2018 General Education and Assessment: Preconference Workshops

We are delighted to announce the preconference workshop themes and facilitators listed below.  The facilitators are working on the full titles and descriptions.  We will post these descriptions on this site as we receive them.  We hope that sharing the initial themes and speakers provides useful information as you plan your participation for the conference.

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

Thursday, February 15, 2018, 9:00 am - 12:00 pm

WK 1: General Education Outcomes Assessment: Choosing the Right Model
College stakeholders both in and outside of campus expect educators to answer questions about how general education programs are helping students achieve programmatic or institutional learning outcomes.  Because general education lies outside of the standard departmental structure, significant obstacles to gathering high-quality information present themselves.  How are faculty to be engaged in a significant way?  What types of assessment projects will yield actionable data, rather than just allowing for the completion of an assessment report?  How can the findings reflect student learning at a point near graduation, rather than at a mid-program level – when students are likely to be completing their general education courses but have not yet experienced additional opportunities for significant development of general education competencies? Dr. Zerr and Dr. Hawthorne will introduce and discuss commonly used strategies for general education outcomes assessment.  In addition to contributing additional strategy ideas, participants will brainstorm common assessment scenarios and use these scenarios to consider the applicability of the various assessment strategies on their own campuses.  Attendees will understand the potential value of various approaches to general education outcomes assessment, anticipate the challenges of each approach, be able to analyze the feasibility of the approaches in different situations and contexts, and be prepared to identify one or more approaches that will realistically work for the general education program on their own campus.
Ryan Zerr, Director of Essential Studies and Professor of Mathematics and Anne Kelsch, Director of Faculty and Staff Development and Professor of History—both of the University of North Dakota

WK 2: Maintaining the Integrity of General Education Reforms in the Face of Changing Contexts
Those on the forefront of curricular innovation often feel that the hardest work is moving their reforms from idea to reality.  While the implementation of new programs is complicated, forces both internal and external that change after the adoption of a new general education program or undergraduate curriculum further challenge those efforts. How do faculty maintain the integrity of a program in the face of changes beyond their control?

In 2008, after adopting a trailblazing curriculum, heavily shaped by participation in AAC&U meetings and projects, Arcadia University faced a number of changes and challenges. Externally, the national economic downtown wrought profound new considerations.  Internally, Arcadia, as an institution and as a community, began to experience structural and cultural shifts starting with the unexpected retirement of the sitting President. This led to a series of Presidential appointments and resignations over the next six years, as well as a large number of other senior administrative changes and a shift to a more traditional college structure within the university.  How did these changes affect the innovative undergraduate curriculum?  What is the impact on student learning and how can we measure it? What can other institutions learn from this story, given that so many must adapt to constantly shifting internal and external demands, threats and opportunities.  Participants will have the opportunity to join in conversation with the faculty who were there to launch this unique curriculum and have been guiding its development and growth through the changing landscape.  They will consider how these lessons learned can inform their efforts to sustain innovative programs and curricula maintaining the focus on high-quality student learning, well-being and preparation for work and civic engagement.  
Peter Siskind, Assistant Professor, Chair, Historical and Political Studies, Peter M. Appelbaum, Professor, School of Education, Ellen Skilton, Professor, School of Education, Gregg F. Moore, Associate Professor, Visual and Performing Arts, and Tom Hemmeter, Associate Professor, English—all of Arcadia University; and Norah Shultz, Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs - Student Achievement—San Diego State University

WK 3: Helping Students Develop Agency and Meaning-Making: Moving from Actor to Agent to Author.
Workshop facilitators will provide an overview of the problem and the frame for increasing student responsibility for and authority over education (what Adrienne Rich called "claiming an education".) The facilitators will then create an environment where participants experience several techniques that have proved effective in developing student agency and authorship of their own learning.  These experiences—conceptual workshops, student-led seminars, metacognition as directed thinking, letter-writing feedback, and think-aloud exercises can be adapted across a full range of disciplines and activities.  Participants will leave with ideas for using the theory and practices of these techniques in their own teaching and learning situations.
Bruce Umbaugh, Professor of Philosophy and Carla Colletti, Associate Professor of Music Theory—both of Webster University

WK 4: Integrating Values into General Education to Enhance Flourishing
“As we grow in the virtues, our understanding of happiness becomes deeper and richer and more certain, and our enjoyment of happiness intensifies” (Wadell).  In an effort to foster and educate students who flourish and become lifelong, independent learners that embody cultural competency, moral courage, ethical responsibility, and civic engagement, universities infuse their mission and core values into the culture and general education program.  However, truly embedding values/virtues, rather than simply stating them, takes intentionality and overcoming an immunity to change. Workshop facilitators will address development and assessment of a 4-year, values centered curriculum.  Drawing on Kegan and Lahey’s theory for immunity to change, and Elrod and Kezar’s Framework for Strategic Change, session participants will examine a practical approach to infusing values in the curriculum through vision, planning, assessment, faculty expertise, administrative buy-in, campus resources, and infrastructure (ePortfolios).  Deeply embedding virtues and values throughout the general education and co-curricular programs allows students to engage with them as habits and life-long practices. “If we act a certain way often enough, eventually the quality of that action becomes a resilient quality of ourselves.  It begins to characterize us” (Wadell).
Kathleen Weaver, Associate Dean Learning, Innovation, and Teaching and Director La Verne Experience and Zandra Wagoner, Chaplain and Assistant Professor of Religion—both of the University of La Verne

WK 5: Integration of General Education and the Major: Mapping Integrative Learning
Our institutions are not always organized or function towards intentional alignment of student learning experiences. Students learn everywhere, but the institutional organization tends to require students to take the jumble of experiences and organize them for themselves. How do faculty and student affairs educators help students make sense of it all? Participants will learn about the Learning Systems Paradigm; a framework to help them reflect on the organization of their institution, how to accomplish work within that organization, and whom they might involve in that work. The framework encourages working collaboratively across typical divisions, intentionally aligning learning experiences, addressing needs of particular students; and building transparency for all participants and stakeholders.  Workshop facilitators will share their experience at two different institutions including mapping of curriculum, integration of general education, and re-envisioning of assessment. Participants will leave with action plans to further work on their campus. They will learn about various resources and publications available to assist in their efforts to better align and integrate general education and the major; explore various approaches to curriculum mapping; and learn from national efforts to enhance the effectiveness of general education.
Sandra Bailey, Director of Academic Excellence—Oregon Institute of Technology; and David Marshall, Associate Professor—California State University San Bernardino

WK 6: Reflection, Assessment, and Learning Design in Liberal Education
Faculty development and institutional effectiveness efforts are both concerned with improving teaching and learning on campus, and collaboration between these two functions can increase the impact of both.  This workshop will present ways to align both faculty teaching and institutional assessment goals through backward design principles and intentional reflection. .  Participants will examine how to help faculty reflect on what knowledge, skills, and attitudes are most important for student learning; how to intentionally design assignments that are well assigned to student learning outcomes; and how collaboration between assessment and faculty development can encourage changes in classroom practice that enhance liberal learning.
Karla S. McCain, Associate Dean of Institutional Effectiveness, Professor of Chemistry and Randi Tanglen, Director of Johnson Center for Faculty Development and Excellence in Teaching, Associate Professor of English—both of Austin College
Sponsored by the American Conference of Academic Deans (ACAD)