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National Day of Racial Healing

AAC&U Promotes National Day of Racial Healing

Monday, January 9, 2017 - 12:00

The Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) is proud to collaborate with the W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF) and more than 130 organizations for the first-ever National Day of Racial Healing on Tuesday, January 17, 2017.                                 

To mark this date, organizations collaborating in WKKF’s Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation (TRHT) enterprise will carry out a variety of events focused on the TRHT goals of jettisoning the belief in a hierarchy of human value and engaging communities in transforming America’s racial narrative. AAC&U is a TRHT partner organization.

“Institutions of higher education must play a leadership role in addressing the most pressing ethical, legal and social issues of the day, including racial injustice and the persistence of the color line,” said AAC&U President Lynn Pasquerella. “More than ever, inclusive excellence aimed at eliminating racial inequities must be seen as inextricably linked to the mission of advancing liberal education as a force for public good.”

AAC&U invites its members to recognize the National Day of Racial Healing by engaging in efforts to heal the wounds created by racial, ethnic, and religious bias and build an equitable and just society where all individuals can thrive.

In particular, we encourage our member colleges and universities to select a manner, unique to each institution’s mission and context, in which to acknowledge the National Day of Racial Healing and to engage in an activity, strategy, or community function that promotes engagement around the issues of racism, bias, inequity, and injustice in our society. For example, an institution might

  • organize activities particularly related to racial healing connected with already-scheduled Martin Luther King Jr. Day events;
  • invite and encourage faculty members to connect course content to racial healing on that day or during that week;
  • coordinate stand-alone or integrated events on campus that address racial healing;
  • share stories via social media that define “who we are” and address issues related to race, equity, and justice.

To learn more about the National Day of Healing, please visit www.dayofracialhealing.com. For AAC&U resources on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusive Excellence, please visit our website.

“Communities, organizations and individuals are being asked to acknowledge that there are still deep racial divisions in America that must be overcome,” said Dr. Gail Christopher, senior advisor and vice president for TRHT at the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. “We have to come together to heal and commit to truth telling, engaging representatives from all racial, ethnic, religious and identity groups in genuine efforts to increase understandi­ng, communication, caring and respect for one another.”

About AAC&U

AAC&U is the leading national association concerned with the quality, vitality, and public standing of undergraduate liberal education. Its members are committed to extending the advantages of a liberal education to all students, regardless of academic specialization or intended career. Founded in 1915, AAC&U now comprises nearly 1,400 member institutions—including accredited public and private colleges, community colleges, research universities, and comprehensive universities of every type and size.

AAC&U functions as a catalyst and facilitator, forging links among presidents, administrators, and faculty members who are engaged in institutional and curricular planning. Its mission is to reinforce the collective commitment to liberal education and inclusive excellence at both the national and local levels, and to help individual institutions keep the quality of student learning at the core of their work as they evolve to meet new economic and social challenges.

About the W.K. Kellogg Foundation

The W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF), founded in 1930 as an independent, private foundation by breakfast cereal pioneer, Will Keith Kellogg, is among the largest philanthropic foundations in the United States. Guided by the belief that all children should have an equal opportunity to thrive, WKKF works with communities to create conditions for vulnerable children so they can realize their full potential in school, work and life.

The Kellogg Foundation is based in Battle Creek, Michigan, and works throughout the United States and internationally, as well as with sovereign tribes. Special emphasis is paid to priority places where there are high concentrations of poverty and where children face significant barriers to success. WKKF priority places in the U.S. are in Michigan, Mississippi, New Mexico and New Orleans; and internationally, are in Mexico and Haiti.

Lingnan Foundation Appoints AAC&U's Lynn Pasquerella Trustee

Friday, December 30, 2016 - 12:45

The board of trustees for the Lingnan Foundation unanimously approved AAC&U President Lynn Pasquerella’s appointment as trustee at their December meeting in Hong Kong. The Lingnan Foundation, an American philanthropic organization founded in New York to further the legacy of Lingnan University (now Sun Yat-sen University), has worked since 1893 to advance higher education in South China and encourage understanding and collaboration between Chinese and American scholars through its mission of “supporting scholarly exchange, educational innovation, and service to society.” Board Chairman Chui Lim Tsang and President Ding-Jo H. Currie wrote of Pasquerella’s appointment, “We believe Dr. Pasquerella’s service on the Board of the Lingnan Foundation will further our mission and goals toward stronger and closer collaboration between China and US’s higher education system…. We welcome her with great enthusiasm!”

