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A New Vision for Learning as a Nation goes to College
by Association of American Colleges & Universities, 2003
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Who are today’s college students? What should they expect to get from their college education—to be prepared for a good job, of course, but even more for a rewarding career and productive citizenship? What are considered good practices to help students learn? What responsibilities do students themselves need to assume to get the most out of college?

These are some of the questions that the report from the Greater Expectations National Panel attempts to answer. Starting with an analysis of the current situation, the report concludes with recommendations, some asking for action by students, parents, and the general public.

This Web version of the report offers the option of either reading the entire report (simply go to "Enter the Report") or reading selected sections. While we recommend starting at the beginning and following the entire argument, the sections listed below may be of greatest interest to current and prospective college students and to parents. Then don’t forget to return to the bottom of this page for suggestions on what you can do next (link also at the end of the report).


If you are choosing a college:

  • Ask for a written statement about the outcomes of learning.
  • Inquire how the design of the curriculum and teaching methods help students reach the desired outcomes.
  • Talk to students at the college about how the various courses they take fit into a plan for learning.
  • Ask about some of the practices described in the stories: are there internships, opportunities to do independent research, service learning programs?
If you, as a citizen, are concerned about education:
  • Vote to support policies to adequately finance K-12 and college education.
  • Encourage elected officials to look beyond standardized tests and testing of simple factual recall in setting high standards and holding schools accountable for learning.
  • Organize and participate in public conversations about learning for the twenty-first century.

The Greater Expectations Report was published by the Association of American Colleges & Universities in 2002. AAC&U is the leading national association devoted to advancing and strengthening liberal learning for all students, regardless of academic specialization or intended career. Since its founding in 1915, AAC&U’s membership has grown to more than 850 accredited public and private colleges and universities of every type and size. AAC&U functions as a catalyst and facilitator, forging links among presidents, administrators, and faculty members who are engaged in institutional and curricular planning. Its mission is to reinforce the collective commitment to liberal education at both the national and local levels and to help individual institutions keep the quality of student learning at the core of their work as they evolve to meet new economic and social challenges. Information about AAC&U membership, programs, and publications can be found at


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