What's New

AAC&U Welcomes Proposals for Conferences on Global Learning and Transforming STEM Education

Wednesday, March 4, 2015 - 08:45

Members are encouraged to send proposals for sessions at fall conferences on Global Learning and/or Transforming STEM Education.  These conferences provide a great opportunity to share promising practices and programs with colleagues from around the country. The Deadline for Proposals for the Global Learning conference is April 1. The Deadline for Proposals for the Transforming STEM Education conference is March 18.

AAC&U President Speaks Out on the Future of Liberal Arts Colleges

Wednesday, March 4, 2015 - 13:45

Responding to the news of the closing of Sweet Briar College, AAC&U President and graduate of another women’s college, Mount Holyoke College, Carol Geary Schneider has written a blog post about the educational leadership and innovations coming out of liberal arts colleges. Schneider notes that “colleges that advance the enduring goals of a high-quality liberal arts education through creative, adaptive, and globally-minded practices will not only survive, but thrive. And they will continue to set the standard for quality across both US higher education and the global community.”  Read the full post on the LEAP Challenge Blog.


AAC&U Submits Comments on Proposed Ratings Framework, Urges Focus on How Well We Are Serving New Majority Students

Wednesday, February 18, 2015 - 10:00

AAC&U's Board of Directors has submitted additional comments to the US Department of Education regarding the proposed framework, noting first that, "Because the public value of higher education is so multi-faceted, AAC&U holds that it is impossible to reasonably “rate” the “value” of entire institutions of higher education using the limited data points presented in the proposed framework."  The Board also urges the Department to "target any 'ratings system' it might develop more narrowly" and focus "on whether institutions are actually expanding opportunity for low-income students, singling out for low ratings those institutions that are failing low-income students while receiving significant public investment of tax dollars intended to expand their educational opportunities."  See this and other statements AAC&U has issued about the proposed ratings framework.

AAC&U Issues The LEAP Challenge; Calls for All Students to Do Signature Work

AAC&U Issues The LEAP Challenge; Calls for All Students to Do Signature Work

Friday, January 16, 2015 - 08:00

Marking its 100th year of leadership for liberal education and ten years of the LEAP initiative, AAC&U issued a bold national challenge to higher education to prepare all college students, including those at both two- and four-year institutions, to produce “Signature Work”—work on a project related to a problem important to the student and to society. To order free copies of The LEAP Challenge, click here. The LEAP Challenge builds on educational research and years of research on what employers say will best prepare students for the global economy.  AAC&U also released a video highlighting the powerful transformative impact of “Signature Work” on the students who currently do it.  To learn more about The LEAP Challenge and the portfolio of funded projects through which AAC&U is advancing this goal, see www.aacu.org/leap/challenge. See also findings from AAC&U’s new report, “Falling Short? College Learning and Career Success.” See new publications related to the LEAP Challenge from the General Education Maps and Markers project.

Dr. Ronald Andrew Crutcher

LEAP National Leadership Council Chair Named to Presidency of University of Richmond

Monday, February 16, 2015 - 12:30

Ronald A. Crutcher, chair of the LEAP National Leadership Council and a former Chair of the AAC&U Board of Directors, has been named the 10th president of the University of Richmond. 


AAC&U President Warns of Dangerous Narrowing of Vision, Reminds Readers of Broad Public Good of Liberal Education in The Atlantic

Thursday, February 12, 2015 - 07:30

In an article by Alia Wong, President Carol Geary Schneider comments on the debates about the broader societal aims of education prompted by WI Governor Scott Walker's recently proposed budget cuts and changes to the influential Wisconsin Idea.  She notes that, “Liberal education builds the kinds of capacities that are useful in any kind of job: critical thinking, problem-based reasoning, understanding the science of how society operates. This notion of a ‘liberal education’ is what made America’s university system ‘the envy of the world.’ But in recent years, she said, policymakers have attempted to rebrand that system…Schneider pointed to the National Governors Association, which in 2011 published a report titled Degrees for What Jobs? Raising Expectations for Universities and Colleges in a Global Economy. The report encouraged governors across the country, including Walker, to prioritize university programs geared around filling in-demand jobs. But it also served as a wake-up call to people like Schneider. ‘In reality, it was designed for downgrading expectations,’ Schneider said. ‘It’s part of a national trend toward redefining higher education as trade education … [The Walker scenario] simply offers an unusually explicit glimpse at what it all actually means, but it was not unique.’"

