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Washington Consortium for the Liberal Arts

The Washington Consortium for the Liberal Arts Sponsors Essay Contest on the Value of a Liberal Arts Education

Tuesday, April 29, 2014 - 09:45

The Washington Consortium for the Liberal Arts (WaCLA) has announced the winners in its statewide essay contest on the value of a liberal arts education. The first and second prize essay contest winners were high school seniors Shelby Gordon from Walla Walla High School and Jake Vasilj from Mead Senior High School in Spokane. Both Shelby and Jake reflected on the relationship between the liberal arts and American democracy. Both students were awarded college scholarships. WaCLA is an organization of more than 30 public and private, two- and four-year institutions in Washington State created to promote the value of a liberal arts education to the people and communities of Washington. On May 20, 2014, WaCLA, AAC&U, and LEAP are co-sponsoring an Employer-Educator forum in SeaTac, Washington.

How Liberal Arts Majors Fare in Employment

Philadelphia LEAP Forum Brings Together Nearly 150 Employers and Educators To Chart Action Agenda for High-Quality Learning

Tuesday, April 15, 2014 - 09:45

AAC&U is hosting a LEAP Employer-Educator Forum on “Making High-Quality Learning Our Priority as Americans Go to College” in Philadelphia on April 16. This forum is part of a series of similar programs being held across country in 2014 as a way for higher education institutions to engage in purposeful dialogue with local and regional employer representatives and policy leaders about creating more intentional partnerships that give college students hands-on learning experiences that will be useful for their careers. The event builds on the 2013 release of AAC&U’s Employer-Educator Compact and a national survey of employers. See also AAC&U’s recent report on How Liberal Arts Majors Fare in Employment.

UW-Whitewater Hosts Gallery Exhibit Highlighting LEAP

Monday, April 7, 2014 - 11:00

The Roberta A. Fiskum Art Gallery at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater will open an exhibit titled "Let's LEAP: A Vision for Learning," highlighting the university’s work as part of AAC&U’s centennial initiative Liberal Education and America’s Promise (LEAP). The exhibit, on display April 16–23, showcases student learning artifacts and a range of projects created by the university’s LEAP teams over the last four years. The LEAP team will also host a reception at the exhibit on April 23. The reception will include student testimonials and presentations on the Essential Learning Outcomes and other elements of LEAP by senior university administrators.

LEAP

LEAP Initiative Featured in Chicago Sun-Times

Monday, April 7, 2014 - 11:00

The Chicago Sun-Times recently featured AAC&U's LEAP initiative in an article and described how it is influencing educational change in Illinois. Reporter Sandra Guy describes the LEAP Essential Learning Outcomes, the VALUE approach to assessment, and LEAP's focus on traditionally underserved students. Also featured is AAC&U member institution, Governors State University (GSU). GSU President and LEAP Presidents' Trust member Elaine Maimon addresses ways that GSU is using LEAP to reform its general education program as it welcomes its inaugural first-year class. The article also cites AAC&U's President Carol Geary Schneider noting that, "‘We need history, English, and political science majors, of course, but to remain a global leader, the United States needs its engineers, business leaders, and health professionals to be liberally educated as well.”

More than 500 Gather in Chicago to Explore Diversity, Learning, and Student Success

Thursday, March 27, 2014 - 09:45

AAC&U’s Network for Academic Renewal Conference on Diversity, Learning, and Student Success welcomes more than 500 attendees March 27-29 in Chicago, Illinois. Program highlights include an opening address, “The Wind Beneath Their Wings,” by Economist and Author Julianne Malveaux; a panel discussion on “Improving and Measuring Student Success: Perspectives on Policy and Practice,” with Steve Gunderson, Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities; Debra Humphreys, AAC&U; José Moreno, California State University, Long Beach; and Christi Pedra, Cardinal Health; and sessions on “Technology-Enabled Education: Opportunities and Pitfalls,” with Candace Thille, Stanford University and Sylvia Manning, Higher Learning Commission; and “Intentional and Strategic Connections of Diversity, Learning, and Student Success,” with Lon Kaufman, University of Illinois at Chicago.

Celebrating Women's History Month

Thursday, March 20, 2014 - 09:45

In honor of National Women’s History Month, which focuses this year on the theme Celebrating Women of Character, Courage, and Commitment, AAC&U recognizes two extraordinary women who for over four decades led AAC&U’s efforts to offer resources for women in higher education: Bernice “Bunny” Sandler, founding director of AAC&U’s Program on the Status and Education of Women and recent inductee into the National Women’s Hall of Fame, and Caryn McTighe Musil, AAC&U Senior Scholar and Director of Civic Learning and Democracy Initiatives and longtime advocate for gender equity in higher education. AAC&U continues their legacy of supporting women in higher education through publications such as Liberal Education (which recently featured Musil’s article “Gender Equity: Who Needs It?”) and initiatives like the NSF-funded Preparing Critical Faculty for the Future project supporting women of color STEM faculty at HBCUs.