Lynn Pasquerella Interview

AAC&U's Lynn Pasquerella Discusses Challenges Facing Higher Education

Tuesday, December 20, 2016 - 11:30

AAC&U President Lynn Pasquerella visited The Chronicle of Higher Education last week to speak with Jennifer Ruark, deputy managing editor of The Chronicle Review, about the increased importance of making the case for liberal education to those both inside and outside of the academy. “One of the most serious challenges we face in higher education today is a growing economic segregation,” Pasquerella said. “And I think that we have to pay attention to the real concerns of people outside of the academy, the concerns that have led to a narrative that calls into question the value of liberal education and inclusive excellence, which is at the heart of AAC&U’s mission.” While “the prevailing rhetoric has created a false dichotomy between vocational and liberal education,” the value of liberal education—including its role in helping students adapt and thrive in a diverse and globalized world—is more important than ever. “In a world that is increasingly global and interdependent and where rapidly changing technology means rapid obsolescence, the best that we can offer students today is the capacity to work with others who are different from themselves in diverse teams and to be adaptable and flexible in a world where the jobs of the future have not yet been invented,” Pasquerella said. In the interview, Pasquerella and Ruark also discussed the need for increased diversity in academia, the partnerships between AAC&U and community colleges that resulted in the LEAP Connections Resource Hub, and the work of women leaders in the academy.

Leap Asian Cooperative

AAC&U Forms New LEAP Global Partnership with the Asian Cooperative Program

Friday, November 18, 2016 - 14:30

AAC&U announces a new LEAP Global Partnership with the Asian Cooperative Program (ACP), a consortium of fourteen Southeast Asian universities and Kansai University of International Studies in Japan. ACP is a collaborative effort to share portions of general education across the partner institutions. The shared elements emphasize regional safety and security, seeking to improve the quality of education about serious regional problems: natural disasters such as earthquakes, violent weather, flooding, and tsunamis as well as crime prevention and public health. ACP member institutions collaborate to improve and develop general education core curricula, overseas programs, assessment of learning outcomes, and global research. With outcomes similar to those of the LEAP Challenge—getting students ready for a world of unscripted problems—ACP hopes to use AAC&U’s resources, including VALUE rubrics, to improve the quality of general education and assessment.


Registration Now Open: General Education and Assessment Conference

Tuesday, November 8, 2016 - 11:00

AAC&U invites participants to register for General Education and Assessment: Design Thinking for Student Learning, to be held February 23–25, 2017, in Phoenix, Arizona. The conference will engage participants in exploring how to design, implement, and evaluate high-quality general education pathways that effectively prepare all students for active participation in our nation’s democracy and success in an ever-changing global society. Plenary sessions include “Using Design Thinking to Empower Learners and Learning”; “Aligning General Education and the Major: Effective Uses of Organizational Evidence”; and “Design Thinking for Integrative Assessment of Higher-Order Learning—How Can I Do It?” The conference also offers a full roster of concurrent sessions and a series of practical preconference workshops. Learn more about this conference, view the conference schedule, and register online.

Reaffirming a Deep and Abiding Commitment

Reaffirming a Deep and Abiding Commitment

Tuesday, November 15, 2016 - 12:45

On November 8, more than 132 million voters across America made their voices heard in an historic presidential election. Since then, the Southern Poverty Law Center has reported over 300 incidents of election-related harassment and intimidation, with the highest occurrences in primary and secondary schools and on college and university campuses. Higher education must play a leadership role in safeguarding the free exchange of ideas and providing models for fostering respectful dialogue across ideological differences.

AAC&U Logo

Announcement of New Office of Outreach and Member Engagement

Monday, November 14, 2016 - 15:30

AAC&U announces a new integration of departments within the Association to provide strategic direction for service to our members, engagement with the larger higher education community, and enhanced infrastructure.

