Winter 2014 / 2015 News

AALE renews membership with CIQG for second year
Winter 2014/2015

The American Academy for Liberal Education (AALE) has renewed its membership in the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) International Quality Group (CIQG). Formed in September 2012, CIQG provides a forum for colleges and universities, accrediting organizations and higher education associations, businesses, governments, foundations and individuals to reflect on and exchange ideas concerning major issues relating to quality assurance in an international setting. Membership in CIQG reflects AALE’s commitment to its international members to remain current on topics particularly relevant to quality assurance of post-secondary general education within the international community.

As a CIQG member, AALE receives policy briefs and newsletters throughout the year which provide information on topics such as: public accountability, student learning, new modes of education delivery, international quality expectation, the role of government, academic freedom, non-institutional education and a single set of quality standards. An annual meeting, held during the CHEA Annual Conference in Washington, DC focuses on a current issue of relevance to all members. The topic chosen for this year’s annual meeting held January 27, 2015 was, Quality Assurance: Whose Responsibility?

Further information about CIQG is available at


Topic:  Liberal Education Under Siege (September 2014)

Over the last decade, as college costs have risen and federal expenditures on student financial aid have grown significantly, policy makers have become increasingly focused on quantitative outcome measures such as job placement and starting salaries as the primary proxy for educational quality and the justification for financial investment. These measures may, indeed, be appropriate for assessing some areas in vocational and technical programs, but they are not appropriate measures for assessing the quality and value of education generally. The ability to think, reason, write, speak a foreign language, understand the principles of government, and appreciate domestic as well as world history pay clear dividends in all aspects of life, including the workplace, but these dividends may not be easily quantified or even fully realized until years after the student graduates. A solid liberal arts education prepares one not for a particular job, but rather for any job requiring thoughtful discourse, strong interpersonal communication skills, and the ability as well as the desire to engage in lifetime learning.

In the following essays, AALE Board members reflect on the value of liberal education and the ‘dividends it pays in all aspects of life’:

Dominic A. Aquila. “General Culture and the Academy versus Liberal Education: What’s at Stake?” 

Diane Auer Jones. The Changing Role of Accreditation and the Changes proposed by USDE, Benefit or Menace?” 

Rodney K. Smith. The Rule of Law, Core Texts and Liberal Education


Topic: An Alternate Rhetorical Idiom for Liberal Education (March 2015)


Christopher B. Nelson, president of St. John's College in Annapolis, Maryland, is a national spokesperson for the liberal arts. A founding member of the Annapolis Group, a consortium of over 120 of the nation's leading liberal arts colleges, Nelson has served on numerous boards, including the Council of Independent Colleges and the Maryland Independent Colleges and Universities Association. Currently he is a member of the Board of Directors of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities and the Aspen Wye Seminars. An active participant in the national conversation on higher education, many of Nelson’s opinion essays have appeared in The Washington Post and The Huffington Post. The current focus of his writing is the value of liberal education as an excellent grounding for career and professional development and, most important for an open-minded pursuit of lifelong learning. 

On February 3, 2015, Nelson was presented the 29th Annual Henry Paley Memorial Award by the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (NAICU). The award recognizes individuals who have demonstrated unfailing service to the students and faculty associated with independent higher education and a commitment to advance educational opportunity in the United States. Nelson’s comments on education and learning, delivered on the occasion of the award, follow. 

Christopher B. Nelson. “Remarks Upon Receiving the Henry Paley Memorial Award


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