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Liberal Education Winter 2012

Winter 2012, Vol. 98, No. 1

The Completion Agenda

This issue presents several perspectives on the ongoing national efforts to increase college completion rates, focusing in particular on the potential negative unintended consequences for educational quality. Other topics include successful models of change for STEM reform, program-level assessment, the development of liberal education outcomes at America’s service academies, outcomes of global learning, school-college collaboration, and the uses of mobile technology.

Several national educational leaders and practitioners have been invited to extend the discussion of the completion agenda by contributing to AAC&U’s blog, liberal.education nation.

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CONTENTS:

FROM 1818 R STREET, NW

President’s Message
Where Completion Goes Awry: The Metrics for “Success” Mask Mounting Problems with Quality
By Carol Geary Schneider
Are we willing to use the knowledge we already have to create incentives for high-quality learning as well as incentives for increased degree production? It shouldn’t be an either/or choice; we can do both.

From the Editor

News and Information

FEATURED TOPIC

What’s Wrong with the Completion Agenda—And What We Can Do About It
By Debra Humphreys
Is it really possible simultaneously to improve college completion rates and student achievement of essential learning outcomes? Will some completion proposals result in decreased quality? Dangers of the completion agenda are explored, as well as the contours of a promising new “completion-plus” agenda.

The Incomplete Completion Agenda: Implications for Academe and the Academy
By Gary Rhoades
The completion agenda does not address the key educational, social, and economic challenges we face. It offers no mechanisms for enhancing quality, reducing non-meritocratic social stratification, or building a new economy.

Students Must Not Become Victims of the Completion Agenda
By Scott Evenbeck and Kathy E. Johnson
The “efficiency model” might ultimately undermine students’ ability to cultivate the habits of mind and the moral and ethical values that are sought by employers, graduate schools, and professional programs.

It’s Not So Easy: The Completion Agenda and the States
By Garrison Walters
In most of the country, state-level responses to the completion agenda have been institution-oriented and uncoordinated. There has not been enough systematic pushback to national “reform” ideas.

THE PKAL PERSPECTIVE

The Path to Pedagogical Reform in the Sciences: Engaging Mutual Adaptation and Social Movement Models of Change
By Adrianna Kezar
The mutual adaptation and social movement models can be used to scale up successful educational innovations, which, in turn, can lead to widespread and lasting change in higher education.

PERSPECTIVES

America’s Service Academies, Your Service Academies
By Dana H. Born, Andrew T. Phillips, and Timothy E. Trainor
The educational learning outcomes differ somewhat between each of the service academies due to the needs of our respective services, but each of us develops our graduates using the powerful educational framework advanced by AAC&U’s LEAP initiative.

Using Program Evaluation to Enhance Student Success
By David Fairris
Program-level assessment should become part of the cultural fabric of the unit and the campus, altering the way every decision maker thinks about the work he or she does.

The Challenge of Global Literacy: An Ideal Opportunity for Liberal Professional Education
By Indira Nair, Marie Norman, G. Richard Tucker, and Amy Burkert
Culling from the experiences of various faculty and global education projects, it may be possible to distinguish a set of well-defined competencies that comprise global literacy from disciplinary perspectives.

Starting in School...
By Susan Albertine
As the learning outcomes movement continues to gain strength in postsecondary education, it is high time to think again about continuity and collaboration with schools.

MY VIEW

Mobile Technology and Liberal Education
By Jonathan P. Rossing
Through thoughtful incorporation of mobile technology and ongoing inquiry as to its consequences and opportunities, faculty and administrators can harness this new technology to help students achieve liberal education outcomes.

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