Integrative Designs for
General Education and Assessment
Conference Description, Program, and Resources
Nearly 800 educators gathered in Boston, February 21-23, 2008 for AAC&U's annual conference on general education and assessment. The conference
focused on ways that faculty, academic administrators, and student affairs educators can shape higher education’s response to calls for increased accountability while, at the same time, reinvigorating general education.
The conference program and links to many resources are available below.
Academic Management Systems, EduMetry, Inside Higher Education, and TaskStream supported the conference as Sponsors. Association for General and Liberal Studies, Council for Administration of General and Liberal Studies, New England Educational Assessment Network, and New England Resource Center for Higher Education supported the conference as Academic Partners.
Thursday, February 21
2:00 – 5:00 p.m.
Workshop 1: Educating for Personal and Social Responsibility in General Education
A well-designed general education program can be the foundation of an institution’s effort to develop students’ ethical awareness and responsible commitment to their communities and professions. Participants in this workshop will discuss an innovative approach to general education that promotes personal and social responsibility through: two academic first year seminars on the theme “What is a Good Society?” and that are integrated with residential life activities; a nine area thematic breadth program; a culminating senior year seminar in which students write a moral and intellectual autobiography; and, a four-year electronic portfolio collection of work and self-reflection for students. Participants will work together to generate ideas to improve their programs and faculty support and to consider how they might best initiate curricular changes.
Lou J. Matz, Associate Dean of General Education and Chair and Associate Professor of Philosophy—University of the Pacific
Workshop 2: Creating Purposeful Pathways to Student Engagement and Learning
There is an emerging consensus among many stakeholders concerning the important outcomes of a college education for the twenty-first century. Every student, regardless of her or his selected major, will benefit from the knowledge and skills gained through a developmental approach to inquiry, and civic, global, and integrative learning. Each of these outcomes represents a complex set of behaviors and knowledge that can best be developed through a coherent undergraduate program of intentional educational practice from first year to capstone. Participants will explore existing and hypothetical curricular and co-curricular pathways that illustrate how longitudinal growth in these outcomes can be achieved. They will address the added complexity of creating coherent purposeful pathways and measuring achievement for students with multiple institution enrollments and transfers throughout the undergraduate years.
Scott Evenbeck, Dean of University College, Sharon J. Hamilton, Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, and Chancellor’s Professor, and Frank R. Ross, Assistant Vice Chancellor for Student Life and Learning—all of Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis
Workshop 3: From Assessment to Academic Excellence: Intentionally Mapping Student Success
What are the characteristics of quality general education assessment? What do faculty members need to know to intentionally align their general education program with their goals for student learning? How can assessment data be interpreted and used to improve student learning within the general education program? Participants in this session will explore strategies for using assessment to increase student achievement of general education learning outcomes.
Mary Allen, Independent Consultant
Workshop 4: Assessing General Education
This workshop will provide participants with practical, hands-on work in linking their home institution’s general education goals for student learning to: a) educational infrastructure; b) assessment practice; c) selection of appropriate assessment methodologies; d) data collection strategies; e) interpretation of assessment data; and f) the use of data to revise general education courses to assure student achievement and inform an academic program review process. Workshop facilitators will provide a context for these discussions through a brief overview of the practice of general education and assessment at James Madison University (JMU), a recipient of the Council for Higher Education Accreditation 2006 national award for Institutional Progress in Student Learning Outcomes. More specifically, the administrative infrastructure and practice that supports continuous faculty involvement in and improvement of the general education program and assessment at JMU will provide a context for engaging participants in thoughtful consideration of practice at their own institutions.
Linda Cabe Halpern, Dean of University Studies, and Donna L. Sundre, Executive Director of the Center for Assessment and Research Studies—both of James Madison University
Workshop 5: Collaborative Leadership for Change and Curriculum Development
Individuals in higher education leadership positions walk a fine line when it comes to changing the curriculum. Although they may hold positions as deans or provosts and are expected, at some level, to help guide curriculum development, the curriculum has long been the purview of the faculty. What, then, is the administrator’s role in curriculum development? Participants will work in small groups to explore strategies and scenarios that may be effective for administrators as they initiate conversations about change and support collaborative processes.
Geoffrey Chase, Dean of Undergraduate Studies—San Diego State University; and Karen Pugliesi, Vice Provost for Undergraduate Studies—Northern Arizona University
Sponsored by the American Conference of Academic Deans
7:00 – 8:30 p.m.
Designing Assessments that Deepen Learning: At the Intersections of General Education and Assessment
In a society as diverse as the United States, there can be no “one-size-fits-all” design for learning. Yet all educational institutions and fields of study share a common obligation to prepare their graduates as fully as possible for the real-world demands of work and citizenship in a complex and fast-changing society. In this context, there is great value in a broadly defined educational framework that provides a shared sense of the aims of education and a strong emphasis on effective practices that help students achieve these aims. How can general education collaborate with the departments and student affairs to advance the aims and outcomes for learning that all students need? Dr. Schneider will present a set of principles intended to significantly raise the standards for student achievement while avoiding the disadvantages of standardization. Dr. Maki will discuss strategies for assessing student achievement of these aims and outcomes and using assessment to enhance students’ cumulative progress in integrating general education perspectives throughout their studies.
Carol Geary Schneider, President—AAC&U; and Peggy Maki, Education Consultant and Assessment Series Editor Stylus Publishing, LLC.
8:30 – 9:30 p.m.
Poster Presentations and Reception
P 1: Institutionalizing a Student Research Program
This poster session will present information on how to institutionalize a student research program, including the following key components: staffing, organizational structure, budgeting, programmatic activities, and Web site development. The display will also highlight the critical roles that students, faculty, department chairs, deans, student affairs, athletics, and the library play in the successful implementation of a university-wide student research program. The presenter will share information about the benefits of undergraduate research to student learning and development.
Alan C. Utter, Director of the Office of Student Research—Appalachian State University
P 2: Reaching Marginalized Faculty Teaching General Education Courses
At Arizona State University, like many large research institutions, general education courses are often taught by early career faculty, contract faculty, faculty associates, and teaching assistants. By the very nature of their roles, including part-time status, these faculty are marginalized from the resources and support needed to guide classroom learning with effective assessment in mind. This poster session will share a collection of online resources created to raise awareness about important issues and to provide access to resources supporting effective assessment of student learning.
Judy D. Grace, Director of the Center for Learning and Teaching Excellence—Arizona State University
P 3: Integrating Coursework and Life Experience to Encourage Deep Learning
To facilitate deep learning, faculty must design experiences that encourage students to use what they learn in courses to examine their own lives and the communities in which they participate. This poster session will report on the impact of a first-year problem-based learning course designed to integrate coursework and life experience. The course incorporates service-learning to allow students to explore how their general education coursework may be applied to their community. The poster will highlight student learning that emerged during this experience.
Steve Wygant, Assessment Specialist, Patricia Esplin, Director of the BYU Freshman Academy, and Brian Chantry, Project Manager of the BYU Freshman Academy—all of Brigham Young University
P 4: Learning Across the College: Strategies to Enhance Student Learning
Colby-Sawyer College’s liberal education program, and its model of learning-across-the-college, actively involves faculty, staff, administrators, and students. The program consists of a first semester to fourth semester curricular and co-curricular learning experience and includes two seminars and three exploration courses. In this poster session, participants will learn how Colby-Sawyer integrates the college’s learning outcomes, academic majors, and student development programs into the program. Presenters will showcase a method for assessing student learning that includes a four-year electronic portfolio with entries from classroom, experiential, and co-curricular activities. Samples of liberal education seminars, assessment rubrics, student portfolio entries, curriculum mapping, residential life planning, and leadership programming will be provided.
