Fostering a Culture of Belonging: Four Insights You Need to Know

On a campus where everyone belongs, everyone is responsible.

“It is not one office or one individual that creates a culture of belonging,” said Dr. Penny MacCormack, chief academic officer at the Association of College and University Educators, said during a recent webinar hosted by ACUE. “It is everyone making the effort to learn and use the practices shown to ensure that every individual on our campuses feels seen, heard, and valued. It does, in fact, take a village.”


Available On-Demand: Fostering a Culture of Belonging Webinar


During the hour-long virtual event, more than 1,250 educators, staff, and higher education leaders gathered to discuss practical strategies and insights, including what they learned and implemented through ACUE certificate programs. ACUE’s newest microcredential, Fostering a Culture of Belonging, equips a wide range of roles and professionals—from presidents and deans to HR professionals, campus safety officers, and more—with practical and relevant perspectives, self-reflection practices, and high-quality resources.

Here are four takeaways from this inspiring conversation:


1. Relationships Matter
What does it mean to belong? How is that feeling different from feeling welcome?

For Dr. Toni L. Johnson, dean of academic services at North Central State College, part of the Ohio Association of Community Colleges, a sense of belonging is all about relationships.

“I have been in a lot of situations where I felt welcome. People were nice to me. They smiled at me. But I didn’t really feel like I belonged. I didn’t feel like I was comfortable enough to say anything, ask a question, participate in a certain way. Because I didn’t have relationships with those people.


2. Belonging Starts with Self-Reflection
To cultivate belonging across a campus community, having the right mindset is key for transformative change.

“It starts with you, internally,” said Ali Shah, a campus safety director at San Jacinto College. “You have to recognize your own implicit biases, recognize the mechanisms to overcome those biases, and lead from a place of equity and inclusivity.”

For Shah, that meant revisiting campus safety policies through an inclusive lens. It led to updating the department’s performance metrics for responding to incidents and resolving calls. Instead of exclusively measuring these interactions in seconds and minutes, Shah said, “We started reviewing those calls from an equity standpoint. Was it a positive interaction? Did the students feel like they had a voice to express themselves freely?”

“You can change the trajectory of a student’s academic and life experience by a simple positive interaction. That, to me, is a very powerful tool that we have,” said Shah. (Watch the clip.)


3. Develop Long-Term Impact for Student and Employee Retention
Research shows that a sense of belonging is a key predictor of student and employee retention and success. Experts noted that a growing body of research increasingly shows that feelings of belonging are so critical that it has led to a new acronym: Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEIB).

“There is a large body that is really demonstrating how critical this is to student success, as well as the success of faculty and staff, to have a sense of belonging on campus,” said Dr. Marlo Goldstein Hode, senior manager of strategic diversity initiatives at the University of Missouri–St. Louis.

Cohort-based online programs such as ACUE’s Fostering a Culture of Belonging, Dr. Goldstein Hode said, have the greatest potential for transformational impact because they establish and cultivate long-term communities of practice.

“This is a journey, not a destination. It is not a one-shot deal, and you really have to invest a lot of time and thought to make it meaningful.”


4. Fostering a Culture of Belonging Practices Can Be Implemented Right Away
Dr. MacCormack underscored that all of the recommended practices in ACUE courses are designed to be put into action immediately. For the first time, Fostering a Culture of Belonging, provides all campus roles with the opportunity to earn ACUE credentials relevant to their work.

“It is imperative that our course-takers not only learn about the complexity of DEIB concepts throughout this course, but also learn what they can do in their individual roles to foster a culture of belonging,” said Dr. MacCormack.

Participants shared inclusive learning practices that they have incorporated into their interactions with students. One example of a practice that leaders, instructors, and staff can immediately put to use is demystifying campus jargon, according to Evelyn R. Espinoza, director of advising at California State University, Los Angeles, who is featured in Fostering a Culture of Belonging.

“As higher education professionals, we know the ins and outs of the college language. We can demystify the campus vernacular for students, by clearly defining resources, using full names, with acronyms, and providing scaffolded support before and after they arrive on campus.”

Bring Fostering a Culture of Belonging to your campus and build a culture where everyone feels, seen, heard, and valued. Connect with us to learn how.

In Puerto Rico, Faculty at the Universidad Central del Caribe Earn ACUE Certificates

When Waleska Crespo Rivera was appointed president of the Universidad Central del Caribe in 2018, she sought to focus on promoting the quality of UCC’s educational programs. As UCC’s first private medical school to be incorporated under the laws of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, UCC has evolved into a health-sciences university with fully accredited academic programs in Medicine, Doctor of Chiropractic, Medical Images Technology, Biomedical Sciences, and Substance Abuse Counseling.

