ERIC Number: EJ1115564
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016
The Competency-Based Approach to Higher Education: Are the AAC&U and Other Organizations Destroying Liberal Traditions?
Ward, Steven C.
Thought & Action, v32 n1 p25-36 Sum 2016
Last year the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) celebrated its 100th birthday. Founded in 1915 as the Association of American Colleges (AAC) by a group of presidents from mostly religiously affiliated liberal arts colleges, its high-minded intent was to promote "higher education in all its forms" and "to make more efficient" its member institutions. Ironically, the implementation of the skills and competencies movement at American universities and colleges is occurring just as the U.K., one of the originators of these ideas, appears to be abandoning its past emphasis on skills and moving back toward knowledge content. If that is the case, maybe the AAC&U, as it enters its second century of existence, can divert and return to its roots of being a champion for the liberal arts for all. However, this would require a dramatic and broader shift away from the neoliberal economic focus that has dominated education policy at all levels and in many national contexts for the last three decades. The recent move to support free public university education in the U.S. may signal that such a political shift is just beginning.
Descriptors: Higher Education, Competency Based Education, Colleges, Professional Associations, Liberal Arts, Institutional Mission, Educational History, Educational Policy, Educational Objectives, Educational Principles, College Role, Skill Development, Neoliberalism
National Education Association. 1201 16th Street NW Washington, DC 20036. Tel: 202-833-4000; Fax: 202-822-7974; Web site: http://www.nea.org
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A