Jean Eckrich, Professor and Chair of Exercise and Sport Sciences, Robin Davis, Associate Dean of Students, and Joseph Carroll, Coordinator of Liberal Education and Professor of Social Sciences and Education—all of Colby-Sawyer College
P 5: Formative and Summative Assessment of a First-Year Experience Program
Leaders of Colorado College’s first-year experience (FYE) program, in collaboration with the office of institutional research, developed mechanisms of formative assessment that would ensure consistent academic rigor and the proper balance of support and challenge across the program, while still guaranteeing faculty autonomy in course development and teaching. Institutional research staff also developed summative means of documenting the program’s success in meeting general student learning outcomes for an accreditation self-study. This poster session will describe the college’s experience of developing these assessment mechanisms and will present operationalized FYE goals, assessment processes, and mapping tools. Available handouts will include the college’s NSSE (National Survey of Student Engagement)-style FYE survey and sample survey analysis documents.
Amanda Udis-Kessler, Director of Institutional Research and Planning—Colorado College
P 6: University-wide Interdisciplinary Assessment of Student Learning: Implementation Efforts across General and Professional Education
This poster session will highlight assessment strategies of Delaware State University (DSU)’s general and professional education. Audience members will also have the chance to interact with colleagues who are involved in the process and face common challenges of implementation. The chair of DSU’s education department chair will provide theoretical and practical information regarding how to input and generate viable data for reporting. A member of the general education assessment committee will focus on key issues and concerns that must be addressed when conducting assessment across disciplines.
Billie L. Friedland, Chair of the Education Department, and Renee Young, Associate Professor of English—both of Delaware State University
P 7: Assessing the Core Curriculum: A First Global Attempt
This poster session will highlight a core curriculum assessment model designed as part of a continuing effort to foster, strengthen, and sustain an established curriculum. In existence since the 1970s, Salem State College’s core curriculum has been subject to ongoing review and change, with the most recent revision implemented in 2006. This poster represents the preliminary assessment process, results, and suggestions for how these preliminary assessment attempts may be built upon.
Dorothy R. Siden, Chair of the Ad Hoc Core Curriculum Advisory Committee and Chair and Professor of Economics, Anita V. M. Shea , Dean of Arts and Sciences, and David Goodof, Assistant Professor of Management—all of Salem State College
P 8: Improving General Education through an Assessment and Communication Loop
The Chinese University of Hong Kong is a public research university with more than 10,000 undergraduate students. This poster session will present a model assessment and communication loop that involves in-depth course content review, faculty self-evaluation, informal faculty group discussion sessions, and student focus group studies and surveys. The poster will summarize the findings from these initiatives, particularly the students’ views, and report on how university leaders are using these findings to inform changes in general education. After three years of program review, university leaders have identified some limitations of the model and are now in the process of developing plans to improve the loop. Audience members will examine the model and discuss its implications for their own work.
Emily Ng, Programme Officer in the Office of University General Education, Leung Mei-Yee, Associate Director of University General Education—both of The Chinese University of Hong Kong
P 9: What Can Happen When Faculty are Inspired: Results from a General Education Interdisciplinary Course Competition
Developing exciting, inspired general education courses takes time and effort. University of Connecticut faculty have developed a variety of new course curricula designed to meet UConn’s general education and honors program goals as participants in a provost-sponsored course development competition. This poster session will highlight two of the “winning” courses designed explicitly to encourage and support faculty ownership of the general education curriculum, promote interdisciplinary thinking and intellectual engagement among students during their first two years, and assess students’ ability to integrate learning across disciplines. The poster will focus on how the designers of these courses incorporated the university’s and honors program’s goals of general education into their syllabi. The poster will illustrate pedagogical strategies used in each course to achieve the defined goals and provide documentation of the impact of these classes on student learning.
Lynne Goodstein, Director of the Honors Program, and Manuela Wagner, Assistant Professor of Modern and Classical Languages—both of University of Connecticut
P 10: Building Faculty-Driven Assessment of First- Year Inquiry Courses: A Toolkit for Sharing
Inquiry-guided learning is a fundamental aspect of the University of New Hampshire’s (UNH) recently articulated general education curriculum, the Discovery Program. This poster session will focus on ways in which UNH uses assessment not only to measure the extent of student engagement in the learning process, but also to increase that engagement as well. With support from the Davis Educational Foundation, a faculty group has developed an assessment plan for the program’s first-year inquiry courses. The goal is to create a culture of assessment that will be transferable to the Discovery Program overall. A key feature of the plan is an assessment toolkit—an assortment of instruments, models, and practices from which faculty can select as they seek to improve their courses and enhance student learning through formative assessment. The poster will highlight items from the toolkit and show how faculty at other institutions might find them useful in measuring learning outcomes associated with inquiry-guided learning in first-year seminars. Participants will have the opportunity to adapt one of the assessment tools to courses they teach.
Thomas Pistole, Professor of Microbiology and Co-Director of the Discovery Program— University of New Hampshire
P 11: Direct Measures for Assessing the General Education Program
Wagner College is a private institution of 1,800 undergraduates and 300 graduate students located in Staten Island, New York. The college’s undergraduate curriculum is centered on the Wagner Plan for the Practical Liberal Arts, which requires that students complete a general education program (GEP) and an in-depth major to graduate. The GEP includes foundation courses, two intercultural courses, learning communities with experiential learning components, reflective tutorials, and courses that fulfill disciplinary perspectives. The primary goals of the GEP include: (a) critical and civic thinking skills, (b) competency in listening, speaking and writing, and (c) a competency in “learning by doing.” The GEP is evaluated using an overlapping assessment strategy that utilizes multiple tools to evaluate student progress, both directly and indirectly. Direct methods employed include the Writing Assessment Project, the Collegiate Learning Assessment, and assessments from the Critical Thinking for Civic Thinking initiative. Through this poster session, audience members will learn more about Wagner’s assessment strategy and consider both its benefits and its limitations.
Roy H. Mosher, Chair of Committee for Learning Assessment, and Donald E. Stearns, Professor of Biology—both of Wagner College
* LEAP Campus Action Network Exemplar
P 12: Assessing Learning Literacies by Measuring Student Competencies
There is a nationally recognized need to improve students’ preparation for lifelong learning by promoting a variety of learning literacies from beginning to advanced levels, and across the undergraduate experiences. The Learning Literacies Strategy Team (LLST) at William Paterson University developed an approach to measure student competencies, at the General Education and capstone levels, in four literacy areas: information handling, critical thinking, technology and quantitative skills. The methodology involves faculty evaluation of student artifacts from General Education and capstone courses. The poster will (a) describe a learning literacies project, (b) include assessment instruments, and (c) highlight how assessment results are used to identify areas of concern. Audience members will explore how this assessment approach can improve pedagogy in general education and throughout the undergraduate curriculum.
Miryam Z. Wahrman, Professor of Biology and Director of General Education, and Linnea Weiland, Associate Professor and Chair of Elementary and Early Childhood Education—both of William Paterson University
P 13: General Education Program Reform and Campus Engagement
After thirty-five years, a new general education program is being implemented at Keene State College. An instructional development program has been adopted to support, reward, and sustain the faculty, staff, and student collaborations necessary to advance the goals of the Integrative Studies Program. This poster will describe models being developed and applied to encourage this culture shift and to create faculty cohorts who will shape the program and feel responsible for its success. Participants will learn how instructional development programs are organized, and facilitators will discuss the challenges and successes associated with creating and implementing them.
Melinda Treadwell , Associate Professor of Technology, Design and Safety, Anne-Marie Mallon, Associate Professor of English, and Ann Marie Rancourt, Associate Vice President of Academic Affairs —all of Keene State College
Friday, February 22, 2008
8:00 – 9:15 a.m.
Charting the Successful Transfer: Coherence and Degree Completion in a Time of Swirling Enrollments
More than half of today’s college students will attend multiple institutions sequentially, simultaneously, or intermittently. About half of today’s college students will begin in a community college and nearly one third of those will move on to a four year institution. What are the distinct challenges that these swirling enrollments pose to educators and administrators as they strive to foster student achievement of essential learning outcomes? What are implications of system- or state-wide approaches to general education? What is the role of research and assessment in providing feedback about student progress towards educational goals as they move from one institution to another? This plenary will address these issues, promising practices, and challenges for assuring that more students move from the community college to the four year institution and graduate ready to engage the complexity of our global society.