Dr. Waleska Crespo Rivera addresses ACUE Faculty at UCC's Pinning Ceremony

“We prepare the doctors, scientists, and health care professionals to serve their communities in Puerto Rico and beyond,” says President Crespo Rivera. “Our faculty are experts in their fields, but we wanted to ensure they were also equipped and supported for their role as educators.”

To ensure faculty were fully prepared to continue this mission during the pandemic, President Crespo Rivera turned to ACUE. Through UCC’s Faculty Development Office, and supported by the Office of the Dean of Academic Affairs, UCC is the only higher education institution in Puerto Rico to have most of its faculty earn an ACUE Certificate.

Earlier this year, UCC held a pinning ceremony to celebrate all ACUE Certified faculty.

Dr. Nereida Diaz, Dean of Academic Affairs who became ACUE Certified as part of UCC’s inaugural cohort in 2020-21, praised UCC’s faculty’s collaboration, feedback and dedication that has contributed to UCC’s Faculty Development program.

“ACUE has helped us build a culture of professional practice that is focused on teaching and learning excellence,” said Dr. Diaz. “Participating in the course helped me learn about new evidence-based techniques but also gave me a better perspective for our students.”

Accreditation + Quality + ACUE 

UCC’s commitment to teaching excellence begins at the top, with President Crespo Rivera, who is an ACUE coursetaker herself and has completed 10 modules. She plans to earn the full ACUE certificate, in part as a way to promote and encourage other faculty to join upcoming cohorts.

“Earning your ACUE pins today represents a commitment not only to helping UCC’s students succeed, but also to your own lifelong pursuit of learning,” added President Crespo Rivera.

ACUE institutional partnerships, with their focus on quality and measurable impact for students, has played a critical role in the accreditation process for several colleges and universities and UCC is not the exception.

President Crespo Rivera said that as a medical and health professions institution, UCC is subject to several accreditation processes (institutional and programmatic). ACUE, she said, helped UCC successfully navigate multiple evaluation processes, including the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE), which granted UCC with institutional accreditation through 2027-2028 and reaffirmed UCC’s excellence in education programs for UCC students.

Celebrating the Role of Faculty


Barbara Rodgriguez listens to a small-group discussion among faculty at UCC Pinning Ceremony

At the pinning ceremony, ACUE Academic Director Dr. Barbara Rodriguez said she was inspired by the reflections shared by medical doctors, scientists and faculty, and their excitement for their roles as educators. “I appreciated seeing and hearing medical doctors talk about teaching and learning with such appreciation and enthusiasm,” Rodriguez said.

Faculty participated in a “table talk” activity with colleagues and shared “ah-ha!” moments from their ACUE experience.

Faculty shared how ACUE-recommended practices such as the jigsaw technique, Start-Stop-Continue, and facilitating small-group work were among some of the impactful techniques discussed.

One faculty member, Dr. Jose Oliver, shared how observing colleagues recorded microlectures inspired him to adjust his approach to engaging students in an online environment.

“This course was so important for my work as a teacher,” said Oliver. “We are experts in our fields, but we are not trained to teach. ACUE has provided me with the tools necessary to help UCC students develop in the classroom.”

Want to learn more? Find out how you can bring ACUE to your campus.

A smiling student standing in a classroom holding books, next to graphic text "Belong: An Inclusive Learning Community"

CIC and ACUE Launch “Belong: An Inclusive Learning Community”

For any college or university, creating a truly inclusive and equitable campus environment hinges on a core belief that institutional excellence is achieved through cross-campus collaboration. Everyone on campus has a role to play to ensure all students and colleagues feel seen, heard, and valued.
The Council of Independent Colleges (CIC), an association of more than 700 nonprofit independent colleges, universities, and associations, understands that it also takes a long-term investment from leaders with a strong commitment to equity and inclusion. That is a major impetus behind the just-announced “Belong: An Inclusive Learning Community” partnership with ACUE, a new four-year initiative to equip faculty and staff with evidence-based strategies designed to deepen student belonging and make campuses more welcoming and inclusive.

