2024 Institute on General Education, Pedagogy, and Assessment
Redesigned to give participants the best of both virtual and in-person experiences, the 2024 Institute will kick off with a virtual event at the end of January 2024, and includes virtual webinars and “office hours” February and March 2024. The in-person component of the Institute will take place in tandem with the in-person sessions for the 2024 Conference on General Education, Pedagogy, and Assessment in Providence, Rhode Island, April 10-13, 2024, with “institute only” programming beginning on April 10, carrying into the pre-conference timeslots on April 11. Individuals will then have the opportunity to take full advantage of the conference program, which always includes sessions from Institute faculty and alumni as well as others. There will be time to meet with IGEA faculty mentors, and opportunities to network with several funders who do indeed fund gen ed revisioning and undergraduate teaching, learning, and assessment projects. (It is the expectation that all team leads participate in the Institute offerings at iGEPA, but all team members are encouraged to attend the conference.) The Institute will continue to host virtual webinars and office hours in April and May, and then end with a virtual capstone and the presentation of final action plans the first week in June 2024. The Schedule-at-a-Glance provides an overview of the Institute’s timeline and structure.
The 2024 Institute continues to promote “design thinking,” an intentional, creative approach to problem solving well suited to complex, dynamic environments like college and university campuses. Pragmatic and solution-focused, design thinking employs both divergent and convergent thinking, moving from brainstorming and “outside the box” idea generation to a focus on creating strategies best suited to the unique dynamics and needs of your campus. Participants engage in both shorter information and discussion-based sessions intended to foster dialogue and spark new ideas, as well as longer workshops intended to provide opportunities for deeper analysis and application of ideas to campus-based reform efforts. Participants engage with Institute faculty and colleagues from other institutions around a set of principles and questions that illuminate the power of general education models and pathways to foster academic proficiencies and success in life and work.
Building from the work of the Stanford d. School, the Institute frames design thinking around six steps in an iterative process:
- Assess (Repeat)
The Institute curriculum is also informed by five principles for quality integrative liberal education developed as part of AAC&U’s General Education Maps and Markers (GEMs) project. These principles describe qualities that should be present across the entire curriculum and cocurriculum, that bridge general education and majors, and that connect the curriculum with students’ informal learning.
- Proficiency - Clear institutional statements of desired learning outcomes
- Equity - Advancing equitable learning outcomes across student populations
- Agency and Self-Direction - Students as active participants in the educational process
- Integrative Learning/Problem-Based Inquiry - Integration of all learning at the institution including curricular, co-curricular, and community-based learning
- Transparency and Assessment - Evidence-based demonstrations of student proficiency
In addition to participation-based sessions, a significant portion of the Institute curriculum is reserved for teams to work independently to advance their own general education, pedagogy, and assessment reform missions. “Team Time” allows participants to share ideas, map strategies, and consult with Institute faculty on specific obstacles or issues. Through iterative refinement, this time offers teams the ability to create an Action Plan to share with their home institution. The Action Plan typically includes initial and continuing actions of the team, including implementation and advancement steps for enacting the plan, key persons to engage during the change process, and a realistic timeline for accomplishing goals. Action Plans are shared at the Institute in small groups of campus teams to receive helpful feedback and guidance from fellow Institute participants and Institute faculty.