Association of American Colleges and Universities

Logo of AAC&U

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."[1]

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 characterizes 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?" [2] Writing for the Chronicle of Higher Education, Dan Berrett offers a historical perspective on the purposes of college education. In an article titled "If Skills Are the New Canon, Are Colleges Teaching Them?[3]" Berrett explores how college teaching, learning, and assessment are changing. The article situates 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.


AAC&U publishes academic journals, including Liberal Education, Peer Review, and Diversity and Democracy. AAC&U sponsors meetings and institutes for campus teams and publishes reports and monographs.


  1. "About AAC&U". Association of American Colleges and Universities. Retrieved 2014-03-14.
  2. "Defining College". Retrieved 2016-03-17.
  3. 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.

External links

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