Is your college or university a CIC member? >>>Sign Up Now For Inaugural Pricing <<<


Fostering a Culture of Belonging

The initiative is a first-of-its-kind network across CIC member colleges and universities that is exclusively offered to CIC members. It has the potential to benefit more than 2 million students over five years.
The initiative responds to a top priority among CIC members: a desire to strengthen campus culture with inclusive practices. Members of the Belong network, which will begin in early Spring 2023, have the opportunity to credential both faculty and staff through ACUE’s new offering “Fostering a Culture of Belonging.”
In addition to nationally recognized credentials, Belong offers CIC members with unlimited access for faculty and staff to attend live webinars, open access to on-demand resources, and learning opportunities and networking for campus through an online community of practice.

Mission-Critical to Advancing Independent Higher Education

The initiative is part of CIC’s vision to seek bold action and meaningful leadership on behalf of independent higher education. Under CIC President Marjorie Hass, who was appointed in 2021, CIC has focused on programs and strategies to build institutional capacity at every level and within every sphere of independent colleges and universities.
“CIC is pleased to partner with ACUE to offer this opportunity to join a community of institutions that share a strong leadership commitment to creating inclusive and equitable learning environments,” said President Hass. “Belong provides a cost effective way for faculty, staff, and administrators to develop new skills and to work together toward shared goals.”
Matt Trainum, vice president of networks and strategic partnerships for CIC, said that establishing the Belong network is a direct response to top priorities for member institutions. “Campuses have made commitments to address inclusion, and this community is another way to deliver on those commitments, equipping faculty and staff with training, resources, and a network that improves the student experience and ultimately helps students stay,” said Trainum.

Why Student Belonging Matters

A sense of belonging is one of the most important predictors of student retention and success, and every faculty and staff member plays a pivotal role. ACUE Partnership Director Bacari Brown said, “As the saying goes, students only care about how much you know when they know how much you care.”
The long-term partnership, Brown emphasized, is about ensuring that “no student encounters bias or is subject to microaggressions and each knows that they belong in their classrooms and campus.”
A core pillar of Belong is to equip faculty and staff with practical strategies for managing the impact of bias, microaggressions, imposter phenomenon, and stereotype threat, all which are recognized areas of focus in the diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) research. Belong will bring together faculty and staff, from advisors and hiring managers to security officers, residence life directors, student affairs professionals, and admissions staff.
“Transforming a campus culture to meet the needs of its diverse community does not happen overnight––it takes a village deeply engaged and committed to making equity and inclusion everyone’s responsibility,” said Brown.

CIC & ACUE’s Collaboration and Vision for the Future

Scott Durand, ACUE’s chief executive officer, said that the partnership with CIC delivers “on exactly the rigorous, meaningful, and inclusive education one would expect from our nation’s small colleges and universities.”
CIC and ACUE have worked together for years to support small, independent colleges to advance student success and equity. In 2018, ACUE and CIC brought together more than two dozen institutions, with generous support from the Strada Education Network, to train and certify more faculty in ACUE’s Effective Teaching Practices course with a concentration in Career Guidance and Readiness.
In one year alone, the 525 participating faculty reached 62,000 students; 95% of the professors found ACUE’s recommended practices relevant to their work. These teaching practices, as The Chronicle of Higher Education reported, led to increased student engagement that would prepare them for a rapidly changing work force. At Dillard University, an HBCU in New Orleans and longtime ACUE partner, Vice President for Academic Affairs Yolanda Page said “there’s a cultural change around increased awareness of preparing students for a career.”
Durand emphasized that the Belong network was another important milestone in CIC’s long-term commitment to advancing independent higher education: “When students know they belong, they stay and succeed, and ultimately go on to become the future leaders our country needs.”

The ACUE Effect: Invest in Effective Teaching, Expect Student Success

Great Teaching Matters Everywhere.

Whether you are at a community college or an R1, great teaching has the power to change students’ lives in significant and impactful ways. That is the takeaway from a new meta-analysis of 11 recent studies on the impact of hundreds of ACUE Certified faculty teaching at eight partner institutions across the country. The findings demonstrate, on average, the student outcomes that ACUE partners can expect:

  • 1 percentage point increase in course completion rates  
  • 3 percentage point decrease in DFW rates 
  • .06 point increase in students’ average course grades (on a 4.0 scale)  

What does this mean at scale? “A 1 point increase in completion may not sound like much, but that’s about 160,000 more college students nationwide, if every student were to experience evidence-based instructional practices,” writes ACUE President and Co-Founder Jonathan Gyurko in an essay about the meta-analysis.

