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Scaling Instructional Excellence for Student Success

April 30, 2020

Students graduating are standing in a line to get their diplomas.

A NASH-ACUE Partnership

Four University Systems to Scale Instructional Excellence to Advance Student Success

Institutions across the California State University System, City University of New York, The Texas A&M System and the University of Missouri System will prepare and credential faculty in teaching practices proven to increase student achievement and close equity gaps

Washington, DC and New York, NY (April 30, 2020) — The National Association of System Heads (NASH) is pleased to announce four leading higher education systems have been selected to participate in Scaling Instructional Excellence for Student Success, a strategic initiative focused on improving quality instruction and student success through intentional, high-quality professional development for faculty.

The California State University System, City University of New York, The Texas A&M University System and the University of Missouri System will collectively enroll more than 1,500 faculty in the Association of College and University Educators’ (ACUE) faculty development programs in evidence-based teaching practices. Recognizing the impact of effective teaching on students’ academic success, this initiative is estimated to benefit nearly 300,000 students annually. The systems also will participate in research to document faculty implementation of new teaching techniques and the subsequent impact on student outcomes.

Faculty who complete the program will be awarded ACUE’s Certificate in Effective College Instruction that is endorsed by the American Council on Education (ACE). Reflecting higher education’s shift to online instruction amid the coronavirus pandemic, many of the participating faculty will complete ACUE’s course in Effective Online Teaching. This program addresses a comprehensive set of practices native to the online environment.

“This initiative is aligned with NASH’s focus on supporting transformative, collective strategies that work for students,” said NASH Executive Director Rebecca Martin. “We know quality learning experiences and strong relationships with faculty, whether in person or online, are a major element of student success. 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.”

“The California State University is pleased to participate in the ACUE’s Scaling Instructional Excellence for Student Success program,” said CSU Chancellor Timothy P. White. “Its mission to advance student achievement and eliminate equity gaps aligns with and complements the CSU’s flagship student success effort, Graduation Initiative 2025. Our skilled and dedicated faculty look forward to sharing proven best practices and to enhancing their own teaching in collaboration with the ACUE and with colleagues from these outstanding educational systems – all for the benefit of students from all walks of life, in California and across the nation.”

“Even in these difficult and uncertain times, CUNY remains steadfast in its commitment to preparing our students for work, careers and life in the 21st century and on investing in the professional growth of our stellar faculty,” said CUNY Chancellor Félix V. Matos Rodríguez. “This NASH grant is an exciting opportunity that will provide 300 faculty members access to ACUE’s evidence-based training in innovative teaching methods, and allow CUNY to advance its goal of using cutting-edge pedagogy to increase student success, closing equity gaps and remaining a leading engine of upward mobility for all of our students.”

“ACUE’s program promises to improve the biggest factor we can control to ensure our students thrive, and that’s their experience in the classroom,” said John Sharp, chancellor of The Texas A&M University System. “Training our most talented faculty in research-based ways to improve their classroom performance is a good investment we expect to yield great results.”

“Teaching quality is a core focus for every faculty member across the University of Missouri System,” said Mun Choi, UM System president. “Our students expect a high-quality education experience with access to the brightest minds as they prepare for success in their chosen fields. We’re excited to partner with NASH and ACUE as we focus our efforts on educating tomorrow’s leaders.”

This initiative is supported with 2.4M dollars from the Charles Koch Foundation (CKF), based on the shared belief with ACUE and NASH that the effort will empower faculty to transform the education experience for students through the incorporation of proven teaching methods. These evidence-based practices address how to design an effective course, establish a productive learning environment, promote active learning, stimulate higher order thinking, and assess in ways that strengthen achievement.

“We are committed to supporting colleges, universities and faculty as they prepare for the fall and beyond,” said ACUE CEO Susan Cates. “Through this initiative and collaboration with leading higher education systems, we’re helping college students persist and engage in their studies, learn more deeply and graduate fully prepared for rewarding careers and meaningful lives. We’re excited to partner with NASH, the systems and CKF in this effort.”

ACUE’s courses in effective teaching practices are based on more than three decades of research that show how effective teaching improves learning outcomes for all students. According to independently-validated research, students are more engaged, learn more and complete courses in greater numbers when taught by ACUE-credentialed faculty. Studies conducted by ACUE and its institutional partners also indicate low-income and historically underrepresented students perform equitably alongside their peers when exposed to effective teaching practices.

More information about this initiative can be found here and at this Q&A.

About NASH: The National Association of System Heads (NASH) is the association of the chief executives of 40 colleges and university systems of public higher education in the United States. Formed in 1979 for the purpose of seeking improvement in the organization and governance of public higher education systems, NASH serves as a forum for the exchange of views and information among its members and on leveraging the power of systems to advance innovation and change in public higher education. To learn more, visit:

About ACUE: The Association of College and University Educators (ACUE) is on a mission to ensure student success through quality instruction. In partnership with colleges, universities, higher education systems and associations, ACUE prepares and credentials faculty in the evidence-based teaching practices that improve student achievement and close equity gaps. Numerous and independently validated efficacy studies confirm that students are more engaged, learn more, and complete courses in greater numbers—more equitably with their peers—when taught by ACUE-credentialed faculty. ACUE’s online, cohort-based credentialing programs are delivered through institutional partnerships and open enrollment courses endorsed by the American Council on Education. To learn more, visit