Questions about the quality of undergraduate college degrees are finally emerging as a more prominent policy concern within the context of national efforts to dramatically increase degree attainment. Yet many who endorse “quality” and promise to protect it cannot say exactly what they mean by it. In addition, attention to quality is still too often overshadowed by the emphatic focus on accelerating degree completion—with credit hours rather than student achievement as the primary index for success. Significant work remains in aligning the quality agenda with other urgent concerns: increasing productivity, supporting underserved student success, and reducing the cost of college, for example. How are foundations and philanthropies shaping the priorities of higher education today—and what directions should they pursue to influence more positively the future of the quality agenda?
Alison R. Bernstein, Director, Institute for Women’s Leadership, Rutgers University, and former Vice President, The Ford Foundation; Holiday Hart McKiernan, Vice President of Operations and General Counsel, Lumina Foundation for Education; Jeannie Oakes, Director of Education and Scholarship, Ford Foundation; and Daniel Greenstein, Director of Postsecondary Success Strategy, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
ACAD Keynote Luncheon
John Churchill, Secretary, The Phi Beta Kappa Society
The principal forces driving change in higher education in contemporary America, and in much of the world, embody skewed, incomplete conceptions of its nature and ends. Beyond the efficient provision of a well-trained workforce, higher education is also about the cultivation of a broad spectrum of abilities across a wide swath of society—reading, writing, deliberative reasoning, breadth of perspective and intellectual agility, imaginative capacities, dispositions toward curiosity, learning, and sympathetic engagement with others. The predominant contemporary forces are least likely to value the dimensions of higher education where the development of these abilities is most likely to happen. While these abilities do contribute to the professional success of individuals, they also provide the fabric for democratic society—a society capable not only of pursuing its ends in reasonable and efficient ways, but also of choosing its ends in a deliberative way, and of changing them. In order to be of truly practical usefulness to the country, higher education must now champion and embrace the liberal arts and sciences, for the sake of the abilities cultivated in those studies, and the influence of those abilities on America's future.
Gender Equity: Who Needs It?
Caryn McTighe Musil came to AAC&U in 1991 and has served as AAC&U’s Senior Vice President since 2004 and as Vice President for Diversity, Equity, and Global Initiatives since 1998. She has been Director of AAC&U’s Program on the Status and Education of Women for two decades. Beginning November 1, 2012, she will assume her new role as AAC&U Senior Scholar and Director of Civic Learning and Democracy Initiatives. Dr. McTighe Musil was the lead author A Crucible Moment: College Learning and Democracy's Future, a report to the Department of Education officially released at a White House event in January 2012.
Two Steps Forward, One Step Backward. Must This Be the Future of Diversity?
Johnnella E. Butler is Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at Spelman College. Prior to her Spelman appointment, she served as Associate Dean and Associate Provost of the Graduate School, and Professor of American Ethnic Studies, at the University of Washington, Seattle. Dr. Butler is the editor of Color-Line to Borderlands: The Matrix of American Ethnic Studies (University of Washington Press, 2001) and numerous articles on the relationships among democracy, diversity, and civic engagement.