Why this Matters for Leaders

The findings from the new meta-analysis are an important tool for data-driven campus leaders who rely on evidence to make strategic decisions for their institutions. Research was conducted with Northwestern University’s Elizabeth Tipton, PhD., an expert in meta-analysis. The research team reviewed 68 effect estimates from eight different institutions, including two- and four-year colleges and universities of various sizes and locations.

“For leaders to make the best decisions for their campus and students, they need to have solid data available. This analysis provides the kind of evidence that should inform such important assessments about student success efforts,” said Dr. Tipton, who co-authored the report with Dr. Theo Pippins, a senior research associate at ACUE.  

We found evidence of a positive average effect of ACUE and are now even more confident about the range of positive effects that we might expect from new partnerships,” Dr. Pippins emphasized. 

The meta-analysis reviewed outcome data for hundreds of faculty and tens of thousands of students at the following partner institutions: Broward College; City College of San Francisco; Miami Dade College; Purdue University Northwest; Texas Woman’s University; University of ArkansasPulaski Technical College; University of Nevada, Reno; and The University of Southern Mississippi.  

Broward College President Gregory Haile said the research is another validation of their commitment to supporting faculty, creating inclusive learning environments, and making data-driven decisions.

“Broward College relentlessly seeks to elevate faculty capacity and skills so that they can create a more inclusive learning environment and transform students’ lives, and the ACUE meta-analysis reveals just that,” said Haile. 

The ACUE Effect: ‘A Real Return on Investment’

Dr. Amy Chasteen, executive vice provost for academic affairs at The University of Southern Mississippi, said she wasn’t surprised by the findings, because she has seen the impact of quality teaching up close on her campus. 

“Our ACUE partnership has led to a real return on investment: higher student retention and course completion, lower DFW rates, and narrowing equity gaps,” said Dr. Chasteen. She said it was exciting to see the impact of ACUE Certified faculty at a variety of institutions. “Regardless of school size or student body profile, good teaching has a powerful impact, and it needs to be at the heart of every college and university’s student success agenda.” 

‘We Won’t Rest Until Every Student Can Benefit.’ 

ACUE Chief Executive Officer Scott Durand said the meta-analysis sends a clear and powerful message that great teaching is vital to ensuring higher education delivers on its promise. 

“As we face unprecedented enrollment declines and continuing disparities in academic outcomes, ACUE can help institutions accelerate towards their student success and equity goals through the metrics that matter and with a proven strategy,” said Durand. “Today, our partners can point to higher student retention and completion, better grades, lower DFW rates, and closed equity gaps—and we won’t rest until every student can benefit.” 

Partners React: ‘More to the Story’

Faculty leaders whose institutions were part of ACUE’s meta-analysis shared what the ACUE Effect has looked like for them.

At Texas Woman’s University, which has partnered with ACUE for six years, an evaluation found that the first group of ACUE-credentialed faculty was able to close the course completion gap for African American students in 113 classes with 1,800 students, and that subsequent cohorts substantially increased our course completion rates while decreasing DFW rates.

“But there is more to the story than enriched student learning,” said Dr. Jörg Waltje, executive director of the Center for Faculty Excellence. “ACUE’s courses equipped our faculty with valuable skills that built their confidence, fostered overall job satisfaction, and enhanced their enjoyment of teaching—all factors that lastly contribute to a welcoming campus atmosphere and improved student success.”

At Purdue University Northwest (PNW), more than 150 PNW instructors have participated in ACUE’s course since 2017. Emily Hixon, director of the Center for Faculty Excellence, said PNW’s faculty deserve credit for their work to improve student success. “The findings from this study demonstrate the impact their participation is having on our students. PNW faculty are committed to giving students the best possible learning experience, and the ACUE course provides them with the instructional tools they need to set students up for success in their academic studies and future careers.”

At the University of Arkansas – Pulaski Technical College (UA-PTC), an analysis found more equitable student achievement for students taught by ACUE Certified faculty. “Becoming ACUE Certified has been one of the most professionally fulfilling experiences of my life,” said Kirsten (Kiki) Heintz, Faculty and Excellence in Teaching Lead and Instructor of Speech Communications at UA-PTC. “Today, with nearly all of our full-time faculty ACUE Certified, UA-PTC’s investment in quality teaching is paying off for students and faculty. What the meta-analysis shows is exactly the kind of progress that UA-PTC is seeing on our campus: stronger achievement, lower DFWs, and narrowing equity gaps.”