Helen Giles-Gee, President—Keene State College; and Stephen K. Mittelstet, President—Richland College
9:30 – 10:30 a.m.
CS 1: Connecting Inputs to Outcomes: First Results from the Wabash National Study of Liberal Arts Experiences
This seminar presents and discusses some of the first results from the Wabash National Study of Liberal Arts Experiences, a national, longitudinal investigation of 4,500 students at nineteen institutions that has as its goal identifying and augmenting undergraduate experiences that promote student success in a range of cognitive and affective outcomes. Study data indicate that there are significant correlations between student input scores, including scales of psychological well-being and socially responsible leadership, and experiences leading to academic success in the first-year of college. The seminar will consider the implications of this analysis for institutional improvement, and participants will discuss how they can apply this paradigm for assessing first-year student achievement.
Steven E. Weisler, Dean of Academic Development, and Carol Trosset, Director of Institutional Research—both of Hampshire College
CS 2: Facilitating Transfer of General Education Courses across Two- and Four- Year Public Institutions
Since Spring 2006, mathematics faculty from CONNECT, a partnership of the six public two- and four-year institutions of higher education in Southeastern Massachusetts, have been meeting to discuss comparable mathematics courses at the various institutions. The overarching goal is to improve the success of students who transfer among these institutions. The specific goals include developing a compendium of learning outcomes for college-level mathematics, improving the alignment of learning goals for undergraduate mathematics, equalizing the preparation of native and transfer students at the four-year campuses, facilitating the transfer of mathematics courses, and identifying and developing a roadmap for overcoming challenges uncovered in this project. Facilitators will report on the nature of the findings, the positive outcomes of the project, the challenges encountered, and their hopes for the future. Participants will be encouraged to share the issues their campuses encounter in the articulation of general education courses across institutions.
Lois A. Martin, Professor of Mathematics—Massasoit Community Compact; Glenn Pavlicek, Professor of Mathematics and Computer Science—Bridgewater State College; and Aaron Wan, Assistant Professor of Mathematics—Cape Cod Community College
CS 3: Promoting Diversity-Related Outcomes in General Education
The University of Massachusetts Amherst has a long-standing commitment to social and cultural diversity, including being one of the first campuses to include a two-course diversity requirement in the general education curriculum in the early 1980s. The requirement was recently revised to explicitly include global as well as domestic diversity and recent conversations regarding the commitment to diversity raised questions about the extent to which the general education requirement was meeting its original mission. In response, campus leaders conducted a recent assessment of curricular and instructional practices to help clarify the current state of the requirement. This session will present findings from the assessment and discuss how this information is being used to promote diversity-related outcomes, improve general education practices, and inform a broader general education assessment effort on campus.
Martha L. A. Stassen, Director of Assessment, and Randall Knoper, Chair of General Education Council and Associate Professor of English—both of University of Massachusetts Amherst
CS 4: Faculty Ownership of General Education: Teaching What Excites You!
Student excitement with general education is dependent on the extent to which faculty members share and inspire their students. For this to occur, faculty need to control the general education curriculum generally, and be able to teach courses that excite them, specifically. This seminar will introduce participants to course development competitions held at the University of Connecticut. These competitions encourage faculty to devise courses that integrate their academic interests and the goals of the general education program. Participants will work together to outline courses that they have always wanted to teach as well as themes that connect multiple courses. In addition, they will consider the features required of course development programs to encourage innovative and integrative curricula. Participants should be familiar with the goals of the general education program at their own institution, as these must comprise part of the guiding principles for new course development.
Hedley Freake, Professor of Nutritional Sciences, Lynne Goodstein, Associate Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education, and Katharina von Hammerstein, Professor of Modern and Classical Languages—all of University of Connecticut
CS 5: Transforming Teaching Initiatives into Meaningful Institutional Assessment
In an ongoing effort to encourage the integration of skills and learning across the curriculum, faculty at College of San Mateo launched a pilot Writing Across the Curriculum project in 2006-2007. While prompted by the needs of below-college-level writers enrolled in transfer-level discipline classes, this project used student ePortfolios to assess the work of all students in the writing-intensive discipline classes, resulting in a rich dialogue about teaching and learning among faculty and among students. By framing the assessment within CSM’s institutional student learning outcomes, faculty began to see those outcomes as valuable in a process of academic renewal. Concurrently, the establishment of an ePortfolio consortium has allowed this dialogue to expand between two-year and four-year institutions in California, establishing a unique opportunity to consider general education assessment across institutional boundaries. The facilitators will offer an alchemic model of teaching initiatives transmuting into meaningful institutional assessment.
Jean Mach, Professor of English and Team Leader of the CASTL Campus Leadership Program, Brandon Smith, Professor of English as a Second Language, and Anne Stafford, Professor of English—all of College of San Mateo
CS 6: What Does “Learning by Doing” Actually “Do?”
This seminar will describe a year-long collaborative between Belmont University and Wagner College to develop a comprehensive program for assessing value-added outcomes of experiential learning in a general education curriculum. While each institution has in place some common assessment measures, this project will allow faculty and staff to develop a set of criteria and strategies for assessing the achievement of liberal learning goals that are fostered through experiential learning embedded within core curricula. The primary goal of the collaborative is to develop an assessment program that may be replicated at other institutions; therefore, the seminar will focus on the potential applicability of the program through discussion with participants. The session should generate productive conversation regarding the role of experiential learning in core curricula and the challenges inherent in developing clear methods of assessment.
Jeffrey W. Coker, Director of General Education, Linda Holt, Associate Professor of English and Assessment Coordinator for General Education—both of Belmont University; Julia Barchitta , Dean of Learning Communities and Experiential Learning, and Roy Mosher, Chair of Committee for Learning Assessment—both of Wagner College
* LEAP Campus Action Network Exemplar
CS 7: Enhancing Liberal and Technical Education through General Education Assessment
With all the pressure the global marketplace exerts on higher education to train students for technical and professional careers, it is an ever increasing challenge to provide a well-rounded liberal education along with the technical skills many students desire. One solution to this dilemma is to find a way for technical and liberal education learning objectives to enhance one another instead of compete for instructional time. In this seminar, presenters will describe one evolutionary, integrative approach, grounded in general education assessment research. The presentation will discuss (a) methods to involve the whole campus community in the design process, (b) how the implementation was successfully conducted within a year while focusing on evolutionary practice, and (c) how grounding the design in assessment best practices has yielded opportunities for student improvement, cross-curriculum dialogue and student discussions about the relevance of their liberal education experience. Participants will examine the political/structural/symbolic obstacles and opportunities encountered in relation to their own institutional contexts.
Gail Gibson-Sheffield, Director, Assessment and Teaching Excellence, Ginny McAleese, Academic Support Director, and Phil Taylor, Dean of Science Liberal Arts and Business—all of Paul Smith's College
CS 8: Strategies for Successful General Education Administration
This session will highlight strategies and promising practices for administrators in general and liberal studies. Session facilitators will describe the governance/administrative structures for their own programs and discuss the strengths and weaknesses of these structures relative to achieving expected outcomes. Then, they will share results of a survey of governance structures and invite participants to engage in conversation about the elements that lead to effective administration of general education programs. Participants will also share common general education challenges and assist participating administrators in the development of effective techniques and strategies for working through them. Potential topics include administrative issues related to curriculum reform and program coordination.
