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Keynote Speaker Carol Geary Schneider Ph.D.

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Carol Geary Schneider is president emerita of the American Association of Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) which she headed from 1998 to 2016. Under her leadership, AAC&U became widely recognized as both a voice and a force for strengthening the quality of college student learning for all students and especially those historically underserved in U.S. higher education.

As president of AAC&U, Dr, Schneider helped weave student learning about diversity, equity, civic responsibility, and global engagement into the core of the AAC&U framework for quality liberal learning--for all students and all fields of study, including career and technical fields. Working with George Kuh, she also helped identify and promulgate the so-called High Impact Educational Practices or HIPs that have become a major movement in U.S. education.

In this context, she recently worked on a Lumina Foundation-sponsored initiative to embed High Impact Practices (HIPs) equitably across two-year and four-year college curricula in several state systems and to strengthen the faculty role in campus-level student success initiatives.

Currently, Dr. Schneider is a Senior Advisor and strategist for Civic Learning and Democracy Engagement (CLDE). Founded in 2021 by AAC&U, College Promise, Complete College America and the State Higher Education Executive Officers (SHEEO), CLDE is a coalition effort to make students’ democracy learning and collaborative civic problem-solving an expected part of all students’ degree pathways.

CLDE builds from a national study of college learning and democracy’s future that Dr. Schneider helped lead through AAC&U on behalf of the U.S. Department of Education. The report from that study, A Crucible Moment: College Learning and Democracy’s Future (2012), was released at the White House and streamed across the United States. Crucible’s publication helped catalyze a significant expansion of civic learning initiatives across the U.S., on individual campuses, across national organizations, in several state systems, and the Higher Learning Commission.

With U.S. democracy now facing unprecedented threats, at home and abroad, CLDE now seeks to make students’ democracy learning a shared priority for all college students, rather than—as it now is in most states—an option selected only by some students.

Dr. Schneider is a graduate and former trustee of Mount Holyoke College with a bachelor's degree in history (Magna Cum Laude, Phi Beta Kappa). She studied at the University of London's Institute for Historical Research and earned the Ph.D. in early modern history from Harvard University.

She has published and spoken widely on all the areas of her educational work Her book on Making Liberal Education Inclusive was released in 2021. She has received fourteen honorary degrees and numerous other awards, including the 2014 University of Pennsylvania's Zemsky Medal for Innovation in Higher Education and the 2016 President’s Medal recipient from the Charles and Stella Guttman Community College.

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