AAC&U President, Faculty Deliberate on Educational Innovations for the 21st Century

On Sept. 24, Carol Geary Schneider discussed the value of integrative educational practices at the collegewide faculty meeting.

Carol Geary SchneiderEffective, outcome-based teaching is an ever-evolving practice. That’s why more some 200 faculty members, trustees and administrators gathered in Smith Auditorium for a special collegewide faculty meeting featuring Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) President Carol Geary Schneider, Ph.D. Her talk, Give Students a Compass: Liberal Learning, Educational Innovations, and the Global Commons, examined the educational practices to best prepare students for 21st century challenges.

“We are in a moment of revolutionary transformation,” Schneider said, noting both current employment challenges and ever-increasing digital learning opportunities. “One of the things we need to do to help more students [graduate] with a portfolio of strong accomplishment is getting them involved in active learning where they can’t just memorize the right answer — to get them involved in real problems in a significant effort to achieve their own goals.”

The AAC&U is the leading national association committed to advancing and improving liberal education for all students. And as one of its founding members (having signed the charter in 1915), Manhattan College is on the forefront of both providing and articulating a meaningful liberal arts education.

The presentation included a brief review of AAC&U’s Liberal Education and America’s Promise (LEAP), a national public advocacy and campus action initiative launched in 2005. LEAP champions the importance a liberal education for individual students and for a nation dependent on economic creativity and democratic vitality.

Through this initiative, Manhattan College has employed high-impact educational practices (HIPs) including first-year seminars, learning communities, writing-intensive courses, global learning experiences, internships and capstone projects, all of which prepare students to succeed in the world after graduation.

“HIPs also offer rich opportunities to make civic engagement pervasive, rather than merely available and optional,” Schneider said, suggesting that in a post-recession economy, civic engagement avenues such as Campus Ministry and Social Action, the Arches Learning-Living program and the L.O.V.E. program (Lasallian Outreach Volunteer Experience) are more important than ever as employers desire graduates that can make complex ethical decisions.

“This is part of [AAC&U’s] vision — and I believe your vision as a Lasallian institution,” Schneider said. “We’re not just educating our students to do well in the world, we’re educating them to contribute something to their communities [and] to take responsibility for that.”