Emily Johnson, Past President of CAGLS and Director of General Education—University of Wisconsin – La Crosse; David Starrett, Executive Director of CAGLS and Dean of the School of University Studies and Academic Information Services—Southeast Missouri State University; Richard Schur, President of CAGLS and Director of the Interdisciplinary Studies Center—Drury University; and William Badley, Assistant Vice Provost and Director of General Education—Middle Tennessee State University
Sponsored by Council for Administration of General and Liberal Studies
11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Achieving Faculty Engagement at the Crossroads
Colleges and universities often face particular instructional and curricular challenges when addressing the complexities of maintaining a strong general educational program. Successful approaches must be faculty driven and multi-faceted. Students that are engaged stimulate innovative, creative teaching and faculty who are attracted to general education courses that are fresh, vibrant, and relevant for both the student and the instructor. This plenary will present a variety of methods for supporting and advancing faculty engagement with general education designs that inspire student goal setting, curiosity, and critical thinking. Participants will learn about a variety of campus initiatives such as Crossroads Charlotte, Summer Institutes, course pairings, Chancellor’s Diversity Challenge grants, and curriculum and instruction grants that have led students to examine the forces behind social change and develop team-based service-learning projects tied to their academic interests.
Joan Lorden, Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, and Charlynn Ross, Director of the University Center for Academic Excellence—both of University of North Carolina at Charlotte
12:00 – 1:30 p.m.
Accreditation, General Education, and Assessment: Working Together to Advance Educational Excellence
How have changes in the ways campuses approach assessment and general education relative to accreditation helped to advance educational excellence? This panel will examine the ways that accreditors are working with campus faculty and administrators to translate accreditation requirements for learning assessment into a tool for educational improvement and how national events might affect accreditation, campus practices and student learning in the future.
Virginia Carson, Commissioner, Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) and Vice President for Academic Affairs, Georgia Highlands College; Pat O’Brien, Deputy Director, of the Commission on Institutions of Higher Education—New England Association of Schools and Colleges; and Jean Avnet Morse, President—Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Moderator: Terrel Rhodes, Vice President of Quality, Curriculum, and Assessment—AAC&U
1:45 – 3:15 p.m.
Cultivating Liberal Education Outcomes: Perspectives of Disciplinary Societies
Helping students obtain a liberal education is the responsibility of all faculty, regardless of discipline. What are the best ideas for faculty development, introductory courses, and capstone courses where students integrate learning in both general education and their majors? How can "discipline-based departments" contribute to the goals and outcomes of a liberal arts education? This panel will address how disciplinary knowledge and habits of the mind can be infused in various courses and experiences and how departments can assess general education knowledge for majors and non-majors and use that data to improve student learning. They will explore how disciplinary societies encourage “best practices" in general education and in the assessment of student learning. Panelists will identify resources available through the disciplinary societies and beyond.
Robin Hailstorks, Director of Pre-college and Undergraduate Programs—American Psychological Association; Carla Howery, former Director of Academic and Professional Affairs—American Sociological Association; and Maura B. Mast, President of the Special Interest Group on Quantitative Literacy of the Mathematical Association of America and Associate Professor of Mathematics—University of Massachusetts Boston
Moderator: Jerry Gaff, Senior Scholar—AAC&U
LEAP Communications Workshop
Communicating Effectively About General Education and Assessment to Colleagues, Students, and External Constituents
This session will draw on research conducted as part of AAC&U’s Liberal Education and America’s Promise (LEAP) campaign. Participants will learn about how students, recent graduates, and business leaders view the most important general education outcomes for success in today’s world. They will also be introduced to messages and language proven effective in making the case for liberal and general education to a variety of constituents. They will learn what employers see as the most promising approaches to assessment and will be introduced to several AAC&U resources designed to help institutions communicate effectively and align their practices with the messages they send through a variety of means—including curriculum, admissions, Web sites, and external relations.
Debra Humphreys, Vice President for Communications and Public Affairs, AAC&U
CS 9: Can Experiential Education Foster Essential Learning Outcomes?
This workshop will engage participants in facilitated table discussions of whether (and how) structured out-of-class experiences contribute to students achieving the essential learning outcomes identified in AAC&U’s College Learning for the New Global Century. If so, then what are the appropriate institutional, staff, and faculty responsibilities in fostering these learning outcomes and in realizing the potential for integration with classroom learning and general education? The facilitators bring a variety of perspectives to the discussion—a member of the faculty senate committee on general education; a deeply involved student; and the program director of Northeastern University's Institute on Experiential Education, in which participants from other institutions work through a range of issues related to experiential education on their own campuses.
Thomas O. Sherman, Professor of Mathematics, Richard D. Porter, Program Director of Northeastern University's Summer Institute on Experiential Education, and Amanda Marsden, Communication Studies Major and Co-op Supervisor—all of Northeastern University
CS 10: An Outcomes-Based Model for General Education that Leads to Intentional Planning, Teaching, and Assessment
This interactive workshop will introduce participants to an assessment cycle designed to promote student learning, engage and empower faculty, and improve curriculum and programs. The assessment cycle begins with a review of the institutional culture and mission and is complete when assessment data is used to improve teaching/learning approaches. The assessment protocols used in the cycle are highly effective for general education, bringing focus to the curriculum along with connections to disciplinary learning across campus. These protocols provide frameworks for both students and faculty to assess levels of learning, thus motivating students to learn both concepts and skills with depth and practice for application. The workshop will engage participants in developing protocols for an assessment cycle and enable them to apply the approach to their respective institutions. Examples from multiple campuses will be provided to enhance the understanding and application.
Amy Driscoll, Consulting Scholar—The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching; and Swarup Wood, Chair of General Education Faculty Learning Communities—California State University Monterey Bay
CS 11: Developing an Integrated Four-Year Core Curriculum
Seton Hall University’s new core curriculum, six years in the making, is designed to provide an integrated four-year experience for all undergraduates. Beginning with a pair of signature courses (interdisciplinary seminars taught by full-time faculty from across the university), two composition classes, and a university life course, the new core will also incorporate ongoing instruction related five proficiencies and six literacies over a student’s four years. The final pieces are a third-year signature course developed within departments, a senior capstone experience for students in their majors, and an e-portfolio that will be used for assessment of a student’s achievement at the end of his or her university experience. This interactive workshop will provide participants with an opportunity to determine how such a general education program might be replicated at their institution.
Mary M. Balkun, Associate Professor of English, and Roseanne Mirabella, Associate Professor of Political Science—both of Seton Hall University
CS 12: Designing Curriculum, Teaching, and Assessment as Developmental and Integrative Processes
In this session, participants will explore ways of engaging students in learning that requires integration of abilities across general education and majors. Facilitators from Alverno College will provide an overview of the college's ability-based curriculum as a stimulus for participant discussion of development approaches to teaching and assessment. Participants will have the opportunity to view samples of student performance over time as the basis for reflection on the principles and practices that should inform developmental design of teaching and assessment. The facilitators will also share examples of teaching and assessment design that Alverno faculty have created to foster integrative learning within and across disciplines. With the audience, they will raise emerging questions about the most effective teaching and assessment for learning that lasts.
Tim Riordan, Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs and Professor of Philosophy, Kathy Lake, Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs and Professor of Education, and Stephen Sharkey, Dean of Arts and Sciences and Professor of Sociology—all of Alverno College
* LEAP Campus Action Network Exemplar
CS 13: Building a Campus Commitment to Ongoing General and Liberal Education Improvement
Exhaustive general education reviews and implementation processes often fails to produce ongoing commitment to general and liberal education improvement. This interactive session will introduce participants to systems analysis questions found in the Association for General and Liberal Studies publication, Improving Learning in General Education: An AGLS Guide to Assessment & Program Review. After session leaders describe the Guide, its sources, and examples of its use, they will engage participants in conversation about the systems analysis questions. Table groups will be given the task of developing a review plan consisting of 4-5 key steps and/or processes necessary for a successful review and for building institutional commitment to improvement processes. Following a discussion of the plan differences, the session will end with a presentation of the key elements of successful review found in the winning applications for the 2007 AGLS Awards for Improving General Education.
