Liberal Education: Winter 2013

Current Issue


Student Learning: What, Where, How

In exploring the diversity of teaching formats and strategies that different faculty members at different institutions use in a widely taken course, this issue raises questions about what, where, and how students learn in courses that are assumed to cover the same ground. Also included are articles on the genesis and history of PKAL, the Tony Blair Faith Foundation’s higher education work, findings from the Personal and Social Responsibility Inventory, helping students develop "habits of mind," and best practices in serving students with learning and other disabilities.

Table of Contents
President's Message
From 1818 R Street NW

By David Tritelli

Featured Topic

By Dan Berrett
A semester-long experiment of auditing the same course at three institutions made it clear that it is not safe to assume students will learn the same thing just because a course has the same title. What matters most are a course’s unspoken attributes that colleges rarely make plain and about which students almost never ask.

By Carol Geary Schneider
Students' competency development is a responsibility that cuts across many courses and many levels of expected student proficiency. To put it differently, it takes a curriculum, not just a course, to foster the competencies almost everyone now considers "essential."

By Stephen C. Ehrmann
Technologies have no direct impact on learning outcomes. But if faculty and students use them to make it easier to do something educationally powerful—activities such as flipping pedagogy or offering different kinds of instruction to different students—those activities can improve learning.

The PKAL Perspective

By Jeanne L. Narum
Changes that “stick” are carried out by academic departments, energized by faculty leadership and colleagueship, in a complex interplay that recognizes and understands local missions and local constraints, while keeping an eye on high standards set by the national STEM community.


By Tony Blair and Craig Bardsley
Students, the leaders of tomorrow, must be equipped with the knowledge and skills to make effective decisions in a complex, multi-faith world, and they must be comfortable working with people of diverse backgrounds. 

By Robert D. Reason
The more a college or university can do to create a campus climate that supports students in the development of personal and social responsibility, the more the institution can expect students to develop along these dimensions.

By Chad Hanson and Patrick Amelotte
Through careful planning, sound choices, and frank conversations, the community college holds the potential to make good on the promise of the arts and sciences.

By Jennifer Fletcher
Despite agreement among scholars about the meaning and value of habits of mind, these dispositional practices largely remain in the shadows of college instruction.

My View

By Christopher Ames
Working innovatively to serve students with disabilities not only contributes to the powerful social goal of unlocking the often stifled intelligence and creativity of students who learn differently and face significant obstacles in traditional educational settings, but it also has the potential to stimulate pedagogical innovation in ways that can help all students learn.

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