The newly configured Office of Outreach and Member Engagement will provide this integration of the Communications, Membership, and Development Departments, as well as Information Systems and Database Services.  The Association’s Annual Meeting will also be connected within the Office of Outreach and Member Engagement.  Through the alignment of these departments, we hope to facilitate:

  • Enhanced communications with members and other key constituencies, as well as new opportunities for public engagement with AAC&U;
  • Expanded member engagement and new funding opportunities, both for the Association and for our members;
  • Opportunities for new connections among our grant-funded initiatives, educational programs, Annual Meeting, conferences, and institutes;
  • More flexible responses on the part of the Association to the changing higher education landscape;
  • Increased efficacy and efficiency in our service to our members and to the larger higher education community.

Chief of Staff and Senior Advisor to the President, Bethany Zecher Sutton, will provide leadership for the Office of Outreach and Member Engagement.

“As AAC&U engages in strategic planning to advance our mission of making liberal education and inclusive excellence the foundation for institutional purpose and educational practice, I am confident that the alignment of the divisions within Outreach and Member Engagement will enhance service to our members and the broader higher education community,” said AAC&U President Lynn Pasquerella. “I am extremely pleased and gratified that Bethany Zecher Sutton will be leading the office. Her vision and experience lend invaluable creative energy to this new enterprise.”

Bethany Sutton joined the AAC&U staff in 2001 and, as Chief of Staff, she manages the agenda of the Association’s president and helps guide the full range of AAC&U’s work to advance quality and inclusive excellence in undergraduate education. In her new role, she will lead the strategic integration of departments to enhance member engagement and AAC&U’s broader service to the higher education community.

Tia Brown McNair

AAC&U’s Tia McNair to Lead Twitter Chat on Student-Ready Colleges

Wednesday, November 9, 2016 - 12:45

Tia Brown McNair, AAC&U vice president for diversity, equity, and student success, will participate in a Twitter chat hosted by the Council for Opportunity in Education (COE) on Thursday, November 17 at 12 p.m. (EST). The chat is a follow-up to the closing plenary session of COE's 2016 Annual Conference in San Diego, which also featured McNair. During that session, McNair highlighted strategies outlined in the new book Becoming a Student-Ready College, which she coauthored with Susan Albertine, Michelle Asha Cooper, Nicole McDonald, and Thomas Major, Jr. In the book, the authors reframe the college success conversation with an investigation into how institutions must change their policies, practices, and culture to ensure student success. To participate in the chat and explore the book’s themes, follow COE at @coetalk and use the hashtag #studentready.

LEAP Connections Resource Hub Launched

LEAP Connections Resource Hub Launched

Monday, October 31, 2016 - 14:00

AAC&U has launched the LEAP Connections Resource Hub—a new online resource hub for community college educators. The hub offers a collaborative space for institutions to connect, discuss, share, and advance evidence-based practices, based on the LEAP framework, that support educational quality and student learning and success. The site is designed for community college faculty as well as other educators, academic administrators, and student affairs professionals, and was developed with support from the Kresge Foundation as part of AAC&U’s Advancing Roadmaps for Community College Leadership to Improve Student Learning and Success initiative. Through Advancing Roadmaps, AAC&U is supporting community college leaders and educators as they work to increase student success and achievement of learning outcomes. 

AAC&U President Lynn Pasquerella Publishes Op-Ed in Washington Post

Thursday, October 20, 2016 - 16:30

AAC&U president Lynn Pasquerella has published an op-ed in the Washington Post titled “Higher Education Should be a Public Good, Not a Private Commodity.” In it, Pasquerella advocates for a national re-envisioning of the purpose of higher education, moving away from the dominant model of a college or university education as a purely private benefit and toward seeing higher education as “a means of strengthening our democracy as well as bolstering our nation’s economy.” Pasquerella also suggests that the next president should devote his or her attention to this issue, working with leaders in higher education to change national thinking about higher education as well as to “pinpoint the costly factors that are driving up prices and crowding out under-served student populations.”

AAC&U STEM Networks Participate in White House Active Learning Day

Wednesday, October 26, 2016 - 15:30

October 25 was declared Active Learning Day by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. On Active Learning Day, the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) and its Project Kaleidoscope (PKAL) – along with over four hundred STEM faculty and administrators from institutions of higher education and STEM professional societies – pledged to support the kinds of active teaching and learning strategies in STEM classrooms that are culturally responsive to today’s undergraduate population. Throughout Active Learning Day, STEM faculty and administrators spent at least ten minutes implementing active teaching and learning strategies, identifying innovative ways to deepen and extend institutional commitments to active teaching and learning, sharing best practices with colleagues, and producing videos of active teaching strategies in practice.