Michael Gress, President of AGLS and Coordinator of General Education and Professor of Philosophy and English—Vincennes University; and Emily Johnson, Director of General Education—University of Wisconsin – La Crosse
Sponsored by Association for General and Liberal Studies
CS 14: Assessment of General Education at the Course-Level and Program-Level
Do you use assessment data to ensure that all students leave your institution with the skills they will need to succeed as intentional, life-long learners? What are the pros and cons of course-embedded assessments, program assessments and student self-assessment? How do you engage your campus in the assessment process? This session will be framed by a brief presentation of successes and challenges at San José State University over the past several years, followed by small group discussions and a summary of what participants think will work and what won’t.
Gail G. Evans, Associate Dean for Undergraduate Studies and Director of General Education—San José State University
* LEAP Campus Action Network Exemplar
3:45 – 4:45 p.m.
CS 15: Effective Educational Practices and Essential Learning Outcomes in General Education Courses: Differences by Discipline
Central to this session is the exploration of how pedagogies in general education and non-general education courses (GECs and non-GECs) vary by disciplinary area. Participants in this session will learn about a line of inquiry currently underway at the Indiana University Center for Postsecondary Research – home of the National Survey of Student Engagement and the Faculty Survey of Student Engagement. This line of inquiry demonstrates that faculty use of effective educational practices (e.g., student-faculty interaction and deep approaches to learning) and the extent they structure their courses to promote essential learning outcomes differs in GECs vs. non-GECs. Furthermore, these differences vary from one disciplinary area to another. Participants will engage in a dialogue about the important curricular and pedagogical implications of these findings as well as how to use these findings in improvement efforts on their campuses.
Thomas F. Nelson Laird, Assistant Professor and Faculty Survey of Student Engagement Project Manager, Alexander C. McCormick, Director of the National Survey of Student Engagement, and Todd A. Chamberlain, Assistant Director of Survey Operations, Center for Postsecondary Research—all of Indiana University Bloomington
CS 16: Professional Education and General Education Join Forces
The rapid pace at which technology is changing our world makes it imperative that students develop the skills that will enable them to be proactive and reflective rather than reactive. As professionals and responsible citizens they will need to integrate the knowledge that they have learned in their professional coursework with the abilities valued in general and professional education and by employers. These abilities include: critical thinking, reflective practice, valuing diversity, ethical behavior, and civic responsibility. This can be effectively accomplished if faculty in professional education and general education find convergence in their missions. Application of this convergence needs to be modeled throughout the curriculum in order for students to be able to make connections among professional education outcomes, general education outcomes and life experience. Session facilitators and participants will discuss ways for developing and implementing a course team taught by instructors with disparate disciplinary backgrounds, in this case engineering and history, but with a commitment to integrative learning.
Stephane Elise Booth, Associate Provost for Academic Quality Improvement, and Verna M. Fitzsimmons, Associate Professor of Technology—both of Kent State University
* LEAP Campus Action Network Exemplar
CS 17: A Mirror and a Lamp: Developing a Multi-dimensional Core Curriculum Assessment Plan
Five years ago, Salve Regina University undertook an initiative to design an integrated core curriculum to replace the existing general education requirements. In the context of the Integrative Learning Project, jointly sponsored by AAC&U and the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, the university developed a multi-dimensional core curriculum assessment plan that integrates faculty, student, and administrative feedback cycles across the four years of baccalaureate study. The result, the Integrative Learning e-Portfolio, allows students to reflect on their educational experiences while illuminating and deepening their understanding of the University’s curricular goals. This presentation will provide a working model of curriculum assessment and will have relevance for any academic institution moving in the direction of assessment.
Mary Montminy-Danna, Professor of Social Work, Paula Martasian, Professor of Psychology, and Ducha Hang, First Year Experience Coordinator—all of Salve Regina University
CS 18: Integrating and Assessing Global Literacy
This seminar will discuss the approaches of three universities –Carnegie Mellon, the University of Pittsburgh, and the University of Tulsa – to articulate, teach for, and assess global literacy. Global literacy has become an “essential” component of learning in higher education. In addition, we face the practical implications of educating our students to live, work and thrive in global environments. As a consequence, we are experimenting with diverse approaches of articulating and assessing the knowledge, skills, values and attitudes that characterize a globally literate citizen. Presenters will describe their visions, objectives, and approaches and discuss assessment of international experiences and how such assessments should inform practice.
Michael W. Bridges, Associate Director for Educational Support—Carnegie Mellon University; and Larry J. Shuman, Professor and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs for the School of Engineering—University of Pittsburgh
CS 19: Lessons and Approaches for Assessing General Education
What assessment methods and strategies might assist your institution in gathering meaningful and valid information about effectiveness of general education for purposes of improvement as well as accountability? In this session, presenters will discuss lessons and considerations from two approaches involving the Collegiate Learning Assessment (CLA) and Collegiate Assessment of Academic Proficiency (CAAP) as well as a local effort using course-level assessments. Participants will consider each approach and compare and contrast the benefits and drawbacks.
Jessica L. Jonson, Director of Institutional Assessment, and Rita Kean, Dean of Undergraduate Studies—both of University of Nebraska-Lincoln
* LEAP Campus Action Network Exemplar
CS 20: Integrating Assessment and Online Course Management
When the Fairfield University Dolan School of Business set out to develop a sustainable program for assessment of its general education learning outcomes, leaders were concerned to involve as many faculty as possible in the process while minimizing the logistical work faculty would have to do. Existing electronic course management systems lacked the necessary tools to incorporate assessment, so the School developed its own courseware that integrates assessment practices into day to day online course management. For instance, the system can instantly map any learning objective across a program’s entire curriculum, providing quantitative information on how often each learning objective has been attached to assignments by courses, major or a variety of other sorting possibilities. In this session presenters will discuss how this project evolved and how an online course management system was set up. Presenters will demonstrate tools for classroom, program, and student competency assessment and participants will examine issues that arose as a result of involving all faculty members in the process.
Curtis R. Naser, Associate Professor of Philosophy, and Debra Strauss, Assistant Professor of Management—both of Fairfield University
CS 21: Maximum Mileage with Minimum Means: Using Existing Resources to Assess a Core Curriculum
How do we know if our core curriculum is working, and what assessment strategies provide the information needed for improvement, accountability, and communication across constituencies? This seminar summarizes the results of an integrated effort to assess the first four years of a new, competency-based core curriculum at Daemen College, a small liberal arts college with strong professional programs. Presenters will share strategies for “double-duty” assessment initiatives, including: the use of existing student work, rubrics, and departmental capstones and portfolios, in-class group interviews to assess learning communities, a faculty-led teaching symposium, a public panel featuring the first graduates of the new curriculum, and the use of NSSE data to track changes in student engagement. These efforts resulted in additional benefits such as clear target areas for improvement, cross-departmental collaboration, reduced resistance to assessment, and a celebration of learning and teaching.
Mimi Harris Steadman, Director of Institutional Assessment, Intisar Q. Hibschweiler, Director of the Core Curriculum and Associate Professor and Chair of Mathematics, and Kevin Telford, Dean of Arts and Sciences and Associate Professor of Foreign Languages—all of Daemen College
5:00 – 6:00 p.m.
CS 22: Developing a General Education Curriculum that Supports Assessable Learning Goals
Building on momentum generated by a variety of internal and external factors, Susquehanna University has undertaken a full review of its general education curriculum, providing lessons that will be shared in this seminar. The goal is to help participants further their own reform efforts by facilitating a better working knowledge of how a curriculum review process might unfold. The session will begin with a brief interactive discussion of six elements Susquehanna leaders found important in maintaining progress during its reform (e.g., encouraging a “process orientation” that permitted broad collaboration). Next, participants will divide into groups based on their professional role. Two group activities will explore how to identify and leverage opportunities for general education reform, while proactively managing barriers to this process. The seminar will conclude with a discussion of the strategies the groups identified.
