$100,000 over 12 months. The Association of American Colleges & Universities (AAC&U) will embark on a year-long planning process to develop a summer institute for department chairs and faculty, focusing on the development of leadership within and across departments for strengthening and assessing students' liberal learning. More specifically, AAC&U sees the institute as an opportunity to work with faculty and campus leaders to develop ways of assessing the extent to which the work of individual departments / disciplines contributes to students' achievement of the broad goals of liberal education (e.g. critical thinking, writing, analytical reasoning, civic engagement, and intercultural learning). Through this work, AAC&U seeks to create a body of knowledge about the current and ongoing needs of departments in responding to new pressures for student learning and accountability.
The project will proceed in four stages:
- AAC&U will convene four regional meetings of 20-25 people each, drawn from both private colleges and public universities, to identify what departments can do and where they might benefit from external support to forward student learning, assessment, and accreditation on their campuses.
- AAC&U will gather regional and professional accreditors for a meeting to discuss current expectations regarding student learning outcomes and assessment evidence for campuses and departments. (This piece of the work will not be funded by the Teagle Foundation but will ultimately feed into this grant.)
- AAC&U will run a national design charette to present a draft curriculum for the intended summer institute. The charette will effectively be a streamlined pilot institute whose members will provide focused critique of the content and approach, prior to the formal launch of the institute.
- Lastly, AAC&U will formalize the charette into a summer institute, piloting it in summer 2009. They will also publish print and/or electronic materials for wider dissemination, as well as a "working paper" and an issue of Peer Review on the work of the project.