“These pledges extend beyond mere symbolism of a shared interest in active learning in STEM, and reveal a deeper commitment to the systematic and systemic reform changes in undergraduate STEM education that must take place if we are ever to overcome institutional barriers, expand beyond localized classroom successes, and achieve universal understanding and adoption of active teaching strategies across all of US STEM higher education,” says Kelly Mack, vice president for undergraduate STEM education at AAC&U. Over the next few weeks, AAC&U will use its STEM Central web platform as a vehicle for launching an online video library of Active Learning Day activities that occurred. This library will provide STEM faculty with necessary resources for more effectively implementing active teaching and learning methods with fidelity.


Register Now for Transforming Undergraduate STEM Education

Register Now for Transforming Undergraduate STEM Education

Thursday, October 20, 2016 - 10:00

AAC&U and Project Kaleidoscope invite you to join with colleagues at the conference “Transforming Undergraduate STEM Education: Implications for 21st-Century Society” to share and examine evidence-based models, practices, and strategies to provide high-quality undergraduate STEM teaching and learning and increase the number of students majoring, completing baccalaureate degrees, and pursuing careers in STEM fields. This year’s conference will deepen our understanding of “what works” in STEM higher education reform and provide attendees with the opportunity to rethink curricular designs and teaching approaches in ways that will maximize learning. Plenary speakers include Eric Mazur of Harvard University and Tyrone B. Hayes of the University of California, Berkeley. Learn more about this conference here.

Grant Cornwell Becomes Chair of LEAP Presidents' Trust

Grant Cornwell Becomes Chair of LEAP Presidents' Trust

Wednesday, October 19, 2016 - 08:00

Grant Cornwell, president of Rollins College and a member of AAC&U’s board of directors, is the new chair of the LEAP Presidents’ Trust. The Trust, a leadership group of select presidents from all sectors of higher education who are committed to advocating for the vision, values, and practices of liberal education in the twenty-first century, was founded as part of AAC&U’s LEAP (Liberal Education and America’s Promise) initiative in 2008. A philosopher by training and nationally recognized for his work in defining liberal learning in a global environment, Cornwell is an accomplished leader who, prior to coming to Rollins in 2015, served as president of The College of Wooster. Cornwell presently serves on the Council on Foreign Relations' Global Literacy Advisory Board, has chaired the Great Lakes Colleges Association's board of directors, and has served on the American Council on Education’s Commission on International Initiatives and the National Advisory Panel for the Association of Governing Boards’ project on Faculty and Institutional Governance. He is a coauthor of “An Education for the Twenty-First Century: Stewardship of the Global Commons” and has written extensively on multiculturalism, freedom, diversity, and global citizenship. Cornwell succeeds Daniel Sullivan, president emeritus of St. Lawrence University, who helped found the Presidents’ Trust and served as its chair for eight years.

Multi-State Collaborative Garners National Attention

Multi-State Collaborative Garners National Attention

Monday, October 17, 2016 - 08:15

An October 16 story in the Chronicle of Higher Education explores the potential of the Multi-State Collaborate to Advance Quality Student Learning, a project of AAC&U and the State Higher Education Executive Officers Association, to have a significant impact on assessment and improvement of student learning outcomes across higher education. Focusing on efforts at Central Connecticut State University, one of eighty public two- and four-year institutions participating in the collaborative, writer Dan Berrett describes how faculty are using AAC&U’s VALUE rubrics to assess students’ learning as demonstrated through authentic student work, and how assessment results can be used to improve teaching and learning. AAC&U and SHEEO are collecting data from faculty at participating colleges and universities to create a national picture of learning in higher education. Read the story here, and learn more about the project on AAC&U’s website.

Sign the Pledge: Improve Undergraduate STEM Education on Active Learning Day

Thursday, September 29, 2016 - 09:45

Project Kaleidoscope of AAC&U encourages its national community of STEM faculty to take part in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy Active Learning Day on Tuesday, October 25, 2016. By making a pledge, STEM faculty will agree to incorporate teaching strategies that equally promote active learning and integrate cultural responsiveness in their classrooms. Click here to sign on.