What's New


68 Institutions in Nine States to Pilot New Approach to Learning Outcomes Assessment

Tuesday, June 24, 2014 - 12:00

AAC&U and the State Higher Education Executive Officers Association (SHEEO)announced the 68 institutions--including both 2-year and 4-year institutions--participating in the Multi-State Collaborative to Advance Learning Outcomes Assessment (MSC).


LEAP Presidents' Trust Member David P. Angel Seeks to Define 'Liberal Education 2.0'

Monday, June 23, 2014 - 12:30

LEAP Presidents' Trust Member and Clark University President David P. Angel was featured in the Chronicle of Higher Education’s "On Leadership" online video series. President Angel noted that, "Blending a traditional liberal-arts education with practical real-world projects can make students more valuable contributors to the organizations they will work for when they graduate."

Twenty Institutions Selected to Participate in New Initiative, "Teaching to Increase Diversity and Equity in STEM" (TIDES)

Thursday, June 19, 2014 - 12:30

AAC&U announced the twenty institutions selected for the initiative called TIDES—Teaching to Increase Diversity and Equity in STEM. The initiative will support curriculum and faculty development activities to develop models for broader institutional change and to advance evidence-based and culturally competent teaching in STEM fields, particularly in the computer and information science domains. Of the 20 institutions selected, 14 are full awardees, five received honorable mentions, and one institution is designated as noteworthy. The 14 full awardees will each receive up to $300,000 for work completed over the next three years. The TIDES initiative is funded with a $4.9 million grant to AAC&U from The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust. Over the next three years of the initiative, TIDES and its awardee institutions will: Provide STEM faculty with opportunities to become proficient in incorporating culturally sensitive pedagogies into STEM courses; Develop interdisciplinary courses that include the computer/information science disciplines; and Engage in course implementation that is grounded in evidence-based pedagogies that are culturally sensitive. The initiative is led by Kelly Mack, Vice President for Undergraduate STEM Education and Executive Director, Project Kaleidoscope.


AAC&U Will Celebrate 100 Years of Leadership for Liberal Education in 2015—Submit Proposals Now for the Centennial Annual Meeting

Thursday, June 12, 2014 - 13:45

AAC&U will celebrate our 100th Anniversary in 2015, and we warmly invite your participation. The meeting—“Liberal Education, Global Flourishing, and the Equity Imperative”—will be held in Washington, DC, January 21–24, 2015, and the Call for Proposals is now open.

AAC&U Releases Statement on Providing Better Evidence on College Learning and Completion

Tuesday, June 3, 2014 - 12:45

Responding to the calls for better information about how well colleges and universities are serving today's students, AAC&U's Board of Directors has released a statement urging institutions of higher education to take the lead in framing these debates around appropriate metrics that focus on what students learn in college, as well as completion rates. AAC&U applauds the measures being taken by sister organizations and institutions to assess the quality of student learning, and to collect better data on the complicated educational pathways of today's students. AAC&U also encourages member institutions to explore whether participation in the Voluntary System of Accountability, the U-CAN initiative, or the Voluntary Framework of Accountability would be useful to them in presenting a more accurate picture of their own institutional results. For more information, read the press release about the statement from AAC&U's Board of Directors.

Global Learning: Defining, Designing, Demonstrating

New Publication on Global Learning

Friday, May 23, 2014 - 06:30

We are pleased to announce a new joint publication of AAC&U and NAFSA: Association of International Educators--Global Learning: Defining, Designing, Demonstrating--by author Kevin Hovland, Senior Director for Academic Programs at NAFSA and previously Senior Director for Global Learning and Curricular Change for AAC&U. The publication provides a definition and rationale for "global learning," a term which is widely used across higher education, although academic leaders do not always agree on what the term means. By exploring how the term and the ideas behind it are evolving, global learning is placed in the context of several important overlapping higher education change efforts. The publication is available at no cost on both the NAFSA and AAC&U websites


AAC&U Announces Partnership with Taskstream to Create New VALUE Rubrics Database

Friday, May 30, 2014 - 12:45

As part of the next phase of the VALUE project (Valid Assessment of Learning in Undergraduate Education), AAC&U is partnering with Taskstream to create a database of student learning artifacts, collected from a range of institutions across the country regardless of their local platform, that can be assessed using the VALUE rubrics. This comprehensive database will allow for the development of national and statewide benchmarks for student learning achievement. AAC&U is also partnering with the Multi-State Collaborative to Advance Learning Outcomes Assessment, the State Higher Education Executive Officers, and an additional set of independent colleges and universities to advance this next phase of the VALUE initiative.

