Caryn McTighe Musil

Senior Scholar and Director of Civic Learning and Democracy Initiatives

Office of the President

Association of American Colleges and Universities

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.

Dr. McTighe Musil created AAC&U’s 2002 organizational initiative, Shared Futures: Global Learning and Social Responsibility, which led to a series of global learning grants involving more than one hundred colleges and universities.  These grants focused on incorporating 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’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.

During her 25years at AAC&U, Dr. McTighe Musil has directed more than twenty national and international projects.  Some of these projects included: American Commitments: Diversity, Democracy, and Liberal Learning; Liberal Education and Global Citizenship; Core Commitments: Educating Students for Social Responsibility; Bridging Cultures to Form a Nation; and Citizenship Under Siege.  She has been working for years in close partnership with the Council of Europe as a steering committee member of the International Consortium on Higher Education, Civic Responsibility, and Democracy that will hold a global forum in Rome in June called “Higher Education for Diversity, Social Inclusion, and Community: A Democratic Imperative.”   

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.