Executive Director

David C. Paris

David C. Paris is Executive Director of the New Leadership Alliance for Student Learning and Accountability. The Alliance aims to improve student learning through voluntary and cooperative professional efforts to significantly improve assessment of, and accountability for, student learning outcomes. He is also a Senior Fellow at the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U), Senior Advisor to the Council of Independent Colleges (CIC), and a Professor of Government at Hamilton College.

Paris was one of the primary developers and editors of the statement New Leadership for Student Learning and Accountability: A Statement of Principles, Commitments to Action published in January 2008 by the Association of American Colleges and Universities and the Council on Higher Education Accreditation, with support from the Teagle Foundation. The New Leadership statement proposes that colleges and universities must take greater responsibility for setting clear and ambitious learning goals, gathering evidence at all levels about how well those goals are being achieved, and providing this information in an accessible way to the public. It calls upon government, associations, philanthropic organizations and others to support higher education in appropriate ways in this work. Paris worked to organize and incorporate the Alliance in 2009 to implement the New Leadership principles.

Before the Alliance Paris worked a number of projects as Senior Fellow at AAC&U and Senior Advisor at CIC. He was a campus liaison to several schools in the ACC&U’s “Core Commitments: Educating for Personal and Social Responsibility” initiative that seeks to assess the degree to which issues of personal and social responsibility (honesty, tolerance, civic involvement) are stressed and promoted on campuses and to encourage institutions to act on these issues. At the CIC, he organized a conference on the relationship of business studies and liberal education and developed a monograph about the work of the schools at the conference, Business and the Liberal Arts: Integrating Liberal and Professional Education, published in 2007.

Paris has worked in higher education for thirty-five years in a number of administrative and leadership roles. He served as Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculty at Hamilton College from 1999-2005. He oversaw a comprehensive curricular reform, a longitudinal assessment project, several faculty development initiatives, and a significant expansion of undergraduate research. Prior to his serving as VPAA/Dean, he also served as Associate Dean of the Faculty (1996-99) and Chair of the Government Department (1984-94). In those administrative positions he developed summer research programs across the curriculum, helped create a public policy center and oral communication center, and promoted a new major in international studies.

As a teacher and scholar, Paris’s areas of expertise are political theory and public policy, with a particular emphasis on education policy at all levels. He is the author of two books, The Logic of Policy Inquiry (with James Reynolds) (Longman, 1982) and Ideology and Educational Reform: Themes and Theories in Public Education (Westview, 1995). He is also the author of a number of articles and essays, including “Standards and Charters: Horace Mann Meets Tinkerbell” in Educational Policy (1998) and “The Academics’ Lament,” LiberalArtsOnline, (2007). A Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Hamilton College (1971), Paris received his M.A. and PhD from Syracuse University (1975).

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