University of Wisconsin

University of Wisconsin System Announces Liberal Arts Essay Competition Winners

Tuesday, May 13, 2014 - 09:30

The University of Wisconsin System has announced the winners of its ninth annual Liberal Arts Essay Scholarship Competition. The annual competition is part of the UW System’s LEAP initiative and has been sponsored for nine years. This year’s essay prompt invited students to reflect on their own education in the context of the William Cronon essay, “Only Connect,” about the qualities that distinguish a liberally educated person. The three contest winners will each receive a $2,000 scholarship to help fund the remainder of their undergraduate education. UW System President Ray Cross noted that, ““Every day I am in this position, I become more impressed with the quality of the students who attend our institutions, and there is no greater testimony to that quality than this year’s winning essays.” to read the winning essays, visit http://liberaleducation.uwsa.edu/scholarship. For more information, see the Wisconsin SAGLA Web page and AAC&U’s LEAP initiative web pages.

The Kojo Nnamdi Show

AAC&U Vice President Debra Humphreys Featured on WAMU Program on the Value of a College Degree and Proposed Federal Ratings System

Thursday, May 8, 2014 - 09:30

AAC&U Vice President for Policy and Public Engagement Debra Humphreys was one of three guests on WAMU's The Kojo Nnamdi Show on May 7, 2014. The show, titled, “Measuring the Value of A College Degree,” was a panel discussion that addressed the value and costs of a college degree, future employment prospects for college graduates, and President Obama’s proposed ratings system. Humphreys argued that the value of a college degree is about more than just earnings and noted that, “Nearly all employers recently surveyed by AAC&U say that ‘a demonstrated capacity to think critically, communicate clearly, and solve complex problems is more important than [a candidate’s] undergraduate major.’” Humphreys also noted some of the problems with President Obama’s proposed rating system and responded to questions about AAC&U’s 2014 report, How Liberal Arts and Sciences Majors Fare in Employment. The report argues that "whatever undergraduate major they may choose, students who pursue their major within the context of a broad liberal education substantially increase their likelihood of achieving long-term professional success." See AAC&U’s most recent statement on the proposed federal ratings system.


AAC&U's Rebecca Dolinsky and Heather McCambly Coauthor Op-Ed on LGBTQ Student Success for Diverse: Issues in Higher Education

Thursday, May 8, 2014 - 09:30

In a recent op-ed, “ LGBTQ Student Success in Higher Education” (May 6, 2014), AAC&U’s Rebecca Dolinsky and Heather McCambly ask: “How can the higher education community better understand the influence of campus climate and educational practice on LGBTQ student success?” Drawing from a session they led on this topic at AAC&U’s Diversity, Learning, and Student Success conference in March, the authors note that “too many LGBTQ students feel unsafe, unwelcome, or disconnected from social and/or academic life on their respective campuses.” They encourage educators to draw from key literature on student success “to create opportunities for students to engage academically and socially and experience validation not only in terms of their culture or sexuality or gender or spirituality but as authentic, whole people.”

Faculty and Administrative Teams from 109 Institutions, 33 States, and 3 Countries to Attend AAC&U 2014 Summer Institutes

Tuesday, May 6, 2014 - 09:45

AAC&U recently announced the colleges, universities, and state systems sending teams to its 2014 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 Vermont in Burlington, Vermont (June 3–7); the Institute on High-Impact Practices and Student Success at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, (June 17–21); and the Institute on Integrative Learning and the Departments at California State University, Fullerton in Fullerton, California (July 9–13). 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. 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.

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 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.”