The American Association of Colleges and Universities — an organization of which UC Santa Barbara is a member — announced its 2023-27 strategic plan toward equity, innovation and excellence during their annual meeting Jan. 19.
UC Santa Barbara is among 851 institutional members of the American Association of College and Universities (AAC&U) worldwide, a global organization that works to promote equity in liberal undergraduate education.
The plan was announced during the association’s annual meeting that ran from Jan. 18 to Jan. 20 in San Francisco titled, “Reclaiming Liberal Education.”
“The plan serves as a collective call to action for those of us who believe that a liberal education provides the foundational knowledge and skills that empower students to advance the common good through responsible and engaged citizenship in local, national, and global contexts,” AAC&U President Lynn Pasquerella said during the San Francisco meeting.
The Equity, Innovation, and Excellence plan’s planning process began in July 2021 to promote collaboration amongst the AAC&U staff, board of directors, faculty, staff and administrators at member institutions. The board of directors also approved a revised mission statement as a foundation for the 2023-27 strategic plan.
“AAC&U advances the democratic purposes of higher education by promoting equity, innovation, and excellence in liberal education,” the mission statement read.
The plan’s commitments are summarized in four objectives: to “sustain an association prepared to thrive and champion liberal education globally,” to “create a model for institutional transformation on campuses,” to “partner with educators and institutions to transform the student learning experience” and to “fully engage our members around the world,” according to its website.
Goals surrounding the advancement of the first objective include aligning programming to create opportunity for further innovation, assessing engagement and financial impacts, increasing staffing, implementing workplace policies for individual wellness and adding an updated physical space for more engagement.
Creating a model for institutional transformation includes defining what such change means and creating a holistic model for guidance and engagement, among others.
Partnerships to enhance student learning entails various activities of engagement, the assessment of resources and creating networks of communities, among others.
Finally, engaging member institutions including leading internal research and development on its current membership, creating membership benefits, launching campaigns for recruitment, engagement and retention and networking opportunities.
“Equity, Innovation, and Excellence foregrounds AAC&U’s values, purpose, and scope within the current societal context and landscape of higher education, and the plan outlines the strategic objectives that will frame the association’s commitment to continuous innovation, improvement, and expansion,” the meeting’s press release read.