Association of American Colleges and Universities
Logo of AAC&U
|Purpose||Improving undergraduate education and advancing liberal education|
|Headquarters||Washington, D.C., United States|
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The Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) is a national association headquartered in Washington, D.C., United States. It focuses on improving undergraduate education and advancing liberal education. Founded in 1915, AAC&U comprises more than 1,350 member institutions — including accredited public and private colleges, community colleges, research universities, and comprehensive universities.
The organization's mission statement states its goal is "to make liberal education and inclusive excellence the foundation for institutional purpose and educational practice in higher education."
Beginning its second century as a higher education association, AAC&U advocates for liberal education for all college students, across all fields and disciplines, at all types of institutions. This advocacy sets AAC&U apart from other non-profit higher-education associations and positions AAC&U in the midst of vigorous arguments about the purpose and quality of college education. AAC&U serves all sectors of higher education; the association does not lobby for higher education.
In August 2015, Inside Higher Education's Paul Fain characterized AAC&U this way: "Amid talk of higher education's possible disruption and unbundling, the Association of American Colleges & Universities stakes out an aggressive middle ground. Are people listening?" Writing for The Chronicle of Higher Education, Dan Berrett offered a historical perspective on the purposes of college education. In an article titled "If Skills Are the New Canon, Are Colleges Teaching Them?" Berrett explored how college teaching, learning, and assessment are changing. The article situated the work of AAC&U at the center of debate about the purpose of college education, specifically raising questions about quality of student learning and ways that educators are providing evidence that students are learning.
The Multi-State Collaborative to Advance Quality Student Learning
The Multi-State Collaborative to Advance Quality Student Learning is a collaboration led by the AAC&U and the State Higher Education Executive Officers. As of October 2016, the project involved 900 faculty members at 80 public two- and four-year institutions in 13 states. The project aims to produce a cross-institutional method of evaluating student learning by getting faculty from different institutions to agree on a set of general education outcomes by using a common rubric, the AAC&U Value Rubrics, for evaluating student work. The leaders of this collaboration hope that results of the project will “paint an accurate picture of learning nationwide and, in turn, spark continuing improvement. The notability of the project is its “subject of analysis: the authentic stuff of college – the homework, problem sets, and papers that students regularly produce.”
In a 2010 study, the organization found that only 30% of college students felt safe in holding unpopular opinions on their campus.
- "About AAC&U". Association of American Colleges and Universities. Retrieved 2014-03-14.
- "Defining College". www.insidehighered.com. Retrieved 2016-03-17.
- Berrett, Dan (2016-04-03). "If Skills Are the New Canon, Are Colleges Teaching Them?". The Chronicle of Higher Education. ISSN 0009-5982. Retrieved 2016-05-11.
- Lederman, Doug. "Are They Learning?". Inside Higher Ed. Retrieved 24 February 2017.
- Berrett, Dan. "The Next Great Hope For Measuring Learning". The Chronicle of Higher Education. Retrieved 24 February 2017.
- Eric L. Dey; Molly C. Ott (2010). "Engaging Diverse Viewpoints- What Is the Campus Climate for Perspective-Taking?" (PDF). Association of American Colleges and Universities. p. 7. ISBN 978-0-911696-20-2. Retrieved April 29, 2017.