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On May 15, the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh will present the president of the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) with an honorary doctorate.

Since 1998, Carol Geary Schneider has directed AAC&U, the leading national organization devoted to advancing and strengthening undergraduate liberal education. AAC&U was founded 95 years ago and today is comprised of 1,200 member institutions of every type and size.

Schneider’s contributions will be recognized with a Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa, as part of UW Oshkosh’s spring commencement ceremonies.

Members of the campus community will have two chances to hear Schneider speak. Faculty and staff are invited to hear an overview of the progress and future prospects at the national level of AAC&U’s Liberal Education and American’s Promise (LEAP) initiative and share their plans and efforts to create a new vision for learning at UW Oshkosh. The conversation will take place from 10 to 11:30 a.m. May 14 in the Reeve Memorial Union Ballroom.

Schneider then will make a community presentation on the economic value of a liberal education from noon to 1:30 p.m. May 14 in the ballroom. She will highlight findings of recent research that shows employers who hire large numbers of college graduates want higher education to place more emphasis on a set of outcomes that include the ability to think critically and creatively and to apply learning to real-world challenges. A buffet luncheon will be served.

  • To RSVP to the 10 to 11:30 a.m., May 14 conversation, UW Oshkosh faculty and staff should contact Angie Nitz at (920) 424-0201 or e-mail
  • Members of the broader community can RSVP to the noon to 1:30 p.m. May 14 luncheon conversation by sending an e-mail to Parking will be available in Lot 15 on Algoma Boulevard.

A legacy of liberal education reform

In 2005, Schneider and AAC&U initiated LEAP, a 10-year campus action and public advocacy campaign designed to engage students and the public with what truly matters in college. The University of Wisconsin System adopted LEAP’s language and concepts for its Strategic Framework to Advantage Wisconsin, which aims to ensure that all students are prepared with the integrative learning skills, multicultural competencies, and practical knowledge necessary to succeed in and contribute to a rapidly changing and increasingly global society.

At the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, Schneider’s work has built the foundation for both the University’s Liberal Education Reform Initiative, aiding in its development of a student-focused commitment to essential learning outcomes, and Give Students a Compass, a new national AAC&U initiative charged with strengthening student learning while striving to increase the rate of participation and success rate of traditionally underserved students.

Prior to her appointments at AAC&U, Schneider spent 10 years at the University of Chicago, where she directed the Midwest Faculty Seminar — a scholarly and educational collaboration between the University of Chicago and 50 Midwest colleges. She was a founding director of the University of Chicago Institutes on Teaching and Learning and also helped establish the Chicago Teaching Program, a pioneering effort to deepen graduate students’ preparation for college teaching. In addition, she has been published extensively on all the major areas of her educational work.

“UW Oshkosh is proud to honor Schneider, a distinguished and visionary academic leader, for her dedication to the spirit and promise of education as a tool for the development of individual growth and the realization of human potential through the pursuit of personal and professional aspirations,” Provost Lane Earns said.

The University also will present Muriel Howard, president of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, with an honorary doctorate at the December commencement ceremony.

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