AAC&U Announces Six New Directors and New Slate of Officers for Board of Directors

Tuesday, February 3, 2015 - 06:00

At its recent Annual Meeting in Washington, DC, the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) named six new directors and elected a slate of new officers. Edward J. Ray, president of Oregon State University, became Chair of the Board, taking over from Kenneth P. Ruscio, president of Washington and Lee University. Ruscio will continue to serve on AAC&U’s Board Executive Committee as Past Chair.  AAC&U members also voted to appoint James P. Collins, Virginia M. Ullman Professor of Natural History and Environment at Arizona State University, as Vice Chair of the Board. Sean Decatur, president of Kenyon College, will continue in his three-year term as Treasurer of the Board. “Those who serve on AAC&U’s board are strongly committed to a high-quality liberal education for all college students,” said AAC&U President Carol Geary Schneider. “AAC&U is very fortunate to be led by such a talented and dedicated group as we advance our Centennial year agenda of engaging our members and key educational stakeholders in an exploration of the connections between high-quality liberal learning, Americans’ global future, and the equity imperative.” For a complete listing of members of AAC&U’s board of directors, see www.aacu.org/about/board.

Carol Geary Schneider

One Hundred Years! AAC&U President Launches AAC&U's Centennial Year

Tuesday, December 30, 2014 - 16:45

See the Centennial statement from AAC&U President Carol Geary Schneider launching AAC&U’s year of events marking 100 years of leadership for liberal education. The first Centennial event will be AAC&U's Centennial Symposium on the topic of America's Global Future: Are College Students Prepared?, followed immediately by AAC&U’s upcoming annual meeting, Liberal Education, Global Flourishing, and The Equity Imperative. Stay tuned for more information about Centennial releases, events, and opportunities.

AAC&U Centennial Symposium Addresses How We Can Prepare Today's College Students for America's Global Future

AAC&U Centennial Symposium Addresses How We Can Prepare Today's College Students for America's Global Future

Wednesday, January 21, 2015 - 06:00

On January 21, AAC&U began its Centennial year with a forum on “America's Global Future: Are College Students Prepared?” This first in a planned series Symposia brough 600 college leaders—including presidents, provosts, deans, trustees and board members, and employer partners—to Washington, DC. At the event, AAC&U previewed new data about the increasingly globalized workplace and its implications for college learning, including new findings from recent surveys of employers and college student.  Participants at the Symposium explored the implications of our increasingly globally interconnected society and workplace for how we educate today's college students for success in the future. For more information, see: www.aacu.org/meetings/annualmeeting/am15/symposium

Employers Endorse Broad and Project-Based Learning as Best Preparation for Long-Term Career Success

Employers Endorse Broad and Project-Based Learning as Best Preparation for Long-Term Career Success

Tuesday, January 20, 2015 - 00:00

On January 20, 2015, AAC&U released a report, “Falling Short? College Learning and Career Success.” The report summarizes selected findings from two different national surveys commissioned by AAC&U and conducted by Hart Research Associates—one of employers and another of college students.  Consistent with findings from 5 earlier surveys commissioned by AAC&U as part of its ongoing Liberal Education and America’s Promise (LEAP) Initiative, employers overwhelmingly endorse broad learning and cross-cutting skills as the best preparation for long-term career success. However, employers give weak grades to students on the outcomes they identify as most important for career success.

K. Patricia Cross

Graduate Students Honored with K. Patricia Cross Future Leaders Award

Thursday, January 15, 2015 - 06:30

Ten graduate students will be honored as 2015 recipients of the annual K. Patricia Cross Future Leaders Award, a distinction given to graduate students who show exemplary promise as future leaders of higher education, who demonstrate a commitment to developing academic and civic responsibility in themselves and in others, and whose work reflects a strong emphasis on teaching and learning. The award is named in honor of K. Patricia Cross, professor of higher education, emerita, at the University of California, Berkeley. For more details about the 2015 recipients, see the list of Cross Award winners online. The 2015 Cross Scholars will be introduced to the AAC&U community at its 2015 Annual Meeting, “Liberal Education, Global Flourishing, and the Equity Imperative,” to be held in Washington, DC from January 21–24, 2015. The 2015 Cross Scholars will be honored at the Opening Plenary. They will also be presenters in the session, “Faculty of the Future: Voices from the Next Generation.” The Cross awardees will participate in other sessions and meetings throughout the conference.

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."