Pre-conference Workshops - Creating a 21st-Century General Education Conference

Thursday, February 14, 2019, 2:00-5:00 pm

Separate registration and fee required ($125 members; $195 non-members); seating will be limited, so register early.  

Workshop 1: Teaching Naked Techniques: A Practical Workshop on Designing Better Classes
In recent years, there has been an acceleration in the number of research findings regarding human learning and cognition, but these findings often are not easily translated into classroom practice.  Evoking the plethora of research-based best practices detailed in Teaching Naked Techniques: A Practical Guide to Designing Better Classes (Jossey-Bass, 2017), this hands-on workshop will provide new insights into how we learn as well as practical advice regarding how this information can be applied in the college classroom.  New twists on well-established course design models will be provided.  From this foundation, participants will explore a range of instructional strategies that will result in greater student achievement of articulated learning outcomes.  Many of the strategies explored in this workshop ultimately support best practice in flipped classrooms; however, cognitive wrappers, homework logs, just in time teaching, feedback strategies, sequence and failure, inventive recall approaches, emerging learning technologies, and true integrative learning are among the topics that will be additionally explored.  Participants are encouraged to bring syllabi and other course related materials with which to work during this workshop. 
C. Edward Watson, Associate Vice President, Quality, Advocacy, and LEAP Initiatives—Association of American Colleges and Universities

Workshop 2: Finding the Open Window: Constructing a Praxis of Inclusive Excellence in General Education
Sometimes change is welcome; more often, it is met with anxiety, if not outright resistance. So how do we find an open window—or a window we can open—to create and sustain a praxis of inclusive excellence? General Education is one programmatic window through which our students can view the world beyond their particular majors, and we can gaze inward to critically examine our home’s institutional structures and culture. How do the various offices, divisions, departments, and organizational structures facilitate or constrain institutional change towards a realization of our values and goals? How do we enact processes of shared governance through which we engage the institution’s stakeholders in potentially transformative work? With these questions in mind, the presenters will facilitate a three-stage guided set of activities and dialogue: Visioning or Theorizing; Building Practices; and Assessing Practices
Sheree Meyer, Dean, College of Arts & Letters; James German, Dean, Undergraduate Studies; Antonia Peigahi, Chair, Faculty Senate; and Diana Tate Vermeire, Executive Director, Office of Inclusive Excellence—all of California State University, Sacramento

Workshop 3: Communicating with Students about the Value of General Education:  Issues and Implementation
This highly interactive workshop will explore conceptual and practical aspects of communicating with students about the value of general education.  Participants will discuss the implications of data gathered at the presenters’ institutions on faculty and student perceptions about the value of general education, including how student perceptions vary across schools within the institution.  Building on these discussions, participants will explore the various avenues of communication and identify those that represent the greatest opportunity to engage students about the value of general education.  Participants will then discuss a comprehensive approach for communicating to students the value of general education and share concrete examples of implementation strategies from their own institutions.  Participants will finish out the workshop by integrating the insights they have gained into an action plan for enhancing communication about the value of general education at their own institutions.
Christopher Murphy, Associate Provost for Curriculum and Liberal Learning—The College of New Jersey; Margaret Mulrooney, Associate Vice Provost, University Programs—James Madison University

Workshop 4: Tips and Tricks for Using the VALUE Rubrics: When and How to “Hack” Them to Improve Teaching, Learning, and Assessment
Rubrics are heralded as the answer to any number of assessment and accountability questions facing faculty and administrators today. This interactive workshop will empower participants to fully utilize rubrics on their campuses. Participants will gain exposure to rubric best practices and resources using the AAC&U VALUE rubrics; develop rubrics and/or rubric-related “tools” (such as a draft of a rubric customized for grading, course-based, and program assessment; a plan for engaging faculty in rubric calibration; or the development of a rubric “from scratch”); and return to their campuses primed to implement rubric strategies appropriate to their institutional context. 
Kate McConnell, Assistant Vice President for Research and Assessment—AAC&U

Workshop 5: Unpacking the Power of Assignment Design
This workshop will focus on faculty development models used for assignment design including the TILT and Charrette models.  The NILOA Tool Kit will be examined and new research being undertaken on Cognitive Leaps and the Challenge of Balance will be presented.  In conjunction with workshop participants, the presenters will facilitate a discussion that involves the construction and deconstruction of these models, setting the groundwork for an effective critique of each model and framework presented.  This process will reveal the power of course-based assignments for enhancing student engagement and learning, advancing classroom inclusivity, transparency, and equity, and breaking down learning barriers, specifically for historically underserved and underrepresented populations.  Participants will be asked to work with their peers to adapt, customize, and contextualize these models with the goal to create a model of their own that they can use to facilitate faculty development activities centered around assignment design.
Bonnie Orcutt, Professor of Economics—Worcester State University; Mark Nicholas, Executive Director of Institutional Assessment—Framingham State University

Workshop 6: Maintaining Intellectual Honesty in Assessment Design and Data Interpretation
Public exchange over the value of assessment in higher education during 2018 sparked a long overdue assessment of assessors. Unfortunately, leaders in assessment responded defensively to negative press in the New York Times, The Chronicle of Higher Education, and other media outlets. This workshop will guide faculty and administrative leaders through reflection and evaluation of the current state of the assessment enterprise including its evolution within the scholarship of teaching and learning and its arguable devolution to sham empiricism. Working through examples of familiar models of assessment, participants will revisit tenets of research design and methods, standard wisdom of probability and statistics, and basics of data interpretation in light of socially constructed standards and expectations lauded by accreditors, governing boards, marketing teams, and assessment professionals. The facilitator will outline untapped human and technological resources that can redirect assessment to its origins in the scholarship of teaching and learning. Participants will discuss strategies for responding to demands for data-informed decisions about the value of liberal learning with statistical models that are useful, reasonable, and intellectually honest.
Josie Welsh, Director of Institutional Effectiveness—Missouri Southern State University