Bring The ACUE Effect to Your Campus

More than anything, this new meta-analysis should give college presidents and provosts even greater confidence in the power of effective teaching. For institutions that partner with ACUE, we can generalize—and anticipate—impact wherever ACUE Certified faculty are implementing proven approaches. 

Contact us to learn how to bring ACUE to your campus.

ACUE Reflection: Faculty Teaching Strategies to Promote a Sense of Belonging Online

ACUE Certified Faculty April Crenshaw is the author of this article.

Author April Crenshaw became ACUE Certified in 2021.

Like a lot of colleges and universities since the pandemic, my institution, Chattanooga State Community College, has adapted to allow for virtual office hours as an alternative to traditional in-person office hours. Virtual office hours have been an important first step for removing some barriers, but I still face a common issue: Students rarely come to me for help. 

As a participant in ACUE’s Course in Effective Teaching Practices, I wanted to change that.

As I have learned from my colleague, Dr. Ervin J. China, an impactful way to increase student success is to increase the number of students who seek help when they encounter challenges or have questions. Dr. China’s research focuses on academic help-seeking behaviors and recently explored the issue in a study of African American students in community colleges. He found that “students who perceived their instructor to be concerned exhibited less avoidance of help seeking.” 

If I implemented ACUE-recommended strategies that communicate I care about my students and their success, would more of them engage in my virtual office hours? 

In this piece, I share four practical teaching strategies for faculty I implemented en route to becoming ACUE Certified. Underlying each of these strategies is the importance of creating a sense of belonging and connectedness. These basic human needs are often viewed as things to be addressed outside of the classroom, but as educators there is much we can do instructionally as well. 

Ensure Your Syllabus Sets the Tone for Diversity and Inclusion

In the module on Embracing Diversity in Your Classroom, I learned about how to create an equity-minded syllabus based on the Center for Urban Education’s Syllabus Review Guide. Unlike the traditional syllabus which primarily focuses on rules and objectives, an equity-minded syllabus helps students navigate the course and learn how to seek help when challenges arise. My new syllabus uses personal and inclusive language, and provides information for both academic and non-academic support such as counseling, food pantry, and emergency relief. 

Create an Introduction Discussion Forum

In the module on Leading a Productive First Day, I learned about the importance of building a community of learners for a critical part of planning for the start of my course. One of the ways I did this was to welcome students by creating a discussion forum where we could introduce ourselves and students could connect with one another. They could do this either through a written post or a video.

Curate a Course Curriculum that Reflects a Diverse Society

In the Embracing Diversity module, I also learned about how to create a learning environment that is representative of diverse student perspectives. For me, that meant refining my instructional presentations to showcase the unique perspectives and experiences of a wide range of people, from military veterans to members of the LBGTQ community, as well as students of different races, ethnicities and those with visible disabilities and impairments. To begin each presentation, I have been intentional about selecting motivational quotes from a wide range of voices, including humanitarians, scholars, civil rights leaders, poets, hip-hop artists, pop-culture icons, and sports figures. 

Offer Specific and Timely Feedback

In the module on Helping Students Persist in Their Studies, I learned strategies for providing targeted feedback. This semester, I incorporated a weekly “check-in” requirement. On Sundays, students would submit a check-in form where they shared their progress for the week along with any questions or issues. On Mondays, I read those check-ins and responded appropriately. Most students asked about homework, while others asked me to review a specific quiz problem for which they wanted partial credit. Some identified a concept they had trouble understanding. 

Results: More Students in Virtual Office Hours, Improved Success Rates

This last strategy in particular helped me provide tailored support in response to individual needs. Being able to reply directly in a follow-up email, I provide my Calendly link and invite them to schedule a one-on-one appointment for assistance. 

The use of these strategies, along with others such as creating a welcome email and offering regular messages of encouragement, communicated to students that I cared about them, that each one belonged in my class, and that I could be a source of support. As a result, I had more students meet during office hours than any previous semester and also improvement in overall success rates. 

April Crenshaw is a full-time Associate Professor of Mathematics at Chattanooga State Community College. She became ACUE Certified in Fall 2021.

Meet the Leaders Ready to Change the World of Higher Ed


How can we make effective instruction a guarantee for every student? And, how can leaders work together to solidify effective teaching’s rightful place at the core of our nation’s student success and equity agenda?

A ‘small group of thoughtful and committed’ leaders grappled with these big questions earlier this month at the inaugural ACUE Leadership Summit, held in Colorado. The convening brought together, for the first time, new members of ACUE’s Advisory Board, whose charge is to shape and advance ACUE’s core mission: student success and equity through quality instruction, in every class.

