AGLS Award for the Improvement of General Education

Exemplary Program Awards

National and international education officials, accreditors, and faculty leaders increasingly associate “quality” education with student learning outcomes and continuous quality improvement processes. Moving away from the view of education as a simple act of passing a static body of knowledge from faculty to students, they value education practiced as a commitment to a set of collectively-practiced, ongoing activities:  making institutional choices about the most important goals for student learning and defining the learning in terms of desired outcomes; developing a shared faculty commitment to actions such as high impact, active learning strategies and faculty development designed to increase student achievement; making informed judgments about student achievement and the impact of various general education program support processes; and ensuring continuous improvements in the educational program. Despite the commitment of academic leaders and accreditors to these processes, too few institutions have succeeded in applying systematic improvement processes to the general education program. As a result, discussions about higher education accountability and improvement conclude that higher education can benefit from models of innovative, effective, and systematic general education program improvements and assessments.

The Association for General and Liberal Studies is the national organization whose mission is singularly committed to quality general education programs and their central role in the liberal education of students. The organization invites institutions to apply for the 2015 AGLS Awards for Improving General Education: Exemplary Program Processes. The Award promotes institutional commitment to continuous quality improvement processes, recognizes faculty and institutions that practice these quality behaviors, and provides much needed examples of effective improvement processes. For 2015, AGLS will recognize institutions committed to systematic, verifiable general education learning achieved through one of four focus categories (see below). AGLS will recognize up to three institutions that employ effective and innovative co-curricular experiences to help achieve an institution’s general education goals. The Awards presentation will be made during the 2015 Annual AGLS Conference, September 24-26, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Representatives from recognized institutions will be asked to present their co-curricular processes in identified special sessions and, if possible, provide a poster presentation for display throughout the conference. Recipients will receive the following: a plaque recognizing their successes; recognition on the AGLS website, listserv, and other publications; two half-priced registrations for the upcoming conference, which include a year’s membership in AGLS.

The 2016 Award gives institutions recognition options. Application forms describing quality general education program work can be submitted for any one of the following learning improvement processes:  the 2016 processes will be announced in January 2016.

Application forms should be received no later than June 1, 2016. Please email complete applications as a PDF to

2015 Exemplary Program Awards for Improving General Education

The Chinese University, Hong Kong

international division recipient

The 2015 Awards Committee

Leon Book, Dean of General Education, Souteast Missouri Hospital's College of Nursing & Health Sciences
Melanie Booth, Vice President, Western Association of Schools and Colleges
William Buhrman, Associate Dean, Humanities and Social Sciences, St. Mary's University (Texas)
Jerry Gaff, recently retired as Senior Scholar at AAC&U
Michael Gress, Vincennes University; Chair of the Awards Committee
Amber Holloway, Associate Vice President for Quality Services, Higher Learning Commission
Michael Hoefer, Vice President, Southern Association of Colleges and Schools
Cory Lock, Associate Professor of University Studies and Director of General Education, St. Edward's University
John Nichols, recently retired as Vice President for Academic Affairs, St. Joseph’s College, Rensellaer, IN
Lynn Priddy, Provost, National American University
Lenore Rodicio, Provost for Academics and Student Affairs, Miami Dade College
Stephen Spangehl, Director of the Higher Education Division of Plexus International
Thomas Steen, Director of Essential Studies, University of South Dakota

Previous Exemplary Program Winners 

2015  St. Mary's College (California)
Portland State University
Boise State University
The Chinese University, Hong Kong
2014  St. Mary's University (Texas) 
University of South Carolina 
2013  no award given 
2012  Wofford College 
2011  George Mason University
Stetson University 
2010  Carleton College 
Champlain College 
Wright State University 
2009  James Madison University 
2008  Miami Dade College 
University of North Dakota 
2007  Eastern Michigan University
Portland State University
University of North Carolina at Asheville 

This page updated October 25, 2015