Caryn McTighe Musil

Senior Scholar and Director of Civic Learning and Democracy Initiatives

Office of the President

Association of American Colleges and Universities

Key Speaker

Full Biography

Caryn McTighe Musil is senior scholar and director of civic learning and democracy initiatives at the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) where she had served for fourteen years as senior vice president of the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Global Initiatives.  Dr. McTighe Musil’s new role at AAC&U to advance civic learning as an expected outcome for every college graduate grows out of her diversity and global work and her authorship of A Crucible Moment: College Learning and Democracy’s Future, released at the White House in 2012 after a series of national roundtables that informed its recommendations. Dr. Musil received her B.A. from Duke University and her M.A. and Ph.D. in English from Northwestern University. Before moving into national level administrative work in higher education, she was a faculty member for eighteen years.

During her 24years at AAC&U, Dr. McTighe Musil has directed more than twenty national and international projects involving colleges and universities across the country and other partners. Some of these projects included: American Commitments: Diversity, Democracy, and Liberal Learning; Liberal Education and Global Citizenship; The Tri-National Seminar: Higher Education in Diverse Democracies (India, South Africa, and the U.S.); Core Commitments: Educating Students for Social Responsibility; Creating Civic-Minded Institutions.  She has been working in close partnership for a dozen years with the Council of Europe as a steering committee member of the International Consortium on Higher Education, Civic Responsibility, and Democracy.   

Dr. Musil’s global work has been deeply influenced by her participation directing a Ford Foundation Tri-National Seminar on Higher Education with educators from India, South Africa, and the United States who traveled and held seminars in each other’s countries to explore cross-cutting issues about higher education's role in diverse democracies.


Dr. McTighe Musil created AAC&U’s 2002 strategic initiative, Shared Futures: Global Learning and Social Responsibility, which led to a series of global grants involving more than one hundred colleges and universities.  These grants have worked with faculty and academic administrators seeking to incorporate global learning across general education and the major.  Most recently she directed the Global Learning Rubric Development Project as the newest AAC&U rubric on essential learning outcomes for college graduates.  It can be downloaded free and is designed to measure program or institutional outcomes

 Dr. Musil has been an educational consultant at dozens of colleges and universities and frequent keynote speaker. In 1995, she was named in Who’s Who of American Women, and in that same year she received the American Council on Education Donna Shavlik Award for sustained and continuing commitment to women’s advancement in higher education.  In 2013 she was named by NASPA as the recipient of their Outstanding Contribution to Higher Education Award.