April 30, 2020 – Future of Work

NASH, ACUE pilot a new education initiative to improve teaching and transform student learning


A recent study found that more than 80 percent of professors chose giving lectures over projects and experiential learning. However, active learning and group work are proven to be an effective way to support student learning. Upon this realization faculty said they feel they lack the training and resources to successfully make the shift to these two teaching styles.

The National Association of System Heads (NASH) and the Association of College and University Educators (ACUE) recently announced a new partnership, Scaling Instructional Excellence for Student Success that will offer professors the resources to fill this gap. This new initiative focuses on improving instruction through a high-quality professional development for faculty.

Participants who complete the program will receive ACUE’s Certificate in Effective College Instruction, which is recognized by the American Council on Education.

This initiative has potential to empower faculty to design learning experiences in a way that encourages students to be active participants in their education rather than simply checking the necessary boxes to earn their degree.

A coalition of partners, including NASH, supported the launch of ACUE’s Effective Online Instruction course series to help faculty transition to online instruction amid COVID-19. Building on that success, this partnership is reflective of the new normal in education using technology and proven best practices for impactful learning.

“We know quality learning experiences and strong relationships with faculty, whether in-person or online, are a major element of student success,” said NASH Executive Director Rebecca Martin. “This partnership with ACUE will help to build a strong culture of quality teaching that will pay dividends for thousands of students beyond this school year.”

Four university systems—the California State University System, City University of New York, the Texas A&M University System, and the University of Missouri System—already have committed to the program. These institutions will collectively support more than 1,500 faculty with the potential to impact up to 300,000 students in the first year alone.

The results from system faculty implementation of the new skills and techniques will be documented as part of the study component of the initiative. The goal of the study is to reveal how the shift specifically impacts student outcomes to better understand how effective teaching and learning happen.

“Through this initiative and collaboration with leading higher education systems, we’re able to help college students persist and engage in their studies, learn more deeply, and graduate fully prepared for rewarding careers and meaningful lives,” said ACUE CEO Susan Cates.

The Charles Koch Foundation has provided $2.4 million in support of this effort based on the shared belief with ACUE and NASH that the initiative will empower faculty to transform the education experience through the incorporation of hands on, experiential learning. The program will drive cultural change in teacher preparedness that focuses on building aptitude and inspiring the pursuit of lifelong learning.

ACUE’s courses are based on more than three decades of research that demonstrate how effective teaching can improve learning for all students which is proven by their track record for success. According to independently validated research, students are more engaged, learn more, and complete courses in greater numbers when taught by ACUE-credentialed faculty.

“This initiative will provide entrepreneurial faculty with the knowledge and skills needed to put students at the center of an active learning experience,” said Charles Koch Foundation Director of Education Brennan Brown. “We’re excited to support this innovative approach to teaching and learning with the goal of helping faculty and students reach their full potential.”