AAC&U Board Member Charlene Dukes Receives 2014 Reginald Wilson Diversity Leadership Award

Monday, March 17, 2014 - 09:45

Charlene M. Dukes, president of Prince George's Community College and an AAC&U Board Member, is the 2014 recipient of the Reginald Wilson Diversity in Leadership Award from the American Council on Education (ACE). The award was presented at ACE's 96th Annual Meeting. "It is a privilege to present the 2014 Reginald Wilson Diversity Leadership Award to Charlene Dukes, whose bold leadership at Prince George's Community College and elsewhere demonstrates an unwavering dedication to the cause of expanding higher education diversity and access," said ACE President Molly Corbett Broad. "She is a pioneer who is intent on helping to forge new opportunities for countless other higher education leaders and students."

LEAP Presidents' Trust Member, Elaine Maimon, Receives ACE Award for Advancing Women in Education

Monday, March 10, 2014 - 09:45

Elaine Maimon, president of Governors State University and a member of the LEAP Presidents’ Trust, received the 2014 Donna Shavlik Award at the annual meeting of the American Council on Education (ACE). The award, named for the former director of ACE's Office of Women in Higher Education, honors an individual who demonstrates a sustained commitment to advancing women in higher education, through leadership and career development, campus climate, and mentoring. Maimon has worked with ACE on several different initiatives to promote women’s advancement, and her work has done much to “expand access to higher education overall and advance the cause of women in higher education leadership in particular,” said ACE President Molly Corbett Broad. AAC&U Senior Scholar Caryn McTighe Musil also received this award in 2005.

More Commentary on Salary Data as a Measure of Value of Higher Education Institutions

Thursday, March 6, 2014 - 09:45

As the US Department of Education works on a very quick timeline to develop a new system for "rating" colleges and universities that receive federal student aid, education leaders continue to seriously question the inclusion of salary data as part of any ratings system. AAC&U is on record strongly opposing the use of salary data in any rating or ranking system of colleges and universities, noting that, far beyond the data so far proposed for inclusion, "The United States needs a far more searching exploration of 'value' than the administration has proposed." AAC&U has also noted that, "Using salary data in the proposed ratings system is bound to be misleading to students and, because of its complexity, a distraction from more basic questions of whether students are successfully completing college, transferring to other institutions, and managing the net costs of their enrollment." See a useful summary of responses provided by The Chronicle of Higher Education, AAC&U’s statements on the proposed ratings system, and this helpful article by AAC&U board member and Oregon State University President Ed Ray asking “Is College for Getting a Job or Finding One’s Passion?” See additional responses from a panel of experts, including AAC&U President Carol Geary Schneider, in the Wall Street Journal. op-ed in the Wall Street Journal about the value of the humanities. See also AAC&U’s recent report on How Liberal Arts Majors Fare in Employment.

900 Education Leaders Gather in Portland for Conference on General Education and Assessment

Thursday, February 27, 2014 - 09:45

AAC&U’s Network for Academic Renewal Conference on General Education and Assessment welcomes 900 attendees February 27–March 1 in Portland, Oregon. Program highlights include Thursday’s keynote address, “From Disruption to Design: A General Education for 2030?” by Randall Bass, Georgetown University; and Sybril Bennett, Belmont University; the Friday morning plenary, “Examining Leadership Paradoxes: New Students and Faculty on Campus,” by Adrianna Kezar University of Southern California; and Robert T. Teranish, University of California–Los Angeles; and the Friday afternoon plenary, “Evolving Identities of E-Portfolios,” by Bret Eynon, La Guardia Community College/City University of New York.

GEMs Project Launched at Washington, DC Meeting: Working Groups Convene to Map Next Generation General Education Pathways

Tuesday, February 25, 2014 - 10:00

Three working groups and a newly formed Quality Assurance Group began charting a twenty-first century course for general education and its assessment at a meeting in Washington, DC on February 10-11, 2014. The Working and Quality Assurance Groups appointed by AAC&U are collaborating as part of an initiative called GEMs (General Education Maps and Markers) launched with initial funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. GEMs Working Groups include leading researchers and educators who will lay the groundwork for a cornerstone to capstone “remapping” of general education. In addition, a new Quality Assurance Group will provide guidance both to the GEMs initiative and to AAC&U’s ongoing VALUE (Valid Assessment of Learning in Undergraduate Education) family of projects. See the news release about the launch meeting for GEMs.

Nominations Now Open for Examples of Excelencia

Friday, February 21, 2014 - 10:00

AAC&U is pleased to announce that Excelencia in Education is now accepting nominations for its Examples of Excelencia initiative. Launched in 2005, the Examples of Excelencia initiative is designed to identify and honor programs and departments at the forefront of increasing academic opportunities and improving achievement for Latino students at the associate, baccalaureate, and graduate levels. The initiative is focused on results and disseminating promising practices to others interested in serving Latino students. Nominations for the 2014 awards must be submitted by April 25; selected programs will be recognized at the Celebración de Excelencia on September 30 in Washington, DC. AAC&U has partnered with Excelencia in Education as part of our Making Excellence Inclusive initiative within Liberal Education and America's Promise. Learn more at http://www.edexcelencia.org/examples-of-excelencia/2014

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.

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