What's New

Screening of Documentary, "Inequality for All" on February 20

Wednesday, February 12, 2014 - 10:00

AAC&U, AASCU’s American Democracy Project, The Democracy Commitment, Campus Compact, NASPA, Project Pericles, and the US Students Association invite your campus to host a screening of the Sundance Award-Winning Documentary “Inequality for All” on February 20 at 5 p.m. (EST). The documentary, from Robert Reich, Former US Secretary of Labor, is an exposé on the nation’s widening economic gap. Following the film, at 6:30 p.m. (EST), Robert Reich will present a live interactive webcast. The cost to participate in this screening is $250. This fee covers the purchase of film and public performance rights, as well as a license to allow your institution to show the film anytime, anywhere on campus. For information about hosting a screening, e-mail Wendy Cohen at wendy@picturemotion.com.

AAC&U Selects Thirteen Scholars to Guide Scientific Thinking and Integrative Reasoning Skills Initiative

Tuesday, February 11, 2014 - 10:00

AAC&U has chosen thirteen STIRS Scholars to provide leadership for the Scientific Thinking and Integrative Reasoning Skills (STIRS) initiative. STIRS was launched in 2012 to develop the tools to improve the capacity of undergraduate students to use evidence to solve problems and make decisions. The new STIRS Scholars, chosen through a competitive process, will develop STIRS case studies and draw national attention to evidence-based reasoning and decision making as critical, multifaceted, cross-cutting capacities to be practiced by all undergraduate students in all degree programs. The scholars will meet together at AAC&U’s Network for Academic Renewal Conference on General Education and Assessment in Portland, Oregon, in late February/early March, 2014.

AAC&U and a Host of Others Warn Department of Education That Proposed Ratings System Will Be Almost Impossible to Do Well

Friday, February 7, 2014 - 10:00

In November, AAC&U issued a cautionary statement about the ratings system urging that it not be described as metrics for “value” or “worth”; and specifically warning that including salary data as an indicator of “quality” would punish institutions whose graduates flock to public service and teaching. (For more on the salary issues, click here.) Subsequently, AAC&U also signed a community letter, framed by ACE, which outlined in considerable detail the likely insurmountable practical and technical problems any one-size-fits-all ratings system will encounter. While the Department of Education has underscored that, given the president’s directive, “there will be a new ratings system,” AAC&U will continue to encourage the department to present its system as “selected indicators,” rather than as an evaluation of institutional worth or value.

LEAP Texas Becomes Tenth Official LEAP Partner State

Thursday, January 30, 2014 - 10:00

AAC&U and LEAP Texas announced that Texas has become a consortial partner in AAC&U’s signature national initiative, Liberal Education and America’s Promise (LEAP). LEAP Texas is a collation of more than sixty institutions spanning different state offices and systems, united by common issues and shared purpose. Moving forward, LEAP Texas has three main goals: leveraging the newly redesigned State Core Curriculum (largely informed by the Essential Learning Outcomes) to improve undergraduate education; creating a capacity for large-scale, inter-institutional collaboration on assessment; and embedding high-impact practices throughout the undergraduate curriculum.

More Than 2,000 Education Leaders Gather in Washington to Address Educational Innovations and America's Global Future

Wednesday, January 22, 2014 - 10:00

More than 2,000 participants have gathered in Washington for AAC&U’s 2014 Annual Meeting (Jan 22-25). Participants are discussing three urgent and intersecting issues: the continuing challenge to define and demonstrate what we mean by quality liberal education; attempts to imagine and plan for how technology is changing all aspects of higher education; and the inequality that results when educational opportunity is too closely linked to first-job skills. Meeting highlights include a Pre-Meeting Symposium on the future of the arts and sciences; an opening plenary featuring EJ Dionne, Jr., columnist for the Washington Post; a special plenary address by Walter Isaacson on “Liberal Education and the Future of Innovation”; and the final plenary by Frank Levy (MIT) on “Technology and the Future of Work and Learning.” At the meeting, eight graduate students are being honored with the K. Patricia Cross Future Leaders Award and AAC&U presented the 2014 Ness Book Award to José Antonio Bowen for Teaching Naked: How Moving Technology Out of Your College Classroom Will Improve Student Learning.

Graduate Students Honored with K. Patricia Cross Future Leaders Award

Thursday, January 9, 2014 - 10:00

Eight graduate students will be honored as 2014 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 2014 recipients, see the list of Cross Award winners online. The 2014 Cross Scholars will be introduced to the AAC&U community at its 2014 Annual Meeting, "Quality, E-Quality, and Opportunity: How Educational Innovations Will Make--or Break--America's Global Future," to be held in Washington, DC, from January 22-25, 2014. The 2014 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.

New Report Documents Professional Success of Liberal Arts Graduates

Wednesday, January 22, 2014 - 10:00

A new report written by Debra Humphreys and Patrick Kelly and published jointly by AAC&U and the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems (NCHEMS) tracks the long-term earnings and employment rates of liberal arts graduates and counters stereotypes about the value of liberal education. In addition to providing data on long-term employment outcomes for four-year college graduates with an array of undergraduate majors, the report details how humanities and social science majors, in particular, are flocking to a family of educational and social service professions. In releasing the report, NCHEMS President Dennis Jones notes that “This report makes a strong case that liberal arts degrees really do prepare their holders for successful careers…[and] reminds us that these degrees also are the primary pathways to careers that society critically needs, but has been unwilling to compensate as well as others.” See the news release on the report, purchase a print or electronic copy, and download a brochure with select findings about the value of the liberal arts.

