, instead, a publication that deliberately integrated its policy writing with often-extraordinary coverage of literature, philosophy, history, religion, music, fine art. It wasn’t just a liberal magazine, in other words; it was a liberal-arts magazine, which unlike many of today’s online ventures never left its readers with the delusion that literary style or intellectual ambition were of secondary importance, or that today’s fashions represented permanent truths.”  AAC&U President Carol Geary Schneider noted that “we still need publications that take seriously the issue of substantive policy debates and the ways in which those debates and our civic culture need a platform for exploring history, political science, literature, and the arts.  I sincerely hope that, in our new digital age, we do not lose these kinds of publications.”


AAC&U Board Chair Ken Ruscio Represents AAC&U at College Opportunity Day of Action; AAC&U Commits to Advancing Inclusive Excellence in STEM

Thursday, December 4, 2014 - 13:30

On December 4, AAC&U Board Chair and President of Washington & Lee University Ken Ruscio represented AAC&U at the second White House College Opportunity Day of Action in Washington, DC at which both President Obama and US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan addressed the higher education community. The conference was a follow-up to the January 2014 Day of Action sponsored by the US Department of Education to mobilize commitments from colleges and universities to help more students enroll in and graduate from college. As part of AAC&U’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusive excellence and its work on undergraduate STEM education, for this year’s event, AAC&U has articulated its commitment to increase underrepresented STEM student success through a variety of curricular and pedagogical changes advanced through TIDES—Teaching to Increase Diversity and Equity in STEM. Other AAC&U board members attending the event included Ed Ray, who is president of Oregon State University, Mildred García, president of California State University, Fullerton, Dianne Harrison, president of California State University, Northridge, Martha Kanter, Distinguished Visiting Professor of Higher Education, New York University, and Candace Thille, assistant professor of education and senior research fellow at Stanford University.

Debra Humphreys

Debra Humphreys Speaks on Liberal Arts Education and Professional Success in Russia

Friday, November 7, 2014 - 14:15

AAC&U Vice President Debra Humphreys spoke about the benefits of liberal learning in Russia last month at the International Conference "Intellectual Foundations of Modern Liberal Education." Humphreys discussed "Liberal Arts Education and Professional Success: Debunking Myths About What Employers Need and What the Economy Rewards."

AAC&U Announces Institutions Selected for Project on Problem-Centered Learning

Thursday, October 23, 2014 - 09:00

AAC&U has announced the seven minority-serving institutions chosen to participate in the project Advancing Underserved Student Success Through Faculty Intentionality in Problem-Centered Learning. Funded by a grant from TG Philanthropy, the project will expand AAC&U’s ongoing work to make excellence inclusive and ensure that all college students benefit from quality high-impact educational practices and experience meaningful assessment of demonstrated achievement of learning outcomes. The seven institutions are California State University–Los Angeles, the Community College of Philadelphia, Heritage University, Queensborough Community College, St. Edward’s University, the University of Houston–Downtown, and Winston-Salem State University.

AAC&U Announces New Faculty Collaboratives Project Funded by Lumina Foundation

Thursday, October 9, 2014 - 10:30

AAC&U announces the launch of a new project supported by a grant from Lumina Foundation. Working in ten states that have formally affiliated with AAC&U’s LEAP initiative, the Faculty Collaboratives project will build the capacity of faculty to apply Degree Qualifications Profile and Tuning principles to the redesign of general education programs and to the assessment and transferability of student learning outcomes or proficiencies.

Advancing Roadmaps Project to Develop Learning Pathways for Community College Students

Advancing Roadmaps Project to Develop Learning Pathways for Community College Students

Wednesday, October 1, 2014 - 11:15

AAC&U has launched a new project, Advancing Roadmaps for Community College Leadership to Improve Student Learning and Success, with support from The Kresge Foundation. Advancing Roadmaps will disseminate and advance the knowledge and insights on student learning and engagement developed by the nineteen community colleges participating in AAC&U’s Developing a Community College Student Roadmap Project. Beginning in September 2014 and through August 2016, Advancing Roadmaps will scale these strategies to support guided learning pathways potentially useful for all students and build national, regional, and state partnerships among organizations committed to improving student learning and success at two-year institutions, including Achieving the Dream, Inc. and Jobs for the Future.

