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SRU joins President's Alliance

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Slippery Rock University has been elected a founding member of the Presidents' Alliance, a 70-member organization working to improve student learning on U.S. campuses.

The alliance is a national initiative that represents all sectors of higher education: four-year, two-year, public and private institutions.

John Cavanaugh, chancellor of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education, recommended SRU for membership.

Presidents at the founding colleges and universities have signed an agreement to expand their efforts in gathering and reporting evidence of student learning and using it to improve outcomes.

"As the United States sets a national goal to again lead the world in educational attainment, it is critical that undergraduate degrees and credentials reflect a high-quality education. This requires colleges and universities to develop evidence of students' skills and knowledge as they work toward and complete their undergraduate studies," said David Paris, executive director of the New Leadership Alliance for Student Learning and Accountability, which developed the initiative. "Quantity and quality both matter; higher rates of attainment need to be accompanied by higher levels of achievement."

"We are truly pleased to be part of this very important initiative," said Robert Smith, SRU president. "I must also give credit to Cindy Dillon in our Provost's Office for her extra work in assuring that we were a qualified applicant for alliance membership. I think we have a lot to offer the alliance and we will benefit from membership."

Alliance members have agreed to assist each other in the goals, publicly report their efforts and encourage other institutions to take similar steps.

"The Alliance will provide a national venue for model programs and effective strategies that promise positive change," said Eduardo Padrón, president of Miami Dade College. He said he and the other initial members "come from diverse higher education institutions with differing missions, but share a common commitment to learning excellence and to the authentic, data-driven decisions that ensure continual improvement and increased student success. We are all committed to establishing a culture of inquiry and evidence."

"We will work in partnership with one another and with our faculty, administrators and student service professionals to find out what works, what could be better and what needs to be transformed," Padrón said.

"The Presidents' Alliance is an important step in assuring quality in undergraduate education and increasing public confidence in American colleges and universities," said Judith Eaton, president of the Council for Higher Education Accreditation and chair of the board of directors for the alliance. Eaton hopes other institutions will join the Presidents' Alliance and help create a professional higher education community committed to evidence-based improvement.

The New Leadership Alliance for Student Learning and Accountability, established in 2009, is a non-profit advocacy-focused organization that leads and supports voluntary and cooperative efforts to move the higher education community toward gathering, reporting on and using evidence to improve student learning in American undergraduate education.

The alliance envisions a self-directed, professional, higher education community that produces an increasing number of college graduates with high-quality degrees in preparation for work, life and responsible citizenship.

The Carnegie Corporation of New York, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and The Teagle Foundation provide support to the alliance.

A description of the Presidents' Alliance, including an online searchable database that describes each institution's commitments, can be found on the alliance's Web site: http://www.newleadershipalliance.org/.

Members of the Presidents' Alliance may be found at: http://www.newleadershipalliance.org/presidents/browse/.