Michael D. Smith, Assistant Professor of Psychology, Linda McMillin, Provost and Dean of the Faculty, and Caroline Mercado, Assistant Dean and Director of First Year Programs—all of Susquehanna University
CS 23: Diversity Across The College: Lessons Learned
Wheelock College is committed to being a multiracial, multicultural community. Multicultural, anti-racist and anti-bias practice is integrated throughout the curriculum and goals for general education include: expanding knowledge of world geography, and cultures and institutions around the globe, through coursework, language study, or study abroad; developing an understanding of the influence of race, class, culture, gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, and disability on human experience; and cultivating a respect for others and an understanding of ethical behavior and civic responsibility. In this interactive seminar, presenters will share lessons learned about the impact of diversity and inclusive practices within the general education curriculum on student learning and achievement.
Shirley L. Malone-Fenner, Professor of Human Development/Psychology and Dean of Arts and Sciences, Eleonora Villegas-Reimers, Associate Professor of Education and Dean of Education and Child Life, and Donna McKibbens, Certification Coordinator and Instructor in Education—all of Wheelock College
CS 24: Multiple Approaches to Assessing Student Learning in Senior Capstone Courses
What are senior-level students learning in capstone courses involving community-based learning? How do institutions assess student learning in general education courses using multiple methods? How do institutions utilize qualitative and quantitative data to learn about the lived experiences of their students? Portland State University offers more than 220 capstone service-learning courses each year. These courses engage more than 3,000 students annually. In this interactive session, participants will learn about four practices PSU employs to assess student learning. Participants will learn how campus leaders triangulate data to assess student learning outcomes along four general education goals. Participants will leave with practical examples of how these processes can be utilized on their campuses to measure student learning outcomes. Presenters will share materials that can be modified to meet the needs of any institution.
Seanna M. Kerrigan, Capstone Program Director, Molly Gray, Senior Capstone Instructor, and Heather Petzold, Senior Capstone Instructor—all of Portland State University
CS 25: Improving Teaching and Learning through Writing Assessment (ppt)
This seminar presents research and practice related to writing assessment with an eye toward encouraging participants from any discipline to see how writing assessment can be a key component of general education. Presenters will offer research-based principles of best practice in assessing writing and writing programs based on statements from professional organizations such as the National Council of Teachers of English and the Council of Writing Program Administrators. These principles support site-based, locally controlled assessments. The seminar will also address the practical application of writing assessment research. Two case studies (one on assessment of a first-year composition program in relation to general education and one on writing across the curriculum) will model effective, principle-based assessment that contributes to quality general education assessment. Participants will be encouraged to reflect on the assessment principles and practices in relation to their own disciplines and institutions.
Susanmarie Harrington, Professor of English—Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis; Peggy O'Neill, Associate Professor of English—Loyola College; and Bob Broad, Professor of English—Illinois State University
CS 26: Learning Connections 24/7: Assessing Learning across Curricular, Co-Curricular and Student Development Programs
Marquette University has an institution-wide, multi-level assessment system focused on holistic, integrative student learning outcomes. This assessment system is based on the key assumption that learning occurs twenty-four hours, seven days a week, across curricular and co-curricular activities. The assessment system involves 104 academic programs, the core of common studies, and thirteen co-curricular and student development units. The presenters will describe their units’ contributions to and assessment of student learning. Participants will discuss selected assessment methods and results and the challenges encountered.
Margaret Fong Bloom, Vice Provost for Undergraduate Programs and Teaching, Christine Krueger, Director of the Core of Common Studies and Associate Professor of English, and Mark McCarthy, Assistant Vice President and Dean of Student Development—all of Marquette University
CS 27: Visual Pathways: Using Data and Multimedia to Map General Education Outcomes across the Curriculum
Even with a robust assessment process in place, it is a challenge to keep track of and effectively use the large amount of data that is generated. This session will describe a multimedia approach that allows for the storage, retrieval, and display of data and illustrates the degree to which general education outcomes have been integrated across the curriculum. The key mechanism is a visual, color-coded interface that facilitates the creation of a visual “pathway” for each major at the university. At a glance, it becomes easy to see how the communication outcome, for example, is integrated across a particular major. From the same interface, it is possible to access assessment reports on an outcome, details regarding the assignments used to determine student performance relative to a particular outcome, historical data relative to curriculum design changes, and course additions and deletions. This approach foregrounds the importance of essential general education outcomes across the curriculum and serves as a guide to improving student learning based on assessment results.
Keith Groff, Division Chair of Arts and Sciences, Michelle Buchberger, Lead Faculty for General Education, Arts and Sciences, and Suzan Waller, Lead Faculty for Social and Behavioral Sciences—all of Franklin University
CS 28: Supporting Discipline Specific Assessment
Research shows that the teaching and learning cultures of academic disciplines vary in a number of important ways. These disciplinary differences include variations in pedagogy and inquiry preferences, conceptualizations of learning and higher order thinking processes, beliefs about curricular coherence, and the types of learning goals and competencies emphasized. Disciplinary perspectives also affect the value faculty place on various forms of evidence and inquiry processes used to investigate student learning. Clearly, these differences have implications for the design and implementation of assessment within various academic departments. In this session, representatives from the New England Educational Assessment Network (NEEAN), a regional association with a mission to promote quality assessment of student learning and development in higher education, will describe and share a variety of discipline-specific resources.
Deborah Grossman-Garber, Vice President of NEEAN and Director of the Office of Student Learning, Outcomes Assessment and Accreditation—University of Rhode Island; Earl Peace, Program Director of NEEAN and Dean of the Class of 2009—College of the Holy Cross; and Martha L. A. Stassen, President of NEEAN and Director of Assessment—University of Massachusetts Amherst
Sponsored by the New England Educational Assessment Network
Saturday, February 23, 2008
:00 – 9:00 a.m.
RD 1: Implementing Institutional Artifact Portfolio Assessment
Even as assessment of student learning in general education grows in scale and scope, developing a comprehensive yet manageable system remains a challenge for many institutions. In this session, participants will explore the value of an artifact portfolio system where the unit of analysis is the institution rather than individual faculty, classes, or students. Session facilitators will first explain the basics of an institutional artifact portfolio, and then participants will discuss the best ways to implement such as system so as to avoid as many obstacles as possible.t
Mardell A. Wilson, Director of University Assessment, and Sally Parry, Associate Dean for Curricular and Student Affairs and Director of General Education—both of Illinois State University
RD 2: Assessing General Education Learning Outcomes: NSSE Benchmarks and Institutional Practice
In an era of heightened calls for accountability and demands for graduates with strong abilities in problem solving, teamwork, communication, and leadership, it is crucial that colleges and universities demonstrate the effectiveness of their general education programs. Since 2000, the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) has collected data on general education aims and the extent to which students’ undergraduate education features opportunities to develop higher-order thinking skills as well as integrated learning experiences. This roundtable session will highlight how national results, particularly for seniors by major, can serve as benchmarks for institutional and departmental assessment efforts and be used as a stimulus for campus discussions about general education goals and outcomes. The session will feature several institutional examples that have used NSSE results in general education assessment and accreditation self-studies to stimulate the exchange of ideas.
Jillian Kinzie, Associate Director of the Center for Postsecondary Research and NSSE—Indiana University Bloomington
RD 3: Involving Students in Assessing and Evaluating Their Own Learning
Assessment and learning theorists suggest that involving students in assessing and evaluating their own learning can actually increase learning. This roundtable discussion will explore methods for engaging students in course- and program-level assessment and evaluation activities and thereby help them to integrate their learning experiences. These methods can also help to ensure that assessment speaks to faculty’s interest in promoting student learning and help to avoid intrusive procedures.
Deborah R. Schwartz, Associate Dean for Assessment and Retention—Lourdes College
RD 4: E Pluribus Unum: Facilitating a Multi-campus, Multidisciplinary General Education Assessment Process
Participants will discuss strategies and lessons learned in general education reform across multi-campus systems. General education reform across multiple institutions is challenging, to say the least, yet Miami Dade College has adopted a new set of interdisciplinary general education outcomes and assessment tools developed by faculty with feedback and support from students, staff, and other stakeholders. Facilitators will first highlight Miami Dade’s process of advancing general education reform and implementing outcomes-based assessment across eight multicultural, geographically dispersed campuses. Then, participants will share strategies that they have used to facilitate this work and to engage faculty, students, and other stakeholders in the process. Samples of Miami Dade’s performance-based assessment tasks and rubrics will be provided and used to facilitate discussion.
