Greater Expectations: A New Vision for Learning in the 21st Century

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Greater Expectations: A New Vision for Learning in the 21st Century


Greater Expectations: A New Vision for Learning as a Nation Goes to College, the 2002 report from the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U), describes liberal education outcomes that are important for all college students, whatever their field of specialization or socioeconomic circumstances. The recommended outcomes, which weave together both academic and employer expectations for student accomplishment, call for students to develop analytical and practical skills, ethical and social responsibility, as well as deep understanding of the social and natural worlds, and ways of gaining knowledge about them. Building from earlier AAC&U reports, the recommended outcomes also address the importance of engaging diversity at home and abroad in achieving a liberal education.

The Greater Expectations report proposes six major changes in the ethos and practice of liberal education:

* A new national commitment to provide an excellent liberal education to all college students, not just those who can attend elite institutions, and not just those studying traditional arts and sciences disciplines.

* An end to the "artificial distinctions" the academy has established over time between liberal arts and preprofessional education. Liberal education in all fields, the report contends, should become both intellectual and practical. When connected to significant questions in the larger society, a "practical liberal education" will prepare students simultaneously for participation in a dynamic economy, civic engagement in a contested world, and meaningful lives.

* An inclusive commitment to liberal education that will require new collaborations with the schools to ensure that students address the recommended liberal education outcomes from school through college, at progressively more challenging levels. …

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