House Holds Hearings on Impact of ACA on Education: Discusses Larger Issue of Part-Time Faculty Working Conditions

House Holds Hearings on Impact of ACA on Education: Discusses Larger Issue of Part-Time Faculty Working Conditions

Wednesday, December 4, 2013 - 15:45

The U.S. House of Representatives recently held a hearing about the impact of the Affordable Care Act on higher education institutions. Among other issues discussed was the ongoing challenges faced by part-time and/or contingent faculty.

New PKAL Project to Focus on Teaching to Increase Diversity and Equity in STEM

New PKAL Project to Focus on Teaching to Increase Diversity and Equity in STEM

Tuesday, December 10, 2013 - 16:00

AAC&U announced that it has received a grant from The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust to support TIDES--Teaching to Increase Diversity and Equity in STEM--a three-year curriculum and faculty development project that will engage at least fourteen competitively selected campuses.

John Petillo

LEAP Presidents' Trust Member Blogs About Priorities in Higher Education

Tuesday, November 26, 2013 - 15:15

John Petillo, president, Sacred Heart University, wrote a blog post for the Huffington Post College Blog (November 20, 2013) where he notes that, "We've entered a new and perilous era when the schools that try to inspire students to a higher calling will be penalized by federal aid distribution. The government's formula discounts the personal development of the individual and the need for social consciousness. It insults the liberal arts and rewards trade schools where richness of cultures, literature and creativity are virtually ignored. The addendum is there will be increasing pressure on colleges to scrap liberal arts programs and eviscerate the curriculum in favor of skills-based study. Equally frightening, some small independent colleges that produce teachers, clergy and social workers will face the prospect of having to close."

AAC&U Launches Initiatives to Advance Transformative Change in General Education and Student Learning Assessment

AAC&U Launches Initiatives to Advance Transformative Change in General Education and Student Learning Assessment

Thursday, November 14, 2013 - 14:45

AAC&U announced that the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has awarded the organization a $2,305,000 grant to support initial work on two initiatives designed to significantly improve the quality of undergraduate education and increase student success. With support from the Gates Foundation, AAC&U will launch on December 1, 2013 two far-reaching educational change efforts--GEMs (General Education Maps and Markers) and VALUE (Valid Assessment of Learning in Undergraduate Education). The new projects will lay the groundwork for a cornerstone to capstone "remapping" of general education, and for a new approach to quality assurance that moves students’ own work to the center of educational assessment and accountability. Both projects are part of AAC&U's ongoing LEAP initiative (Liberal Education and America's Promise), which works to make the most powerful forms of learning a resource for all college students and which challenges the trend toward broad learning for some students and narrower learning for many others.

AAC&U Provides Feedback on Proposed College Ratings System

AAC&U Provides Feedback on Proposed College Ratings System

Tuesday, November 26, 2013 - 14:15

In November, The U.S. Department of Education is inviting written feedback and hosting open forums to gather input on the college ratings system proposed by President Obama in August. The Executive Committee of AAC&U's board of directors has provided feedback in writing suggesting that, among other things that "the proposed rating system... should not be described as [measuring] the "value and worth of college" and that "the proposed ratings system should not include salary information." This feedback builds on the AAC&U Board of Directors statement released in August that noted, in part that, "the United States needs a far more searching exploration of 'value' than the administration has proposed."

AAC&U and the Indiana Commission for Higher Education Announce Indiana as Ninth Partner State in LEAP States Initiative

AAC&U and the Indiana Commission for Higher Education Announce Indiana as Ninth Partner State in LEAP States Initiative

Friday, November 8, 2013 - 06:15

AAC&U and the Indiana Commission for Higher Education announced that Indiana has officially become a LEAP state partner in AAC&U's signature national initiative, Liberal Education and America’s Promise. This announcement follows a formal vote by the Indiana Commission passing a resolution in support of Indiana's LEAP initiative. In becoming a formal LEAP partner state, Indiana is building on prior projects and will be focused on developing a more effective and efficient system of higher education based on learning outcomes and authentic assessments.

New American Colleges & Universities

The New American Colleges and Universities Formally Joins Liberal Education and America's Promise

Tuesday, November 26, 2013 - 11:45

AAC&U and the New American Colleges and Universities (NAC&U) announced that NAC&U will formally partner with AAC&U on its signature national initiative, Liberal Education and America's Promise (LEAP): Excellence for Everyone as a Nation Goes to College. Through the partnership, NAC&U will leverage its members' collective mission--to purposefully integrate liberal arts, professional studies, and civic engagement--to advance LEAP's twenty-first century vision of liberal education. As part of the LEAP States Initiative, public state systems and other consortia of public and private colleges and universities participate collaboratively in the LEAP initiative to accelerate and advance systemic changes to improve student learning outcomes.

Kelly Mack

AAC&U Announces Appointment of Kelly Mack as New AAC&U Vice President for Undergraduate STEM Education

Tuesday, October 29, 2013 - 10:30

AAC&U announces that it has appointed Kelly Mack as Vice President for Undergraduate STEM Education at AAC&U. She assumes this position in addition to her ongoing role as Executive Director of Project Kaleidoscope (PKAL), a position she has held since 2012. Mack will lead a new Office of Undergraduate STEM Education at AAC&U and will guide the association and PKAL in an expanded set of activities designed to increase the effectiveness of STEM teaching and learning and to create more liberally educated scientists, with particular attention to women and to students from traditionally underrepresented groups. Originally founded in 1989, Project Kaleidoscope formally joined forces with the Association of American Colleges and Universities in 2010 in an integrated partnership to advance and amplify the work of both organizations to transform undergraduate STEM learning, teaching, and leadership. This new expanded role for Mack and the creation of the new PKAL Educational Affairs office at AAC&U reflect the success of the merger between AAC&U and PKAL and reaffirm the association’s ongoing commitment to the work of PKAL and the national project of expanding access to and success in STEM fields for students from all backgrounds.

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