S. Sean Madison, District Director of Learning Outcomes Assessment—Miami Dade College; David McGuirk, Assistant Professor of English—Miami Dade College-Kendall Campus; and Isabel Rodriguez-Dehmer, Associate Professor of Reading—Miami Dade College-North Campus
* LEAP Campus Action Network Exemplar
RD 5: Integrating a Common Core with Institutional Mission and National Reform Efforts
Sacred Heart University has implemented a new common core curriculum, called The Human Journey, that reflects and supports the university’s mission of preparing men and women to live in and make contributions to the human community. Sacred Heart is among the 23 campuses in the Leadership Consortium for AAC&U’s national initiative, Core Commitments: Educating Students for Personal and Social Responsibility, and this new core curriculum also reflects the initiative’s five dimensions of personal and social responsibility. Campus leaders have begun to develop an assessment program for the learning outcomes that drive the core curriculum and to build a culture of assessment and integrated learning. In this session, facilitators will introduce the challenges and successes that came about in their approach and ask participants to share experiences from their own work.
Jeff Cain, Associate Professor of English—Sacred Heart University
RD 6: Using Learning Outcomes to Engage Faculty with Assessment and Strengthen Student Learning
Assessment scholars and accrediting organizations are urging institutional leaders to articulate intended learning outcomes for all academic programs, including general education. This session will present a case study of St. Olaf College’s “Intentional General Education Initiative,” which involved the faculty-wide development of learning outcomes for all general education requirements and uses these outcomes in selected courses to advance student learning. The facilitators will discuss how the learning outcomes development process has advanced the college’s assessment program, as well as the impact these practices have had on sustaining and strengthening student learning. Participants will be asked to consider how St. Olaf’s experience might be generalizable and to generate strategies for moving assessment efforts from individual courses to the general education program as a whole.
Jo M. Beld, Director of Evaluation and Assessment and Professor of Political Science, and Robert McClure , Associate Professor of Education—both of St. Olaf College
RD 7: Students in Service to America: An Interdisciplinary Service-Learning First-Year Experience
This discussion will highlight strategies for creating successful first-year experience (FYE) courses that focus on engaged citizenship, include a sustainable service-learning experience, and address students from all disciplines. For three years, the Burnett Honors College at the University of Central Florida has implemented a program designed to help first-year students adjust to university life, introduce them to scholarly research, and assist them in becoming civically engaged through a unique service-learning honors symposium. The FYE courses within the program emphasize the responsibility of the individual citizen in a democratic society and how the proper exercise of that responsibility is important both for those contributing to and those receiving the community service. The facilitator will first highlight the design, implementation, and assessment of the FYE courses in Burnett Honors College and then share promising practices with respect to cultivating partnerships with community agencies and public schools. Participants will discuss elements that can transfer to their home institutions.
Kelly Astro, Director of Research and Civic Engagement for Burnett Honors College—University of Central Florida
RD 8: Assessment of Undergraduate Writing as a Core Competency across Disciplines
This discussion will focus on navigating the challenges of assessing writing, particularly conflicting claims of how to teach writing, who is responsible for teaching writing, what constitutes good writing, and who should assess it. The facilitators represent a large research university that used the results of a recent writing assessment to embrace these conflicts. The university hosted campus-wide dialogues that included multiple stakeholders and multiple types of data, including faculty perceptions, student writing samples, writing assignments, and student expectations and preceptions. Participants will learn more about the benefits of engaging a broad group in data analysis and planning for future assessment efforts.
Libby Barlow, Executive Director of Institutional Research and Institutional Effectiveness, and Steven P. Liparulo , Program Director of Pedagogy and Instructional Design—both of University of Houston
RD 9: Recent Revisions, Different Models
The University of Puerto Rico Humacao and University of Puerto Rico Carolina have both recently revised their general education programs using different models and assessment methods. In this discussion, the facilitators will share case studies of their institutions and compare implementation practices, addressing difficulties and successes encountered along the way. Participants will receive samples of assessment instruments used by each institution.
Hilda Colon Plumey, Chancellor—University of Puerto Rico-Humacao; Victor Borrero, Chancellor, and Anais Malinow, General Education Coordinator—both of University of Puerto Rico-Carolina
RD 10: Fostering Critical Thinking in General Education: The Influence of Curricular and Co-Curricular Partnerships
This discussion will explore issues related to engaging and sustaining key stakeholders in the teaching and assessment of critical thinking in general education. Washington State University and University of Idaho are collaborating on the research question, “how does collaboration between academic and co-curricular efforts influence students’ critical thinking?” The facilitators will discuss the benefits and challenges of initiating and sustaining partnerships across campus as well as the benefits and challenges of collaborating across institutions. Participants will also explore the lessons to be learned from their own partnerships across units and institutions.
Jean Henscheid, Director of the Core Curriculum—University of Idaho
RD 11: Incorporating Mandated Assessment Initiatives into Institutions of Higher Learning
In this age of accountability, governing agencies are enacting assessment initiatives to ensure that colleges and universities fulfill their educational goals. Sometimes this leads to the perception that a methodology of assessment is being “forced onto” an institution. Often, this leads to a feeling of frustration among faculty and stifles the process. In this roundtable discussion, we will take a look at the meshing of outside mandated assessment initiatives with the potentially differing goals and ideals of the institution of higher learning.
Sean Simpson, Associate Professor of Mathematics, and Jeannine A. Epps, Assistant Professor of Mathematics—both of Westchester Community College
RD 12: Engaging Students (and Ourselves) In Policy Debates through General Education
Higher education leaders have the potential and ability to contribute to debate, dialogue, and critical thinking around important, complex policy issues in society and to help students contribute to these issues as well. In this roundtable, the facilitators will engage participants in exploring how higher education can better position its work to ensure that students, faculty, and staff, together, are addressing and responding to societal policy issues. Participants will learn about examples of fostering student contributions to policy making in general education courses at Wheelock College and will be encouraged to share their own.
Marta T. Rosa, Director of Government Affairs, and Eleonora Villegas-Reimers, Dean of Education and Child Life—both of Wheelock College
RD 13: Using an Integrated Assessment Strategy to Integrate Curricular and Co-Curricular Components of General Education
General education learning goals are achieved through co-curricular activities as well as through the formal curriculum. This roundtable discussion will introduce participants to an integrated strategy that assesses both the general education curriculum and co-curriculum. As part of the National Foundations of Excellence Project, the facilitators assessed current first-year programs at Wright State University. In the process, they developed awareness of how co-curricular activities can complement the formal curriculum in achieving general education goals. As a result, collaborative efforts across programs are emerging at Wright State to better support student learning. In this discussion, participants will (a) explore assessment strategies that help to integrate curricular and co-curricular components of general education; (b) identify opportunities for connections across the general education curriculum and co-curriculum on their own campuses; and (c) consider strategies for encouraging further collaboration across programs.
Jean M. Edwards, Director of General Education, Susan B. Carrafiello, Director of the Honors Program, and Kathy W. Morris, Associate Vice President for Student Affairs—all of Wright State University
Breakfast Discussion: Liberal Education and America’s Promise
Liberal Education and America’s Promise (LEAP) is AAC&U’s new campus action and public advocacy initiative, designed to engage campus colleagues and the larger public in meaningful conversations about what really matters in college. This session will introduce participants to LEAP’s goals and activities. The facilitator will provide an overview of LEAP resources, principles, and practices guiding the campus action component of the campaign, with special attention paid to outcomes related to civic, diversity, and global learning. Participants will then discuss how their institutions can use the emerging national consensus around important liberal education outcomes to guide educational planning and practice.