The diverse and dynamic group is made up of college and university presidents and provosts, expert faculty, and directors of teaching and learning. They represent community colleges, state systems of higher education, private liberal arts institutions, research universities, and national associations. They are:

  • Tracie Addy, PhD, Associate Dean of Teaching and Learning, Lafayette College
  • Levy Brown, EdD, Senior Vice President and CAO, North Carolina Community College System
  • Teresa (Terry) Brown, PhD, Vice President of Academic Innovation and Transformation, American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU)
  • Amy Chasteen, PhD, Executive Vice Provost, The University of Southern Mississippi
  • Marielena DeSanctis, PhD, President, Community College of Denver
  • Debra Fowler, PhD, CETL Director, Texas A&M University
  • Scott Furlong, PhD, Provost, Vice President for Academic Affairs, SUNY Oswego
  • Grant Goold, PhD, Program Director, American River College
  • Ellen Junn, PhD, President, California State University, Stanislaus
  • Rebecca Karoff, PhD, Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, The University of Texas System
  • Rebecca Martin, PhD, Executive Director, National Association of System Heads (NASH)
  • Jim Murdaugh, PhD, President, Tallahassee Community College
  • Laura Ortiz, EdD, Dean for Faculty Development and Engagement, Waubonsee Community College
  • Kristina Ruiz-Mesa, PhD, Associate Professor of Communication Studies, California State University, Los Angeles
  • Pamela Scott-Johnson, PhD, Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs, Monmouth University
  • Phil Sisson, EdD, President, Middlesex Community College
  • Robert Vela, EdD, President, Texas A&M University, Kingsville
  • Amber C. Ward, EdD, MEd, Associate Director of Institutional Effectiveness, Delaware State University

Also joining were key higher education leaders who have shaped ACUE’s past and present and added their national perspectives on ACUE’s future. They are: 

  • Derrick Anderson, Senior Vice President of the Learning and Engagement Division, American Council on Education
  • Farhad Asghar, Program Officer,  Carnegie Corporation of New York
  • Elizabeth Holcombe, Senior Postdoctoral Research Associate, Pullias Center for Higher Education/University of Southern California
  • Eduardo J. Padrón, PhD (founding advisor), President Emeritus, Miami Dade College
  • Kevin P. Reilly, PhD (founding advisor), President Emeritus, University of Wisconsin
  • Laura Rittner, Executive Director of the Success Center at the Ohio Association of Community Colleges
  • Maxine Roberts, Executive Director, Strong Start to Finish
  • Matt Sapienza, Chief Financial Officer, American Council of Learned Societies
  • Henry Stoever, President and CEO, Association of Governing Board of University and Colleges 
  • Steve Taylor, Senior Fellow, Stand Together Trust

At the summit, Dr. Penny MacCormack, ACUE’s Chief Academic Officer, welcomed the group, emphasizing how ACUE’s direction benefits from their perspectives. “You represent and serve the students, the families, the faculty that look like the whole of our country,” she said. “You know what good teaching looks like and feels like. And, you also recognize that good teaching is a driver of equity.”

Over a day and a half, discussions focused on overcoming barriers and gearing up to create the groundswell necessary to take quality teaching to scale at every college, for every student. The meeting’s agenda was modeled after ACUE’s course design; complete with think-pair-shares, share-outs, and exit slips.

Dr. Eduardo Padrón, a founding ACUE advisory board member and president emeritus at Miami Dade College (MDC), shared the story of ACUE’s origins and how MDC’s partnership with ACUE was faculty-driven and grew largely by word-of-mouth. “I was very moved by the fact that the faculty, without any pushing from anyone in the administration, decided that was important to do and felt pride in doing what they were doing because they saw the results with their students,” said Dr. Padrón.

Dr. Kevin Reilly, also an ACUE founding advisory board member and president emeritus of the University of Wisconsin, shared his experiences being on the initial team working with the American Council on Education (ACE) to vet ACUE’s first program. He said he was compelled by ACUE’s integrity, research backing, and unique focus on preparing faculty, which he described as desperately needed in higher education.

From those early beginnings, ACUE has led a national effort to promote student success through evidence-based instruction at colleges and universities. Today, ACUE has come a long way, credentialing more than 21,000 instructors to teach with practices that improve student achievement and close equity gaps, reaching 2 million students every year, and partnering with more than 450 institutions to date. But ACUE still has a long way to go to ensure all students experience quality teaching that enables them to graduate at higher levels and more prepared for their future.