Within Our Lifetime Network Seeks Partners for Work Combating Racial Bias

Within Our Lifetime Network Seeks Partners for Work Combating Racial Bias

Wednesday, September 24, 2014 - 09:00

The Within Our Lifetime Network is launching a campaign to raise public awareness about the impact of implicit racial bias and to encourage action to combat this impact. The campaign seeks to utilize the recent implicit bias research as a lens for fostering action to address persistent racial inequities in the institutions of American society. Within Our Lifetime seeks both institutional and individual partners to help raise awareness and build support for this work, including from colleges and universities. Within Our Lifetime will also host a webinar, "Beyond Bias: An Explicit Strategy Focused on Implicit Bias," on October 1, from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. More information, including a list of government and nonprofit organizations that have endorsed the network's vision statement, is available online.

LEAP Presidents' Trust Members

LEAP Presidents' Trust Members Make Compelling Case for the Value and Power of Liberal Education

Thursday, September 18, 2014 - 15:45

LEAP Presidents' Trust Members continue to make a compelling case for the value and power of liberal education across various national and local media outlets. College of Wooster President Grant Cornwell, for instance, answers the question “Is a (Liberal Arts) College Degree Still Worth It?” in his HuffPost College blog post, Wesleyan University President Michael S. Roth makes the case in his NPR interview titled, “Amid Rising College Costs, A Defense of The Liberal Arts,” and St. John’s College President Christopher B. Nelsons’s, in his HuffPost College blog post gives “Advice to the College-Bound.”

Bobby Fong: Friend, Colleague, Leader, and Champion for Liberal Education

AAC&U Remembers Bobby Fong: Friend, Colleague, Leader, and Champion for Liberal Education

Monday, September 8, 2014 - 21:00

Marking his sudden passing on September 8th, AAC&U released a statement remembering Bobby Fong, former president of Ursinus College and former chair of AAC&U's board of directors, noting, in part, that Fong “remained at heart a dedicated and gifted teacher for whom the privilege of helping students learn was always the highest calling.

AAC&U Launches Redesigned Web Site

Sunday, September 7, 2014 - 18:45

As you can see, AAC&U has completely redesigned its Web site. We welcome you to the new site and hope you are able to more easily navigate on the site to the many resources AAC&U offers to higher education.

New York Times

AAC&U Board Member James Grossman Addresses "The New History Wars" in The New York Times

Monday, September 1, 2014 - 12:45

AAC&U Board Member and Executive Director of the American Historical Association James Grossman writes about a new round of "History Wars" sparked by release of new AP standards. In his September 2 op-ed Grossman notes that, “The educators and historians who worked on the new history framework were right to emphasize historical thinking as an essential aspect of civic culture. Their efforts deserve a spirited debate, one that is always open to revision, rather than ill-informed assumptions or political partisanship." For more on evolving educational goals related to history, diversity, and democracy, see the recent new edition of The Drama of Diversity and Democracy and the report, A Crucible Moment: College Learning & Democracy’s Future. See also an update on follow-up activities to this report.

This Week

AAC&U President Schneider Discusses Academic Silos in Undergraduate Education on Inside Higher Ed Podcast

Friday, August 22, 2014 - 12:30

AAC&U President Carol Geary Schneider took part in an episode of "This Week," a podcast from Inside Higher Ed, which went live Friday, August 22. Schneider joined a panel discussion with Inside Higher Ed editor Scott Jaschik and Robert Townsend of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences about the academy's new report examining the different enrollment patterns of students majoring in humanities fields and those majoring in STEM fields. The panel discussed the role of general education, the persistence of disciplinary silos, and ways to encourage students to integrate their learning across science and the humanities. Schneider praised the STIRS scholars (part of AAC&U’s project on Scientific Thinking and Integrative Reasoning Skills) for developing problem-centered cross-disciplinary case studies that can be used in general education and in major programs. The podcast can be streamed or downloaded from the Inside Higher Ed website.

Kenneth P. Ruscio

Public and Private VA College Presidents Voice Skepticism About Obama Plan to Rate Colleges

Wednesday, August 6, 2014 - 12:30

Private and public college presidents, including the chair of AAC&U's Board, Kenneth P. Ruscio, President of Washington and Lee University, have signed a common letter, expressing "skepticism about President Obama's plan to rate colleges on measures of access and value and link those ratings to federal aid."

New Project to Engage Minority-Serving Institutions In Research about Impact of HIPs on Underserved Student Achievement

New Project to Engage Minority-Serving Institutions In Research about Impact of HIPs on Underserved Student Achievement

Monday, August 4, 2014 - 12:30

AAC&U has received a grant from TG Philanthropy to expand AAC&U’s ongoing work to make excellence inclusive and ensure that all college students—including, in particular, those attending minority-serving institutions—benefit from proven high-impact educational practices.