Alma Clayton-Pedersen, Vice President, Office of Education and Institutional Renewal and Debra Humphreys, Vice President, Office of Communications and Public Affairs, AAC&U
9:15 – 10:45 a.m.
CS 29: A Call for Action
Assessment plans for general education outcomes have been created and implemented, with data being collected, but now what? In this session, the presenter will highlight a number of assessment plans with corresponding data (some real, some not). Participants will discuss and debate possible actions for an institution to take to enhance both student learning and the assessment process by “closing the feedback loop” and creating a culture of inquiry.
David Knopp, Director of Assessment—Kansas City Kansas Community College
CS 30: Creating a Culture Shift in General Education through Informed Course Design
CSU Long-Beach is engaging in an innovative, multi-pronged approach to bring coherence and learning-centeredness to its general education program. The strategic plan is grounded in a faculty professional development model, endorsing a variety of planned activities to mentor faculty in thoughtful, evidence-based pedagogy. Participants will be introduced to practical activities that facilitate student success in general education. These activities include 1) using a web-based, course redesign tool that showcases effective instructional strategies, 2) building a program-level assessment schema for general education, and 3) managing faculty focus groups dedicated to teaching of general education learning objectives across the curriculum. Workshop participants will learn about a variety of faculty development strategies integrate general education assessment into course designs based on instructional strategies linked to student success, help align course design and faculty development with general education learning outcomes and objectives.
Terre Allen, Professor of Communication Studies and Director of the Faculty Center for Professional Development, Lisa Maxfield , Professor of Psychology and General Education Coordinator, Kenneth Curtis, Professor of History and Interim Executive Director of International Programs, and contributors not presenting, James Koval, Professor of Family and Consumer Sciences, and Gary Hytrek, Associate Professor of Sociology—all of California State University-Long Beach
CS 31: Using Change Management Theory to Promote General Education and Assessment
Newton’s First Law states that an object will remain at rest unless acted upon by an external force. How can we respond to calls for increased accountability, reinvigorate general education and promote assessment when many faculty and administrators support the status quo? Although general education embodies core academic goals, commitment to achieve and measure these core aspirations is frequently underdeveloped. Change management theory provides insights into how change can be analyzed, planned, and implemented, and most importantly, how to overcome the inertia inherent in the status quo. Although change management theory may not guarantee success, it provides an understandable and coherent structure that increases the likelihood of achieving desired outcomes. Session participants will be challenged to evaluate their approaches to promoting general education assessment and achievement of desired outcomes.
Stephen C. Zerwas, Director of Office of Academic Assessment— University of North Carolina - Greensboro; and Kathleen Rountree, Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs—Ithaca College
CS 32: Breaking out of Academic Silos: From Distribution Model to University Studies
With its shift from a distribution model to University Studies in 1994, Portland State University anticipated the growing call for a reform of general education that would "break out of the academic categories and silos" established a century ago. As University Studies enters its fourteenth year, a number of significant reforms have been proposed: 1) enhancing faculty participation; 2) reconfiguring interdisciplinary coursework in terms of “big questions”; 3) putting in place a four-year electronic portfolio throughout University Studies that originates from big questions, is tied to learning outcomes, and encourages links to student work in the major; 4) more effectively addressing the needs of transfer students. In this session the presenters will highlight these reforms, the studies that support them, the institutional adjustments that will be necessary to move the reforms forward, and the “fit” between the proposed changes and current discussions about the direction of liberal education.
Michael Flower, Professor of Interdisciplinary Science Studies, and Sukhwant Jhaj, Director of University Studies—both of Portland State University
* LEAP Campus Action Network Exemplar
CS 33: Settling Our Differences: Using Grading Criteria as a Means for Establishing Priorities in General Education
The college of general studies at Boston University is implementing a freshman-year assessment in the form of a researched essay. The challenge was to design an assessment instrument that would measure the full range of skills that the program teaches across all four core courses—natural science, social science, humanities and rhetoric. This session will examine the problem of balancing the competing values and priorities of the different disciplines through the lens of grading criteria. Participants will be invited to consider and discuss four different grading rubrics for a research essay that functions as a general education assessment, and to choose among them. They will then be asked to infer from the particulars of grading criteria the positive disciplinary values that these criteria reflect. Collectively, the group will use this discussion to draw conclusions about how to balance competing values and assumptions when developing one curriculum-wide assessment of skills.
Matthew Anthony Parfitt, Associate Professor and Chair of Rhetoric Division, Natalie J. McKnight, Associate Professor and Chair of Humanities Division, and Jay Corrin, Professor and Chair of Social Science Division—all of Boston University
CS 34: Organizing Faculty-Owned General Education Reform
Programs that cut across disciplines often suffer from a lack of faculty ownership, given that faculty recognition and rewards – and loyalties – lie within academic departments. This is a problem for majors that cut across departments, and it is an even greater problem for general education. The result is often a weak general education program, minimal faculty attention given to it, and resistance to changes perceived as to department-specific missions. In this session, the presenters will share their story about using a highly transparent, campus-wide process to enhance faculty ownership of a cross-disciplinary general education program, thereby strengthening the program itself. There will be extensive opportunity for discussion of principles for building faculty ownership of cross-disciplinary programs as a strategy for program improvement, as well as overcoming foreseeable (and less foreseeable) obstacles to program reform.
Joan Hawthorne, Assistant Provost, Thomas Steen, Associate Professor of Physical Education, Exercise Science, and Wellness, and Anne Kelsch, Director of Instructional Development—all of University of North Dakota
* LEAP Campus Action Network Exemplar
CS 35: “Reacting to the Past”: An Integrative Approach to General Education
This workshop will introduce faculty and administrators to “Reacting to the Past,” an innovative approach to undergraduate general education. “Reacting” consists of elaborate games, set in the past, in which students are assigned roles informed by classic texts in the history of ideas. Class sessions are run entirely by students; instructors advise students and grade their oral and written work. The program seeks to draw students into the past, promote engagement with “big questions” across the disciplines, and improve speaking, writing, leadership, and problem-solving skills. In this session, participants will learn about the pedagogy by exploring a mini-version of an actual game. Facilitators will then lead a discussion of how the “Reacting” curriculum might serve as a model for general education, by helping students to (1) develop practical skills; (2) acquire civic knowledge and learn about other peoples and cultures; and (3) integrate their studies across disciplinary boundaries. Participants will be encouraged to ask questions about the connecting “Reacting” games to diverse learning outcomes, and explore possible uses of “Reacting” on their own campuses. Participants will receive a copy of the student text and instructions when they arrive at the workshop. No content expertise or prior preparation is necessary.
Mark C. Carnes, Professor of History and Director of Reacting to the Past— Barnard College; John M. Burney, Associate Provost for Curriculum and Faculty Development—Drake University; and Ann Davison, Co-Director of the Freshman Year Initiative— Queens College, City University of New York
* LEAP Campus Action Network Exemplar
11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Assessment and General Education: Resisting Reductionism without Resisting Responsibility
Those of us committed to general education believe that we are capable of stimulating imagination, critical thinking and other hard to define qualities in undergraduate students. While we are quite comfortable with assessing student learning outcomes in courses and other structured exercises (though we need to improve our capacities) we have not devoted as much attention to assessing the larger general education experience. The recent emergence of political demands for institutional educational accountability might be welcomed if it encouraged us to develop new, more sensitive modes of assessing broad general education learning outcomes on the basis of which we can enhance general education and strengthen outcomes. But there will continue to be pressure to measure less significant, but more apparently tangible results. This plenary will address one of the most important challenges to educators – how to respond creatively to these demands for accountability without compromising our larger liberal education objectives.
Stanley N. Katz, Professor in Public and International Affairs, Faculty Chair of the Undergraduate Program, and Director of the Princeton University Center for Arts and Cultural Policy Studies at Woodrow Wilson School—Princeton University